Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Chew the Fat: Pop Culture, Automotive Style


Redartz:  Recently our friend and frequent commenter Charlie Horse 47 passed along to me a suggestion for a topic. It was a good one, and hence we have our subject for discussion this week. Thanks CH!

Charlie was pondering the influence that cars, and related automotive miscellany, had on our Bronze age culture. It got me to thinking. Cars surely have been present in films, books, and magazines since Henry Ford was active. But when you look back at the 60's, 70's and 80's, you find many examples of rather specific 'Auto' philia. OK, that doesn't really sound right, but you know what I mean! The automobile was, and is, much more than merely a form of convenient transportation.

 In previous discussions, we've looked at "Odd Rods" stickers from the early 70's, and "Hot Wheels" cars from , well, everywhen. That's just a toe in the water of this lake. Here's a few examples of popular culture's love affair with the automobile. I'm betting you can come up with quite a few more. So buckle your seat belts and lower your visors, here we go...


 The animated "Hot Wheels" cartoon

 This show was a favorite of mine when it debuted in the 1969-1970 season. Fairly standard animation, but it sure held my attention (doubtlessly the intent of the producers, as I also frequently pestered my parents for a new "Hot Wheels" car or two).

Hanna Barbera's "Wacky Races"

 This was another 'never miss' show on those great pre-teen Saturday mornings. I always rooted for the "Arkansas Chugabug", although it would have been fun to see Dick Dastardly actually win a race, just for a change.

 Hanna Barbera's "Speed Buggy"

 Sort of  "Scooby Doo" with a car replacing the iconic dog. Rather formulaic, but weren't most Saturday morning offerings?  And it boasted the brilliant vocal talents of Mel Blanc!

 Mattel's "Hot Wheels" toys

Between the cars and the tracks, these were my toy of choice from the ages of 8-10. Countless hours were spent racing them with friends and with my brother. One of the very few toys I managed to hold on to, after all these years: the "Red Baron"...

Ronny and the Daytonas, "Little GTO"

This blast of vintage 60's racing pop is representative of the whole slew of racing songs that filled the music charts of the day. The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the Rip Chords; so many practitioners of the genre. A close sibling to Surf Rock, and just as cool.

HO- scale Racing

Another toy that found a lot of use at our house. No fun like accelarating down the straightaway and flying off the track at the curve. And the best racing was in the dark, if your cars had working headlights...

"Odd Rods" stickers

Yet another element of our collective youth. Combining cars and monsters; what could be better? My school notebook was covered with these.

AHRA Racing cards, 1971

Not a far jump from collecting baseball cards, these cards depicted some of the hottest, fastest, and most popular racers of the early 70's. This card had the "Mongoose" and "Snake" as featured in the Mattel "Hot Wheels" collection mentioned earlier...

DC's "Hot Wheels" comic

You knew we'd get to a few comics eventually, didn't you? Based on the cartoon we covered above, and with art by the likes of Alex Toth and Neal Adams, it was a great (albeit short-lived) series.

Charlton's "Drag 'n' Wheels"

Never actually had a copy of this title, but it serves as an example of the generic 'racing' comics found on the spinners of our Bronze age. It seemed most publishers (notably excepting Marvel) took a shot at this style of comic; there were many.

All right, I've filled the tank for you. Take the wheel and let's cruise into a high-octane discussion of automotive fun...


Humanbelly said...

Psssst. Mattel's SSP Smash-up Derby sets-! Two of them, with two cars each. One of our most played-with items for several weeks. My buddy got the first set, and then I managed to procure both.

I'll note that we NEVER used that distinctive pull-stick thingy to make 'em go-- it was always a matter of revving that center wheel on the floor--

Boy, we LOVED that particular line--!


McSCOTTY said...

So many great choices there, I loved Whacky Races cartoons as a kid and was an avid collector of Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars and even loved the Hot Wheels comic (although I only picked that up as an adult in the early 1990s for the Neal Adam and Alex Toth art)

My suggestions:

Batmobile; Simply has to be the most iconic car of all time in popular culture from comics, TV, animation, toys and film. A classic in every way.

