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Western Animation / The Perils of Penelope Pitstop

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"I'll get you, Penelope Pitstop!"

Headlined by one of the most fetching females in animation, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop was one of two animated series spun off from Wacky Races (the other being Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines). Implied to be set between 1911 and 1930, the series was strongly influenced by The Perils of Pauline, a silent movie serial.

The heiress Penelope, a classic Damsel in Distress, was the ward of Sylvester Sneekly. Unknown to her, Once per Episode Sneekly assumed the identity of the Hooded Claw. With the aid of his identical twin henchmen, the Bully Brothers, the Hooded Claw caught Penelope in one Death Trap after another, in hope of taking over her inheritance. Invariably, the Hooded Claw would explain his trap in detail to Penelope.

Although she often escaped the Hooded Claw's traps on her own, Penelope had friends in her fellow Wacky Racers, the Ant Hill Mob, a group of seven little men whose car, Chugga-Boom, may have been a prototype for Speed Buggy. The Interactive Narrator was also on her side, providing advice and encouragement. Frequently, after the Mob rescued Penelope, she had to rescue them from an unintended consequence of their heroics.

The show's voice talent comprised Janet Waldo as Penelope; Paul Lynde (uncredited) as the Hooded Claw; Gary Owens as the Narrator; Don Messick as Dum-Dum, Snoozy, Pockets, and Zippy; Paul Winchell as Clyde and Softy, and Mel Blanc as Yak Yak, Chugga-Boom, and the Bully Brothers.

This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Penelope Pitstop may have been naïve and prone to danger, but she was actually far more capable than she looked and often saved the day.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The Ant Hill Mob, in stark contrast to their Wacky Races counterparts, are clearly on the side of good, being Penelope's benefactors; they are no longer prone to shooting and deceiving those they see as opposition, which made them more in line with Ambiguously Evil.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: The Ant Hill Mob's car, originally called the "Bulletproof Bomb" in Wacky Races, is rechristened as Chugga-Boom for this series and turned into a Sentient Vehicle, becoming a character in its own right.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Ant Hill Mob is much more fleshed-out than in Wacky Races. In Races, Clyde and Dum-Dum were the only ones who ever spoke, with the other five being blank slates who merely do Clyde's bidding. Here, the other five are given fleshed-out, unique personalities that make them stand out from each other (though Snoozy and Pockets didn't speak as often as the others did).
  • Adaptation Name Change: Dum-Dum was named Ring-A-Ding in Wacky Races.
    • The names of the other Mob members were never mentioned on Wacky Races, but they were labeled on model sheets and publicity drawings. The names of the others on Races apart from Clyde and Ring-a-Ding were Mac, Danny, Rug Bug Benny, Willy and Kirby (Pockets, Yak Yak, Snoozy, Zippy and Softy respectively). Their vehicle in Wacky Races was originally called the "Bulletproof Bomb" and was largely inanimate; on Perils, its name is "Chugga-Boom", and is more anthropomorphic than its Races counterpart.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Penelope's racer outfit is redesigned to resemble an aviator's variation of it. Appropriate for the setting of the series.
  • Affectionate Parody: Penelope and the Ant Hill Mob may have been gentle caricatures of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
    • It was actually lampshaded back in the first episode of Wacky Races, "See-Saw to Arkansas", where the mob dressed up as the seven dwarfs to give people false directions. Penelope was the first one they misdirected.
      Clyde: If she follows my directions, she'll end up in the middle of the La Brea Tar Pits!
  • Alliterative Name: Multiple characters:
    • Penelope Pitstop
    • Sylvester Sneekly
  • Alliterative Title: The title of the series, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: In 1970, Gold Key Comics had a four-issue comic series called The Close Shaves of Pauline Peril. Despite resembling Penelope, Pauline Peril was a newspaper reporter whose editor wanted to kill her.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese dub has this for its theme song.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Although the timeframe is never mentioned in the show, it is implied to be set between 1911 and 1930 a.k.a the silent film era as mentioned in the main summary, though a few things stand out referencing the current time it was made in. For example, in "Wild West Peril", the Narrator makes a pun on Rock 'n Roll which didn't exist until the late 1940s or early 1950s. Also, in "Tall Timber Treachery", Penelope is heard dancing to typical "groovy" 1960s music you'd hear in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!.
