Muttley is a character in Wacky Races and Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines. He was created by Iwao Takamoto and originally voiced by Don Messick (who also voiced Scooby-Doo). Since the 2000 Wacky Races video game he was voiced by Billy West.
Muttley is an anthropomorphic dog (according to the original Wacky Races narrator, a combination of bloodhound, pointer and hunting dog). He is the mostly faithful sidekick of Dick Dastardly.
Muttley does not really talk; his main examples of speech are his trademark snicker - an asthmatic-sounding, "wheezing" laugh (usually made at Dick's expense) - and a mushy, sotto voce grumble against an unsympathetic or harsh Dick (usually along the lines of "Sassafrassarassum Rick Rastardly!"). Don Messick had previously used Muttley's distinctive laugh for the character of Griswold in an episode of Top Cat, then an embryonic version of Muttley (called 'Mugger') appearing in the 1964 movie, Hey There, It's Yogi Bear, as well as for another Hanna-Barbera canine, Precious Pupp, in 1966. He also repurposed it for Alexandra Cabot's cat Sebastian on Josie and the Pussycats in 1970.
Muttley wore only a collar in Wacky Races, but in Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines he donned a World War I style aviator's cap and scarf, and served as a flying ace along with Dastardly and two other pilots as members of the "Vulture Squadron". In this spinoff, he also sported many medals of which he was particularly fond and constantly demanded new ones from Dastardly for following his commands. Similarly, Dastardly frequently ripped medals off Muttley's chest as punishment for his incompetence. When he received a new medal, Muttley would hug himself happily, jump into the air and float back down like a feather. This gag is almost identical to the behavior of Snuffles in Quick Draw McGraw and Scooby Doo, when he received a Scooby Snack in the show A Pup Named Scooby Doo.
Also in Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines, Muttley gained the ability to fly for a brief period by spinning his tail like a propeller. This trait often proved useful when he was about to crash. Muttley also enjoyed his own short segment in this series The Magnificent Muttley, where he would engage in Walter Mitty-style fantasies.
Often, when Muttley grumbled on Dastardly & Muttley in their Flying Machines, Dick Dastardly would say "What was THAT?" accompanied by Muttley kissing his hand, to which Dastardly would usually reply "That's better."
Muttley vs. Mumbly
Muttley is sometimes confused with Mumbly, a crime-fighting dog who tracked down criminals using his dog senses and drove around in an old beat-up car. Mumbly looked similar to Muttley and had a similar laugh, but Mumbly had blue fur and wore a trenchcoat. Mumbly later appeared as the captain of the villainous Really Rottens in Laff-A-Lympics along with his accomplice, "The Dread Baron" (a reference to The Red Baron) who happens to resemble Dick Dastardly. Both characters (The Dread Baron and Mumbly) later appeared in the TV movie Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose. It is not certain why Mumbly was retconned as a villain, neither is it certain why he and Dread Baron were apparently used as substitutes for Dastardly and Muttley, especially in the Yogi Bear movie where Paul Winchell voiced the Baron instead of Dastardly (and in the scene where the Baron's crashed plane is shown, it's Dick's plane from Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines, complete with the "D" on the side). Not to mention that in that story Mumbly had once utilized his tail to fly just like Muttley does in Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines. The reason most suggested is that the Wacky Races characters (including Dastardly and Muttley) were not fully owned by Hanna-Barbera, as the show was a co-production with Heatter-Quigley Productions.
Other H-B Appearances
- Muttley and Dick Dastardly also starred as the villains in Yogi's Treasure Hunt in their submarine, SS Dirty Tricks.
- In the "Fender Bender 500" segment of Wake Rattle & Roll, he and Dick Dastardly are paired up as they were in Wacky Races.
- Muttley (alongside Dick Dastardly) appeared as a teenager in Yo Yogi!
- Muttley has made at least one brief appearance in Dynomutt.
- In the Duck Dodgers episode "MMORPD", one of the forms that Duck Dodgers turns himself into is Muttley. In this brief appearance, Muttley's vocal effects are done by Joe Alaskey.
- Muttley makes an appearance at the end of almost every video in the LiveVideo series "Godawful Games"
- Brian Griffin imitates Muttley in Family Guy Season 8 Episode 16 "April in Quahog".
- In a popular 2013 commercial for Peugeot that featured many of the Wacky Racers played by live actors, Muttley was the one character that was still animated, except in at least one shot showing him sitting next to Dastardly, where he was portrayed by a stuffed doll.
- Muttley is sometimes colored green in comics and merchandise.