1 9 6 9 – 1 9 7 0 (USA)
17 x 30 minute episodes
When Penelope Pitstop made her debut in her Compact Pussycat on Wacky Races in 1968, it was clear that she was destined for stardom. Therefore, no one was surprised when she was given her own spin-off, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, in 1969. Both shows were by Hanna-Barbera.
Penelope (voiced by Janet Waldo) was a young and vulnerable heiress whose fortune would go to her lawyer, Sylvester Sneekly, if anything ever happened to her. Sylvester decided to spend every episode trying to do away with Penelope so that the fortune would be his.
By disguising himself and using the pseudonym “The Hooded Claw” Sneekly would launch a variety of assaults on the heroine. Of course, fate always seemed to be smiling on Miss Pitstop, and she always escaped harm, most often, by inadvertently turning the tables on Sneekly so that he would become the victim of his own bad deeds.
Assisting Penelope whenever they could was the Anthill Mob. Previously seen on Wacky Races as well, the Mob was a collection of pint-sized gangsters, each of whom had a distinct persona.
Apart from Clyde, the leader (who sounded just like Humphrey Bogart), the rest of the Ant Hill Mob had different names from the gang in the original Wacky Races.
Softy always found something to cry about. Yak Yak could barely control his laughter. Pockets was always prepared. Zippy was quick on his feet. Dum Dum was not very smart, and Snoozy was the mob’s narcoleptic driver who drove their car, ‘Chugaboom’.
Sneekly had his own henchmen, of course, named the Bully Brothers – two twins who spoke in unison, most likely because they shared a brain. With only half-a-brain each, the brothers actually did very little to assist Sneekly and most often ended up being a hindrance.
The series was modelled after the silent films of the 1920s, specifically The Perils of Pauline, and was even narrated by Gary Owens, who managed to add a generous portion of mock drama to the cartoon.
Veteran actor Paul Lynde performed the voice of Sneekly, but went uncredited. One can only assume Lynde was worried that his Hollywood Squares associates would find out and make fun of him, which is understandable, considering how nasty George Gobel could be.
The Hooded Claw