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Wacky Races (1968 TV series)

Wacky Races is an American animated television series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions.[1] The series features 11 different cars racing against each other in various road rallies throughout America,[2] with each driver hoping to win the title of the "World's Wackiest Racer".

Wacky Races
Wacky Races Logo.jpg
Created byLarz Bourne
Written byLarz Bourne
Dalton Sandifer
Tom Dagenais
Michael Maltese
Directed byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voices ofPaul Winchell
Don Messick
Janet Waldo
Daws Butler
John Stephenson
Dave Willock
Narrated byDave Willock
Composer(s)Hoyt Curtin
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes17
Producer(s)William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Editor(s)Richard Allen
Milton Krear
Running time20 minutes
Production company(s)Hanna-Barbera Productions
Heatter-Quigley Productions
Original networkCBS
Audio formatMono
Original releaseSeptember 14, 1968 (1968-09-14) –
January 4, 1969 (1969-01-04)
Followed byThe Perils of Penelope Pitstop
Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines
Related showsWacky Races (2017)

The cartoon had many regular characters, with 23 people and animals spread among the 11 race cars. Wacky Races ran on CBS from September 14, 1968, to January 4, 1969, and in syndication from 1976 to 1982. Seventeen episodes were produced, with each segment featuring two different races.

In 2017, the series was revived with a reboot on Boomerang.


The villain of the series drives The Mean Machine (00), a purple, rocket-powered car with an abundance of concealed weapons and the ability to fly. Dick Dastardly is an archetypal mustache-twirling villain; Muttley is his wheezily snickering dog henchman. Dastardly's usual race strategy revolves around using the Mean Machine's great speed to get ahead of the other racers, and then setting a trap to stop them and maintain the lead, but most of his plans backfire, causing him to fall back into last place. Dastardly never sees victory.

The other racers include

  • The Slag Brothers, Rock and Gravel, in a cavemen-themed racer called The Boulder Mobile (1); their car is made out of rock, the brothers (who talk in caveman-like gibberish but with occasional intelligible words) power it up by hitting it with their clubs and are also able to re-build it from bare rock, always using their clubs.
  • The Gruesome Twosome, Big Gruesome and Little Gruesome, who are monsters, in The Creepy Coupe (2); their horror-themed car includes a small bell tower inhabited by a fire-breathing dragon, bats and other creatures.
  • Professor Pat Pending, an inventor, in The Convert-a-Car (3); he can transform his car into pretty much anything that moves.
  • Red Max, a Manfred von Richthofen-styled aviator who speaks with a German accent, in a car/plane hybrid called The Crimson Haybailer (4); his vehicle is able to fly, although for short distances.
  • Penelope Pitstop, the lone female, in a 1930s racing costume in The Compact Pussycat (5); a southern belle, Penelope is more concerned with her looks than with racing and often gets herself into trouble.
  • Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly in an armored half-track called The Army Surplus Special (6); the Sergeant uses "fire power" (i.e. shooting cannonballs from his turret) to power up the car.
  • The Ant Hill Mob, seven dwarf gangsters, in The Bulletproof Bomb (7); they are constantly preoccupied with getting caught by the police and are able to use "getaway power", which involves all gangsters (except for their boss) extending their legs through the bottom of the car and running.
  • Lazy Luke, a hillbilly, and Blubber Bear, a fearsome, timid bear, in The Arkansas Chugabug (8); Luke maneuvers the steering wheel with his feet and his car is steam-powered from an old and rickety boiler.
  • Peter Perfect, a gentlemanly racer, in The Turbo Terrific (9); Peter is extremely strong but also very vain, and he often boasts about the virtues of his high-tech race car—which regularly falls to pieces seconds after he praised it. He is fond of Penelope and often helps her.
  • Rufus Ruffcut, a lumberjack, and his companion Sawtooth, a beaver, in The Buzz Wagon (10); their car, entirely made of wood, features four circular saw blades as wheels, and Sawtooth is able to cut through obstacles (such as trees and other objects) at super-high speed.


One of the unused plans for the series was that the races would be part of a live-action game show produced by Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley (known for The Hollywood Squares), in which contestants would bet on which Wacky Racer would cross the finish line first. Although the game show concept was scrapped, the series retained a Hanna-Barbera/Heatter-Quigley dual production credit.

