Western Animation: Laff-A-Lympics
series from the 1970s was a Saturday Morning Cartoon
version of ABC
's Battle of the Network Starsnote
. The three teams were:
- the Yogi Yahooeys, a team of funny animals from Hanna-Barbera's golden age (with the exception of Grape Ape, who was the only post-1962 character in the lineup), led by Yogi Bear and Boo Boo;
- the Scooby Doobies, a team of heroes and Meddling Kids from Hanna-Barbera's more recent shows, led by Scooby-Doo and Shaggy;
- and the Really Rottens, a team of cheaters led by Mumbly and Dread Baronnote .
and Mildew Wolf provided commentary as the teams engaged in various contests of skill and endurance. Fred Flintstone
made occasional guest appearances as judges.
This series provides examples of:
- Ascended Extra: While the teams mostly consisted of lead stars, a few supporting characters such as Cindy Bear and Scooby-Dum were regulars.
- Captain Ersatz: Hanna-Barbera wanted to use Dick Dastardly and Muttley as captains of the Rottens, but Merrill Heatter allegedly still had part ownership of the Wacky Races characters; one issue of the comic book revealed that Dread Baron was Dick Dastardly's brother. Similarly, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels were allegedly created as substitutes for Josie and the Pussycats (due to clearance issues with "Radio Comics"note ), and Babu appeared alone because Columbia Pictures Televisionnote still owned I Dream of Jeannie (never mind that Jeannie and Babu appeared together on The New Scooby-Doo Movies). Curiously, ABC's print ad for Laff-a-Lympics in the Sept. 10–16, 1977, issue of TV Guide had Jeannie and Josie and the Pussycats featured.
- The order of who got bumped or replaced before whom is debated, except that Jeannie's removal was clearly last as she's counted in the opening narration and was included in the main model sheets for the series.
- In the second season, Mumbly did get mistakenly called "Muttley".
- Cartoon Physics: At one point the Rottens were in a skiing event and when they pass Huckleberry lazing in an armchair on skis, they pick him up and pass him back to one another before putting him back. Somehow Huckleberry's skiing armchair stays at the same speed and the Rottens pass it.
- Color-Coded Characters: The competitors wear their team shirts over their normal attire (where applicable). The YYs wear red uniforms, the SDs are blue, and the RRs are green.
- In Brazil, shirts like that are used as admission tickets to some Carnaval parties. They're called abadás. It is unclear whether Laff-a-Lympics was the inspiration for the scheme, but one Brazilian troper definitely doesn't remember such use from before the show's time.
- Comic Book Adaptation: In the 13-issue comic book series published by Marvel, each story had a central plot with the usual event participation. In the comics, Scooby-Dum (Scooby Doobies) and Sooey Pig (Really Rottens) were left out. A 14th issue, about a vengeful college professor, was not published. A special giant-sized story, "The Man Who Stole Thursday", featured most of the regular stars and cameos from other classic H-B characters.
- Corrupt Hick: Daisy Mayhem is a female example.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Daisy Mayhem, who goes barefoot even in cold and snowy climates.
- Dread Baron Stops to Cheat: And the Rottens want to win by cheating. The one time the Really Rottens won legitimately, it left them pissed off.
- The Rottens would legitimately win some events. When the team member does (Mumbly in the burro race, for example), it shows the other Rottens cheering vicariously (by way of stock animation).
- Driven to Madness: In season two, Mildew has stated that enduring the competition is enough to drive him—and anyone—cuckoo. Sure enough, the end of one episode has him in a strait-jacket and committed to a mental ward.
- Expy: Most of the Really Rottens were made up of this.
- The Dread Baron is a ridiculously blatant one of Dick Dastardly.
- Issue #13 of the comic book portrays Dread Baron and Dick Dastardly as being "brothers".
- Three of the Rottens are the next incarnation/redesigns of the Gruesome family from The Flintstones. (who in turn were expies of the J Evil Scientist Family)
- Face-Heel Turn: Mumbly was originally a police detective.
