• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


Farm-Fresh balance.pngYMMVTransmit blue.pngRadarWikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotes • (Emoticon happy.pngFunnyHeart.pngHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3.pngAwesome) • Refridgerator.pngFridgeGroup.pngCharactersScript edit.pngFanfic RecsSkull0.pngNightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out icon.pngShout OutMagnifier.pngPlotGota icono.pngTear JerkerBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersHelp.pngTriviaWMGFilmRoll-small.pngRecapRainbow.pngHo YayPhoto link.pngImage LinksNyan-Cat-Original.pngMemesHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconicLibrary science symbol .svg SourceSetting

Nab him! Jab him! Tab him! Grab him! Stop that pigeon, now!

One of two Spin Offs from Wacky Races, this series is best remembered for its bizarre aircraft designs. Dick Dastardly led the Vulture Squadron in pursuit of the courier Yankee Doodle Pigeon. The squadron's other members were Muttley, the snickering dog who was always begging for a medal; Klunk, the aircraft mechanic who spoke mainly in vocal sound effects, and Zilly, the nervous coward whose only redeeming virtue was his ability to translate Klunk's speech for Dastardly. The Mean Machine, Dastardly's car from the Wacky Races, could be seen frequently in this series as well.

Although this cartoon was set during World War One, Dastardly always had access to a telephone, even in flight, over which the general communicated with him. Just as Dastardly never won a Wacky Race, he never caught the pigeon. A supporting segment, Magnificent Muttley, concerned Muttley's flights of heroic fantasy.

The series' entire voice cast consisted of Don Messick and Paul Winchell. Messick even provided the falsetto voices of Muttley's girlfriends in the Magnificent Muttley segments.

Tropes used in Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines include:

  Dastardly: (plummeting to the ground) "MUTTLEY! DO SOMETHING!"

  • Comic Book Adaptation: Dastardly and Muttley appeared in nine issues of Gold Key Comics' Hanna-Barbera Fun-In (first series, February 1970 - January 1972) and two issues of Golden Comics Digest (Hanna-Barbera TV Fun Favorites issues #7 and #10). In many stories not distilled from TV episodes, gunfire is used quite a bit. Also, the General--always heard but never seen on the show--is shown in two stories but in different designs, by Mike Arens ("Heroic Dum-Dums", issue #4) and Jack Manning ("Bug Brained", issue #7).
  • Cool Planes
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Dick Dastardly, the first Trope Namer.
  • Dirty Coward: Zilly
  • The Drag Along: Zilly
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The General
  • Expy: Muttley is an expy of two Hanna-Barbera dogs--Mugger from the movie Hey, There...It's Yogi Bear, and Precious Pupp from the Atom Ant Show. When he was developed for Wacky Races, his name was Chomper.
  • The Faceless: The General. Given his nature of contact with Dick Dastardly in the show, it's no surprise.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: A given for Dick Dastardly's antics.
  • Forgot I Could Fly: Normally, Muttley uses his tail as a propellor to keep him airborne after the Squadron crashes their planes out. In "Sky-Hi I.Q.", Muttley is assigned as Squadron leader, and after he loses his plane to a botched operation, he plummets to the ground (only to be rescued by Dastardly and then sent groundward after giving him a dinky medal).
  • Forgotten Birthday: One episode has the Vulture Squadron thinking they forgot the General's birthday and trying to surprise him. It turned out it was actually Dick's birthday and he forgot.
  • Genre Blind: Everybody in Vulture Squadron, except for Zilly.
  • Genre Savvy: Yankee Doodle Pigeon, obviously. Also, Zilly may be an abject coward, but he alone of the squad has a remotely realistic view of their chances (see Failure Is the Only Option) and often tries to get out.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress
  • Instant Ice, Just Add Cold: An example from "Vacation Trip Trap" provides the page image.
  • Just Shoot the Pigeon
    • Played straight in several Gold Key comics stories, where artillery is used against Yankee Doodle quite often.
    • Actually, Klunk 'invented' quite a few gunships. Guess how that turned out.
  • Leitmotif: Several, but a piece using a rink-tink piano during climactic action scenes would be used on Hanna-Barbera shows up to 1980. The 1972 Scooby Doo episode "The Ghost Of The Red Baron" uses it four times.
  • Literal Minded: In "Camouflage Hoparoo," Dastardly's desk-plane plummets to the ground, then Muttley emerges from a drawer. Dastardly tells him to do something and he does--he spins his tail as a propellor and floats away from the impending crash.

 Dastardly: I meant do something for all of us, deserter!!