In 1988, a made-for-TV movie, Around the World with the Wacky Racers, was planned as part of Hanna-Barbera's Superstars 10 series of TV movies, but never got past the concept stage.

Voice castEdit


No.TitleOriginal air dateProd.
1a"See-Saw to Arkansas"September 14, 1968 (1968-09-14)35–1
The Wacky Racers undertake a grueling zig-zag race to Mustard, Ark. Also, The Ant Hill Mob escapes a pursuing policeman by donning disguises as the Seven Dwarfs.
1b"Creepy Trip to Lemon Twist"September 14, 1968 (1968-09-14)35–2
The Wacky Racers encounter ghosts in the abandoned town of Spookane.
2a"Why Oh Why Wyoming"September 21, 1968 (1968-09-21)35–3
The Wacky Racers roar across the desert, dashing toward Rock Springs, Wyo. Meanwhile, Dick Dastardly teams up with Indian chief Crazy Buffalo in an attempt to stop the racers in their tracks.
2b"Beat the Clock to Yellow Rock"September 21, 1968 (1968-09-21)35–4
At Yellow Rock Park, Dastardly attempts to disguise the Old Unfaithful geyser as part of the road, and later ensures that Luke and Blubber Bear don't leave the park.
3a"Mish-Mash Missouri Dash"September 28, 1968 (1968-09-28)35–6
Dastardly discovers an irate Hillbilly determined to protect his land from trespassers—including the Wacky Racers!
3b"Idaho a Go-Go"September 28, 1968 (1968-09-28)35–5
The racers embark on a lap to a little town in Idaho, while Dastardly tries to entrap Penelope Pitstop with a "Little Red Riding Hood" ploy.
4a"The Baja-Ha-Ha Race""October 5, 1968 (1968-10-05)35–11
In Mexico, Dick Dastardly and Muttley try to slow the other drivers by using a herd of cow-shaped balloons to block the road.
4b"Real Gone Ape"October 5, 1968 (1968-10-05)35–8
Dick Dastardly hypnotizes a giant gorilla in an attempt to win the race.
5a"Scout Scatter""October 12, 1968 (1968-10-12)35–7
The Ant Hill mob escapes the police by posing as Wood Scouts.
5b"Free Wheeling to Wheeling"October 12, 1968 (1968-10-12)35–10
Dick Dastardly makes use of heavy machinery to stop the Wacky racers.
6a"By Rollercoaster to Upsan Downs"October 19, 1968 (1968-10-19)35–9
The Wacky Racers travel by rollarcoaster when Dick Dastardly diverts them into a closed amusement park.
6b"The Speedy Arkansas Traveller"October 19, 1968 (1968-10-19)35–12
Racing to Noah's, Arkansas, Dastardly and Muttley hilariously pose as army officers to harass the Army Surplus Special, but find themselves scrambling from actual officers!
7a"The Zippy Mississippi Race"October 26, 1968 (1968-10-26)35–15
Dastardly diverts the rest of the racers onto a Mississippi riverboat.
7b"Traffic Jambalaya"October 26, 1968 (1968-10-26)35–17
Dastardly tricks several racers into searching for a "harmless" gorilla, who is actually Dastardly in disguise, at a wild animal park.
8a"Hot Race at Chillicothe"November 2, 1968 (1968-11-02)35–16
Dishonest Dick Dastardly steals a police car and chases the Ant Hill Mob into a boys' baseball game.
8b"The Wrong Lumber Race"November 2, 1968 (1968-11-02)35–18
In Oregon's rugged lumber country, Dick Dastardly tries to use falling trees and spinning saw blades to stop the racers.
9a"Rhode Island Road Race"November 9, 1968 (1968-11-09)35–19
Devious Dick Dastardly diverts the Boulder Mobile onto a construction site and the other racers follow it up the girders of a skyscraper.
9b"The Great Cold Rush Race"November 9, 1968 (1968-11-09)35–13
On a trans-Canadian race, Dastardly disguises himself as an Abominable Snowman.
10a"Wacky Race to Ripsaw"November 16, 1968 (1968-11-16)35–20
To prevent Penelope from coming in first place, Dastardly creates a roadside beauty parlor to lure her into stopping and later literally jacks up the Army Surplus Special after diverting them into a garage.
10b"Oils Well That Ends Well"November 16, 1968 (1968-11-16)35–21
The Wacky Racers are once again beset by Dick Dastardly's deviously dirty tricks as they race across oil drilling country.
11"Whizzin' to Washington"
"The Dipsy Doodle Desert Derby"
November 23, 1968 (1968-11-23)35–22
12"Eeny, Miny Missouri Go!"
"The Super Silly Swamp Sprint"
November 30, 1968 (1968-11-30)35–14
13"The Dopey Dakota Derby"
"Dash to Delaware"
December 7, 1968 (1968-12-07)35–27
14"Speeding for Smogland"
"Race Rally to Raleigh"
December 14, 1968 (1968-12-14)35–28
15"Ballpoint, Penn. or Bust!"
"Fast Track to Hackensack"
December 21, 1968 (1968-12-21)35–30
16"The Ski Resort Road Race"
"Overseas Hi-Way Race"
December 28, 1968 (1968-12-28)35–33
17"Race to Racine"
"The Carlsbad or Bust Bash"
January 4, 1969 (1969-01-04)35–31