Monkees Car: Certainly iconic for those of us that lived through the 60s (I can still recall wondering if the Monkees would visit my town as noted at the r end of each TV episode (unlikely they would come to Glasgow then of course)

Scaletrix set: Best slot car racing set in the world (I assume they were popular in the US?) – every kids dream in the 60s/70s was to own one of these sets

The Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo – Of all the fantasy cars perhaps this is the one I want the most

Chopper bike: Maybe not true automotive but even after all these years it has to be the worlds most iconic and famous bike. Its appeared on TV, films and comics – what guy can ever forget the pain of sliding off the bike and landing on the gear lever ...ouch!

DeLorean; From Back to the Future – the car itself was perhaps not the most road worthy but it looked cool and was everywhere in the 1980s

James Bonds Aston Martin – Iconic to the hilt and I changed my mine I want this instead of the Mystery Machine!

Humanbelly said...

Also-- Good Night Nellie, how many of those SSP cars WERE there?? I honestly was never inclined to ask for the "regular" ones because a) they didn't actually look fun to me, and b) I'm pretty sure they were more expensive than almost any other toy car item on the shelves-- my Dad was NEVER gonna go for that. . .

HB again

Anonymous said...

Red, you have opened up a floodgate of Car Culture nostalgia. I’ll have tons more to say on this subject but for now, I will leave you with with just one word:



Humanbelly said...

@ McScotty-- Liking your mention of "Chopper Bikes"-- which we tended to generically refer to as "Stingrays" 'round my neck of the woods. I think "Stingray" was technically Schwinn's trademark name for that banana-seat, hi-rise handlebar design. . . which sometimes had a backrest and gear shift (if ya had richer-type folks). My own was an off-brand-- Huffy, possibly?-- A one-speed, but it was a darned well-made bike and held up through rough-usage and much taking-apart better than the rest of my pals'. I truly loved that bike. Choked back tears upon coming to grips with the fact that I'd physically outgrown it.

Y'know Red-- I wonder if I future post-topic might be one dedicated solely to that nearly-universal adolescent activity (for our particular generation, at least) of Goin' Ridin' Bikes With the Guys (And sometimes Girls---)-? It's such a common trope in films, isn't it? And never fails to get a "Yup-- that was us-" reaction from my memory banks. . .

To add to the iconic car list: Starsky/Paul Michael Glaser's Gran Torino with the angle-stripey thing on it-- ! I rarely watched that show, but the car itself was inescapable while I was in high school. I did watch it enough to realize that Hutch/David Soul's old beater (can't even track it down on google) was used plenty of times as well.

Herbie the Love-Bug!

Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang! (I still have a little toy of her somewhere--! That-- was an incredibly lovely design, now that I have an appreciation for that sort of thing--)

Oh geeze-- The Beverly Hillbillies truck. Obviously not a desirable vehicle at all. . . except. . . how cool to ride in those WAY high-up back seats! And-- COMPLETELY open to the elements, no matter what. . .

Partridge Family bus!! (And. . . with Keith and Laurie BOTH being in high school at the time, how is it they both had licenses that qualified them to drive it. . .??

I'm really in danger of getting lost down Trivia Alley, here, and I've gotta go put to mower back together and mow the yard (1st time of the season. . . oy-VEY!)-- SOOOOO I'm gonna sign off on all those notes for now--


Mike Wilson said...

I'm with HB on the Smash-Up Derby cars; I always wanted those, but never got them! I did have lots of Matchbox and Hot Wheels (I still have a few, but they're not in great shape) and of course, I loved my Batmobile and Spidermobile toys. I had quite a few Tonka trucks too; those were pretty much ubiquitous back then.

pfgavigan said...


I know most everyone has already seen this, but it seemed like such a good place to post it.


Please enjoy, I did.


Charlie Horse 47 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie Horse 47 said...

Gents! Love this topic!

Dare Charlie say we have not yet mentioned the mother of all car cartoons: Speed Racer?

Ole Charlie has scale models in the house, as does his brother, of the Mach 5 and racer X machines!!! Racer X, Pops, Chim Chim and Sprittle, Trixie, Snake Oiler, – what a cast of characters! And the music was cool. Maybe not so jazzy like Spidey’s cartoon but still it was cool and especially when they were driving along those ocean panoramas!

