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Speed Racer
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TV Series
    (April 2, 1967-March 31, 1968)
    52 episodes
    Japanese anime series (titled Mach GoGoGo) first aired in syndication in the U.S. on September 23, 1967
    Created by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida of the Tatsunoko Production Co.
    Main characters: Teen race car driver Speed Racer, his father Pops Racer, his mom Mom Racer, his little brother Spritle with pet chimp Chim-Chim, his girlfriend Trixie, his mechanic Sparky and his older brother Rex
    Premise: Former pro wrestler Pops designs the Mach 5, a supercharged race car that son Speed uses to compete in races and take on various scenarios, greedy villains and at times Racer X, his brother Rex Racer in disguise
    Spoofed in the TV series Family Guy, Robot Chicken, Dexter's Lab and Fairly OddParents
    Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the movies 'Slap Shot,' 'My Science Project,' 'Pulp Fiction,' 'Office Space' and 'My Date with Drew'
    Though Speed and the gang are clearly not Asian in appearance, their names and dialogue were Japanese.
    This explains the 'G' on Speed's shirt and 'M' on his helmet and the Mach 5; his 'real' name is Go Mifune.
    American voice dubbing was tricky to accomplish, giving the characters speech patterns a half droning/half halting dialect effect.
    Speed should have known from episode one that Racer X was his incognito bro in a flimsy mask.
    Spritle and Chim-Chim constantly slipped into the perpetually unlocked trunk of the Mach 5, never getting hurt or running out of air.
    Speaking of those two, they dressed alike and their relationship can't help but make one envision a certain pop singer and his monkey.
    Rich, free spirited Trixie was originally hired to spy on Pops operations by some unknown competitor but sappily and inevitably falls in love with Speed.
    Besides Speed shilling for Volkswagen in 1996 Trixie informed Speed during a race the bridge was out (she was flying a copter) but good news - she saved a ton of money on her car insurance by switching to Geico (in 2004).
    A 1993 resurrection was a dismal failure and another go in 2002 brought on a complex lawsuit between DIC Entertainment and Speed Racer Enterprises over series control.
    It became the first successful anime franchise to earn a niche in the U.S. market and usher in other Japanese animation.
    The Mach 5 challenged Batman's batmobile for the 'coolest car in a '60s TV series' title.
    The American theme for the series - 'Here he comes, here comes Speed Racer, he's a demon on wheels' - performed by Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass, immediately caught on with viewers and became a iconic cultural tune.
    Action in the series was usually intense and at times violent, with intriguing plots and an tangled father/son relationship, reminiscent of early '60s cartoon Jonny Quest.
    A lot of the villains in the series had goofy names, like Snake Oiler, Ace Deucey and Cruncher Bloch.
    Speed's Japanese name Go Mifune is creator Tatsuo Yoshida's way of tribute to his favorite actor Toshiro Mifune.
    Speed won ALMOST every race, but the series did have him (refreshingly) lose three races.
    His masked brother was proud of Speed and selflessly lent an occasional hand to help Speed win a race.
    The next to last episode where Racer X tells Speed he is indeed his brother Rex was listed by TV Guide as one of the most memorable moments in TV history.
    Proof of its icon status rests in toys, video games, comics, songs by Matthew Sweet, Everclear and Liz Phair, the 'Daytona 500' music video by Ghostface Killah and a 2008 movie release by the Wachowski Brothers.

Credit: Scar Tactics

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