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Greatest TV Cartoon Theme Songs #3: Speed Racer
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Greatest TV Cartoon Theme Songs #3: Speed Racer


Greatest TV Cartoon Theme Songs #3: Speed Racer

Speed Racer was the first Japanese cartoon bought by an American Production company, overdubbed in English, and edited for children. It set the precedent for more English-spoken adaptations of Japanese animation. The large red M on the hood of the Mach 5, Speed Racer’s amazing race car, was assumed by U.S. viewers to stand for the Mach 5. In reality, it is the emblem for Mifune Motors, the family business in the Japanese version, Mach Go Go Go. The same can be said of the M on Speed’s helmet. This was a homage to Japanese movie actor, Toshiro Mifune. Since the shows were dubbed from Japanese to English, Peter Fernandez had to match the dialogue to the characters’ mouths and make sure all the words were spoken in a short amount of talking time. This resulted in a very iconic Speed Racer trait – the characters’ quick style of talking in staccato.

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Speed racing in the Mach 5

Speed Racer follows the career of the main character, Speed Racer. He comes from a family of Racers, most notably, Pops Racer, who designed and built the Mach 5.
His little brother’s name is Spritle. Spritle has a pet monkey named Chim Chim, who is never separated from Spritle. These 2 provide the comic relief in the show, and they often stowaway in the Mach 5, which tends to be very dangerous, considering the Mach 5 is usually being attacked by other drivers or evil-doers. Speed’s girlfriend is Trixie. She flies around in her helicopter during a race and advises Speed, by radio, in the Mach Five. Speed’s top mechanic is Sparky, and he is also Speed’s best friend. Sparky works hard to make sure the Mach Five will perform well in any given race, and he always has Speed’s back. Speed’s Older Brother, Rex Racer, also known as Racer X, is a character that Speed only sees wearing a mask, and never knows it is his brother. Pops had a falling out with Rex, when Rex destroyed one of Pops’ cars in a race. Rex left home for good, and went on to become a secret agent, and the nefarious, misunderstood Racer X.

Speed and Racer X

The writing of the lyrics for the U.S. main title music, “Go, Speed Racer, Go”, was composed by Peter Fernandez himself. He contacted and hired Danny Davis as the music producer. Danny hired musician Billy Mure to arrange the music around the lyrics and hired his boss, Don Burkhimer as lead singer for the theme songs. The first thing of importance was Peter Fernandez and Billy Mure had to retain the Japanese melody in the lyrics and new theme music, so it could match with Nobuyoshi Koshibe’s orchestral music heard in the storyline. Janet Lederman was Don Burkhimer’s secretary who came with him to assist with the backing vocals. The main title was sung by Burkhimer and the band did a good job in recording the new theme. The end title music had the quartet of Burkhimer, Davis, Mure and Lederman singing along with the musicians that were playing it and the gig was finished.

Go, Speed Racer, Go!

Originally Aired on TV: April 2, 1967

Theme Song Written By: Nobuyoshi Koshibe, Billy Mure

English Lyrics Written By: Peter Fernandez (who was also the voice talent for Speed Racer and Racer X)

Sung By: Don Burkhimer (lead singer), Billy Mure, Janet Lederman, Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass

Spritle and Chim Chim

Lyrics

Here he comes
Here comes Speed Racer
He’s a demon on wheels
He’s a demon and he’s gonna be chasin’ after someone.

He’s gainin’ on you so you better look alive.
He’s busy revvin’ up a powerful Mach 5.

And when the odds are against him
And there’s dangerous work to do
You bet your life Speed Racer
Will see it through.

Go Speed Racer
Go Speed Racer
Go Speed Racer, Go!

He’s off and flyin’ as he guns the car around the track
He’s jammin’ down the pedal like he’s never comin’ back
Adventure’s waitin’ just ahead.

Go Speed Racer
Go Speed Racer
Go Speed Racer, Go!

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20 Greatest TV Cartoon Theme Songs of All Toon Time

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I am a Big Fan of all types of animation. Like a lot of things, the cream always rises to the top. My favorites have included Star Wars: The Clone Wars, anything Pixar, Phineas and Ferb, Voltron Force, and the DC/WB Animated Films. I have a lot of Old School favorites as well, such as Star Blazers, Voltron, Looney Toons, Tom & Jerry, and Scooby Doo.

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