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Wacky Races - The Complete Series (2004)

Paul Winchell , Don Messick  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)

List Price: $34.98
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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Winchell, Don Messick, Janet Waldo, Mel Blanc, Daws Butler
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Animated
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Turner Home Ent
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2004
  • Run Time: 408 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002MFGDW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,311 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wacky Races - The Complete Series" on IMDb

Special Features

  • All 34 episodes from the 1968-1970 seasons
  • "Rearview Mirror: A Look Back at Wacky Races" featurette
  • Factoid on-screen pop-up viewing mode on two episodes
  • Spinout Spinoffs: A look the spinoff series

Editorial Reviews

Mix The Great Race with the slapstick humor of Road Runner cartoons and the wildly inventive minds of Hanna-Barbera, and you've got the 1968 animated series Wacky Races. You remember the lineup: the Slag brothers in the Boulder-Mobile; the Gruesome Twosome in the Creepy Coupe, with a dragon in its belfry; Prof. Pat Pending (ha ha) in the Convert-a-Car; Red Max in the Crimson Haybailer biplane; Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly in the tank-like Army Surplus Special; the Ant Hill Mob in the Bullitt-Proof Bomb; Lazy Luke and Blubber Bear in the Arkansas Chugga-Bug; Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth the beaver in the Buzz Wagon; the Belle of the Brickyard, Penelope Pitstop, in the Compact Pussycat; Peter Perfect in the Turbo Terrific; and our hissable villains, Dick Dastardly and his snickering muttering dog, Muttley ("Sassa frassin'...") in the Mean Machine. In each 11-minute episode, the physics-defying cars compete in different areas of the country ("See-Saw to Arkansas," "Rhode Island Road Race," "The Carlsbad or Bust Bash"), so evenly matched that any car has a chance to win despite the evil schemes of Dastardly and Muttley, who always seem to come to a Wile E. Coyote-type end (writer Mike Maltese worked on both series). There's never really a plot, but just a string of situations and gags before someone finally crosses the finish line to earn the checkered flag.

The DVD set contains all 34 episodes of the series, looking reasonably good. Four members of the original creative team appear on a commentary track on four different episodes, and their discussion is less interesting for what they have to say about Wacky Races ("What was that car again?") than for their memories of working for Hanna-Barbera ("we did things off the top of the head"). There's also pop-up factoids on two episodes, a 20-minute recap of the series' history, and a look at the two spinoff series, Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines and The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. That a relatively short-lived series could inspire two spinoffs, toys, comic books, a CD-ROM game, and other souvenirs is a testament to its ability to capture the Saturday-morning imagination and create a lot of fond memories. --David Horiuchi

Product Description

Start your DVD engines! Diabolical do-badder Dick Dastardly, his snickering canine cohort Muttley and their Mean Machine take on you and all comers for all the fast and furious fun of the complete animated series Wacky Races. Gear up to keep pace with this dimwitted duo as well as their rivals: Peter Perfect in his Turbo Terrific, Luke and Blubber Bear in the Arkansas Chucgabug, the Ant Hill Mob in the Bulletproof Bomb and glamorous Penelope Pitstop in her pink Compact Pussycat. Fasten your seat belts for all 34 original episodes plus Hilarious, High-Speed Extras that will keep you awake at the wheel straight through to the Finish Line!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
89 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Hanna-Barbera Animation July 23, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
October 19 brings a promising release of Wacky Races, the series where many different characters compete in races in their custom cars. Sadly I dont think Cartoon Network plays these shows anymore so many kids may not know what this is. Adults will remember it though and it certainly is a show the entire family can enjoy. The characters:

