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60s and 70s Cartoons I Loved Watching

Updated: 2 days ago

When William Hanna met Joseph Barbera at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studio in 1938, they created the iconic Tom and Jerry show along with tens of cartoons that went on to win awards.

When their stint at the MGM Studio animation unit ended in 1957 they went on to found the famous Hanna-Barbera Productions Inc. which now houses some of the most iconic cartoons in the world. Some of these cartoons were my absolute favorites from Muttley's antics to the strength of Atom Ant.

My Favorite 60s and 70s Cartoons

This is one of the long-running 60s cartoons that was a crossover comedic event. The cartoon's premise was each character would race in their equivalent of a batmobile using every contraption imaginable to win this hilarious race.

Most cars had gadgets that would put the current-day James Bond's Aston Martin to shame. There were always a few running gags such as Dick Dastardly trying to sabotage Penelope Pitstop's run only for it to backfire spectacularly.

Wacky Races 60s cartoon poster

Professor Pat Pending had a flying car aptly named convert-a-car that could transform into anything that would help him overcome obstacles on the road. Yes, the professor's name references his inventions under development with the "Patents Pending."

Penelope Pitstop had her car designed to keep up her appearance and ensure that she looked her best no matter how grueling the race got. She was usually pursued romantically by Pete Perfect who tried to woo her every chance he got in the race.

The Slag Brothers, Rock and Gravel had the Boulder Mobile, Lazy Luke, and Blubber Bear drove the Arkansas Chuggabug, and Rufus Ruffcut had fun driving the Buzz Wagon. All these colorful characters with their unique cars would try to one-up each other and occasionally help to win the race.

My favorite was Dick Dastardly's Mean Machine which resembled the Batmobile closely, had superspeed, and a lot of cool gadgets on board.

2. Dick Dastardly and the Flying Machines (60s)

One of Hanna-Barbera's most entertaining character duos is Dick Dastardly and his (mostly) loyal dog Muttley. Dick Dastardly is a stereotypical representation of an evil person from the 20s and 30s who is twirling his mustache and hatching an appropriately evil plan.

Dick Dastardly and the Flying Machines

A spin-off of the Wacky Races, this cartoon revolves around the Vulture Squadron run by Dastardly who try to prevent a messenger pigeon Yankee Doodle from completing its secret message delivery mission. The Vulture Squadron is composed of planes used in World War I and every episode sees them chasing the elusive pigeon.

Muttley is the villain Dastardly's fitting pet who is perpetually frustrated with his master and grumbles "Snazza frazza rashin' fashin' Rick Rastardly!."

Muttley's distinct characteristic is his weasely little snicker-laugh, which is highly infectious and makes you laugh so hard. After Muttley joined Dick Dastardly and the Flying Machines he developed an ability to fly for short periods using his tail as a propeller!

Even though Muttley loves Dick Dastardly as his master and partner in exploits, but also is put off by Dick's constant criticism and casual ( and comical ) violence against him. This conflict frees up Muttley to prank Dick every once in a while and even abandon him at a critical time of need to great comical effect.

Magnificent Muttley Cartoon Short Poster

Magnificent Muttley was a cartoon short of Muttley daydreaming elaborate adventures in real time. Most were cathartic fantasies about him getting back at Dastardly for ill-treating him while Muttley emerges as the hero. These dreams usually end with Muttley doing something while still in a dream state, without context, and completely hilarious.

3. Dynomutt Dog Wonder (70s)

At first, I thought this Hanna-Barbera cartoon was serious, with the Blue Falcon presenting an image of gravitas. But when I saw an episode from the start, I read the title "Dynomutt Dog Wonder" still holding out hope that Dynomutt was just a sidekick.

Radley Crown is a wealthy art dealer in his city, but when he sees the "Falcon Flash" ( think Bat Signal ) Radley dons the cape of the Blue Flacon to fight crime.

Considering the screentime that Dynomutt got, and the amount of the plot that revolved around the goofy dog I settled into muted disappointment.

