The Perils of Penelope Pitstop is one of two spin-off series to the Wacky Races. It starred Penelope Pitstop and her guardians, The Ant Hill Mob, and a new enemy, the Hooded Claw. The series was created by Hanna-Barbera studios.
"Penelope Pitstop, heiress to a vast fortune is perpetual peril from her fortune seeking guardian, Sylvester Sneekly. Who unknown to her, is really the Hooded Claw! But foiling this fiends foul plots are Penelope's ever present protectors, The Ant Hill Mob!" - Narrator
Characters and cast
- Penelope Pitstop - The heroine, Janet Waldo reprised her role.
- The Ant Hill Mob - The sidekicks, Paul Winchell and Don Messick reprise their roles, joined by Mel Blanc.
- The Hooded Claw/Sylvester Sneekly - The villain, performed by Paul Lynde.
- The Bully Brothers - The villain's henchmen
- Chugga-Boom - A lively, animated car who replaces the Bullet-Proof Bomb, performed by Mel Blanc.
- The Narrator - Performed by Gary Owens, may or may not be a different narrator from Wacky Races.
|1||"Jungle Jeopardy"||13 September 1969||46-1|
|Penelope is about to complete the last leg of an around-the-world flight as a surprise her guardian, Sylvester Sneekly. The Hooded Claw and the Bully Brothers have sabotaged her plane and are watching her as the engines cut out. The Ant Hill Mob makes an attempt to rescue her as she jumps from the plane and into an empty eagle's nest. After that, she takes her chances in the jungle, fighting against all sorts of dangers. Will The Hooded Claw get to her first and send her to her doom or will the Ant Hill Mob get there first and rescue her?|
|2||"The Terrible Trolley Trap"||20 September 1969||46-2|
|The Hooded Claw and the Bully Brothers tie Penelope to some trolley tracks hoping to get rid of her once and for all. After that, she's taken into the ocean, on a ship that belongs to the Hooded Claw, where he plans to get rid of her, permanently. Will the Ant Hill Mob be able to find Penelope before its too late?|
|3||"The Boardwalk Booby Trap"||27 September 1969||46-4|
|Penelope is spending a relaxing day at the beach being buried in the sand by the Ant Hill Mob. The Hooded Claw has mixed in cement with the sand so she can't get out. Along comes a bulldozer driven by the Bully Brothers. The Ant Hill Mob can't pull her up so they dig a tunnel to pull her down. They save her in the nick of time. Later Penelope is kidnapped by the Bully Brothers during a scavenger hunt and taken to an abandoned fishing village where the Hooded Claw awaits her. Will the Ant Hill Mob come crashing in to save her in time?|
|4||"Wild West Peril"||4 October 1969||46-5|
|Penelope is driving in her car when she crashes through a false front trap set by the Hooded Claw. The Ant Hill Mob races to the rescue with a mattress strapped to the top of their car to save her. Then a trap is set on the edge of a cliff, designed to lure the Mob in and fall off the edge, hitting a board that will catapult Penelope in a barrel, and the Ant Hill Mob into the near-bottomless canyon. She is then finally placed in a miner's car filled with explosives which is set to rocket down to the bottom of a steep and deep mine shaft. Will she be saved in time?|
|5||"Carnival Calamity"||11 October 1969||46-8|
|Penelope is on her way to the carnival. Unknown to her the Hooded Claw has set a trap for her. The Bully Brothers have set a trap of their own for The Ant Hill Mob so they can't save her. Penelope gets out of trouble on her own and continues on to the carnival where she gets in more sticky situations.|
|6||"The Treacherous Movie Lot Plot"||18 October 1969||46-6|
|Penelope has gone to Hollywood to star in a movie. The Hooded Claw adds a scene to the movie that involves Penelope being taken off by a giant King Kong like ape, which wasn't written in the script. After The Ant Hill Mob saves her from her doom, she continues to role the movie, but the Hooded Claw still has a few tricks upon his sleeve. Will The Ant Hill Mob be fast enough to save her?|
|7||"Arabian Desert Danger"||25 October 1969||46-7|
|Penelope is trying to escort a rare white baby camel out of Egypt so she can donate it to the Children's Zoo. The Hooded Claw traps her in a giant tent that he and the Bully Brothers fill with hot air to make a balloon. The Ant Hill Mob see this and move in to help. After that rescue, Penelope is taken into a pyramid, where she'll be mummified alive. It's up to The Ant Hill Mob to save her from this tight situation.|
|8||"The Diabolical Department Store Danger"||1 November 1969||46-9|
|Penelope is at Pitstop's Department Store to help introduce the new Paris fashions. Little did she know that the Hooded Claw and Bully Brothers were inside setting a few traps for her.|
