The TV series "Wacky Races" is a bit like Coca-Cola: even if we know that it has its faults, you can't help savouring it, it's so addictive.
Just ask to whoever likes the series. Of course there are animation mistakes. The continuity is often arguable and many scenes are predictable. But who cares? It's just too damn fun to watch.
So what's so attractive about that series? It's surely not because of the animation. At each race, you can see cars running off-road without altering their driving. The animation, should it be said, is much like any Hanna-Barbera cartoon: minimalist and unpretentious.
The stories are well built, even if many have a lot of continuity mistakes. And if you want to witness Dick Dastardly failing with all of his tricks, there's a lot to love here, but you'd be better served if you tune in to the Road Runner Show.
I think that the charm of the series is the drivers themselves. There are eleven cars overall and twenty-three participants, if we don't count the omni-present narrator who describes and sometimes intervene into the action.
Honestly, I love to see Dick Dastardly and Muttley trying to sabotage the race and to systematically eliminate each driver, but I like even more to watch the interaction between the other drivers. Each car owns its own characteristics and all of the drivers (and their co-drivers) are very colorful, which makes them irresistible.
Even if the series was originally broadcast at the end of the 60s, it hasn't aged one bit. To prove it, there are new fans with each passing year. At the point that the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England has built life-size replicas of the cars and they participate in friendly races, much to the happiness of the fans and of those who are not but who find these unusual cars rather funny.
Almost each race is competed on a track linking two American localities. The majority of the races take place on a rural track. I find these races less interesting, because they're too much ordinary. We see too many farms, woods and flat landscapes. I rather have a knack for the highly original tracks which come in once in a while, like those ones:
- By Rollercoaster to Upsan Downs (ancient theme park)
- The Wrong Lumber Race (deep forest)
- The Great Cold Rush Race & The Ski Resort Road Race (snowy landscapes)
- Oils Well That Ends Well (oil shafts)
- The Dipsy Doodle Desert Derby (Death Valley desert)
- Overseas Hi-Way Race (Florida Keys)
There are also a few highlight moments that I have to mention here. The very first race (See-Saw to Arkansas), for example, ends with an unforgettable photo finish and the second one (Creepy Trip to Lemon Twist) ends with the "disqualification" of Dick Dastardly, which still fuels debates among the show's die-hard fans.
If you're lucky enough to find a TV channel that still broadcasts the show, then you have to watch it. Or you can try to find the DVD box set which includes every episode of the show. Then you'll see how much fun it is.