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The Wacky Racers

Dick Dastardly and Muttley in the Mean Machine #00 (The Double Zero)

The villains of the series, in a purple, rocket-powered car with an abundance of concealed weapons and the ability to fly. Dastardly (voiced by Paul Winchell, in a manner that Winchell would use several years later to portray the Smurfs' nemesis Gargamel) is an archetypal mustache-twirling villain; Muttley (voiced by Don Messick) is his trademark wheezily snickering, anthropomorphic dog henchman. Dastardly concocts plans and traps in order to maintain a lead, but most of his plans backfire, causing him to finish in last place.

Because of this, Dastardly has never won a Wacky Race or even officially finished in the top three. In fact, he has only crossed the line five times: thrice in last place, once in fifth place (beating the Surplus Special) and even once in first place (but in the replay was "disqualified for stretching a point"). He is often foiled by the finishing line itself, where he makes a sprint at the end to gain the lead but while sneering and looking behind him at the other competitors fails to notice that parts protruding from the Mean Machine (often sails or rockets) are too big to get under the finish banner and he subsequently crashes into it. Dick Dastardly and Muttley would also appear in Fender Bender 500, racing against characters like Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw. In this series they were actually able to pull off a win.

The Mean Machine appears to have been by far the fastest vehicle, providing Dastardly with a theoretically unbeatable advantage. But in every episode, after blazing far ahead of the others, Dastardly would stop to set up various booby traps for the other racers and this would eventually cost him the race. It never seems to occur to him to race fairly even though he would presumably triumph every time. Whenever Dick Dastardly's evil schemes failed, he angrily exclaimed: "Drat!!! Drat!!! And double drat!!!" This was followed by Muttley's snickering.

The Slag Brothers in the Bouldermobile #1

Rock and Gravel Slag (voiced by Daws Butler and Don Messick) are Cavemen driving a wheeled boulder. The Slag Brothers sometimes reconstruct their car from scratch just by using their clubs on any large boulder that is available. The Slag Brothers can summon up a Pteranodon to help them. They accelerate by hitting the car (or at times, each other) with their clubs. Often they directly attack other drivers with their clubs and various rock attacks.

The Gruesome Twosome in the Creepy Coupe #2

Big Gruesome (a lurching, huge humanoid character voiced by Daws Butler) and Little Gruesome (a purple-skinned vampire voiced by Don Messick) are monsters driving a hearse-like car with a belfry which houses a dragon, ghosts, serpents, and other horror-themed characters as well as storm clouds. The Gruesomes can summon these creatures to either help them along in the race or fend off other drivers. The Gruesome Twosome are often prone to foul play and use their range of creatures to scare off or sabotage the other competitors. Little Gruesome acts as the brains of the duo while Big Gruesome acts as the muscle.

Professor Pat Pending in the Convert-a-Car #3

A scientist (voiced by Don Messick) in a boat-shaped airplane-like car which can change into just about anything that moves, from mundane vehicles (such as a motorcycle) to outlandish ones (such as a giant bowling ball). He often uses his car's multitude of gadgets to help out the other drivers if they all get caught in the same trap. His alliterative name is a pun on the phrase "patent pending". Most of his gadgets seem to be defensive as opposed to Dastardly's offensive devices.

The Red Max in the Crimson Haybailer #4

An air ace (voiced by Daws Butler) whose name is a combination of the Red Baron and the Blue Max, in a car/plane hybrid that is capable of limited flight, usually just enough to leapfrog over racers or obstacles in its path. The Haybailer has a mounted machine gun which is used sporadically. The machine gun can fire bullets, pepper, and other substances. The Haybailer's transformation from plane to car seems to have significantly weakened its flying ability, and Max often has to bail out when the Haybailer breaks down. The character and name of his vehicle are partially derived from the barnstorming stuntmen of the 1920s.

Penelope Pitstop in the Compact Pussycat #5

Penelope Pitstop (voiced by Janet Waldo) is the lone female among the Wacky Racers. She is a Southern belle dressed in a 1930s racing costume. The Compact Pussycat is a fancy pink convertible fitted out with all manner of girlie beauty supplies—effectively, a beauty parlor on wheels. Penelope often takes time during the race to maintain her appearance, which causes the other racers to lose ground when her gadgets malfunction. The other male racers are very chivalrous towards her, and rarely attack her car, sometimes even allowing her to pass them. Turbo Terrific driver Peter Perfect is particularly fond of her, frequently calling her "Pretty Penny". Penelope also had her own cartoon, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, which featured the Ant Hill Mob.

Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly in the Army Surplus Special #6

Two soldiers, one a sergeant (voiced by Daws Butler) and the other a private (voiced by Paul Winchell), racing in an army tank/jeep hybrid with a small steamroller‘s wheel attached to the front. The Army Surplus Special makes use of its tank facilities while racing, including its cannon, which can spin around to face forward or back, and the hatch, where Sergeant Blast rides. The Surplus Special is equipped with a supply of land mines and back-mounted thrusters. The Surplus Special fires its gun backwards to propel itself forwards for extra speed. As their names suggest, Private Meekly is very meek and merely follows orders without question, while Sergeant Blast "blasts" orders in a stereotypical drill-sergeant voice.

The Ant Hill Mob in the Bulletproof Bomb #7

The Bulletproof Bomb (occasionally referred to as the "Roaring Plenties") is a 1920s limousine sedan, driven by a group of seven pint-sized gangsters all of whom sit in the front seat: leader Clyde (voiced by Paul Winchell), Ring-A-Ding (voiced by Don Messick), and five others. Clyde is a pastiche of Edward G. Robinson's character in the film Little Caesar and of the male half of Bonnie and Clyde. Their usual method of improving the speed of their car is "Getaway Power", which is achieved by extending their feet through the floor of the car and running, much like Fred Flinstone's method of propelling his "cave car" in his own series. On occasion the Ant Hill Mob would use their tommy guns against the other racers.

The Ant Hill Mob reappeared in the spin-off series The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, with Clyde in a silver outfit and his wingmen, with new names, wearing blue outfits and riding in a living car, Chugga-Boom. The Mob were the protagonists in this series, along with Penelope herself, and were constantly rushing to her rescue.

Luke and Blubber Bear in the Arkansas Chuggabug #8

Luke (voiced by John Stephenson) is a hillbilly who tends to drive steering with his feet while half-asleep, in one episode he refers to himself as Dog-Nosed Luke; Blubber (also voiced by Stephenson) is his timid pet bear, clad in a scarf and early aviator's helmet with goggles. The Chuggabug is constructed of wood and is powered by a coal-fired pot-bellied stove in the rear of the vehicle. The stove can be prone to exploding, usually if another competitor blocks the exhaust. Luke tends to use low-tech means of improving the performance of his car. He pours various liquors into the stove for a quick speed boost (but the stove would often explode afterward). He has also been shown using various balloons and gum type traps.

Peter Perfect in the Turbo Terrific #9

A gentleman driver (voiced by Daws Butler) driving a dragster. The Turbo Terrific, despite its name and Peter's adulation, is highly unreliable; it often falls to pieces in the middle of a race, usually after Peter praises it for how well it is doing. Peter Perfect has a crush on Penelope "Pretty Penny" Pitstop, who often returns his affections. The Turbo Terrific seems to be able to sprout an additional four rear wheels, giving eight wheels in total, for extra speed.

Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth in the Buzzwagon #10

Rufus Ruffcut (again, voiced by Daws Butler) is a tough, muscle-bound lumberjack, while Sawtooth (voiced by Paul Winchell) is his anthropomorphic pet beaver. The Buzzwagon is a wagon made of logs, with buzzsaws for wheels, hence its name. The buzzsaws gave the car the ability to cut through almost anything, destroying the object in the process. For instance, in one race through a densely wooded area with a route full of long curves, Ruffcut is able to temporarily take the lead by carving straight line shortcuts through the foliage.

Other Characters

The Narrator

Every episode is introduced and commented on by an unseen Narrator (voice by Dave Willock), who often communicates with the racers as they drive. The racers respond by speaking to the audience, breaking the fourth wall. Dick Dastardly has oddly nicknamed the Narrator 'Boopsie', used as a female character's nickname in Doonesbury shortly thereafter.

Character Interaction

Some Wacky Racers seem to get along with each other, they are often seen (especially Pat Pending and usually Peter Perfect and Penelope Pitstop) helping each other out of traps set by Dastardly. The Racers also at times use "dirty tricks" on each other (Army Surplus shooting other cars or Gruesome Twosome using their Dragon).

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