Darth Blender's last release on YouTube is an entertaining video that relates the successful box-office franchise Fast and Furious along with the 1960s cartoon series Wacky Races. The first one is nothing less than Universal's biggest franchise of all time, and certainly many of you will remember the classical crazy races lead by Penelope Pitstop, The Ant Hill Mob, The Slag Brothers and, of course, Dick Dastardly and Muttley. Watch Blender's the newest video on the following link:
A great piece of work, right? Although the urban, live-action races are a recent phenomena, the original cartoon series may be dizzy in one's memories. So we've prepared a list of five curious facts about the original series that will make you run crazy to watch them again. But don't be too wacky!
1. The Wacky Races Game Show
Many don't even imagine this, but Wacky Races was originally intended to be a game show! As the project fell through, it is a bit unclear exactly what the show would have entailed, but it seems like it would have worked around animated sequences where contestants would bet on the results of the races (presumably more involved than that, as that alone is a pretty sorry excuse for a game show). Eventually it was determined that the property would work better as a straight animated series, and that’s the way they went. That's the reason why the brand is owned by Hanna-Barbera in a co-production with Heatter-Quigley — this last one a company formed by TV writers and non-specialized in animation.
2. Spin-Offs And Similar Series
After its success, 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. In many countries around the world these two series were aired almost as a sequel of the original content, specially because of its similarities.
3. Video Games
Many games were developed along the years based on the series. The first one was produced in 1991 for the NES console, in which the player took the role of Muttley, sent on missions from Dick Dastardly to defeat the other racers. Another game based on the series was also released for the IBM PC, ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 in 1991 and a Japanese game was released the year after for Game Boy in Asia. Some other titles were on the market since than, the most recent being Nintendo DS/Wii's Wacky Races: Crash and Dash.
4. Race Results
The show gave the results of each race at the end of each episode, so it is possible to establish a scoring system even though the show itself never did it properly. To win, one did not actually need to be in one's assigned vehicle. Apparently all that was necessary was for the driver to cross the finish line in a conveyance of some sort (a flying carpet or a giant ice cube would do), although racers were apparently prohibited from simply walking across.
Disqualification would result if a driver crossed the finish line "in the wrong vehicle" of another registered racer. The Ant Hill Mob, Luke and Blubber Bear, Peter Perfect and Penelope Pitstop hold a joint record for the most wins, each finishing first four times. All the remaining competitors won three races each, except for Dastardly and Muttley in the Mean Machine, who failed to win at all. The records for the most second place and top three finishes are both held by The Slag Brothers, with 8 and 14 respectively, while Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth have done so six and 13 times. The Gruesome Twosome hold the record for the most third-place finishes, with six. In most episodes, Dick Dastardly would finish last.
5. Pop Culture And References
The series have crossed the borders of cartoons and turned into a popular reference through the decades. In UK, life-size working replicas of the vehicles have been built and appear annually at the Goodwood Festival Of Speed, with new additions each year. In Brazil, an advertising campaign made for Peugeot re-created its characters in live-action to promote its new 208 model. The result is just fantastic!
Any good memories watching these races? Let us know by posting, commenting and sharing this article with your friends. For those who want to revisit the show, all the original cartoon series are available in iTunes and DVD. Enjoy!