Luke and Blubber Bear in the Arkansas Chugabug

The Slag Brothers, Rock and Gravel, in the Boulder Mobile

The Gruesome Twosome in the Creepy Coupe

Professor Pat Pending in the Ring-A-Ding Covert-A-Car

The Red Max in the Crimson Haybailer

The Sarge and Private Meekly in the Army Surplus Special

The Ant Hill Mob in the Bulletproof Bomb

Peter Perfect in the Turbo Terrific

Penelope Pitstop in the Compact Pussycat

Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth in the Buzzwagon

Dick Dastardly and Muttley in the Mean Machine

The show follows a similar pattern: Dick Dastardly and Mutley cheat every way they can to win but never do, and Muttley always laughs about it. Different riders would win on each episode, often with dilemmas within the race (mostly caused by Dick Dastardly/Muttley). It is a simple but fun show that I loved watching and I am glad we are getting the complete series of 34 episodes on dvd. There look to be good extras included on here, and each episode has been remastered to look better than ever before. Amazon's price of $[...] is a steal for what you get so I encourage fans of 60s/70s animation as well as first-time fans to pick this bargain up. It is fun for the whole family, old or young.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And Now Here They Are!... April 24, 2006
By J. Rose
The Wacky Racers ride again on this 3-disc set, the first in a classic Hanna-Barbera triptych consisting of WACKY RACES, DASTARDLY AND MUTTLEY IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES and THE PERILS OF PENELOPE PITSTOP.

At the time of this show's release upon the airwaves, Hanna-Barbera had come under fire from worried parents for the violence present in their adventure programs such as SPACE GHOST, BIRDMAN AND THE GALAXY TRIO, FRANKENSTEIN JR. AND THE IMPOSSIBLES, and THE HERCULOIDS. (Incidentally, we're still waiting for proper releases of these on DVD, Warner Brothers. Ahem.) HB responded with this series, which not only returned them to wild slapstick comedy as featured in YOGI BEAR and HUCKLEBERRY HOUND, but gave them their first recurring cartoon villains: the ignoble, treacherous, completely inefficient Dick Dastardly and his wheezing, snickering canine sidekick Muttley.

The plot of each episode is simple: eleven cars, each one a distinctly and fantastically customized vehicle (see other reviews for the complete lineup) compete in car races throughout North America for the title of The World's Wackiest Racer. The rules seem to be highly flexible: each car has certain attributes that allow its owner(s) to gain the advantage from time to time, often in ways that would be considered unsporting in a real-life car race. Despite this, Dick Dastardly and Muttley (voiced by Paul Winchell and Don Messick) still spend most of each race trying to win through extremely elaborate and badly-planned booby-traps (sometimes contributing heartily to their own demise: in the very first episode, D.D. has the race in the bag until the narrator (Dave Willock) mentions "photo finish" at which point Dastardly stops at mere INCHES from the finish line to pose for a photo).
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How "Wacky Races" corrupted me August 1, 2005
Hanna-Barbera's cartoon show "Wacky Races" premiered on CBS at 9:30 AM EDT Saturday September 14, 1968 , and was subsequently blackballed by the TV watchdog group Action for Children's Television. Because the show was bankrolled by game show producers Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley (NBC's "Hollywood Squares"), ACT president Peggy Charren charged that the show enticed children to make monetary wagers on the outcome of each race. Hogwash. I took the over/under on how many times Dick Dastardly's machinations would backfire on him.

In actuality, the original premise of the show was to have children write in to predict who would win each of the thirty-four races, with prizes given to drawn winners, but CBS nixed the idea. "Wacky Races" was principally devised in response that that superhero cartoons that permeated Saturday mornings over the previous two seasons were too violent. For all the atypical Hanna-Barbera standards of limited animation for 1968, "Wacky Races" still stands as classic cartoon slapstick from a more innocent time before double-entendres and grossouts became cartoon standards. It would spin off two shows the following year--"Dastardly & Muttley In Their Flying Machines" (the first known cartoon where the villains are the stars) and "The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop."

Eleven cars with a veritable spectrum of offbeat drivers race cross-sountry from point A to point B, each race with a connecting story sandwiched. Sight gags and visual surrealism permeate, and with any Saturday morning, they're hit or miss. With Dastardly, many of them are hits (literally and figuratively). Warner Home Video has released the entire series on a three-disc set. And it's a hit-and-miss affair as well.
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