To this day I remember part of a Hot Wheels cartoon where “Tank” (?) is complaining he got a ticket for doing like 27 in a 25 but the blond-haired male of the bunch said the law must be respected!

To this day I remember listening to Muttley’s laugh on Wacky Racers! Weren’t Dick and Mutt in another cartoon involving a creepy house or something?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

As an aside – Ole Charlie still wonders why cars were so popular in the 60s and 70s even with us young kids... Indy 500, Funny Cars and Dragsters, and Le Mans from France.

Netflix has a cool docu-series, now in Season 3, called F1. It is factual and follows the dozen or so teams that still compete in F1. Interesting character development and insights! In fact F1 was the type of racing that was popular at that time. Indy cars were close enough to F1 and for us Hoosiers the "500" dominated the airwaves each May at that time... AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti, Al and Bobby Unser, Mark Donahue, et al.!!!

Also, just re-watched Le Mans from around 1968 and Ford V Ferrari with my adult son and daughter! They dig it!!!

Anonymous said...

Dunno about a creepy house Charlie, but Dick Dastardly and Muttley also had flying machines, and tried to catch a pigeon.


Humanbelly said...


Boy, does the talk of racing take me back-- and I wasn't even a major race car fan. But I think it was a sport that was catching on in the broader popular consciousness when we were kids, so it became something most of us in my circle were aware of and generally enjoyed. The first memory that came to mind was one that was quite easy to track down-- the finish of the '76 Daytona 500 (it turns out), where Drew Pearson and Richard Petty had a semi-collision with a rough, skidding spin-out in the final turn. . . and managed to limp in 1st and 2nd in two EXTREMELY battered cars (Petty's disabled in fact). That made the front page of the South Bend Tribune, IIRC.

And oh golly fellas-- remember how ABC had a HUGE lock on weekend sports programming in the early & mid-70's? And one of those offerings for at least a couple of years was a racing "Series of Champions", where they pulled notable drivers from different auto racing disciplines (Indy, Stock, Formula One, a couple of Drag Racers, and probably a couple of others I'm forgetting), plunked them all into cute little identical sports-car looking machines, and let them go at it? Does anyone besides me remember that? I cannot track down any mention of it, somehow. (Maybe it wasn't on ABC--?) Help an old memory-addled kid out, here. . .

Also-- I do still have every single flippin' Hot Wheel, Matchbox, and Johnny Lightning car I ever got-- just HILARIOUSLY beaten to death and distressed, chipped-up, missing wheels, etc. They're mostly in a bucket somewhere in the basement. They had a major second life for a few years about 20 years ago when I got them out for a VERY little HB-Lad, and we did hours-long tournaments outside with track running down 16' long boards. SO MUCH hard treatment-- SO worth it. Not an ounce of regret, regardless of how it might kill any collector who might see them all now. . .


Humanbelly said...

Oh- oh!!
I found it! It looks like I might be fuzzy on some of the details, but that was definitely the event I was thinking of. I didn't realize it had continued on into the mid-aughts. . .


Colin Jones said...

As Paul (McScotty) has mentioned, Wacky Races was broadcast over here and it was probably one of my favourite CARtoons (ho, ho) - but Wacky Races was broadcast in the late afternoons, after school, not on Saturday mornings. We also saw the spin-off cartoons Stop The Pigeon and The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop - I thought George Bush Snr sounded remarkably like Penelope's guardian Sylvester Sneakley/The Hooded Claw.

Paul also mentioned the slot car racing sets which in the UK were produced by Scalextric (yes, that's the correct spelling) - I didn't have one but my next-door neighbour Martin did (we were the same age) so we both played with his set.

I had lots of model cars made by Matchbox and Dinky - when I was an adult my mother told me that she'd bought me a new car every week which I didn't recall but I suppose it was true!

A famous car that hasn't been mentioned - the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard. The Duke boys didn't bother with doors - they just dived in the windows.

Anonymous said...