|9||"Hair Raising Harness Race"||8 November 1969||46-3|
|Penelope is at the County Fair and determined to win the Pitstop Gold Cup for the main event, the harness race. The Hooded Claw attempts to sabotage Penelope's efforts of winning the race. The Ant Hill Mob sees her in danger and tries to save her. This was the only episode where Penelope gets to rescue herself with her Intelligence throughout the episode where all attempts of the Ant Hill Mob gets failed, as well as the only episode in which she does not get tied up by the Hooded Claw.|
|10||"North Pole Peril"||15 November 1969||46-11|
|Penelope is paddling up the Nanook River in a kayak seeking to become the first woman to reach the North Pole. Unfortunately, The Hooded Claw is following her in a paddle-wheeler and attempting to chop her up in the blades. The Ant Hill Mob is on their way to save her. Will they be in time to save her, so she can finish her journey?|
|11||"Tall Timber Treachery"||22 November 1969||46-10|
|Penelope is on her way to the Pitstop Lumber Camp where she has been elected Queen of the Indian Summer Festival. The Hooded Claw and the Bully Brothers unhook her rail car and she went sailing back down the railroad track. The Ant Hill Mob gets her out of the jam and offers her a ride to the festival. But unfortunately, the Hooded Claw doesn't give up that easily, and he'll do everything to kill Penelope, even if he has to chop down all trees in the forest to do it.|
|12||"Cross Country Double Cross"||29 November 1969||46-12|
|Penelope is making a daring parachute jump to publicize a statue unveiling. The Hooded Claw cuts the parachute lines in an attempt to stop her once and for all. Unfortunately for Penelope the Bully Brothers are helping The Hooded Claw and they capture her and place her in a pit. After she's rescued, The Ant Hill Mob tell her that the unveiling is supposed to be on the other side of the country, and Penelope has to travel through the country, as quickly as possible to get there. Will Penelope be able to get there on time?|
|13||"Big Baghdad Danger"||6 December 1969||46-13|
|Penelope is on the way to the Shah's Palace to get the secret map to Ali Baba's cave, but The Hooded Claw has a few plans of his own. Will the Ant Hill Mob be able to save her before she meets her doom, and will Penelope find the treasure so she can give it to the poor children of Baghdad?|
|14||"Bad Fortune in a Chinese Fortune Cookie"||13 December 1969||46-14|
|Penelope is in Chinatown in San Francisco, California to watch the Chinese New Year Parade. The Hooded Claw captures her in the mouth of a fire-breathing dragon float from the parade. He sends her down a hill towards a warehouse full of fireworks. Clyde and the gang follow after Penelope to try and save her. Will the guys save her in time?|
|15||"Big Top Trap"||20 December 1969||46-15|
|Penelope is performing in a circus. When her life is threatened the Ant Hill Mob take jobs as clowns so the can act as her bodyguards. The Hooded Claw takes the form of Clyde and throws her from the trapeze to the awaiting Bully Brothers who whisk her off to the jungle where she is about to be fed to a man-eating plant. Will the Ant Hill Mob be able to find her in time, and get her back to the circus on time? In the end, Sylvester Sneekly reveals to Penelope he's the Hooded Claw, but Penelope is still unaware they're the one person.|
|16||"Game of Peril"||10 January 1970||46-17|
|Penelope is on a scavenger hunt. After finding her first item, a unicycle, she gets on and is heading towards a cliff. The Ant Hill Mob arrives just in time to save her. The Hooded Claw sees her rescue and comes up with a plan to do her in.|
|17||"London Town Treachery"||17 January 1970||46-16|
|Penelope is visiting London to deliver a painting to the Earl of Crumpet. The Hooded Claw had a different plan in mind. He grabs Penelope and the painting. He takes her to the top of a clock tower and ties her up underneath a razor sharp pendulum as he makes off with the painting. Will the Ant Hill Mob be in time to save her? Will they get the painting back and deliver it to the Earl of Crumpet?|
The series was patterned on the silent movie era melodrama cliffhanger movie serial The Perils of Pauline using the most successful characters of Wacky Races, namely Penelope Pitstop, the members of Ant Hill Mob and originally Dick Dastardly and Muttley though Dastardly and Muttley were later dropped in pre-production according to this series DVD release information. Those characters would be later reused in their own series.