  • Motionless Chin
  • Mythology Gag: Dastardly's Wacky Races car, the Mean Machine, can be seen in several installments of the Magnificent Muttley segment.
    • The name Vulture Squadron is possibly derived from the Jonny Quest episode "Shadow of the Condor," where the Quest party meet a reclusive German WWI ace in the Andes mountains, who was a member of a flying group called the Condor Squadron.
    • The name Klunk was first possessed by the lab assistant in the Magilla Gorilla cartoon "Mad Scientist."
  • The Neidermeyer: Dick Dastardly, obviously. The General might also count.
  • No Fourth Wall: In "Ceiling Zero Zero", after Don Messick as the narrator plays the "umpteenth time" card over and over:

 Dastardly: (to narrator) Oh, dry up! Who's keeping score?

  • Non-Fatal Explosions
  • Only Sane Man: Zilly in Vulture Squadron.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Near the end of episode "Medal Muddle", Dick Dastardly was falling and had no medal to offer Muttley so, in order to convince the dog to save him, Dastardly invoked the trope and promised to help Muttley find his lost medals. Dastardly kept good on his promise.
  • Offscreen Crash
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Klunk and Zilly.
    • Zilly is actually a male proper name.
  • Packed Villain: In one episode, Dick Dastardly gets caught in Klunk's pigeon-packing machine and ends up stuffed in a can labeled "sauerkraut".
  • Pepper Sneeze/Sneeze of Doom
  • Politically-Correct History: It's never said what country the Vulture Squadron is working for.
    • Given that we can conclude that Yankee Doodle Pigeon is American, it is almost certain that Vulture Squadron fight for Imperial Germany. Of course, the fact that we can only come to this conclusion via indirect deduction (as Vulture Squadron has very little that would mark them as being German) should tell you something.
      • However, in "Fur Out Furlough", when the General offered a 30-day furlough to whoever caught Yankee Doodle Pigeon, Zilly planned to spend it in Miami and Klunk planned to spend it in Hawaii.
  • The Political Officer: Muttley fits into this role, as much of his job includes being tasked to stop desertion attempts (usually by Zilly).
  • Road Runner vs. Coyote: Appropriately enough, since one of the writers, Mike Maltese, had previously worked under Chuck Jones on various Looney Tunes shorts...including, yes, the Road Runner and Coyote.
  • Scooby Snacks: Medals act like this for Muttley.
  • Speech-Impaired Animal: Muttley
  • Status Quo Is God
  • Suddenly Voiced: Yankee Doodle Pigeon in the comic books. Also Muttley, whose speech impediment is cleared up in a few comics stories.
  • Talking to Himself: Paul Winchell is Dastardly and the General; Don Messick is Klunk, Zilly and Muttley.
  • Team Rocket Wins: Dastardly actually wins one. In "Home Sweet Homing Pigeon", he tricks Muttley, Zilly and Klunk, whose discharges are imminent, into re-enlisting. It ends with Dastardly doing a Muttley snicker.
    • Subverted in "Stop Which Pigeon?": Dastardly nabs the pigeon after diving into an aerial swimming pool created by Klunk. He then releases the pigeon when he [Dastardly] remembers that he can't swim.
    • Subverted: The comic book story "Truce Or Consequences" (Gold Key, Fun-In #10, January 1972) has Dick and Muttley luring Yankee Doodle Pigeon over to their side during a 24-hour truce, hypnotizing him and making him pose for photos depicting him as a traitor. With 30 seconds left in the truce and finding himself AWOL, Yankee Doodle consigns himself to the ultimate journey. But his final words--"ABOUT FACE!!"--cause Muttley to turn the cannon aimed at him towards Dastardly.
    • They do catch Yankee Doodle Pigeon in "Heroic Dum-Dums" (Fun-In #4, November 1970) by salting his tail (an old wives' tale). Dastardly and Muttley's assignment was to obtain Yankee Doodle's message satchel, which they do and then they turn him loose, figuring that he'll be humiliated for not completing his mission. The satchel was bogus--it contained a jigsaw puzzle which simply read "Sucker!" while Yankee Doodle kept his real satchel under his flying helmet. Cue the General relieving Dastardly of his medals.
    • In Magnificent Muttley, Dastardly manages to make Muttley's dream a nightmare in Movie Stuntman.
  • Three Shorts: Plus the "Wing Dings" blackouts.
  • The Unintelligible: Klunk
  • Villain Protagonist: Dick Dastardly
  • The Voice: The General
  • World War One: In Name Only, though. The basic look is roughly that, but it doesn't exactly bring up much of anything else. Made completely anachronistic in the Magnificent Muttley short "The Masked Muttley", which starts off showing Dastardly watching a television set.
    • TV Guide's synopsis of the show upon its debut from the Sept. 13-19, 1969, issue: "Animated aerial adventures circa World War I."
  • Wrong Turn At Albuquerque: The ending of "Ceiling Zero Zero".