Race resultsEdit

The show gave the results of each race at the end of each episode (the first, second, and third placings are given by the narrator, and the narrative sometimes saw some or all of the other cars cross the finish line) as well as what happened with Dick Dastardly after his last scheme's failure. The show never indicated a particular scoring system or way to determine who won the Wacky Races as a whole. The cumulative totals for first-, second-, and third-place finishes for each contestant are presented below:[3]

Contestants Car Name Car No. 1st 2nd 3rd Top 3
The Slag Brothers The Boulder Mobile 1 3 8 3 14
Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth The Buzzwagon 10 3 6 4 13
The Gruesome Twosome The Creepy Coupe 2 3 3 6 12
The Ant Hill Mob The Bulletproof Bomb 7 4 5 2 11
Penelope Pitstop The Compact Pussycat 5 4 2 5 11
The Red Max The Crimson Haybailer 4 3 4 3 10
Professor Pat Pending The Convert-A-Car 3 3 2 5 10
Luke and Blubber Bear The Arkansas Chuggabug 8 4 1 4 9
Peter Perfect The Turbo Terrific 9 4 2 2 8
Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly The Army Surplus Special 6 3 1 0 4
Dick Dastardly and Muttley The Mean Machine 00 0 0 0 0
Grand Totals 34 34 34 102

Spin-offs and similar seriesEdit

Penelope Pitstop and the Ant Hill Mob were spun off into another cartoon series in 1969 titled The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. In the same year, Dick Dastardly and Muttley were given a spin-off series titled Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines. The series is sometimes mistakenly known as Stop the Pigeon, after the show's working title and theme song. Both series ran for two seasons.

In 2006, the pilot for a spin-off series titled Wacky Races Forever was produced for Cartoon Network.[4] The series depicted a roster of both new and returning racers competing against each other. Penelope Pitstop and Peter Perfect had married and created Perfect Industries, the corporate sponsor of the new Wacky Races, whereas their children Parker and Piper competed in the race. Other characters included the Slag Brothers, Professor Pat Pending (depicted with a Mad Scientist personality), a teenage version of the Gruesome Twosome, and Dick Dastardly and Muttley (working for a new villain named Mr. Viceroy, who sought to steal Perfect Industries). The series was not picked up by Cartoon Network.

In 2016, DC Comics launched a comic series called Wacky Raceland. It is a dark and gritty re-imagining of the series set after the apocalypse in a similar vein to the Mad Max franchise.[5] The comic ran for six issues from May to December 2016.

A remake—also produced by Hanna-Barbera—was released on Boomerang's SVOD service in 2017.[6] It also aired on the Boomerang channel in June 2017.[7]

Video gamesEdit

Various video games based on the series have been produced.

In 1993, Sega released a medal game based on the series, exclusively in Japan. It was a racing game, but the outcome of the race depended entirely on luck. Later in 2007, another game called Wacky Races: Mad Motors for the PlayStation 2 was released by Blast Entertainment on June 12. A new video game for the Wii and Nintendo DS consoles titled Wacky Races: Crash and Dash was released on June 27, 2008. This game was developed by Eidos.[8] In 2009, another arcade game was released by Banpresto, which was a more traditional racing game. It ran on the Taito Type X2, and was released internationally by Gamewax.