Deciding to feature the characters in a different setting, studio heads decided to set the characters into an active adventure format strongly reminiscent of the 1910s. Adding to the cliffhanger serial feel, episodes typically started with a recap such as "Last time we left Penelope, she was in the clutches of the Hooded Claw". Contrary to later editing of the series in rebroadcasts, the original format of the series was to introduce the successive episodes at the end of the just-finished broadcast for the successive week that would present and leave Penelope in the middle of a dangerous situation to overcome. The cliffhanger would end with Penelope being shown placed in direct danger such as being shot out of a circus cannon to land in the wild animal cage. The audience is left there with the indication "Tune in next week for danger in the 'Big Top Trap' ". The successive episode would include recapping the previous week's end scene introduction and continue onto Penelope's successful avoidance of the danger she encountered. In all rebroadcasts of the series since the original broadcasts as well as on the DVD release of the series, these introduction endings have been removed from the main episodes. Some of the foreign broadcasts have retained these introductionary endings, akin to the same plot device used in the sci-fi series Quantum Leap.
Also from the Wacky Races was the Ant Hill Mob, originally portrayed as a group of crooks but in this incarnation are now are either reformed, never had the criminal background of their earlier Wacky Races incarnation, or are engaging in a protection racket. The members also have completely new names, different from the original Wacky Races series (except for their leader Clyde, who was named "Big Clyde" in the Wacky Races), who, with their largely self-aware car, Chugga-Boom, acted as the heroes and were constantly rushing to Penelope's rescue. But their attempts to save her were only half effective. The Mob's reason for being Penelope's friends and guardians is never explained, although the narrator mentions that they were "benefactors."
The Hooded Claw (voiced by Paul Lynde), aided by his pair of near identical henchmen who always speak in unison, the Bully Brothers (both voiced by Mel Blanc), concocted needlessly Goldbergian plots to kill Penelope (such as a device to drop her from an aircraft, cut her parachute, and then have her drop into a box of wildcats). While the Mob often rescued Penelope, as often as not she needed to rescue the Mob from the unintended effects of their attempts to rescue her. While Penelope was curiously helpless whenever The Hooded Claw grabbed her, once he left her tied up for his fiendish plans to take effect, she usually became resourceful and ingenious, sometimes coming up with spontaneous and creative methodologies to escape her peril.
- The Wacky Races are never once mentioned, but the Hooded Claw references Dick Dastardly in the debut episode.
- Also, in the first sketches of the series, Penelope was supposed to have a younger brother named Johnny Pitstop, who would help the Ant Hill Mob save her from the clutches of the Hooded Claw. In those same sketches, Dick Dastardly and Muttley were supposed to be Johnny Pitstop's personal bodyguards, using once again their car, The Mean Machine. This was all in the first sketches, and never make out in the final works.
- Instead of the Compact Pussycat, Penelope usually drives a green sports car, or any other vehicle that she finds, or even Chugga-Boom.