Speed Buggy was a Saturday morning cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions from September 8, 1973, to August 30, 1975, on CBS. Similar in style to Hanna-Barbera's successful Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, Speed Buggy followed the adventures of an anthropomorphic fiberglass dune buggy, Speed Buggy (voiced by Mel Blanc); his driver, Tinker (voiced by Phil Luther Jr. in imitation of Jim Nabors' character Gomer Pyle), and Tinker's friends, Mark (voiced by Michael Bell) and Debbie (voiced by Arlene Golonka). The three young adults and their car traveled from race to race, often encountering spy capers and mysteries along the way. Speed Buggy's catch phrases were always "Roger-Dodger!" and "Vroom-a-zoom-zoom!"
Though Speed Buggy (nicknamed Speedy by his friends) had a mind of his own, based on Disney's Herbie the Love Bug, he was vulnerable to commands given through a communicator/remote control device made by Tinker when he first built Speed Buggy. Speedy's friends rarely used the device to control his actions, using it mainly for its communication function, but criminals and other ne'er-do-wells would sometimes steal or duplicate the device and manipulate Speedy for their own purposes.
Sixteen 30-minute installments of Speed Buggy were produced in 1973. The show was a such a huge success that it aired on all three major networks. It aired first run on CBS until 1975. Reruns aired on ABC in January 1976, replacing Uncle Croc's Block, then on NBC, replacing the canceled McDuff, The Talking Dog, from November 27, 1976, until September 3, 1977 (thus completing the cycle of being on all three networks). Then was picked up by the USA Network for its Cartoon Express shows from 1982 to about 1990.
Most likely due to the show's inspiration, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, the character Tinker shares many visual likenesses to Scooby's beatnik best friend, Norville "Shaggy" Rogers. Also, there are some similar character traits between Mark and Fred Jones, and Debbie appears to be very similar to Daphne Blake in multiple ways.
The first episode, "Speed Buggy Went That-A-Way", is featured on the DVD compilation Saturday Morning Cartoons: The 1970s Volume 1, released on May 26, 2009. (wikipedia.org)
|Ep.#||Episode||Original Air Date||Episode Summary|
|1||"Speed Buggy Went That-A-Way"||September 8, 1973||On the way to a race, the gang veers off to visit Debbie's Aunt Belle, a cattle rancher. The mysterious BeefFinger and his henchman have rustled up her entire herd. Speed Buggy and the gang rescue the cattle and try to drive them to the market as the villains try to stop them in their tracks.|
|2||"Speed Buggy's Daring Escapade"||September 15, 1973||Dr. Kluke is upset with his latest invention (a robot that has allergies!) and gets an idea to get Speed Buggy in order to learn his secrets. He has his assistant Klinker throw as much money as he can to buy Speedy from the gang, but they value his friendship over money. Afterward, Dr. Kluke has Klinker kidnap Speedy late at night while the gang is sleeping. Will they be able to find their friendly car in time before Kluke is able to exploit him?|
|3||"Taggert's Trophy"||September 22, 1973||Speed Buggy is participating in his latest race when a mysterious zeppelin zaps him and the other cars with a motion control ray that makes them go haywire. The gang trace the zeppelin to a man known as "The Chief", who turns out to be someone familiar. Can Speedy and company stop him and put his ray out of commission?|
|4||"Speed Buggy Falls in Love"||September 29, 1973||Speed Buggy and the gang are invited to race in Bulgonia. Baron Vulch plants a sophisticated bugging device in his trunk to avoid customs when they fly over there. Vulch creates Mata Cari, a female automobile, with whom Speed Buggy falls in love. But she's really a decoy car operated by Vulch's assistant Pygmo, who tricks him into going to his castle to get the bugging device back. Will the gang get Speed Buggy out of the villains' clutches before the big race?|
|5||"Kingzilla"||October 6, 1973||While flying over the Andes Mountains, the gang experiences plane trouble and is forced to bail out. They wind up in a valley inhabited by giant gorillas, including Kingzilla, who takes a liking to Speed Buggy. The group meets Professor Grovac and his assistant, Karl, who uses them to capture the giant ape in hopes of commanding him and the other gorillas as his personal army in his quest to conquer the nations of the world. Can Speedy and the gang thwart their evil plans?|
|6||"Professor Snow and Madam Ice"||October 13, 1973||The gang encounters the very mean Professor Snow and Madame Ice, who take an interest in Speed Buggy. They try to manipulate Tinker into perfecting their FreezeMobiles with his remote control technology in hope of conquering the world by putting it on ice.|
