Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Toons You Might've Missed: Wacky Races Forever (2006)

After Duck Dodgers bit the dust, producers Spike Brandt & Tony Cervone turned their attention to another cartoon icon in 2006----Wacky Races.

With the series' 40th anniversary two years away, Brandt & Cervone developed Wacky Races Forever, which brought back Dick Dastardly (now voiced by Jim Cummings) and Muttley, who were now working for the duplicitous Mr. Viceroy, who was also the lawyer for former racer Peter Perfect (Jeff Bennett), who had, in the interim, married Penelope Pitstop (Kath Soucie), and the couple have two grown children, son Parker (James A. Taylor) & daughter Piper (Soucie in a dual role), competing in their parents' cars. The fact that Viceroy is secretly plotting a hostile takeover recalls Penelope's 1969 solo series, only Viceroy isn't resorting to wearing a costume, not when he has Dastardly around to do his dirty work. Naturally, Dastardly proves to be dumber than a bag of hammers, as usual.

Amazingly, Cartoon Network passed on the project, but, as we all know, Brandt & Cervone moved on to two other projects, both of which have been completed--Scooby-Doo: Mystery, Incorporated, which stretched two extended seasons over three years, and The Looney Tunes Show, which is wrapping its broadcast run on CN as we speak.

Now, let's check out what might've been.

Maybe another, better administration at CN can take another look at this before it gets shopped elsewhere, like to the Hub, which has made a habit of picking up WB properties that CN gives up on.

Rating: A-.


magicdog said...

It's a shame CN passed on this - it really had potential!

Cummings did a great job as Dick Dastardly - I'd like to think Paul Winchell would have approved.

It's also interesting that the field has been greatly narrowed for this new series - I wonder if the racers chosen would have remained? Or if there would have been a greater plan like the seasons of Total Drama Island/Action/Whatever? Considering the payoff in SDMI, I would think there would have been something interesting prepared in the long run.

Even if Hub does take this (which I doubt - too long out of the loop) Brandt & Cervone are on other projects now, so I don't think they'd be able to devote the attention this project deserves.

hobbyfan said...

Don't know what Brandt & Cervone are doing now that The Looney Tunes Show & SDMI have wrapped production, but if an offer came their way, I'd think they'd jump.

Let's see. Missing were Red Max, Army Surplus Special, Ant Hill Mob, Arkansas Chug-A-Bug. So they had 60% of the original field. To use them all might've cluttered the story, and considering the pilot only goes 5 1/2 minutes.......!

Seems Brandt & Cervone were on the same wavelength with me in marrying off Penelope & Peter, weren't they?

George Llerena Torrico said...

Brandt and Cervone are doing the new Flintstones/WWE movie coming out in 2015, the new Tom & Jerry DTV's and an unamed Hanna-Barbera revival series (which they refuse to give details of) according to an august 2013 interview

This pilot has awesomeness written all over the screen. Sarcastic, ironic type of humor, the original characters we know and love mixed in with new ones, and overarching story arc with development, a completely insane professor Pat Pending, a bridge called "Snake" made of actual live snakes who apparently are killed off for no reason whatsoever, teens driving while distracted, running down animals, causing car crashes, parents playing their own children against each other and a direct implication of cheating on a kids show (yeah, I see why it wasn't picked up now, these writers are total bosses). And, of course, the reasoning of why a wedge of cheese is a viable plan to cheat, or even how the plan works is never explained at all. Just brilliant.

Spike Brandt & Tony Cervone are the ultimate revival masterminds, and if there are people in this world capable of bringing classics to a new generation respecting the core characters, they are right for the job. SD: MI was a fifty-two-long love letter to Hanna-Barbera cartoons with near-imposible levels of epicness for Scooby-Doo, Tony Cervone could easily repeat the hit with Wacky Races forever, maybe do some H-B cameos in later episodes, a reality-themed special, adding new original racers or bringing back old ones... oh the possibilities! Someone better pick this up right now, it has enough pottential to apeal to today's kids and longtime H-B fans

I think Spike and Tony weren't able to fit the other racers in a 5-minute pilot, I'm sure they would've made it had the series come to fruition, I'm guessing 11-minute races (with the narrator of course, you can't have Wacky Races without him!) with Michael Maltese-inspired gags but upbeat writing. I'd also liked them to bring back Jannet Waldo as Penelope Pitstop and Frank Welker as Muttley (Jannet can still pull off Penelope, and Welker would be perfect for Muttley, he does a great Scooby) to give it a classic touch and pay tribute to those veteran voice actors. Also, for the soundtrack, Tony and company could remix new, updated versions of the Wacky Races original Hoyt Curtin's jazzy pieces, mixed with new music (they used "Come on" by Andy Hunter for the pilot, glorious). I mean, you just can't start a wacky race without hearing this, now can you?

Hope someday the Hub or some other network gives this gem the attention it deserves, why CN execs picked up Johnny Test over this is beyond me. William Hanna & Joseph Barbera's legacy needs to be remembered.

P.S. Spike & Tony created this in 2006 at Warner Bros. Animation, Mark Banker wrote the scripts and it was animated at Six Point Artness

P.P.S. "No Muttley, we can't win fairly. We are villains... ERGO WE HAVE TO CHEAT!" Old Dick Dastardly is so back and better than ever!

hobbyfan said...

Thanks, George.

So Brandt & Cervone are attached to the WWE-Flintstones movie next year. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. I'd trust them to do a new Flintstones show now that Seth McFarlane's version was stuffed into development hell.

Noting Brandt & Cervone's track record: Duck Dodgers, Scooby-Doo: MI, & Looney Tunes Show all got 2 seasons maximum. Given the present administration at CN being comprised of idiots, and that goes for Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, who thinks corporate synergy is a BAD thing, as well, I'd say any future project should be shopped to any network other than CN.