  • Anti-Sneeze Finger: Penelope does it to herself in episode "Tall Timber Treachery".
  • Bag of Kidnapping: The Hooded Claw and his minions The Bully Brothers do this to Penelope in "Big Baghdad Danger" and "Big Top Trap".
  • Balloonacy: In "The Boardwalk Booby Trap", the Hooded Claw gets rid of the Ant Hill Mob by giving them helium balloons that cause them to float away.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bears have menaced both the heroes and the villains in the episodes "Tall Timber Treachery" and "Cross Country Double Cross".
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Seriously, only actual Bond villains show this more than Sneekly does. It's clearly the biggest reason why his plans never work.
  • Bondage Is Bad: Given his usual means to try to dispose of Penelope and how gleefully he is placing her in it, the Hooded Claw practically has a G-rated kink. At one point he's watching his device gradually mummify her from toe to head while eating popcorn.
    Claw: Exciting, isn't it?
  • Bound and Gagged: Penelope is tied up at least Once per Episode, though only in "Carnival Calamity" is she also gagged.
  • Broken Lever of Doom: In the episode "The Diabolical Department Store Danger", the elevator brake lever, which the Hooded Claw had sabotaged, snaps when Penelope pulls it. The Bully Brothers had also placed a rocket under the elevator, sending it and Penelope toward the roof at high speed.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: The main titles begin with a brief sequence where Penelope Pitstop and the Hooded Claw are in darkness and only visible by their eyes.
  • By Wall That Is Holey: "They would forget to close the window!"
  • Caretaker Reversal: A few times, the Ant Hill Mob get into trouble themselves while trying to save Penelope, leaving her to rescue them instead.
  • Chained to a Railway: It's even in the opening/closing credits. "The Diabolical Department Store Danger" even has a variation with a toy train set heading towards a string that would send Penelope falling once cut as part of the Hooded Claw's trap. A variant of this was used in "Carnival Calamity", where she was almost run over by a roller coaster.
  • Characterization Marches On: May be a little odd for Wacky Races fans seeing Penelope and the Ant Hill Mob as devoted allies (especially the aforementioned instance where the Mob try to use dirty tactics on Penelope).
    • Races did have an episode where six Mob members accidentally got jettisoned from the car, so they hitched a ride. Penelope gave them a lift to their car, for which Ring-a-Ding politely thanked her.
  • Circus Episode: In "Big Top Trap", Penelope and the Ant Hill Mob are rehearsing for their performance in a charity circus, where she does a trapeze act and they are clowns. As usual, the Hooded Claw sets death traps for Penelope, and even impersonates her at one point.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: The Hooded Claw wears a hat, a mask, and a coat to hide that he's really Sylvester Sneekly.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Penelope appeared in four issues of Gold Key Comics' Hanna-Barbera Fun-In and two issues of Golden Comics Digest. The digest stories had Sylvester Sneekly as Penelope's neighbor (she owned a ranch in those stories) instead of her guardian. Only two stories were adapted from TV episodes—"Jungle Jeopardy" (Fun-In #1, as "The Hooded Claw's Sinister Plot") and "The Boardwalk Booby Trap" (Fun-In #4). Of original stories:
    • Fun-In #2 - "The Great Space Chase". Sneekly gets Penelope to volunteer in testing his new rocket powered elevator, but as the Hooded Claw, he sends Penelope into outer space with it.
    • Fun-In #3 - "The Catnapper's Curse." Sneekly sets up Penelope as the thief who stole a rich widow's prized pet cat.
    • Digest #7 - "The Hooded Claw Caper." The Claw tries to acquire Penelope's ranch after gold nuggets are discovered on it.
    • Digest #11 - "The Treasure Trail." Penelope discovers valuable antique wares discarded by pioneers buried on her ranch land.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: Penelope would sometimes be on a conveyor belt leading her to her doom. One instance had the Hooded Claw try to make fortune cookies out of her in "Bad Fortune in a Chinese Fortune Cookie". Another had him try to make her into saltwater taffy in "The Boardwalk Booby Trap".
  • Cool Car: Chugaboom is a sentient car who can help the Ant Hill Mob and Penelope out of any fix.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Pockets seems to have a gadget for every occasion.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: In "Cross Country Double Cross", the Hooded Claw dresses as an old woman to trick Penelope into giving him a ride on her motor scooter. In "Hair Raising Harness Race" and "Big Top Trap", he impersonates Penelope herself.
