Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.
TV URBAN LEGEND: Mumbly was created as a stand-in for Muttley in the Laff-A-lympics.
In a similar vein to the Wacky Races, in the late 1970s, Hanna-Barbera released another short-lived television series called Laff-A-Lympics.
In it, three teams of Hanna-Barbera characters competed against each other in a series of Olympic-style events from all over the world.
There were the Yogi Yahooeys (consisting of talking animal characters), the Scooby Doobies (consisting mostly of cartoon shows that starred human characters) and the Really Rottens (consisting of the bad guys from cartoons)…
The Really Rottens were led by Mumbly, a dog with a distinctive laugh/snicker and his co-hort the Dread Baron.
Here they are with their team…
and by themselves…
So, quite naturally, it was thought that the two characters were meant to be stand-ins for Dick Dastardly and Muttley…
And that almost certainly IS true.
The reason is most likely the fact that, as mentioned in the previous legend, Hanna-Barbera did not own the two characters outright, so they substituted look-alike characters.
However, people think that Mumbly and the Dread Baron are just re-named Muttley and Dick Dastardly, and that is not so, at least not in the case of Mumbly (Dread Baron was created just for the Laff-a-lympics).
Mumbly might have BECOME a stand-in for Muttley, but that was not how it always was!
You see, Mumbly was, at a time, his own distinct character!
Mumbly starred in his own show a year or so before the Laff-a-lympics began.
The Mumbly Show was basically a take-off of Peter Falk’s Columbo, with Mumbly being a mumbling detective…
So Mumbly was actually retroactively turned into a villain (without an explanation) for the sake of Laff-a-lympics!!
Since the show, Muttley has tended to be the longer lasting character between the two.
Do note that besides their slightly different appearances, they also had slightly different characterizations – Muttley was the sidekick to Dick Dastardly, while Mumbly was in charge of the Really Rottens.
The legend is…
STATUS: False Enough for a False
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