Colin’s CARtoons pun reminded me — when I was a young’un, MAD magazine was published eight times a year, not monthly (for whatever reason) so if one wanted to get their Satire Comic fix on those MAD-free months, their choices were SICK or CRACKED...or CAR TOONS and it’s sister mag HOT ROD CARTOONS. I tried them all at some point — I thought SICK was terrible, CRACKED not much better and the two Car Toons mags were... hmmm... let’s go with “interesting”. I liked the drawings of the wildly exaggerated “super-deformed” style cars, with the fat slicks and huge, shiny-ass chrome engines, and the humor strips were usually fairly well drawn — but I just didn’t find them very funny. I had the feeling you really had to be a gear-head to “get” the jokes. Which I wasn’t.

As much as I loved Hot Wheels and Big Daddy Roth and Deal’s Wheels and Tom Daniels model kits, and appreciated the visual aesthetics of actual automobiles (especially all those AWESOME muscle cars that were all over the place in the 60s and 70s), I was never mechanically inclined. I wouldn’t know a V-6 from a V-8, can’t even change the oil or spark plugs on my own car, and never learned to drive a stick.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Red - do you know which year you pulled the Hot Wheels "Grand Prix" advert from?

Reason being that I actually saved "what" to send away and get a copper colored Chaparral and also a deep green McClaren in the mail from Hot Wheels. I'm going to guess 1970?

What would I have sent in? Cereal Box Tops?

Anyhow those two cars became quite famous in the late 60s. And McClaren Racing cars wa founded by Bruce McClaren, the same guy who won the 1966 Le Mans featured in Ford v. Ferrari with that ridiculously controversial finish. (If you haven't seen it, I recommend it, lol!)

Redartz said...

Great discussion all; keep the pedal to the metal!

HB- yeah, loved those SSP's! Now we did use the pull cord, which had the tendency to break eventually. But that screaming 'wheeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzz' when you got it going was unforgettable.
And, your comment about 'bike hikes' was well-taken. You guys sure help when it comes to thinking up another topic!
As for your Hot Wheels, you're right; the fun had racing trumps the collector value. Admittedly, though, I was always somewhat obsessive/compulsive with my toys; my brother trashed his and I kept mine sharp. He probably had more fun with them; I often would just line them up and admire that shiny "Spectraflame" paint job.

McScotty- ah, another fine list! Oh, the Monkees never showed up at our town either. And Bond's Aston Martin; truly iconic. Possibly the most famous film wheels ever. Wonder if the oil slick was standard equipment...

PFG- Wow, thanks for that link! I'd never seen that; but absolutely love it. Shared it at work today; my buddy loved it too...

Charlie- wish I could pin down that ad; I'd guess 1970. Yes, those were great cars. I had a white Chapparal with matching white airfoil, and a hot pink McClaren. Amazing how you can still remember such things; guess it's like recalling who appeared in Amazing Spider-Man 69. As for mail ins, all I remember is the Hot Wheels club, which sent you a silver Boss Hoss . Sadly my folks never sprung for the membership. Did you have one of those silver beauties?

Colin J- love your comment about Bush Jr and the Hooded Claw. That will stick in my mind eternally now. Stopping to think now; was he voiced by Paul Lynde?

b.t.- we have something in common; I'm not much of a mechanic either. But I can drive a stick. Actually, you prompted another potential topic for a future post; experiences learning to drive. Bet we all have a few stories. Thanks for the inspiration!

Kid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
McSCOTTY said...

Good catch on the correct spelling of Scalextric Colin, apologies for that . Regarding cars based toys/games does anyone remember Trik -Trak my brother had this back in the day but I don’t know of anyone else that remember it - the cars weighted a ton but it was a cool fun game.

In the UK there was a legendary comic character called Skid Solo that appeared in our weekly comics (most famously Tiger) that I loved as a kid. As twee as some may think UK comics were, in 1982 in the last Skid Solo strip he had a serious accident and ended up in a unable to walk and in a wheel chair. I was about 22 when I read this (as it was mentioned in the UK press) and was pretty stunned then again I had been reading his stories prior to this for about 10 u years since I was about 6 years old..