- The studio attempted to distinguish them by fur color (Muttley was light green, Mumbly light blue), ears (Muttley's were black, Mumbly's were the same color as his fur) and clothing (Muttley wore a collar, then his flying helmet and scarf; Mumbly, a trenchcoat).
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: During the Canada sled race, pause when Mildew and Snag are shown talking. Jeannie can be spotted standing between Babu and Hong Kong Phooey.
- Golden Snitch
- Grand Finale: The final episode moved to the moon, and ended in a three-way tie.
- Heel-Face Turn: Mildew Wolf was originally an antagonist, in the "It's the Wolf!" segments of The Cattanooga Cats. On that show, Mildew was voiced by Paul Lynde, who by 1977 was subject to scandal. John Stephenson would voice Mildew on Laff-a-Lympics.
- Human Ladder: The Rottens used one of these to win a "Freestyle Pole Vault" competition; in this case "freestyle" meant "anything goes", so it wasn't cheating, but they sure abused that loophole for all it was worth.
- Inept Mage: The Great Fondoo and Babu most of the time.
- Kangaroo Pouch Ride: One episode features a kangaroo race as the last event. Each team has an entrant riding in a kangaroo's pouch. The Really Rottens use a mechanical kangaroo instead of a real one, which isn't against any rules.
- Lazy Artist: In way too many episodes, the edges of the cels can be seen during character pans either way. Long cels would normally be used for such instances, but in the case of Laff-a-Lympics, it obviously wasn't so cost efficient as using the standard 10-field cels.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover
- Panty Shot: Teen Angels Dee Dee and Taffy in the Tahiti events; both girls' swimsuits were colored the same as their skirts.
- Pseudolympics: The whole point of the series.
- Road Sign Reversal: The Rottens mistakenly switched the signs back, resulting in disgust from their teammates (although they did get a 50-point bonus for "chivalry" because the judges thought they did it to help their opponents).
- Shout-Out: Because the series aired on ABC, commentators Snagglepuss and Mildew Wolf were depicted wearing the then-standard yellow sportscoats worn by ABC Sports broadcasters.
- Mildew Wolf referring to everyone as "savages" is a double reference to both his original voice actor, Paul Lynde (who again, originally voiced Mildew), and the Hanna-Barbera series Where's Huddles? (CBS, 1970), in which Lynde played Claude Pertwee, a character who often referred to show's football-playing Fred and Barney expies as "savages".
- The Smurfette Principle: Cindy Bear is the only female member of the Yogi Yahooeys.
- Team Rocket Wins: On at least two occasions, the Really Rottens won an episode legitimately, as much to their surprise as everyone else's.
- An issue of the Laff-a-Lympics comic book had the Rottens—under the presumption that they have now decided to play fair—winning the gold, but they were disqualified for having the Great Fondoo and Magic Rabbit kidnap and impersonate Blue Falcon and Boo Boo Bear, then have them deliberately lose for the Yogis and Scoobys.
- Wacky Racing
- Wolverine Publicity: The full title is Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics, even though Scooby is barely focused on outside the intro.
- In its original two-hour format on ABC, the show featured two half-hours of Scooby—repeats from Where Are You! and new episodes (as well as repeats from 1976). That gave the remaining hour to Dynomutt, Captain Caveman and Laff-a-Lympics. When the show aired as simply "Laff-a-Lympics" in 1980 and 1986, only the LAL segment intro was used.
- Wrong Parachute Gag: Mumbly switches the tags on Grape Ape's and Yakky Doodle's parachutes during a skydiving competition. The small parachute causes Grape Ape to fall like a stone, while the large parachute leaves Yakky Doodle stranded aloft in a thunderstorm.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: As noted in the Comic Book Adapation trope, Scooby-Dum and Sooey Pig were left out of the Laff-a-Lympics comic book. Neither the Scoobys nor the Rottens seemed to be aware of it.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: Slight version here in the opening credits where it says there are 45 stars. Counting all three teams and announcers, there's 44.
- The real reason being that it was written before Jeannie was cut. Unless the narrator is counting himself as the 45th (and hey, Don Messick narrated a lot of Hanna-Barbera cartoons in that "Ranger Smith" voice, so why not?)