Bought "Dastardly and Muttley In Their Flying Machines" at the store last weekend. As we know, this was a spinoff of "Wacky Races," airing on CBS from 1969-71 (the same time period as "Penelope Pitstop") for a 17-episode run. The show of course focused on Dick and Muttley as pilots along with Zilly (a craven coward) and engineer/inventor Klunk (who spoke with weird sound effects), as the "Vulture Squadron," who tried and failed repeatedly to capture a messenger pigeon named Yankee Doodle Pigeon for, um, some vaguely defined reason (or indication of who Dick was working for, beyond "the General"), though the whole show had a World War One-ish feel to it (lots of biplanes, etc.)... Key feature of the show is, of course, "wacky airplanes"---which Klunk builds in attempts to capture the pigeon. Favorites of mine included the "baseball bat and pitcher" planes, the cattle stampede-plane, and the flying bed (don't ask ;-) ). Even Dick admits in half of the episodes that these plane ideas were pretty stupid, and that's saying something... ;-) Of course, the whole thing was a Roadrunner knockoff, though an amusing knockoff. Not surprising with Mike "Roadrunner" Maltese working on both shows. Comments on the DVDs themselves: The set comes on three DVDs, with a menu featuring Yankee Doodle Pigeon flying across the screen with the Squadron in different planes with each pass across the screen---all episode clips themselves. The main incidential music from the episodes plays on a loop. Extras include the "Dastardly and Muttley" part of the "Spinoff" special from the "Wacky Races" DVD, a "Greatest Misses" segment (clips of the foul-ups Dick and co. have done), previews of upcoming DVD releases, and commentary from Iwao Takamoto, Jerry Eisenberg, and one or two others (but not Scott Shaw) on one or two episodes. They seemed a bit more into this one than their commentary on "Wacky Races" for some reason. My usual trivia notes: - The title of this series was based on the 60's movie "Those Daring Young Men In Their Flying Machines". - Messenger pigeons were mostly used to carry messages during wartime up through World War I, when the development of radio made such means of communication mostly obsolete. - Homing pigeons' cruising speeds run at about 30 mph, with top speeds of 60 mph (according to Wikipedia). Guessing those goofy airplanes must slow the Vulture Squadron up. - Airplanes during World War I (this show's quasi-setting) were quite primitive--- and often were just as capable of knocking off the pilot as the pilot's foes. While airplanes played a role in the First World War, I'd argue the other major innovations of this war---the tank, primitive usage of radio, chemical weapons (mustard gas), the gas mask, etc., probably played a bigger role. World War II was probably the first major war where air power was truly critical in winning a war. - World War I started in 1914, and lasted through 1919 (the U.S. didn't get involved until 1917), with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in France---a treaty that didn't leave much of anyone truly satisfied, particularly the defeated and thoroughly humiliated Germans. The economically and socially depressed state of Germany after the war and into the 20's allowed for a certain infamous German and his National Socialist forces to rise to power, leading to yet another world war 20 years later... - "The Great War" is what World War I was commonly called, up until World War II anyway. It was also thought to have been "the war to end all wars," given the carnage/level of conflict involved, but that obviously wasn't to be the case... - "Dastardly and Muttley" and its "Perils of Penelope Pitstop" companion show seem to be the last signs of "old-school" Hanna-Barbera-style humor; with the success of Scooby-Doo and the 1970-71 season's "Josie and the Pussycats", along with the parents groups coming down on violence in cartoons, explosives, falling from airplanes and slamming into the ground repeatedly (a staple of this show), this seems to be the last few shows to use such old-school humor; 70's series seemed to shy away from such gags (which didn't fit in with the "teens solving mysteries" Scooby-knockoffs of the decade anyway), as did 80's series (such gags mostly didn't fit in with the "baby versions of adult characters/half-hour toy ads" shows, Jokey Smurf's exploding "surprises"/Brainy getting tossed from the village on "The Smurfs" aside), and except for the WB-produced humor shows of the 90's (Animnaiacs, etc.), recent shows don't seem to much favor such old-school slapstick humor either... Comments?