I never understood what Americans meant by driving a “stick” until quite recently as in the UK (and in most of Europe) driving a manual car (a stick) was the norm until quite recently. With the advent of electric cars and improvements on the auto box etc its much more common (in fact I think almost all cars will be automatic soon) .I drive an automatic car now and wouldn’t go back to a “stick” if you paid me, they are so much more civilised.

I had the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Corgi(or was in Dinky?) car it was a thing of beauty.

Trik Trak

Skid Solo


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Gents - Charlie's fastest car was actually a Corgi brand car and it dominated Locust Street in Gary, Indiana, LOL!

Eventually I learned Corgi were made in the UK. But they were totally unknown to us and I bought it by chance at some bric-brac store that sold everything but nothing useful.

Weird thing was this car had wheels like a Matchbox car. Nothing suggested it would be fast, but it was! I bought it b/c it just looked cool!

(McScotty - thanks for mentioning lewstringer! That dude was my lifeline to learning about the Beano/Dandy etc. comics we'd be gifted every year from the scottish side of the family!
Too bad he discontinued his blogspot!)

Humanbelly said...

PFG-- That is a flippin' brilliant commercial/clip-!
I love the fact that the context would have to be completely inscrutable to about 95% of the folks who see it. . . but it'll still clearly be a hoot.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Ok, Charlie has real questions here, lol!


1) Why does PFG think everyone will have seen that commercial for Peugeot? Did I miss the party 5 years ago?

2) Who is the target for this commercial. I mean, I was really scratching my head remembering all the Wacky Racers. I was alive when the cartoon aired and it lasted 2 years? So I am trying to think who Peugeot thinks would link their car to the cartoon?

I dare say, had PFG not posted the link on this blog dedicated to "cars" I may not have made the association with the cartoon? I mean, it's from 50 years ago (ouch!).

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, I forgot about Corgi cars - I had plenty of them too!

Red, I don't know who voiced the Hooded Claw but when Bush Snr first became well known in the UK (during the 1980 primaries and presidential election) I was struck by how similar his voice was to Sylvester Sneakley!

By the way, Red - completely off topic but a few days ago I watched a documentary called 'The Day The Dinosaurs Died' which was very interesting but it was originally broadcast in 2017 so it didn't include the most recent fossil evidence from the actual day of the asteroid impact.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, are you really saying if you'd just seen the ad on tv at the time you wouldn't have recognized it was a take on Wacky Races?

Cartoons have reruns; call it a wild hunch, but I think quite a few people might recall Wacky Races from later screenings...


pfgavigan said...


I guess I thought that everyone had already seen the commercial because I'm always a little bit behind the curve when it comes to these things. I don't notice a lot of fun stuff until people, like the ones who post here, point them out for me.

As I understand, the commercial was produced for the Brazilian car market and, according to what I read, the Wacky Races was extremely popular there. The show ran for years longer than it did in the US.

Actually, from what I gather, the show was popular around the world, as evident from the link below:


The wonderful thing about a subject like this is that one can learn just how popular something can be and how many different people can find a way to celebrate it's existence:


And now onto the REALLY BIG QUESTION that should be asked whenever the subject of the Wacky Races franchise comes up!

Penelope Pitstop or Daisy Mayhem? Which one?



Charlie Horse 47 said...

Here's a nice link to the history of the Wacky Racers according to the writers / artists.


Sean - I can't tell you I would have recognized Penelope Pitstop tout suite! I think it would take a few seconds.

In all seriousness, as far as the TV shows go, Speed Racer ruled the roost for years. Plus it was on daily vs. just on Saturdays. Perhaps the more seriousness nature of Speed appealed more to us. I mean WRacers was "silly" like all cartoons whereas Speed was something we aspired to as 10 year olds, you know what I mean? (Actually we all wanted to be Racer X!)

Humanbelly said...

Regarding Speed Racer-- I believe our little three-UHF-station market must have been just about the ONLY ONE in America that didn't have someone pick up that syndicated show--! I may have picked up a grainy, snowy episode or two during the 60's, when extremely clear weather would let us tune in briefly to Channel 3 (Kalamazoo) or Channel 8 (Grand Rapids)-- but it wasn't enough to leave a lasting impression. It was like missing a small piece of everyone else's childhood. . . !


