austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Nab him, jab him

There are many things in life better worth worrying about than any particular episode of Wacky Races is. Nevertheless, it comes to me now and then that I see something and I'm stuck with trying to make it out. Here's the setup:

Once again Dick Dastardly and Muttley have managed such a lead on the racers that they're able to stop and start building some complicated scheme to try to win the Wacky Race. They're racing through a bunch of the backgrounds left over from those awful 1960s Road Runner cartoons made by the guy who didn't understand this `humor' concept and with nearly eight bars of background music. Dastardly's plan at this point is to set off a barrel of gunpowder even though you'd think he'd have learned by now.

However, he's not got the dynamite on the ground; in order that it not be noticed, I guess, he's tied it to a set of balloons which hover high above the roadway. He's lucky it wasn't a blustery day, since his plan was at the right moment to leap off of a cliff, so that he would land on one end of a see-saw. Muttley was on the other end of the see-saw, and on Dastardly's landing he was thrown up into the air. At the peak of his arc, he blew a dart to pop the balloons holding the barrel of gunpowder. The gunpowder drops right down, landing in Dastardly's hands, where it explodes.

I'm sure that when I was young this was just a source of comic merriment that I appreciated the appropriate amount. Possibly more; I had an unaccountable fondness for Catch That Pigeon I'm surprised my parents put up with for so long. But now I'm stuck trying to figure out exactly what it was Dick Dastardly thought would happen. I mean, what actually happened can't have been far off of any realistic estimate of the most likely consequence of his setup. Maybe he's just an overly complicated masochist.

Trivia: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera's first collaboration was Puss Gets The Boot, which created the characters of Tom and Jerry, and would win an Academy Award nomination. Source: Of Mice And Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, Leonard Maltin.

Currently Reading: Commitment Hour, James Alan Gardner. Ah, yes, there's the grisly stuff.


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