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Cartoon Car Spotlight: Should ‘Speed Buggy’ Be Considered an Animated Classic?

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Speed Buggy Hanna-Barbera Cartoon TV Show Scene Image Talking Dune BUggy Review (3)

Hanna-Barbera has produced many timeless cartoons over the years: The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, The Smurfs, and more. Speed Buggy, however, was not one of those classics.

Lasting for 16 episodes from September to December in 1973, Speed Buggy received a lukewarm reception and struggled to establish a widespread fan base. Does this retro cartoon deserve a nostalgic reevaluation, or its reputation just running on fumes?

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Channel Surfing: Revisit the Wacky Escapades of a Sentient Dune Buggy

Speed Buggy Hanna-Barbera Cartoon TV Show Scene Image Talking Dune BUggy Review (1)

The Speed Buggy TV show took its name from the main character–a talking orange dune buggy named “Speedy,” voiced by Mel Blanc. It also featured a trio of human characters who travel the world with Speedy to participate in races and win trophies: Mark, the genius of the group; Debbie, the woman; and Tinker, the mechanic/driver.

Half-hour episodes would involve situations in which villains would plot to steal the anthropomorphic dune buggy and exploit it for evil purposes (typically to control the world or the universe) or pilfer its technology.Speed Buggy Hanna-Barbera Cartoon TV Show Scene Image Talking Dune BUggy Review (2)

Many of its qualities worked against it becoming a hit, such as its recycled character design from other shows (Tinker looks nearly identical to Shaggy), weird fart-like sound effects, reworked plot points and situations from Josie & the Pussycats, and basic set-up resembling 1969’s The Love Bug. On one hand, it was progressive for the non-stereotyped character of Mark, a Native American. On the other hand, Debbie was simply the “token girl.”

While some older viewers who grew up watching it syndicated might still get some nostalgic enjoyment from revisiting Speed Buggy, this humdrum show won’t be remembered for blazing new territory.

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Source: Hanna-Barbera Wiki

  • Danny

    Just because it’s obscure doesn’t mean it’s not a classic. There’s plenty of old cars that are considered classic but yet were very obscure and didn’t go over well until years later.