W is for Wacky: The Wacky Races!

Wacky: funny or amusing in a slightly odd or peculiar way.

Back to the etymology dictionary!

“crazy, eccentric,” 1935, variant of whacky (n.) “fool,” late 1800s British slang, probably ultimately from whack: “a blow, stroke,” from the notion of being whacked on the head one too many times.

Wacky can only mean one thing to me. Wacky Races! If you’ve never heard of them, where have you been (or where were you in the late 60s to 80s?). Wacky Races was a Hanna Barbera cartoon that Boomerang describes as:

A never-ending, gag heavy, race around the globe. The world’s wackiest racers constantly compete to win and be crowned “World’s Wackiest Racer”.

This Dan Dare site has a great list of all the cars and their crews. The Boomerang Wacky Races page has info about the series too. It started in 1968 but ceased production in 1970, due to protests from parents about violence in children’s TV (according to IMDb).

Penelope Pitstop from Wacky RacesDespite this, I remember seeing it again and again (and I wasn’t born until after it stopped!). There were also two spin-offs started in 1969: Penelope Pitstop and the Ant Hill Mob were in their own series called The Perils of Penelope Pitstop.

Dick Dastardly and Muttley had a spin-off series called Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines (it’s this series that the famous Stop The Pigeon song comes from – it was its theme song and apparently its working title too). Both series ran for two seasons.

Dick Dastardly and Muttley from Wacky Races

Dastardly and Muttley were my favourites:

“Sneaking along last is that Mean Machine with those double dealing do-badders Dick Dastardly and his sidekick, Muttley”.

For me they were the funniest, most lovable ‘do-badders’ ever!

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