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: Muttley and Dick Dastardly were removed whole cloth from one show and added to another.
While Wacky Races was not a big hit, Hanna-Barbera were fans of the Penelope Pitstop character and the Dick Dastardly and Muttley characters, so as soon as the show ended, they developed a new show for the three characters in 1969.
It was to be called the Perils of Penelope Pitstop, and Dick and Muttley were to serve as the bodyguards for Penelope’s brother, who would always be trying to save Penelope from various perilous situations.
Before the show began production, though, it was determined that Dick and Muttley were too good of a pair of characters to “waste” as supporting characters in another series.
Meanwhile, Hanna-Barbera was working on a series called “Stop that Pigeon!” where some World War I pilots would be constantly trying to chase a messenger pigeon.
It was vaguely based on the hit 1965 British comedy Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines…
The rivals for the pigeon were to be a pilot like the Red Baron and his sidekick, a dachshund with goggles.
However, these characters never made it past development. Instead, Hanna-Barbera just took the characters of Dick and Muttley from Penelope Pitstop’s show, and plopped them in, whole sale, into this other show.
And thus, Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines was born!
This show was more successful than both Wacky Races AND Perils of Penelope Pitstop, running for two seasons (which was pretty decent for a cartoon at the time – the show had more episodes, for instance, than Jonny Quest and only one less episode than the Yogi Bear Show!).
It’s pretty amusing, Muttley and Dick have seemed to prove pretty much adaptable to any premise! That’s generally a sign of a good character right there!
The legend is…
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is email@example.com.