Speed Racer began as a Japanese manga in 1966 titled Mach Go Go Go, which was quickly followed by an anime adaptation. In 1967, the 52 episodes of the series were dubbed into English and syndicated nationally on American television.
Set in the world of high-tech auto racing, the show detailed the exploits of the talented, 18-year-old race car driver Speed. His friends and family assisted him on and off the racetrack as he traveled the globe to participate in worldwide racing competitions.
Whether during races or between events, Speed Racer had a knack for crossing paths with criminals of all sorts. On the race track he faced unscrupulous competitors intent on winning at all costs, while off the track Speed was never one to ignore a crime. He felt compelled to involve himself in fighting any criminal activity he came across, which seeped the show in as much mystery, murder and mayhem as it did racing.
Speed’s stalwart girlfriend Trixie was always by his side and mixed-up in the action. Short-tempered, but brilliant, race car designer Pops Racer and youthful mechanic Sparky were the two men who kept things going behind the scenes and under the hood. Moms Racer made an occasional appearance, but was otherwise absent from the adventures. Frequently underfoot with his pet monkey Chim-Chim, Speed’s little brother Spridle provided a healthy dose of comic relief.
Another character who appeared at opportune times was the mysterious Racer X. Although a competitor, the masked driver assisted Speed in his darkest moments to tip the scales in Speed’s favor. Unknown to Speed or his family, Racer X was actually Speed’s long-lost brother, Rex Racer, who had left home at 18 after an argument with Pops. Their falling out was due to Pops being livid with Rex for destroying the Mach 4 in a race before Rex had enough experience to enter.
Arguably, the star of the show was the car designed by Pops and driven by Speed, the Special Formula Mach 5. The car was equipped with a variety of contraptions, all of which could be activated by the buttons on the steering wheel. The “A” button released powerful jacks to propel the Mach 5 over objects, while button “B” sprouted special grip tires for traction over any type of terrain. When button “C” was pushed, powerful rotary saws protruded from the front of the car to slash and cut obstacles. “E” cranked the headlights up a notch for special illumination that could be traversed singly or in tandem, while buttons “D” and “F” protected the car’s occupants: the former released a deflector which sealed the cockpit into a water tight, bullet and crash proof chamber, while the latter supplied 30 minutes’ worth of oxygen and raised a periscope when underwater.
In the middle of the wheel sat button “G,” used to release a remote-controlled robot in the shape of a bird from the front of the car. This carried pictures or tape recorded messages to whomever Speed chose. The robot’s flight was controlled by a small joystick, and if all else failed, the accompanying “H” button sent the bird straight to the Racer home. Surprisingly, the additional weight of these extraneous devices didn’t affect the Mach 5’s performance, and each episode managed to feature at least one of the car’s extraordinary gadgets whenever doom seemed imminent.
For nearly 20 years, Speed Racer ran in the afternoons five days a week. Speed later enjoyed a comeback on TV in the 90’s on MTV, and then ran for almost 5 years on the Cartoon Network.
The Great Plan, Part 1
The Great Plan, Part 2
Challenge of the Masked Racer, Part 1
Challenge of the Masked Racer, Part 2
The Secret Engine, Part 1
The Secret Engine, Part 2
The Race Against the Mammoth Car, Part 1
The Race Against the Mammoth Car, Part 2
The Most Dangerous Race, Part 1
The Most Dangerous Race, Part 2
The Most Dangerous Race, Part 3
Race for Revenge, Part 1
Race for Revenge, Part 2
The Desperate Desert Race, Part 1
The Desperate Desert Race, Part 2
The Fire Race, Part 1
The Fire Race, Part 2
The Girl Daredevil, Part 1
The Girl Daredevil, Part 2
The Fastest Car on Earth, Part 1
The Fastest Car on Earth, Part 2
The Mach 5 vs. the Mach 5, Part 1
The Mach 5 vs. the Mach 5, Part 2
The Royal Racer, Part 1
The Royal Racer, Part 2
The Car Hater
The Race Against Time, Part 1
The Race Against Time, Part 2
The Snake Track
The Man on the Lam
Gang of Assassins, Part 1
Gang of Assassins, Part 2
The Race for Life
The Supersonic Car
Crash in the Jungle, Part 1
Crash in the Jungle, Part 2
The Terrifying Gambler
The Secret Invaders, Part 1
The Secret Invaders, Part 2
The Man Behind the Mask
The Car Destroyer
The Desperate Racer
The Dangerous Witness
Race the Laser Tank
The Great Car Wrestling Match
Car with a Brain
Junk Car Grand Prix
The Car in the Sky
The Trick Race
Race Around the World, Part 1
Race Around the World, Part 2