ZEITGEIST-NON-SURFING Animator’s Cramp-occasioning high-concept Hanna-Barbera overreach, puzzlingly counter-topically sandwiched between 1976 Quebec Olympics and 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Key selling point was that for the purposes of unspecified sporting achievement, Bill & Joe’s entire recent history back catalogue was consolidated into one huge USA For Africa-like all-star cast of cartoon thousands, subdivided into medal-hungry competing teams – The Yogi Yahooeys (Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo, Cindy Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Pixie & Dixie in awkward non-hating-meeces-to-pieces united front with Mr Jinks, Hokey Wolf, Quick Draw McGraw, Augie & Daddy Doggie, Wally Gator, Grape Ape, and second-stringers Yakky Doodle and Snooper & Blabber); The Scooby Doobies (Scooby Doo, Shaggy, Scooby Dum, Dynomutt & The Blue Falcon, Captain Caveman & The Teen Angels, Hong Kong Phooey and Division Two tag-alongs Tinker & Speed Buggy, Babu off I Dream Of Jeannie, and, if you squint a bit, Josie & The Pussycats); and main attraction The Really Rottens (utterly anti-recognisable lineup of some cowboys from Quick Draw McGraw, Addams-infringing Creepley family, Yogi-squabbling magician The Great Fondoo and his white rabbit, moonshine-swiggin’ birds-nest-hair Southern gal Daisy Mayhem and one-eyed pig pal Sooey, and as if to put the literal top hat on it, suspiciously familiar pigeon-stopper-clone The Dread Baron and snickering hound ‘Mumbly’ – of previous Columbo/James Bond-parodying solo show memory-befuddlement – replacing the contractually unavailable Dick Dastardly and Muttley). Snagglepuss and Mildew Wolf occupied the commentary box, with sub-Waldorf & Statler audience witticisms courtesy of the likes of Fred Flintstone, Jabberjaw and assorted oddly non-competing Harlem Globetrotters.
Wacky Races-like setup saw the teams compete in a different outlandish event each week, from zany long jump-variants to lunar-bound rocket races, with plaudits doled out to the winners seemingly on an everybody-forget-about-it-by-next-week basis. Usual form was for The Really Rottens to almost win via subterfuge but blow it through own inherent ‘rotten’-ness at the last minute, though even they did score a couple of middle-of-plinth moments. Overall smackage of merchandising bonanza oddly counterbalanced by lack of much in the way of merchandise, and more than likely to have been a big influence on that similarly Dread Baron-equipped one where Yogi Bear took millions of characters off for a ride in Howard Hughes’ aeroplane. This is not necessarily a positive thing.
Originally seen in the US as part of a schedule-straddling package with Captain Caveman & The Teen Angels, Dynomutt & The Blue Falcon and that dimly-recalled ‘meet the Doo folks’ recollection-fogging Scooby Doo revival. Over here it was split into four – with Laff-A-Lympics enjoying a stint as Swap Shop’s resident star animation – thereby ensuring Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning dominance for several years to come.