    • One scene in "Big Bagdad Danger" has the Bully Brothers dressed as maidservants when leading Penelope to a trap.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Both Penelope and the Ant Hill Mob. Both examples were rather haphazard and prone to getting into danger easily but were resilient and resourceful in saving the other when they were in peril (which happened a lot).
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Despite the lightheartedness of the show in general, the whole premise centered on the Hooded Claw's attempts to kill Penelope, more often than not in quite nasty and juicy ways like mummifying her alive, impaling her on a harpoon, or feeding her to crocodiles. Naturally these always failed however and the worst violence inflected throughout the show was Amusing Injuries.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Ant Hill Mob look like a bunch of no-good crooks, but they're simply a pack of eccentric good guys, fairly more heroic than their Wacky Races incarnations.
  • Damsel in Distress: Both parodied and played straight with Penelope.
  • Damsel out of Distress: In some episodes, the Ant Hill Mob mess up when trying to rescue Penelope, resulting in her having to rescue them.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: The Hooded Claw practically meets every checklist in style and mannerisms, though he lacks the traditional mustache and looks rather bookish even when dressed for villainy.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Clyde often makes sarcastic remarks about the ineptitude of his fellow Ant Hill Mobsters, particularly Dum-Dum's stupidity.
    • The Hooded Claw will often sneer about how easy it is for him to deceive the heroes.
    • Penelope herself can be a little snarky herself (albeit in quite a dignified way), especially during one of her perils.
      Penelope: You fiend! At least you could have made it an even two dozen.
  • Death Trap: At least one per episode, Penelope and/or the Ant Hill Mob will be put through a trap intended to kill them.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: The Hooded Claw in "Wild West Peril" after Penelope makes off with his hot air balloon.
    Claw: Help! Police!! [covers his mouth]...oop...what am I saying?!
  • Dissonant Laughter: Yak-Yak is constantly laughing, even when Penelope and/or The Ant-Hill Mob are about to be killed.
  • The Dividual: The Bully Brothers are completely indistinguishable. Even if they were named, it wouldn't matter since they both act and dress exactly the same. Heck, they even speak in unison the majority of the time, which could make one wonder why the show even bothered with two of them.
  • Driving Up a Wall: Chugga-Boom has been driven up not only up buildings but also cliffs and other vertical surfaces.
  • Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: In one episode, Penelope returned a fallen baby eagle to its nest.
  • Evil Laugh: The Hooded Claw often laughs maniacally. His voice actor, Paul Lynde, was clearly into this specific part of the character, and delivered those evil laughs with great gusto.
  • Evil Plan: Practically non-existent for the heroes. They just know that the Hooded Claw wants to kill Penelope for some weird reason, unaware that the reason is so that he can inherit Penelope's family fortune once she's done away with.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: This show is about Penelope Pitstop. She is in peril. Many times.
  • Eyebrow Waggle: In the opening animation, the Hooded Claw does this when the announcer mentions him, likely done as a Fourth Wall vanity pose.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: "The Treacherous Movie Lot Plot" has one.
  • False Reassurance: At the end of "Big Bagdad Danger", Sneekly told Penelope that, wherever the Hooded Claw was, he'd also be. He also does this at the end of "Cross Country Double Cross."
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Hooded Claw in spades! As Sylvester Sneekly he puts on the facade of a kind and caring guardian, even as the Hooded Claw he remains calm and composed as he gloats in great detail about how he's gonna kill Penelope, clearly enjoying himself while doing so. And just to rub it in her face, every so often as Sneekly he drops subtle hints to her that he really is the Hooded Claw, and she's none the wiser!
  • Friend to All Living Things: Animals have helped Penelope escape several times, and with little wonder; "Arabian Desert Danger" she seems far more concerned about a camel (whose legs have been bound by Sneeky) than her own life (her whole body has been bound by Sneeky to be Buried Alive).
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: The show only lasted seventeen episodes and ended without a conclusion. It would later be featured in a Crossover with Mystery Inc. in Scooby-Doo! Team-Up which would end with The Hooded Claw being unmasked and taken to jail once and for all.
