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This Hanna-Barbera series from the 1970s was a Saturday Morning Cartoon version of ABC's Battle of the Network Stars[1]. The three teams were:

  • the Yogi Yahooeys, a team of funny animals from Hanna-Barbera's golden age (with the exception of Grape Ape, who was the only post-1962 character in the lineup), led by Yogi Bear and Boo Boo;
  • the Scooby Doobies, a team of heroes and Meddling Kids from Hanna-Barbera's more recent shows, led by Scooby Doo and Shaggy;
  • and the Really Rottens, a team of cheaters led by Mumbly and Dread Baron[2].

Snagglepuss and Mildew Wolf provided commentary as the teams engaged in various contests of skill and endurance. Fred Flintstone and Jabberjaw made occasional guest appearances as judges.

Tropes used in Laff-A-Lympics include:


  • Captain Ersatz: Hanna-Barbera wanted to use Dick Dastardly and Muttley as captains of the Rottens, but Merrill Heatter allegedly still had part ownership of the Wacky Races characters; one issue of the comic book revealed that Dread Baron was Dick Dastardly's brother. Similarly, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels were allegedly created as substitutes for Josie and the Pussy Cats (due to clearance issues with "Radio Comics"[3]), and Babu appeared alone because Columbia Pictures Television[4] still owned I Dream of Jeannie (never mind that Jeannie and Babu appeared together on The New Scooby-Doo Movies). Curiously, ABC's print ad for Laff-a-Lympics in the Sept. 10-16, 1977, issue of TV Guide had Jeannie and Josie and the Pussycats featured.
    • In the second season, Mumbly began to be called "Muttley" once more, so some manner of compromise must have been reached.
      • Producer Don Jurwich told me that during season two, he simply got confused, dealing with so many characters in one setting.
    • In a Robot Chicken skit that parodies Munich, one of the Really Rottens lampshades this fact.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: The competitors wear their team shirts over their normal attire (where applicable). As you may have deduced from the intro text, The YYs are red, the SDs are blue, and the RRs are green.
    • In Brazil, shirts like that are used as admission tickets to some Carnaval parties. They're called abadás. It is unclear whether Laff-a-Lympics was the inspiration for the scheme, but this Brazilian troper definitely doesn't remember such use from before the show's time.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: In the 13-issue comic book series published by Marvel, each story had a central plot with the usual event participation. In the comics, Scooby-Dum (Scooby Doobies) and Sooey Pig (Really Rottens) were left out. A 14th issue, about a vengeful college professor, was not published. A special giant-sized story, "The Man Who Stole Thursday", featured most of the regular stars and cameos from other classic H-B characters.
  • Corrupt Hick (Daisy Mayhem)
  • Crossover
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Daisy Mayhem. Not even the snowy Himalayas can make her don footwear.
  • Dread Baron Stops to Cheat: And they want to win by cheating. The one time the Really Rottens won legitimately, it left them pissed off.
    • The Rottens would legitimately win some events. When the team member does (Mumbly in the burro race, for example), it shows the other Rottens cheering vicariously (by way of stock animation).
      • Mumbly used jet power in that burro race and somebody calls that a legitimate victory?
      • Why not? Yogi Bear used roller skates and Scooby Doo hitched a ride on Mumbly's parachute. Somewhere a "no outside device" rule was waived.
  • Expy: The Dread Baron is a ridiculously blatant one of Dick Dastardly.
    • Issue #13 of the comic book portrays Dread Baron and Dick Dastardly as being "brothers".
  • Face Heel Turn: Mumbly was originally a police detective.
    • Though the reversion to the "Muttley" name in season two throws into question whether Muttley and Mumbly were ever distinct characters.
      • The studio attempted to distinguish them by fur color (Muttley was light green, Mumbly light blue), ears (Muttley's were black, Mumbly's were the same color as his fur) and clothing (Muttley a collar then his flying helmet and scarf, Mumbly a trenchcoat).
  • Golden Snitch
  • Grand Finale: The final episode moved to the moon, and ended in a three-way tie.
  • Heel Face Turn: Mildew Wolf was originally an antagonist, in the "It's the Wolf!" segments of The Cattanooga Cats. On that show, Mildew was voiced by Paul Lynde, who by 1977 was subject to scandal. John Stephenson would voice Mildew on Laff-a-Lympics.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Alan Reed, the original voice of Fred Flintstone, lent his voice to the character for the final time in the debut episode. Reed died soon after and was replaced as Fred Flintstone's voice by Henry Corden.
    • Joe Besser, one of the latter-day Three Stooges, was Babu's voice.
  • Human Ladder: The Rottens used one of these to win a "Freestyle Pole Vault" competition; in this case "freestyle" meant "anything goes", so it wasn't cheating, but they sure abused that loophole for all it was worth.
  • Lazy Artist: In way too many episodes, the edges of the cels can be seen during character pans either way. Long cels would normally be used for such instances, but in the case of Laff-a-Lympics, it obviously wasn't so cost efficient as using the standard 10-field cels.
  • Marathon Running: At least twice Cartoon Network ran special L-a-L marathons during Olympic Games years.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover
  • Panty Shot: Teen Angels Dee Dee and Taffy in the Tahiti events; both girls' swimsuits were colored the same as their skirts.
  • Ridiculympics: The whole point of the series.
  • Road Sign Reversal: The Rottens mistakenly switched the signs back, resulting in disgust from their teammates (although they did get a 50-point bonus for "chivalry" because the judges thought they did it to help their opponents).
  • Shout-Out: Because the series aired on ABC, commentators Snagglepuss and Mildew Wolf were depicted wearing the then-standard yellow sportscoats worn by ABC Sports broadcasters.
    • Mildew Wolf referring to everyone as "savages" is a double reference to both his original voice actor, Paul Lynde (who again, originally voiced Mildew), and the Hanna-Barbera series Where's Huddles? (CBS, 1970), in which Lynde played Claude Pertwee, a character who often referred to show's football-playing Fred and Barney expies as "savages".
  • Team Rocket Wins: On at least two occasions the Really Rottens won an episode legitimately, as much to their surprise as everyone else's.
    • An issue of the Laff-a-Lympics comic book had the Rottens--under the presumption that they have now decided to play fair--winning the gold, but they were disqualified for having the Great Fondoo and Magic Rabbit kidnap and impersonate Blue Falcon and Boo Boo Bear, then have them deliberately lose for the Yogis and Scoobys.
  • Wacky Racing
  • Wrong Parachute Gag: Mumbly switches the tags on Grape Ape's and Yakky Doodle's parachutes during a skydiving competition. The small parachute causes Grape Ape to fall like a stone, while the large parachute leaves Yakky Doodle stranded aloft in a thunderstorm.

Notes

  1. which also parodies the Olympics, which were held the previous year
  2. who were expies of Muttley and Dick Dastardly
  3. which was just an imprint used by Archie Comics, who had always been the rights holders
  4. Now Sony Pictures Television
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