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Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines

Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines (or simply Dastardly and Muttley in the UK and Ireland) is an American animated television series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions for CBS. It is a spin-off to Wacky Races. The series was originally broadcast as a Saturday morning cartoon, airing from September 13, 1969 to January 3, 1970.[1] The show focuses on the efforts of Dick Dastardly and his canine sidekick Muttley to catch Yankee Doodle Pigeon, a carrier pigeon who carries secret messages (hence the name of the show's theme song "Stop the Pigeon"). The title is a reference to the film and song Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.

Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines
Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines.jpg
GenreAnimated cartoon, comedy
Created by
Written byLarz Bourne, Dalton Sandifer, Michael Maltese
Directed by
Voices ofPaul Winchell
Don Messick
Narrated byDon Messick
Composer(s)Ted Nichols
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes17 (34 Dastardly & Muttley segments, 17 Magnificent Muttley segments, 34 brief Wing Dings episodes)
Running time22 minutes (excluding network breaks)
Production company(s)Hanna-Barbera Productions
Original networkCBS
Original releaseSeptember 13, 1969 (1969-09-13) –
January 3, 1970 (1970-01-03)
Related showsWacky Races

The show is widely known as Catch The Pigeon or Stop the Pigeon, based on the show's original working title and the show's theme song, written by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera (and based on the jazz standard "Tiger Rag") which repeats that phrase so often that it is frequently mistaken as the show's actual title.

The show had only two voice actors: Paul Winchell as Dick Dastardly and the indistinctly heard General, and Don Messick as all of the other characters. Each 22-minute show was broadcast over half an hour on the network, including network breaks, and contained: two Dastardly & Muttley stories, one Magnificent Muttley story (Muttley's Walter Mitty-style daydreams), and two or three short Wing Dings (brief gags to break up the longer stories).


Dick Dastardly and Muttley, the villains from Wacky Races, are now flying aces and members of the Vulture Squadron, a crew of aviators on a mission to stop a homing pigeon named Yankee Doodle Pigeon from delivering messages to the other side.

Each story features variations on the same plot elements: the Vulture Squadron tries to trap Yankee Doodle Pigeon using one or more planes equipped with Klunk's latest contraptions, but one or more of the Squadron messes up and the plane(s) either crash, collide or explode (or all of the above). While they are falling out of the wreckage, Dick Dastardly calls for help, which Muttley either offers or refuses depending on whether Dastardly agrees to give him a medal. Even when Muttley does agree to fly Dastardly out of trouble, Dastardly seldom has a soft landing. At some point the General calls Dastardly on the phone to demand results, and while Dastardly assures him that they will soon capture the pigeon, the General usually disbelieves him and bellows to Dastardly through the phone and extends his hand from it to either grab Dastardly by the nose or grab his mustache. By the end of every story, Yankee Doodle Pigeon escapes while the Vulture Squadron is often left in backfiring predicaments.

In a contemporary comic book/comic digest series of Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, Dastardly and Muttley also failed to stop Yankee Doodle Pigeon except for three times: the first time when accidentally knocking out and capturing Yankee Doodle Pigeon with falling ice cubes, Dastardly and Muttley find to their surprise that the messenger pigeon's message bag contains nothing but moths. The second time they salted his tail for the purpose of retrieving his message satchel, only to discover it contained a jigsaw puzzle that read "Sucker!" while the pigeon had the real message under his helmet. The third time, Dick and Muttley lured Yankee Doodle to their side during a 24-hour truce, hypnotized him and set him up to be a traitor.

Magnificent MuttleyEdit

There was one Magnificent Muttley episode in each of the 17 broadcast shows. Muttley is the main character, and imagines himself in a lot of situations, with Dastardly in the role of the villain, each episode was about 3 minutes. Dastardly's car from Wacky Races made a cameo in a few of these shorts, namely "The Marvelous Muttdini"

