Dick Dastardly is a fictional character who appeared in various animated series by Hanna-Barbera Productions. Dastardly's most famous appearances are as the main antagonist in the series Wacky Races (his initial appearance) and its spin-off Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines. He is essentially a caricature of the English actor Terry-Thomas, and of Professor Fate, a comic villain played by Jack Lemmon in the film The Great Race. Dastardly was aided in his schemes by his sidekick, a scruffy dog named Muttley who had a distinctive wheezy laugh, heard most often when Dastardly's schemes failed.
- In Wacky Races, Dastardly was one of the drivers who competed in each episode for first place in a long and hazard-filled cross-country road rally. As his name implies, Dastardly aimed to win solely through cheating and trickery. His race car, named The Mean Machine featured all sorts of devious traps for him to use against his opponents.
- In the spin-off, Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines, the double-dealing do-badders became World War I-like pilots, accompanied by Zilly and Klunk in a neverending quest to stop Yankee Doodle Pigeon from delivering his messages.
- In their spin-off wardrobes and a new vehicle, the S.S Dirty Tricks, Dastardly and Muttley became the main enemies of Yogi Bear's company in Yogi's Treasure Hunt.
- The Wake, Rattle and Roll series featured a Wacky Races-themed cartoon racing series called "Fender Bender". Dastardly and Muttley drive an upgraded Mean Machine, while fulfilling the same roles from their original series.
- Dastardly's twin brother, the Dread Baron, and his dog Mumbly, who closely resembles Muttley, appear in Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-lympics because Hanna-Barbera wasn't sure it had the rights to use Dastardly and Muttley.
- In a popular live-action 2013 Peugeot commercial which did an homage to Wacky Races, Dastardly and Muttley were among the Wacky Racers that appeared.
As Wacky Races is inspired by the film The Great Race, so was Dastardly derived from the film's chief villain, Professor Fate, played by Jack Lemmon. Dastardly in this series wore old-fashioned racer's gear — a long blue overcoat, long red gloves, and a large striped hat with driving goggles attached, and sporting a handlebar mustache.
Tricks and Traps
Despite Dastardly and Muttley's attempts, the "double-dealing do-badders", as the opening narration of Wacky Races describes them, failed to win a single race. Dastardly's plans were always foiled either by his or Muttley's incompetence, the actions of another racer, or sheer bad luck, resulting in Dastardly crossing the finish line last, if at all. On some occasions Dastardly is very close to winning but will fail at the final hurdle.
In Wacky Races Forever, when asked by Muttley why they always stopped to cheat, Dastardly answered that, as the villains, they absolutely had to. His precise rationale has never been revealed, though it's either because he wants to keep up his image, he is required by the sanctioning body to do so for entertainment purposes and is paid a very handsome salary for throwing the race, because it wins him fans, because the Mean Machine can't maintain a competitive pace without breaking down, leading him to try and slow the other cars down so he can go at a safer pace, or he likes to challenge himself to see if he can actually pull it off.
Dick Dastardly was voiced originally by Paul Winchell in Wacky Races, Dastardly and Muttley and other cartoon series. Winchell's facial structures were caricatured in the related character design as well. He was later voiced by Rob Paulsen and by Jim Cummings. Chikao Ōhtsuka does the voice of Dick Dastardly in Japanese.
In the 2013 Peugeot commercial, Dick Dastardly was portrayed by actor Porter Flynn.
Often it appears that if Dastardly had not bothered to cheat he may have won fairly. Upon tasting defeat, Dastardly would utter his catchphrase: "Drat, drat, and double drat!", "Triple drat!" and even "Curses, foiled again!". His other main catchphrase was "Muttley, do something!".
- Excluding Dastardly and Muttley, all of the other racers won at least one Wacky Races. In one episode, they came extremely close to cross the finish line without cheating, but choose not to win that race and let the other racers finish before them. They want to win a race by cheating.
- Dick Dastardly is one of many characters who Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh stories and Zummi Gummi from Disney's Gummi Bears and Gargamel in Smurfs animated media.
- On one occasion, in an episode which was voted the worst of the series, Dastardly actually won the race, but it was revealed he had cheated by extending the nose of his car (even though the actual finish shows no such cheating, implying that the judges possibly had the replay footage doctored due to prejudice against Dastardly. Although it should be noted that in the DVD release of this scene the photo finish was covered with smoke, thereby adding even more questions to this scene).
- Another time Dastardly has an opportunity to win legitimately, but stopped in front of the finish line to pose for his picture as it was a photo finish. Once he comes close to winning the race, but stopped to sign an autograph for Muttley, ending up in fourth place again
- In the Warrior Princess short, Dastardly is shown wearing his Wacky Races outfit while wearing his brown long cloak where he portrays as a sorcerer as the color scheme of his outfit is purple and red which is based from his military outfit in Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.