“Roger-dodger, putt putt”
The public has always shown affection towards cars that have the ability to converse. As a result, sitcoms, action shows and family films have repeatedly used some form of chatty chassis to delight viewers. It was only a matter of time before kids had some talking transportation on Saturday mornings to look up to, thanks to the creative minds at Hanna-Barbera and the animated Speed Buggy.
View the opening to Speed Buggy here.
Debuting in 1973, Speed Buggy borrowed liberally from another popular cartoon, Scooby Doo, and added a little pinch of The Love Bug for good measure. Speed Buggy was a lovable little dune buggy who could not only talk, but also had the ability to fly. He was befriended by a trio of teenagers who not only raced the little buggy at every opportunity, but also usually found themselves caught up in numerous mysterious capers that needed solving along the way. Tinker, who bore a remarkable resemblance to Shaggy, acted as the buggy’s mechanic, while Mark and Debbie were more than a little reminiscent of their Scooby counterparts, Fred and Daphne.
The rust colored Speed Buggy had a chrome mouth and eyes for headlights. He also had the ability to be operated by remote control, although it was usually the bad guys and not the teens themselves who utilized this feature. Speed’s voice was provided by someone who had a little experience providing sounds for automobiles – voice artist Mel Blanc, who years earlier, had provided car sounds on The Jack Benny Show.
And like seemingly every other show about a conversing car, Speed Buggy proved to be a hit. Although only sixteen original episodes were produced between 1973 and 1975, the cartoon appeared on all three major networks in rerun form over the span of a decade. Speed Buggy was also regularly seen on Scooby’s All-Star Laugh-A-Lympics and remains one of the most beloved and fondly remembered animated talking cars of all time.
If you have fond memories up curling up to the TV on Saturday mornings, a bowl of Cap’n Crunch close at hand, eager to see what adventure awaited Speed Buggy, we hope you’ll share your thoughts in our comments section.