Synopsis of Saturday Morning Show
Dick Dastardly and his sidekick dog Muttley were the stars of the show. Drivers of the Mean Machine (#00), the two would stop at nothing to win. Also on the road was the lovely Penelope Pitstop in her Compact Pussy Cat, a mobile beauty parlor. The other competitors included Pat Pending, The Red Max, Peter Perfect, Rufus and Sawtooth, General, Sergeant and Private Pinkley, Rock and Gravel Slug, Clyde and The Anthill Mob, The Gruesome Twosome, and Luke and Blubber Bear.
Eleven daredevil racers lined up each week to claim the title of 'World's Wackiest Racer' and each week produced a different winner. This caused quite a stir in Great Britain when one school headmaster revealed that he had discovered his 12-14 year old pupils 'running a book' on the weekly result. Nevertheless, the drivers drew up to the starting line each week regardless, and they were:
01 - The Slag Brothers in the Boulder Mobile
02 - The Gruesome Twosome in the Creepy Coupe
03 - Professor Pat Pending in the Ring-A-Ding Convert-a-Car
04 - Red Max in the Crimson Haybailer
05 - Penelope Pitstop in the Compact Pussycat
06 - Sarge and Meekly in the Army Surplus Special
07 - The Ant Hill Mob (Clyde, Ding-a-ling, Zippy, Pockets, Snoozy, Softy, and Yak-Yak) in the Bullet-Proof Bomb
08 - Luke and Blubber in the Arkansas Chug-a-Boom
09 - Peter Perfect in the Turbo Terrific
10 - Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth in the Buzz Wagon
and lastly, the villains of the piece in 00 - The Mean Machine - Dick Dastardly and his sniggering canine sidekick, Muttley, whose sole aim was to win every race by hook or by crook. Drat and Double drat!
The Wacky Races really consisted of only one race—one really, really long race. It covered the entire planet and never seemed to end. Was there a trophy? Who sponsored the race? When did they stop to fill up? These questions were never answered (but nobody seemed to mind) as the racers competed for first place and the title, “World’s Wackiest Racer.”
Surprisingly, all followed the rules closely, even when they used the special gadgets that each of their cars were equipped with.
Inspired in part by the hit film The Great Race, Wacky Races was a major part of network executive Fred Silverman’s grand scheme to bring more comedy cartoons to Saturday morning and produce shows with characters who could easily be spun off to their own programs. The strategy paid off a year later, as Dastardly and Muttley and Penelope Pitstop were deemed interesting enough to star in their own shows, Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines and The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. All three continued to appear on the Wacky Races.
As the first "gang" cartoon, Wacky Races established what would become a Hanna-Barbera tradition. With such a multitude of characters, the show could bounce from scene to scene with enough speed to please kids with even the shortest attention spans. Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics, Yogi’s Space Race and many others all owe a debt to Wacky Races' freewheeling format.
Release History9/14/68 - 9/5/70 CBS
TV Sub Categoriesanimated
TV StudioHanna-Barbera, Heatter-Quigley
Television CastDick Dastardly Paul Winchell
Muttley Don Messick
Penelope Pitstop Janet Waldo
Clyde Paul Winchell
The Anthill Mob Mel Blanc
Red Max Paul Winchell
Professor Pat Pending Don Messick
Sawtooth Don Messick
Ring-A-Ding Don Messick
Big Gruesome Daws Butler
Little Gruesome Don Messick
Peter Perfect Daws Butler
Rufus Ruffcut Daws Butler
The General John Stephenson
Sergeant Daws Butler
Rock Slug Daws Butler
Gravel Slug Daws Butler
Luke Bear John Stephenson
Blubber Bear John Stephenson
Narrator Dave Willock