(PS-- remind me. . . was Speed Racer one of those shows where they superimposed real-human mouths onto animated stills of the characters' faces. . . ?)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

HB - My poor fellow! Missing Speed Racer in your youth is truly lamentable!

Speed Racer did not have the live lips in their faces, lol. I have the complete box set of Speed Racer plus the movie they released in the early 2000s (?). My kids loved Speed Racer, thus he transcends space and time!

Speed Racer was only shown on VHF stations (CH 32 and / or CH 44) in Chicago, not on the Big 3 (ABC, CBS, NBC) ever.

In all seriousness, I think you would dig it today, even as an adult!

The only cartoon I can think of with ACTUAL moving HUMAN lips was Clutch Cargo! I have the complete box set, showed it to my kids when they were around 12 years old, and they thought the lip thing was "creepy!" LOL! The shows themselves were OK though. And we almost named our Dachshund "Paddle foot" LOL!

McSCOTTY said...

Space Angel also had actuak human lips on the characters as well. The Alex Toth art on the cartoon ( that was barely animated) was stunning.

Humanbelly said...

@McScotty-- I can't believe I've been watching British detective shows for years and years. . . and never cottoned to the fact everybody was driving a stick-! Automatic transmissions are such a long-standing norm in the U.S. that the simple act of using a shift lever almost calls attention to itself. . . ! (I'm thinking especially of MIDSOMER MURDERS-- where there is SO MUCH driving around those endless, narrow, one-lane country highways. . . ) Man. . . the trade in clutches must have been brisk and lucrative in the British Isles up til now. . . !

PFG-- Like Sweet Polly Purebred, Penelope Pitstop was one of my inexplicable cartoon character crushes. They, no kidding, would occasionally haunt the dreams of five to seven year old me--- !

Charlie-- CLUTCH CARGO is exactly the one I was thinking of, yes. Creepy as hell. And yes, the "animation" was often just a zoom or a pan across a still frame. . . or quick cuts back and forth between two still frames. . .

Oh!-- RC (Radio Controlled) cars, anyone?


Anonymous said...

Charlie, I don't recall ever seeing Speed Racer, and going by the various comments I'm now wondering if Wacky Races was more popular in Europe. So apologies for my earlier scepticism.

HB, you may also be interested to know that Midsomer has an unusually high murder rate for a small town in England.


Humanbelly said...


... plus an extraordinary number of "Old-Money" families with extensive manor homes. . . plus more rich people than middle/lower class folks. . . plus (until recently) not a single person of color or non-European origin (oof!). . . plus the longest list of tiny little niche Societies, Clubs, and Specialty Associations who put on annual fetes that can be imagined. . . ha!


Charlie Horse 47 said...

HB, Sean - You think MIDSOMER is rockin the murder scene??? Try that little island in the Caribbean from the show "MURDER IN PARADISE" (Wednesday nights on PBS in Chicago at 21:00)!

My lord! The population must be like 10 - 20% sociopaths with all the murdering! And I thought growing up in Gary, Indiana stunted my emotional development!!!

pfgavigan said...


For some reason I love reading fan fiction of things I never watched or read, just me I guess, and was really into a BTVS,Harry Potter, Midsomer Murders crossover that just disappeared off the internet before it finished.

Anyway, Charlie and HB, try to find the show "New Tricks". It's best described as a combination Big Bang Theory and Law&Order set in England. So it has everything that my brother loves, socially inept characters, police procedures and English people getting arrested.

He's very Irish.



Humanbelly said...

pfg (and Charlie)--

[Per our usual pattern of veering off on a barely-traceable tangent once a post gets up past the 25 (or so) response mark---]

Oh dude-- HUGE NEW TRICKS fan, me-! I watched through Season 7 about three years ago via library DVDs-- and that's as far as they went. It wasn't until discovering my daughter's AmazonPrime television account last fall that I realized I could finish it up. Even my wife fell in love with it at that late point. It is the extremely rare long-running series (10 seasons?) that you feel is being cut down MUCH too soon, even after the entire original cast has been replaced by the final season. I daresay those last two seasons were even better than, say, a lot of Seasons 6 & 7. . .