  • Genre Blindness: On both sides of the show. The number of times the Claw and Penelope pass the Idiot Ball back and forth, you would think they were playing catch.
  • Hammerspace: Pockets was known for this. (Well, how do you think he got his name?)
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Bully Brothers in the series finale, "London Town Treachery". The Hooded Claw intends to fire them after the Ant Hill Mob — turned into miniature Mr. Hydes from a spiked tea — put Penelope in a peril, leaving the Brothers with no alternative but to try to rescue Penelope. This turns into a subversion in that they only did it so they could keep their jobs of putting Penelope in perils themselves.
  • The Hyena: Yak-Yak of the Ant Hill Mob constantly laughs, even while pointing out when he, the other members of the Ant Hill Mob, and Penelope Pitstop are in danger.
  • Hysterical Woman: Averted. Throughout her various ordeals, Penelope remains a pillar of strength and is often able to rescue herself. Not once in the series does she resort to screaming while in danger, instead preferring to make dry comments about the situation.
  • Idiot Ball: Gets passed around a lot, between Penelope falling for obvious traps, the Hooded Claw's Bond Villain Stupidity and the quirkiness of the Ant Hill Mob ruining rescue attempts. Dum-Dum in particular seems to be clutching the ball like a lifeline, much to Clyde's irritation.
  • Improvised Parachute: In "Jungle Jeopardy", Penelope used her scarf as a parachute after jumping from a plane.
  • Inheritance Murder: The Hooded Claw's reason for routinely trying to terminate Penelope is that his alternate identity is Sylvester Sneekly, who would be executor to her estate. This explains why the Hooded Claw uses the Conveyor Belt o' Doom and similar mechanisms to dispose of his victim: it allows him to be seen elsewhere as Sneekly, thus allaying suspicion.
  • Instant Costume Change: The Hooded Claw often does this when he's going in or out of disguise. In later episodes, he typically does so by going into a tornado-like spin for a few seconds.
  • Interactive Narrator: The show's narrator frequently speaks to the show's characters.
  • Illegal Guardian: Sylvester Sneekly is Penelope Pitstop's guardian, secretly planning to do her in as the Hooded Claw so he can get his hands on her family fortune.
  • It's Raining Men: Or in this case a woman, as noted in Improvised Parachute above.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: In "London Town Treachery", The Hooded Claw rented a house from Jekyll and Hyde as part of a plan to capture Penelope, inviting her and the Ant Hill Mob for tea while disguised as the Earl of Krumpet. After realizing there was no tea there, he improvised with some random ingredients. He planned to have the Bully Brothers capture Penelope while he distracted the Ant Hill Mob with the tea. However, the tea turned them into seven "Mr. Hydes" and they captured Penelope. To get their Sentient Vehicle Chugaboom to cooperate, they gave him some of the "tea" and he also became a "Mr. Hyde". It's then up to the Bully Brothers to rescue Penelope, but only so they can keep their usual job of capturing Penelope under the Claw's orders.
  • Just Between You and Me: Happens Once per Episode, at least. the Hooded Claw seems obsessed with this. It's even lampshaded in one:
    Claw: Let me tell you about my brilliant trap, Penelope.
    Penelope: I'd rather not hear it.
    Claw: Well, that's too bad, cause I'm gonna tell you anyway.
  • Karma Houdini: Though he was a luckless villain who often fell victim to his own devices, the Hooded Claw was naturally never caught or discovered, and ended nearly every episode making a Villain: Exit, Stage Left.
  • Large Ham: Sylvester Sneekly as the Hooded Claw, and Penelope Pitstop herself.
  • Lazy Artist: In many episodes in certain scenes, the straps of Penelope's helmet are colored the same as her hair.
  • Leitmotif: Penelope Pitstop, the Ant Hill Mob, and the Hooded Claw all have their own theme music.
  • Leaning Tower of Mooks: This was a common tactic of the Ant Hill Mob.
  • MacGyvering: The Ant Hill Mob and Penelope frequently thwart the Hooded Claw's death traps by improvising with whatever they can get their hands on.
  • Mascot Villain: Penelope's nemesis, the Hooded Claw, drives the plot in every case, and he's a Large Ham to boot, which is magnified by having Paul Lynde as his voice actor. Only the Ant Hill Mob gets as much screen time as the Hooded Claw, but their overall competency ranges from barely adequate to horribly hopeless.