|7||"Out of Sight"||October 20, 1973||In Egypt, the gang come to the aid of Professor Rigby, who's fleeing from his evil colleague, Professor Rishna. While uncovering an ancient tomb, they discover a formula for an invisibility potion. Rishna uses it on himself hoping to steal various treasures and rule the world. Rigby created an antidote to the potion. But Rishna and his assistant Abdul want to stop him from using it. After they kidnap Mark and Debbie, Tinker and Speedy come to their rescue, but not before the whole gang get into a little game of "Now you see me, now you don't" as the invisibility potion is passed all around.|
|8||"Gold Fever"||October 27, 1973||The gang encounter the villainous megalomaniac Gold Fever in the Hawaiian Islands as he uses a series of special satellites that are capable of stealing gold all over the world, including Speedy's love trophy, which Debbie is holding as she is taken aboard one of the satellites as well. Mark, Tinker, and Speedy follow her to Forbidden Island where Gold Fever's headquarters is located as they go to the rescue and put the villain's plans of stealing the world's gold supply out of commission.|
|9||"Island of the Giant Plants"||November 3, 1973||During a cruise, Speed Buggy and the gang fall overboard while heading to the South African Grand Prix. They make it to a remote island where they find unusual man-eating plants created by Dr. Meangreen with his assistant Krelb. Meangreen decides to steal Speedy's remote control in an effort to take over plants all around the world. Will the gang be able to survive the scientist's Garden of Evil Weeds and foil Meangreen's plans?|
|10||"Soundmaster"||November 10, 1973||Speed Buggy and his friends are wrongly accused of stealing an advanced battery called the K-233 Supercell as a result of the dreaded Dr. Ohm using a replica of Speedy and robbing the armored car shipping the supercell and dressing like tinker to frame the gang. Instead of turning themselves in, they decide to track down the culprit, eventually locating Dr. Ohm with the fake Speed Buggy. They sneak in and travel aboard his airplane to his secret hideout located at Lost Mountain. There, the evil scientist tests his invention, the Soundmaster, which with the supercell, can destroy even the largest objects with sound. To prove its power to the world, Dr. Ohm plans to use his invention on Mount Rushmore. Can Speedy and the gang escape his clutches and thwart his diabolical plot and prove their innocent?|
|11||"The Ringmaster"||November 17, 1973||While racing in the Bayou 500, Speed Buggy and the gang wind up on an island occupied by a ringmaster who has a special means of controlling animals in his quest of ruling the world.|
|12||"The Incredible Changing Man"||November 24, 1973||While participating in the U.S.-Mexico Cross Country Race, Speed Buggy and the gang run into Jerick, the Incredible Changing Man, who has the ability to alter his size and form as he seeks a special tape of a physical formula that can enable him to create an army of Incredibles similar to himself. The tape was placed in Speedy's cassette player by a scientist looking to make sure it wouldn't fall into Jerick's hands, but he tracks the gang down and captures them in hope of getting it back. But they're able to turn the tables on him as Tinker is able to make his own version of the changing ray from the tape recording and use it on Speedy to save the day.|
|13||"Secret Safari"||December 1, 1973||While at the Nawambi Speedway in Africa, the evil scientist Varzak and his assistant Emil steal a museum's special diamond large enough that can power his invention, the Laser-Blazer which he hopes to use to rule the world. After seeing Speed Buggy at the Speedway, they get the idea to use him to avoid the police roadblocks so they can get to his secret laboratory by inviting the gang on a fake safari in hopes of stealing Speedy away. When the gang get wise to his plans, they set out to stop him from using his Laser-Blazer.|
|14||"Oils Well That Ends Well"||December 8, 1973||In Oaklahoma, Speed Buggy and the gang learn the state's oil supply is running very low. Investigating the disappearance, they find an underground city with large storage tanks and meet the dreaded Dr. Vesuvio, who seeks to steal all the world's oil in an effort to rule the world. Can Speedy and the gang stop his evil plans and restore the world's oil supply?|
|15||"The Hidden Valley of Amazonia"||December 15, 1973||While racing in the Himalayas 500, the gang come across the hidden valley of Amazonia, where women rule and men are slaves. Queen Sheba controls them with a mind ruler, which she uses on Mark and Tinker as she tempts Debbie to join her league of Amazons in her plot to rule the whole world with a giant version of the mind ruler, which can control anybody unless Debbie can think fast and put the queen's plans out of commission.|
|16||"Captain Schemo and the Underwater City"||December 22, 1973||With a break from their racing schedule, Speedy and the gang take an island vacation and go fishing out to sea. When a marlin pulls them further out, they make it to a remote island that turns out to be artificial as it brings them down to an underwater city that's run by Captain Schemo, who has a fleet of special submarines at his bidding in hope of becoming master of the oceans and ruling the world. Can the gang stop the pirate's plans?|