Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids was a Saturday morning cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions in 1973 for NBC. The show features several Follow the Leader elements that are often bungled online. The Five-Man Band is designed to fit similar roles to Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!. However, the way band travels around the world foiling schemes and the nature of the people they apprehend makes the actual show more like a cross between Josie and the Pussycats and Jonny Quest. The show itself depicted the adventures of a teenybopper rock group, led by heartthrob Cassidy, who, while eluding fans, worked undercover with his bandmates as a team of teenage secret agents (Butch, Merilee, Steffy, Wally, and Wally's dog Elvis), solving mysteries and apprehending criminals.
The teen musical sleuths were advised by a supercomputer named Mr. Socrates, who, strangely enough, was highly allergic to the fleabag Elvis. So when the group visited Mr. Socrates for their latest assignment, Elvis was always made to stay outside the lair. But in each episode, either Elvis would find his own way in, or Wally, forgetting Mr. Socrates' allergy, would for one reason or another bring Elvis into the lair. Either way, Elvis' presence would cause the supercomputer to violently sneeze, blowing the group out of the lair and off to their assignment (in one episode the mere mention of Elvis' name aggravated Mr. Socrates' allergy!).
Cassidy (designated as "Sundance 1") wore a special ring with a hidden communicator to keep in contact with Mr. Socrates from afar. When they performed their music, Butch sang and played lead guitar, Merilee played tambourine, Steffy was on bass guitar and Wally was the drummer.
The series title is a word-play on the title of the unrelated 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Micky Dolenz, formerly the drummer and most commonly used singer of The Monkees, provided the voice of Wally, drummer for The Sundance Kids.
The series provides examples of:
- Band Toon: They are a band, this is a cartoon.
- Beach Episode: "The Pearl Caper" has Merilee and Butch go to the beach and switch into swim wear. "The Super Sub" does the same for Steffy and Wally.
- Beeping Computers: Mr Socrates is an excellent example of how this trope was codified.
- Bluff the Impostor: In "Double Trouble" the kids use rock trivia to find out which Prince Taki is the real one. Given the prince is a big rock fan and the imposter has no clue. For example Wally asks him who is The Beatles drummer and turns it into a trick multiple choice question. The imposter screws it up so badly, his answer is "George Harris' son."
- Death Glare: Happens sometimes usually from Steffy to Wally after some bad joke.
- Depending on the Writer: In the manual Steffy and Wally are siblings, and in some episodes this is briefly mentioned such as Steffy calling him "brother mine". That being said in another episode she refers to Wally's mother as "his mother" and in "The Haunted Castle" this relation is not mentioned at all when Wally is the one to receive an inheritance. (Unless there's been some misreporting there and they are instead supposed to be step siblings.)
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Given the spy nature of the show most of the other agents we meet are only known by some kind of spy lingo nickname. Most notable among the various contacts the stars meet Once per Episode.
- Fake Band: It's their cover.
- Fanservice: Butch, Merilee, Steffy and Wally all invoke this. All the characters appear in swimwear twice on the show during this show's one season within three different episodes. It is also notable as far as 70s Hanna Barbera teen characters go Steffy and Merilee's beachwear designs were among the least covering.
- Green Around the Gills: Wally turns thoroughly green on a roller coaster in "The Gold Caper." It's established in an earlier episode that he also gets seasick and airsick.
- Groupie Brigade: Butch and company are often mobbed by groupie fans.
- Large Ham: Elvis sometimes. In "Double Trouble" Wally and Steffy want him to fake ill to call a vet. Elvis acts as if he's practically got the plague.
- Master of Disguise: Merliee sometimes dons a random get up in the line of the mission.
- Mission Briefing: It's why they go to Socartes.
- Named After Somebody Famous:
- Elvis and Mr. Socrates.
- Butch himself is an odd example sharing the name with a real life outlaw. While never outright expressed in the show the band name is probably intended an in-universe pun based on this trope. Out of universe, it's too late to say Don't Explain the Joke.
- Once an Episode: Somehow or another Mr. Socrates will start sneezing whenever Elvis sneaks into the mission room and sometimes even when Butch petted Elvis before accepting a call on his ring.
- Pet's Homage Name: Elvis
- Plot Allergy: Mr Socrates allergy to dogs.
- The Reveal: Used in the end of the first episode where we learn the scientist the group had come to rescue, is the creator of Mr. Socrates.
- "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Utilized only in one episode "The Haunted Castle", much less than some would have you believe.
- She's Got Legs: Merilee, showcased by her miniskirt. Steffy to an extent too.
- Shoe Phone: Butch's ring.
- Sneeze of Doom: Mr. Socrates
- The Spymaster: Mr. Socrates
- Team Pet: Elvis
- Teen Superspy: A very good example of this trope before it would boom in later years.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Steffy and Merilee.
- Unexpected Inheritance: Wally receives an old castle from an Uncle he never knew in "The Haunted Castle".
- You Meddling Kids: While not the normal type, they still are young people saving the day.