Original runEdit

  • DM-1. "Fur Out Furlough" (47-4) / "Barn Dance" (47-72) / "Hot Soup" (47-71) / "Muttley on the Bounty" / "Sappy Birthday" (September 13, 1969)
  • DM-2. "Follow That Feather" (47-2) / "Barber" (47-70) / "Empty Hangar" (47-73) / "What's New Old Bean?" / "Operation Anvil" (September 20, 1969)
  • DM-3. "Sky Hi-IQ" (47-5) / "Prop Wash" (47-74) / "Carpet" (47-76) / "The Marvelous Muttdini" / "A Plain Shortage of Planes" (September 27, 1969)
  • DM-4. "Barnstormers" (47-8) / "Arnold" (47-78) / "Pineapple Sundae" (47-79) / "The New Mascot" / "The Bad Actor" / "Shape Up or Ship Out" (October 4, 1969)
  • DM-5. "Stop That Pigeon" (47-1) / "Grease Job" (47-75) / "Robot" (47-83) / "The Big Topper" / "Zilly's a Dilly" (October 11, 1969)
  • DM-6. "The Cuckoo Patrol" (47-11) / "Automatic Door" (47-82) / "Airmail" (47-84) / "Runway Stripe" / "The Masked Muttley" / "Pest Pilots" (October 18, 1969)
  • DM-7. "The Swiss Yelps" / "Eagle-Beagle" / "Deep Reading" / "Shell Game" / "Slightly Loaded" / "Movie Stuntman" (October 25, 1969)
  • DM-8. "Fly By Knights" (47-15) / "There's No Fool Like A Re-Fuel" (47-16) / "Springtime" (47-98) / "Dog's Life" / "Strange Equipment" / "Coonskin Caper" (November 1, 1969)
  • DM-9. "Movies Are Badder Than Ever" (47-18) / "Home Sweet Homing Pigeon" (47-19) / "The Elevator" (47-81) / "Obedience School" / "Aquanuts" (November 8, 1969)
  • DM-10. "Lens A Hand" (47-17) / "Vacation Trip Trap" (47-20) / "Parachute" (47-99) / "Real Snapper" / "Leonardo De Muttley" (November 15, 1969)
  • DM-11. "Stop Which Pigeon?" (47-21) / "Ceiling Zero Zero" (47-22) / "Fast Freight" (47-90) / "Home Run" / "Start Your Engines" (November 22, 1969)
  • DM-12. "Who's Who?" (47-23) / "Operation Birdbrain" (47-24) / "Bowling Pin" (47-88) / "Shrink Job" / "Ship Ahooey" (November 29, 1969)
  • DM-13. "Medal Muddle" (47-25) / "Go South Young Pigeon!" (47-26) / "The Window Washer" (47-128) / "Beach Blast" / "Admiral Bird Dog" (December 6, 1969)
  • DM-14. "Too Many Kooks" (47-27) / "Ice See You" (47-28) / "Echo" (47-89) / "Rainmaker" / "Professor Muttley" (December 13, 1969)
  • DM-15. "Balmy Swami" (47-29) / "Camouflage Hop-Aroo" (47-30) / "Mop Up" (47-124) / "Big Turnover" (a.k.a. Left Hanging) / "Wild Mutt Muttley" (December 20, 1969)
  • DM-16. "Have Plane Will Travel" (47-31) / "Windy Windmill" (47-32) / "Tough Break" (47-110) / "The Ice Cream Tree" / "Astromutt" (December 27, 1969)
  • DM-17. "Plane Talk" (47-33) / "Happy Bird Day" (47-34) / "Boxing" (47-85) / "Runaway Rug" (a.k.a. Magic Carpet) / "Super Muttley" (January 3, 1970)

Voice castEdit


After its original CBS run, Dastardly and Muttley was shown in syndicated reruns on local stations between 1976 and 1982. Some episodes were subsequently distributed on VHS tape by Worldvision Enterprises.

Home mediaEdit

On May 10, 2005 Warner Home Video released the complete series on Region 1 DVD.[2] On July 31, 2006, the series was released on DVD R2 in the United Kingdom but only in HMV stores and its online site as an HMV Exclusive.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information[2]
Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines – The Complete Series 17 May 10, 2005
  • Commentary on various episodes
  • The Vulture Squadron's Greatest Misses - Watch the Pigeon Thwart the Vulture Squadron
  • Dastardly & Muttley's Spin Offs retrospective.

References in popular cultureEdit

Rockabilly/psychobilly group The Reverend Horton Heat covered the theme song in 1995 as a medley with the theme song from Jonny Quest on the cover album Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits with other various artists.

Hip-Hop group Madvillain references the characters in their song "Accordion" off their debut album Madvillainy.

In the BBC Robin Hood episode "Lardner's Ring", when Robin Hood is trying to send a message to King Richard via pigeon, at one point the Sheriff of Nottingham yells out "We must catch the pigeon! Catch the pigeon NOW!" Despite being a British show, the writer was obviously familiar with this show, as the Sheriff said it exactly the same way as Dastardly.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines". Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d

External linksEdit