Smart, quirky, funny, solid crime-solving elements. Ageing protagonists-- a few of whom I am now senior to, in context of the show. Admirable depiction of Britain as a melting pot, too. Also a lot of driving, now that I think of it. Manual or automatic? I never, ever noticed. . .


Charlie Horse 47 said...


I tried to find the scope of US coverage and the only estimate I found was that 40,000,000 watched it in the late 60s / early 70s which is a huge number.

Reruns were shown on the Cartoon Network in the 90s.

Reruns were shown on MTV in the 80s / 90s.

The series was re-booted in 1993 but was considered inferior to the original series.

There was a film released in 2006. (Me and me kids enjoyed it on the TV.)

I guess there is active licensing on Speed and also many future plans.

I pulled a quote from the www that sums it up in many ways.

"Watching it now, 50 years on, Speed Racer has a glorious mix of cutting-edge and dated. The animation is at once quaint and magnetic, and watching these episodes, even though I wasn’t a kid in the 1960s, I’m filled with a kind of nostalgia. This has the same effect on me as stuff like Thunderbirds and Jonny Quest. There’s an effect a Speed Racer episode has on the viewer that just can’t be replicated. It’s a kind of special no time can erase."

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean, UK friends, HB, et al.

Below ae some fav SPEED RACER shows.

The link below is to the SPEED RACER episode "The Mammoth Car."


The episode below called "Melange still races" is top notch as well! Mysterious, well paced..


The episode below is "The Most Dangerous" race... It was perhaps the most emotive of all Speed Racers since Speed is blinded and must rely on Racer X to survive. Also it features Snake Oiler!!!


Charlie Horse 47 said...

PFG - Thanks for the tip on UK TV shows!!!

NEW TRICKS is on Amazon Prime. Fortunately my "son in law" is visiting and he has a Prime account, LOL!!!

I will be watching tout suite!

Colin Jones said...

I wouldn't watch tripe like Midsomer Murders if you PAID me - and I've never even heard of New Tricks!

pfgavigan said...


Hey HB, I tend to think that the best threads tend to have branches that go off wherever they like. Keeps the conversation going and that's the fun bit.

Besides, who knows what new treat someone is going to mention here that I had never been made aware of? Still pretty ignorant about Speed Racer, but if we ever have a conversation about Battle of the Planets I might be able to contribute.

I was so innocent when I first saw that show. Kept trying to figure out why the original design of Princess was done in such a manner that the animators had no choice but to keep showing her underpants.


Redartz said...

PFG, Charlie and HB- I've never heard of "New Tricks", but from your comments, I absolutely must check it out. Thank heavens for that Amazon Prime account. PFG, your description of it as a meld of Big Bang Theory and Law & Order (two of our favorite shows, incidentally) means my ever patient wife and I will look it up. And we're Anglophiles, as well...

HB- Ah, we gotta love the slides off tangent around here. That's all part of the charm; we get off to a good start but often end up in unanticipated directions. Kind of like a cool road trip, virtually...

Charlie- used to watch Speed Racer on that venerable paragon of early cable, WGN. It was on either before, or after, the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon. Unless memory fails me. Maybe it was after, was "Ray Raynor" on first? Hmmmmmmmm...........

Humanbelly said...

Ohhhh Colin J, yer killin' me. . . KILLIN' me!!! Next, yer gonna be claimin' the original THE TOMORROW PEOPLE series wasn't the high-point of BBC's kid-focused sci-fi programming! (Baaaaa-hahahahaaaa!)

Just remember,of course, one man's tripe is another man's trifle. . . (In the more British usage, I believe, of both words-- a smelly fish vs a tasty dessert--)(I just made that up!)

Nah, I totally enjoyed all, what, 18 or 20 seasons that we had on NETFLIX until BritBox snagged 'most all of the British shows up? It has (or had) some pretty serious issues along the lines of old-school classicism and racial erasure in a broad way. . . and it is hilariously formulaic. . . but it's a comfortable, light police show, with generally a very enjoyable cast & guest stars throughout. (One also begins to realize how small the television acting pool really seems to be-- there are about 30 actors who seem to show up in EVERY long-running program sooner or later--)

Charlie-- thanks for the links!


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