Speed Racer was titled Mach Go Go in Japan. It was produced
and created by Tatsuo Yoshida and released
worldwide in 1967 1968 through Trans Lux who was also responsible for Gigantor. It
was first shown on Melbourne TV in December 1969 on channel 2 at 5.05pm weekdays.
52 episodes were made. Peter Fernandez (other work includes The Space Giants, Ultraman, and Star Blazers-aka Space Battleship Yamoto as well as most of the Godzilla films) coordinated the English version and was the voice of Speed Racer and Racer X as well as Piper and Dr Mariner from Marine Boy and a number of other characters. Corinne Orr (female) was the voice of Trixie, Mom Racer and Spritle after her success as the voice of Marine boy. Jack Curtis was Pops Racer and Inspector Detector, after playing Bulton in Marine Boy. Jack Grimes was the voice of Sparky and Chim-Chim as well as Professor Fumble and Splasher in Marine Boy. The worldwide rights to the series are held by the Rocknowski family of Santa Monica, CA in the US (production info from Andy Shepherd)
Speed Racer was the story of Speed, an 18 year old racing driver and his adventures on and off the track. On his helmet was printed M, originally standing for "Go Mifune" his original Japanese name.
His girlfriend was Trixie, his younger brother Spritle, and Spritles pet monkey was named Chim Chim. Speed's mechanic and best friend was Sparky. Speed's older brother was Rex, who also played Racer X - a masked racer with even Speed not knowing his real identity, and was an undercover agent. He had left home years ago and none of his family had seen him since.
Speeds car was known as the Mach 5. It was designed and built by his father "Pops" and was equipped with incredible features, operated by 7 buttons on the steering wheel.
A - jet propulsion and car elevation
B - special tyres for rough terrain
C - sawblades at the front of the car for cutting through anything in his way
D - bullet proof windshield
E - super bright headlights
F - for driving underwater, equipped with an oxygen supply and periscope
G - robot bird released as a messenger pigeon
Carloco (Stallone and Shwartzenegger) purchased the rights to do a Live
Action Speed Racer . They paid 10 million for the rights. The script was finished and even
hired a casting agency and cast the parts. After the failure of Cliffhanger and Last
Action hero, nothing became of it and so their licenses have expired.
Too bad. I would have enjoyed it (from Dave Stenberg).
It is interesting to know there was a take off involving American movie star George
Clooney. The US program "Saturday Night Live Live" had a short animated
cartoon, like the opening of Speed Racer, but the song, of course, was "Go
George Clooney, Go!" The animation showed George lecturing the media (the
paparazzi), followed by the usual car chase (Jim Cook Bolton, Massachusetts, USA)
A new series titled "New series of Speed Racer" was produced by Fred Wolf films from Teenage Mutant Turtle fame and released in 1993, but was not as popular as the original, for a few reasons. The animation was done by American cartoonists, losing that great Manga effect; the storyline and animation seems only to appeal to small children and not to adults as the original one did. The artwork is nowhere near as good and the theme song was changed. The only things remaining are the original names. A big disappointment!
Speed Racer episode guide:
Speed Racer theme song
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