Wacky Races first hit TV screens in 1968.Produced by Hanna-Barbera, it was a huge rating success and spawned two spin offs -Dastardly And Muttley In Their Flying Machines”( Or as I know it “Stop The Pigeon “) and the far less funny “The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop”.
Inspired by the 1966 film “The Great Race” the cartoon has eleven teams of outlandish characters race each other in various locations around the world in order to become the “Worlds Most Wackiest Racer”. Ten of the teams follow the rules , all be it in their own eccentric ways, but the team Of Dick Dastardly and his often unwilling canine companion Muttley resort to diverse , preposterous but nefarious measures to win every race but here’s the thing …never do. So the show has a moral message that cheaters never prevail , though of course we know they do , its just that some get caught .
The eleven teams are “The Boulder Mobile” with the “Slag Brothers” Rock And Gravel , two caveman characters constantly clouting each other with large club’s. “The Creepy Coupe” (My favourite in my youth as they were horror based ) with” Big Gruesome” and “Little Gruesome ” and a dragon .Professor Pat Pending and his chameleon “Ring-A-Ding Covert-A-Car”. “The Crimson Hay Bailer” driven by “The Red Max”.Penelope Pitstop in the “Compact Pussycat” and “The Army Surplus Special ” driven by Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly.” The Bullet Proof Bomb” driven by “The Anthill Mob , mini gangsters who also crossed over into “The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop”. Then there was “The Arkansas Chuggabug ” with Luke and “Blubber Bear” , Peter Perfect in the “Turbo Terrific” and “The Buzzwagon” with Rufus Ruffcut ” and “Sawtooth”. Dick Dastardly drove the incredibly souped up “The Mean Machine” which would win easily if they didn’t spend so much time trying to sabotage other racers…..Ohh the irony .
Every episode is great fun but due to the formulaic nature of the concept it’s probably best to watch in two or three episode sittings to stop the novelty palling .Every race is held on a different track making it a sort of forerunner of the arcade type racing games so popular on home games stations nowadays. You could add a little touch of frisson to the occasion by having side bets on who will win a particular race( the race winners are very evenly spread out ) ,though obviously one wouldn’t encourage this with children. The show only ran till 1970 over two seasons but still holds up very well today- it’s imaginative, fun , and exciting …most of what any of us want from any TV let alone a cartoon.
WR-1a See Saw to Arkansas
WR-1b Creepy Trip to Lemon Twist
WR-2a Why Oh Why Wyoming
WR-2b Beat the Clock to Yellow Rock
WR-3a Mish-Mash Missouri Dash
WR-3b Idaho a Go-Go
WR-4a Baja-Ha-Ha Race
WR-4b Real Gone Ape
WR-5a Scout scatter
WR-5b Free Wheeling to Wheeling
WR-6a By Rollercoaster to Ups an’ Downs
WR-6b The Speedy Arkansas Traveller
WR-7a Zippy-Mississippi Race
WR-7b Traffic Jambalaya
WR-8a Hot Race at Chillicothe
WR-8b The Wrong Lumber Race
WR-9a Rhode Island Road Race
WR-9b The Great Cold Rush Race
WR-10a Wacky Race to Rip Saw
WR-10b The Oils Well That Ends Well Race
WR-11a Whizzing to Washington
WR-11b The Dipsy-Doodle Desert Race
WR-12a Eeny, Miny Missouri Go!
WR-12b The Super Silly Swamp Sprint
WR-13a Dash to Delaware
WR-13b The Dopey Dakota Derby
WR-14a Speeding for Smogland
WR-14b Race Rally to Raleigh
WR-15a Ballpoint, Penn, or Bust!
WR-15b Fast Track to Hackensack
WR-16a The Ski Resort Road Race
WR-16b The Overseas Hi-Way Race
WR-17a Racing to Racine
WR-17b The Carlsbad or Bust Bash