Do you remember waaaaaay back when having a day off meant Saturday, and Saturday meant waking up at the crack of dawn to plop yourself in front of the television set with a bowl of sugar based cereal substitute to watch Saturday morning cartoons? Yeah, me neither. But that’s okay. Let’s get NOSTALGIC!
As a recent graduate of the Academy of Henching, you’ve got the whole world open to you. Maybe you’ll go work for one of the big league villains, and get yourself a costume with your very own raygun. Perhaps you’ll start small, and largely serve as a punching bag for newby heroes. Or you’ll be assigned to stop a pigeon, as did happen on September 13, 1969. It was a Saturday and chronicled in the continued adventures of Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
Ok… The backstory to Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines is somewhat difficult to describe, even given how simplistic the plot was. Back in 1968, Hanna-Barbera had a series called Wacky Races that featured a sort of never ending cross country race with a “rich variety of unorthodox characters and goofy automotive vehicles.” Take Dick Dastardly from that series and install him in “a World War I- style flyer (evidently operating in the present) for an unnamed enemy country.” This is Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines. Think Snoopy’s adventures against the Red Baron, from “Peanuts,” but written and animated by Hanna-Barbera.
What I remember
Prior to checking out a copy of Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines, I thought that I had seen the two main characters before. Now that I’ve read the back cover of the DVD case, I’m not so sure. I think I’ve confused Dastardly and Muttley with Boris and Natasha from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends, which doesn’t make a lot of sense since the characters look nothing alike. Dastardly has that classic “I’m going to tie you to train tracks and cackle” look and Muttley… is he a dog or a hyena?
Each episode of Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines is broken down into shorter animated sequences. For Episode 1, this consisted of “Fur Out Furlough,” “Wing Dings,” “Muttley on the Bounty” and “Sappy Birthday.” The only real background information given for the series takes place in the theme song, “Stop the Pigeon.” There’s a pigeon. Dastardly, his sidekick, Muttley, and the members of Vulture Squadron, Klunk and Zilly, have to stop it. To do so, they create airplanes modified with various inventions, including fly paper and giant magnets. The pigeon, in turn, flies away. That’s really about it. It flies. Away. Not particularly fast. Just… away.
The closest comparison I can make to Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines is Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner from Looney Tunes. There’s a coyote. He wants to eat the road runner. To do so, he sets traps. The traps always backfire. The road runner usually doesn’t have anything to do with it, and the cartoons work without any explanation. The formula doesn’t work quite as well with Dastardly & Muttley.
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More to come (live from what I remember about the 80’s!) as this story continues.
Kevin Wadlow is 100% a real human being and definitely not a murder of crows wearing a person suit. He is an avid reader of horror, tabletop gamer, and drinker of coffee who enjoys drawing things of strangeness along the way. When the zombie apocalypse comes, he will probably be eaten first after saying something about how he fully expected to go out like this.