  • Master of Disguise: Somewhat subverted. The Hooded Claw can quickly change into any costume needed to lure Penelope into another trap or to blend into the surroundings, and nine-tenths of the time he doesn't even bother covering his face or disguising his voice, yet nobody sees through any of his disguises. His disguises in "Big Top Trap" are more convincing, however.
  • Meaningful Name: Six members of the Ant Hill Mob. It quickly becomes clear what Dum-Dum, Pockets, Snoozy, Softy, Yak-Yak and Zippy do.
    • Sylvester G. Sneekly. Makes one wonder how no one (certainly not Penelope) connected the dots.
    • Penelope's surname, she being an auto race driver and all.
  • Melodrama: Parodied. At first glance, this seems like the typical plot of a fragile heroine being kidnapped by a scheming villain, only to be rescued by a dashing hero and living happily ever after. In the actual show, however, the heroes are undignified and usually rather stupid, the heroine takes her kidnappings in stride and is able to save herself plenty of times, and the villain is one the best things about it!
  • Mirror Routine: "Big Top Trap" had the Hooded Claw at one point disguise himself as Clyde. He attempts to avoid being spotted by pretending to be Clyde's reflection in a mirror and copying his movements.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Penelope, despite being fully clothed.
    • The closest she really gets to a Fanservice moment is in "Cross Country Double Cross", when she temporarily removes her boots, revealing her bare feet.
    • One would get the idea the creative team had an intense bondage kink, and poor Penelope not too shrewdly demonstrates it.
  • Mummy Wrap: The Hooded Claw naturally mummified Penelope for one of his schemes in the Egyptian-themed episode, "Arabian Desert Danger".
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Who'd want a guardian/lawyer called Sylvester Sneekly?
  • Never Say "Die": Played with, in that whilst the word is never said, it's very obvious the Hooded Claw is trying to kill Penelope. In fact, it’s almost worse that the Hooded Claw won’t outright say it, because he instead takes the time to describe exactly what’s going to happen to Penelope using words like “punctured”, “shredded” and “popped”.
  • No Fourth Wall: Similarly to how so in Wacky Races, The Hooded Claw and the narrator will often address one another.
    • Plus points in this case it's Paul Lynde and Gary Owens having fourth-wall–breaking comedy.
  • No Name Given: The Bully Brothers are never given individual names.
  • Nonindicative Name: The Hooded Claw. No hood, no claw. I guess he just thought the name sounded cool.
    • His coat and hat are hooding his identity, and claw because he always grabs Penelope.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Dum-Dum, despite his name, has helped Penelope in big ways twice. Once when he threw a feather into the mouth of a man-eating plant so it would gag and spit her out, and when he snagged the Hooded Claw's coat and hat so Penelope could win a scavenger hunt. Both times he was rewarded with a kiss from Penelope.
  • Obviously Evil: The Hooded Claw, in spades! He's got a giant nose, a flabby chin, and a lanky body with a walk to match. As Sylvester Sneekly, he has a Horned Hairdo, which indicates his true colors.
  • Oh, Crap!: Clyde is prone to doing this when Dum-Dum does something especially stupid. Like in "Arabian Desert Danger" when they're trapped in an oil tanker and Dum-Dum lights a match.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Six of the mobsters.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Surprisingly subverted, as despite the pleasure that Sneekly gets from slowly and painfully killing Penelope, when someone else tried to attack her, he was perfectly content to watch and get rid of her.
  • Only One Name: Clyde of the Ant Hill Mob.
  • Only Sane Man: Clyde comes across as this compared to the rest of the Ant Hill Mob. Their quirks and tendency to mess up (Dum-Dum in particular) tends to get on his nerves.
    Clyde: Oh, brother...
  • Packed Hero: In "London Town Treachery", the armored Ant Hill Mobsters are canned, with their faces on the labels.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The Hooded Claw used obvious disguises a lot, and sometimes would wear his purple ribbon mask with them, too.
  • Parasol Parachute: In the first episode, "Jungle Jeopardy", a single small umbrella is enough to lower the entire Ant Hill Mob and Chuggaboom safely to the ground.
  • Parental Abandonment: We never find out what happened to Penelope's parents, or why they were crazy enough to entrust her guardianship to Sneekly.
