Eleven screwball drivers engage in countrywide cannonball runs to determine "the world's wackiest racer." It's catch-as-catch-can racing, with Dick Dastardly scheming week in and week out to find a way to thwart the other drivers in order to win the race himself, which he never does. Dastardly's Mean Machine obviously is of superior power to overtake the others legitimately, but as the token villain, he resorts to chicanery along with his canine sidekick Muttley.
The show was to originally have had a live game show segment prior to each race with children predicting the winner of each race. CBS nixed the idea, but Hollywood Squares producers Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley, who were to have produced the game segment, were given on-screen credits anyway. Peggy Charren, of Action For Children's Television, blackballed the show, charging that it enticed kids to make monetary wagers on the races. (Poetic justice: Wacky Races went on to notch a 52.0 Neilsen score nationally.) It spawned two spinoffs, Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines and The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. Dastardly and Muttley would show up in three other Hanna-Barbera shows, Yogi's Treasure Hunt, "The Fender Bender 500" (segment of the syndicated Wake, Rattle and Roll), and Yo, Yogi!.
A made-for-TV animated movie, Around the World with the Wacky Racers, was proposed in 1988 as part of the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 series of animated movies, but it was never produced. More recently, a revival--Wacky Races Forever, featuring the sons and daughters of the original racers--had a pilot made for Cartoon Network but the pilot never aired and the show never made. A revival of the series premiered on Boomerang's SVOD service in the U.S. in 2017. It premiered overseas and in Canada through the rest of the year.
|Season One||September 14, 1968||January 4, 1969||17|
- At a Glance: Additional information about the series
- The Racers and Their Cars: A list of all the race teams and a description of their cars.
|Complete Series (Region 1)|
|The Complete Series||October 19, 2004||3|
| The Complete Series (re-release)
Through Warner Archive
|February 14, 2017||3|