Synopsis of Saturday Morning Show
“Here he comes, here comes Speed Racer,
He’s a demon on wheels...”
Speed Racer is, without a doubt, the best remembered of the 60's Japanimation series. Set in the world of high-tech auto racing, the show detailed the exploits of Speed, a young, good-looking race car driver, and the friends and family who assisted him on and off the racetrack.
Speed’s girlfriend, Trixie, was the definition of spunky and was always by his side, especially when he ended up in a hospital bed. Hot-headed but lovable race car designer Pops Racer and gangly, awkward, but equally lovable mechanic Sparky were the two men who kept things going behind the scenes and under the hood. Moms Racer was rarely seen, but was still an integral part of the team. Always on hand (as well as under foot) to provide comic relief was the ridiculously cute little brother Spridal and his inquisitive pet monkey Chim Chim.
The most memorable character on the show was the mythical, mysterious Racer X, a lone masked driver who seemed to appear in Speed's darkest moments and tip the scales in Speed's favor. No one, not even Speed, knew who he was or where he came from. What the viewers knew, however, was that Racer X was really Speed’s long-lost brother, Rex Racer. For a variety of reasons (which included a tragic accident in which the Mach 4 was destroyed), Rex was forced to keep his identity a secret, even from his own family. This secret, however, wasn't enough to prevent Racer X from risking everything to come to his brother’s aid.
For most viewers the real star of the show was the car itself, for the Special Formula Mach 5 was every young boy's dream. The car was equipped with a variety of functions, all of which could be activated by the buttons on the steering wheel. The “A” button set off the automatic jacks to give the Mach 5 jumping power, while button “B” controlled the extra-grip tires. When button “C” was pushed, buzz saws would appear that could cut through any trees that happened to block the vehicle’s path. “E” cranked the headlights up a notch for extra illumination, while buttons “D” and “F” were for underwater missions: the former sealed off the cockpit to keep water out (along with bullets, deadly gasses, and in the event of a rollover, the asphalt), while the latter supplied 30 minutes’ worth of oxygen and a handy-dandy periscope.
Right in the middle of the wheel sat button “G,” used to activate a remote-controlled bird that flew out of the front hood, carrying messages or other info to whomever Speed chose. The robot’s flight was controlled by a small joystick, and if all else failed, the accompanying “H” button sent the bird straight to the Racer home. To the delight of the kids at home, each episode managed to feature at least one of the Mach 5’s extraordinary features during the exciting racing scenes.
The original version of the series, as it was seen in Japan, was titled Mach Go Go Go, and Speed’s name was Go Mifune, in homage to Japanese film actor Toshiro Mifune. When Mach Go Go Go was transformed into an American series, Peter Fernandez, who provided many voices on the series, was careful to edit out the scenes of violence to make the series more accessible to young children and give it a longer syndicated run.
The series has proven its enduring appeal, as it continues to pop up in syndication and on cable networks, giving new generations a chance to experience the thrill of watching those trademark pointed fenders cross the finish line.
“Go, Speed Racer, Go!”
Release History1967, 1993 syndicated
TV Sub Categoriesanimated
TV StudioTatsunoko Productions
Television CastSpeed Racer Jack Grimes
Trixie Corinne Orr
Spridal Corinne Orr
Moms Racer Corinne Orr
Racer X Jack Curtis
Pops Racer Jack Curtis
Various Peter Fernandez