Home mediaEdit

A three-disc DVD release of the complete series was made available in Japan on August 10, 2001, and had both English and Japanese audio. In Britain, Warner released a three-disc set with no extra features, which was only available in Virgin Megastores. The complete box set of Wacky Races was released on July 31, 2006 as an HMV exclusive but is essentially the standard Volumes 1–3 with no extras. The Australian release of Volume 1 and 2 was made available in 2005 and Volume 3 released in 2007.

Warner Home Video released the entire series, with commentaries and other extras, in a DVD box set on October 26, 2004.

A two-and-a-half-hour VHS video was made available in 1996.

All 34 episodes can be purchased on the iTunes Store.

DVD Name Episode No. Release Date Additional Information
Wacky Races – The Complete Series 34 October 19, 2004

On February 14, 2017, Warner Archive re-released Wacky Races: The Complete Series on DVD in region 1 as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection as a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release.[9]

Translated language titlesEdit

  • Bosnian: Uvrnute trke (Strange racing)
  • Catalan: Els cotxes esbojarrats (The bumpy cars)
  • Dutch: Hotse-knotse-kneuzen-rally (Wild bumpy loser rally)
  • French: Les Fous du volant (The Fools of the Wheel)
  • Frisian: Hotse-knotse-kneuzen-rally (Rally of hot knees)
  • Galician: Os tolos do volante (The Fools of the Wheel)
  • German: Autorennen Total (Total car race)
  • Hungarian: Flúgos futam (Wacky race)
  • Italian: Le corse pazze (The crazy races)
  • Japanese: チキチキマシン猛レース – Chikichikimashin mō rēsu (Chiki Chiki Racing Machines)
  • Polish: Odlotowe wyścigi (Cool races)
  • Portuguese:
    • Portugal: A Mais Louca Corrida do Mundo (The Craziest Race of the World)
    • Brazil: Corrida Maluca (Crazy Race)
  • Romanian: Curse Trăsnite (Wacky Races)
  • Spanish: Los autos locos (The crazy cars)
  • Serbian: Уврнуте трке (Strange racing)
  • Swedish: Fartdårarna (Speed freaks)

The cars and characters in other mediaEdit

Life-size working replicas of the vehicles have been built in the UK (where the show was very popular) and appear annually at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, with new additions each year. 2008 saw the last of the cars (the Ant Hill Mob in the Bulletproof Bomb 07) added to the collection, making a complete set.[10]

In 2006, the car manufacturer Vauxhall launched a TV commercial for the British market, parodying Wacky Races with a similar setup featuring Corsa cars. The commercial made several references to the cartoon as well as utilizing the show's theme music and Muttley's iconic laugh.[11]

The English adult comic Viz had a one-off parody strip called "Wacky Racists" with David Irving as Dick Dastardly, Unity Mitford as Penelope Pitstop and comedian Bernard Manning as Muttley.[12]

In 2013, the car manufacturer Peugeot launched a TV commercial for the Brazilian market (and later used in Spain and Turkey), featuring the cartoon characters in a real-life universe.[13][14]

Wacky Races was also seen in the South Park episode "Handicar".

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Wacky Races – The Complete Series". DVD Talk. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  2. ^ Only three of the 34 rallies took place outside the Contiguous United States: one entirely within Baja California; one across a substantial portion of Canada evidently along or near the Trans-Canada Highway; and one across the Canada-US border from Saskatchewan to Oregon.
  3. ^ "Complete List of Wacky Races Cars and Drivers". Retrieved February 25, 2008.
  4. ^ Wacky Races Forever – Unaired Pilot Archived March 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Beedle, Tim. "Hanna-Barbera Beyond: Flintstones, Scooby and More Are Getting Comic Book Reimaginings".
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Wacky Races: Crash and Dash". March 12, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2010.
  9. ^ "Official Warner Archive Info, Artwork for MOD 'Complete Series' Set". Archived from the original on May 14, 2017.
  10. ^ Joesph, Noah (June 8, 2009). "Hanna-Barbera's Wacky Racers take to the street ahead of Goodwood Festival of Speed".
  11. ^ "Opel/Vauxhaull Corsa commercial". YouTube. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  12. ^ "Wacky Racists". Retrieved August 26, 2010.
  13. ^ "Peugeot 208 Corrida Maluca (90-second version)". YouTube. Young and Rubicam Brasil. May 2, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  14. ^ "Peugeot 208 Corrida Maluca Making of". peugeotbrasil. May 23, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2013.

External linksEdit