    • We can presume they're deceased, as Penelope lampshaded in the episode "The Hair-Raising Harness Race," in which she is attempting to win the Pitstop Cup in said race:
      Penelope: Dear Daddy would have wanted it that way. He paid for the cup, y'know.
  • Pendulum of Death: In "London Town Treachery", the Hooded Claw captures Penelope and attempts to kill her using a bladed pendulum that swings lower and lower.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Penelope Pitstop is a woman who wears pink.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Penelope looooves pink; all the mobsters except Clyde wear blue suits.
    • Softy has a pink hat-band, however. In fact, each member of the mob has a different colour hat-band.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The Ant Hill Mob doesn't do very much mob-type stuff.
    • Granted, as they're the heroes of the show, there isn't a lot mob-like they can get away with anymore, they did a bit more in Wacky Races where they were more antagonistic.
  • Powder Trail: The Hooded Claw lights one in "Jungle Jeopardy".
  • Pretty in Mink: In "North Pole Peril", Penelope wears a fur-trimmed coat.
  • Prone to Tears: Softy, it seems, just can't help crying nearly all the time.
  • Psycho Electric Eel: Two of them are used to power a Death Trap in "The Treacherous Movie Lot Plot".
  • Puny Parachute: Penelope's Improvised Parachute above.
  • Retraux: The show has elements of a silent-film melodrama, like the piano-heavy music and the title cards lettered in a Victorian/Art Nouveau style. Not to mention the Hooded Claw looking like a Snidely Whiplash villain, except for the mustache.
  • Rising Water, Rising Tension: In "The Terrible Trolley Trap", Penelope is afloat in a sealed room that the Hooded Claw fills with water. While the water rises, the Ant Hill Mob search the ship for her. Just as Penelope is near the harpoon on the ceiling, the mobsters open the door and release all the water.
  • Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: The Hooded Claw could be the poster boy for this trope with how complicated some of his death traps can be.
  • Shark Pool: Several variants of this were used, from alligators to man-eating plants.
  • Shout-Out: From the debut episode, "Jungle Jeopardy":
    Penelope: My arch enemy, the Hooded Claw!
    Claw: Who did you expect? Dick Dastardly?
    • It's been said that the Claw's line was predicated on originally in development having Dick Dastardly on the show first as the villain then as the protector of Penelope's brother.
  • Skewed Priorities: When The Hooded Claw attempts to turn Penelope into fortune cookies, she shows more annoyance at his plan having her made into 23 cookies, rather than an even two dozen.
  • Skintone Sclerae: Unlike the Penelope of Wacky Races, it's averted here. She is given whites in her eyes, and the DVD package interior art appears to have given her blue irises. In Wacky Races (2017), she officially has Innocent Blue Eyes.
  • Smart Ball: Though Penelope predictably got rescued by the Ant Hill Mob a lot, there are many instances she rescues herself (or at least tries to) or a role reversal happens where she has to save her protectors. Naturally this also applies to any of the instances Dum-Dum thinks up a way to save Penelope or the rest of the mob as well.
  • Smokestack Drop: In "The Terrible Trolley Trap", Pockets produces a trampoline for the mob to hold over the ship's smokestack in hope of catching Penelope. They catch the streetcar instead, and end up falling into the smokestack.
  • The Snark Knight: The Hooded Claw can Snark with the best of 'em, since he is played by Paul Lynde, and none of this should come as a surprise.
  • Solar-Powered Magnifying Glass: In "Hair-Raising Harness Race", while Penelope is trapped in a shed filled with explosives, the Hooded Claw has the Ant Hill Mob bound with a rope and hanging from a tree limb. A magnifying glass is set so that the sun's rays will burn the rope and send the mob plummeting into a deep chasm.
  • Southern Belle: Penelope is a beautiful woman with a Southern accent.
  • Speed Blitz: Why do you think they call him Zippy?
  • Spell My Name with a "The": Chugaboom is occasionally referred to as "the Chugaboom".
  • Spin-Off: The show is a spinoff of Wacky Races, sharing the characters Penelope Pitstop and the Ant Hill Mob.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Penelope is tall, blond and gorgeous.
    • But then, the Ant Hill Mobsters are very short.
  • Stealth Insult: The narrator throws in a doozy after the Hooded Claw has a fit over a plan gone wrong:
    Claw: Hey! I protest!
