Go Speed Racer! All the way to the movie theaters!
If you haven’t already heard, the new Speed Racer movie, starring Emile Hirsch as Speed, and directed by the Wachowski Brothers of Matrix fame, hits theaters tomorrow. Most fans of Speed Racer already know that the original cartoon, also known as Mahha GoGoGo, was from Japan. This article by Joe Williams in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out that the original animator, Tatsuo Yoshida, actually based the Speed character on Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas. Williams also goes on to describe Japan and America’s extensive export history, from baseball to ramen.
Of course, Speed Racer wasn’t in a class of it’s own when it first came out. This article by Cary Darling of the Kansas City Star points out that Speed Racer had competitors in the 60s in Gigantor, Astro Boy, which, coincidentally, looks like it will hit the big screen sometime in the future, and Kimba the White Lion.
Ahh, memories . . .