Dynomutt Dog Wonder and the Blue Falcon cartoon

Dynomutt is a mechanical dog that sounds like a cross between a talking Scooby-Doo and Homer Simpson. The Blue Falcon uses a highly advanced ( for the time ) exo-suit that enhances his natural abilities such as physical strength, climbing, and jumping.

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Blue Falcon might have looked amazing when I first saw the character, but looking at the giant red F right on his chest now, the costume feels a bit weird. I wonder whether this was an inside joke by one of the creators of this character.

4. Top Cat (60s)

A take on the phrase "Top Dog," Top Cat is a street-smart and pocket-wise street cat that lives the high life without spending a penny. He always used to rumble with the friendly neighborhood cop Charlie Dibble and his gang of misfit cats Choo Choo, Benny the Ball, Fancy-Fancy, and Brain.

The premise of this delightful cartoon is that a set of Manhatten Alley cats try to run a never-ending list of ponzi scams while Officer Dibble tries to arrest the gang of cats in vain.

Top Cat's usual residence is a "premium" garbage can that his visitors would knock on to meet him face-to-face. It always reminded me of 20s mobsters with funny gang member names and I thought that was pretty meta for the time.

Arnold Stang voices Top Cat with great ease giving it a unique style of his own. The streetsmart character is modeled after the Phil Silvers Show's lead Seargent Bilko a smooth-talking con artist.

Yes, this cartoon does remind me (now) of the Ant-Man character from the MCU. But back then Atom Ant was a cute stand-alone cartoon with interesting animation and good plots. The sound design did most of the work since in some of the action shots Atom Ant was shown as a slightly larger than full-stop brown dot.

As with most cartoons, the animation for Atom Ant was entirely delightful and thoroughly entertaining. Atom Ant derives his superpowers from his atomic helmet including superstrength, flight, and general invulnerability. Created to be a not-so-subtle caricature of Batman, Atom Ant has a "mainframe computer" equivalent to a Bat computer and lives in an ant hill at the city's edge.

The villains are aptly named Professor Von Gimmick and Ferocious Flea in this hilariously delightful cartoon who are intent on wreaking havoc in the city.

In an episode, there is even a parody of Superman named Superguy whom Atom Ant protects and whose superhero image he protects. I loved the "sprinkle" animation that is used to show the path of Atom Ant which I always thought was awesome.

6. Space Ghost (60s)

This was one of Hanna-Barbera's serious superhero cartoons that was a rare watch, in that they rarely aired it when I was home. But if I was lucky enough to catch an episode of this, I watched the whole episode waiting out the annoying ads.

Space Ghost was a superhero from the Ghost Planet who went about fighting intergalactic evil wherever he found it. His awesome powers included Superstrength, Energy Beams using his power bands, flight, invisibility, and other good stuff.

60s Cartoon Space Ghost Poster

The costume is pretty bada$$, his powers are pretty cool and the script is not bad at all. The villains in this show were not particularly amazing but Metallus and Moltar were awesome Big Bads.

Among the list of 60s and 70s cartoon options, Space Ghost was a true joy to watch, with classic animation, visually spectacular powers, and a moderately serious plotline.

pace Ghost also had a few spin-off shows such as Space Ghost Coast to Coast which was a meta-styled show where Space Ghost hosted a talk show with the villains being his sidekicks and sometimes being guests on the show.

7. Yogi-Bear (60s)

Known for his unimpeded love of pic-a-nic baskets, Boo-Boo Bear, and his friend the Park Ranger Smith, Yogi-Bear is an iconic cartoon that people of all ages have liked. He was always known for being "Smarter than the average bear!"

Yogi Bear 60s cartoon poster

The friendliest Bear in Jellystone Park, the only danger that Yogi Bear poses to tourists and campers is the theft of delicious treats and pic-a-nic baskets :) Yogi's younger partner-in-crime Boo Boo Bear is usually a contrast to his fun personality by weighing them down with his conscience.

While Yogi Bear and Boo Bear enjoyed pulling a fast one over Ranger Smith, they did care about him as a person. This cartoon felt more like a sitcom that you could watch on an idle national holiday or a Sunday noon.

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