    Narrator: Why not? Everyone else is.
  • Stock Footage: Typical of Hanna-Barbera during this era, quite a bit of animation gets reused, such as certain shots of characters speaking (including a couple shots of the Hooded Claw laughing), and the various walk and run cycles (including Penelope Pitstop's distinctive leg-kicking run.)
  • Stylish Protection Gear: When Penelope needs protection, it will be fashionable.
  • Suspender Snag: In "Wild West Peril", the Ant Hill Mob save Penelope from a building set to collapse on her by the Hooded Claw, but as they exit the building with Penelope, Softy's suspenders get hooked on a loose nail, which makes the Ant Hill Mob get dragged back into the collapsing building and leaves Penelope open to get captured by the Hooded Claw yet again.
  • Swapped Roles: As mentioned above, there were a frequent amount of times the Ant Hill Mob bungled rescuing Penelope and she had to save them both.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The Hooded Claw's traps always consisted of some kind of crazy Rube Goldberg-esque setup that would eventually lead to Penelope's death. More often than not, the Claw would always spend nearly a minute explaining how the trap works, and Penelope often takes advantage of the time it takes for the trap to go into action to save herself.
  • To Be Continued: On the original CBS run, a teaser for the next episode was presented at the conclusion of the just-aired story followed by a "To be continued next week" announcement and title card. It was retained when the show went into syndication in the late 1970s; it was edited out from Cartoon Network and Boomerang runs as well as from the DVD set. At least two, for "Jungle Jeopardy" and "Big Top Trap", can be found on YouTube.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Why do you think they call him Dum-Dum?
    • He certainly was the luckiest of the mob. Penelope kissed him twice.
    • And he's only the most pronounced example as all members of the Ant Hill Mob qualify for this. Heck, even the Hooded Claw has had moments of mind-blowing stupidity, like attempting to see if a ball can shake a moving platform that sends to a squashing machine, while standing on it.
  • Tunnel King: One of Zippy's many talents.
  • Two Men, One Dress: "The Boardwalk Booby Trap" and "Big Top Trap" both have the Bully Brothers dress up in a two-person horse costume to carry Penelope into one of the Hooded Claw's traps this way.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Played with. The Ant Hill Mob often were successful in saving Penelope, but frequently got themselves in trouble in the process, requiring their rescued friend to help them out.
  • Walk Like an Egyptian: In "Big Bagdad Danger", the Bully Brothers, disguised as maidservants, do this as they lead Penelope into a trap, telling her, "Walk this way, please." Penelope and even the Hooded Claw follow suit.
    Penelope: My, what a funny way to walk!
  • Walk the Plank: The Hooded Claw attempts to force Penelope to walk the plank in "Arabian Desert Danger". And, yes, the incongruity of forcing someone to walk the plank in the desert was lampshaded by Penelope. The cannonballs were an interesting addition, though.
  • Walking the Earth: The characters are always traveling abroad.
  • We Will Meet Again: Done at the end of almost every episode, if not every one, with the Hooded Claw vowing to get Penelope "next time".
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The Hooded Claw's time-activated death traps for Penelope. You'd swear he made it a requirement that Penelope die in only this manner. It seems likely that he is a sadist who can never resist the temptation of playing with his food first.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Penelope would never believe that her guardian, Sneekly, was the Hooded Claw, even after she pointed out many times that they look just alike. In "Big Top Trap", Sneekly actually revealed to her that he was the Hooded Claw and she still didn't believe it!
    • Upon seeing the episode again, one can see that Sneekly saved his butt by assuming his normal identity and volunteering his time at the circus as a quick-change artist. His getting up as the Hooded Claw was just him showing a sample to Penelope, again to cover himself. Penelope idealistically doesn't believe Sneekly would stoop to that level. Little does she know.
    • Just to show how much of an idealist she is, she knows the Hooded Claw is "also" a quick-change artist, meaning she believes Sneekly and the Claw are two of that kind of artist instead of only one.
  • You Just Ruined the Shot: "The Treacherous Movie Lot Plot" has the Ant Hill Mob accidentally ruin the shooting of a movie scene because they made the honest mistake of thinking that the blonde damsel in distress clad in pink was Penelope Pitstop and that the villain was the Hooded Claw.


The Perils of Penelope Pitstop

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

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