As I admitted in a post below, I’ve always been a fan of the original 60s anime of Speed Racer. One of my proudest moments came in the early 1990s, when I was co-running Streamline Pictures, and I had the opportunity to concoct my own Speed Racer “movie”.
My business partner Carl Macek had been acquainted with the Rocknowski’s (John and Jim), a father and son, who represented the U.S. rights to the Speed Racer property (I was never sure if they owned the rights outright or managed them on behalf of Tatsunoko studios). One day in 1992, Carl came into the office and told me we had the rights to make a Speed Racer movie – and handed it over to me to create something we could release theatrically. The good news is that the Rocknowski’s gave the old show to MTV to rerun – and it was suddenly a retro hit. The other good news was that I found out that the original series was shot in 35mm (many early anime series were shot in 16mm). MTV was running old, fading 16mm copies… the movie I would create would look pretty amazing in full color and 35mm clarity.
I decided I would make a theatrical “event” by creating an extra long Speed Racer TV show that the college crowd could either watch seriously or goof on, but at least it would be fun. I chose The Car Hater because it explains the gimmicks of the Mach 5 and is a particularly ridiculous episode, and and the Race Against The Mammoth Car as it was a particular favorite from my Channel 11 (WPIX) formative years. I threw in a Colonel Bleep cartoon to bridge the episodes and inserted several vintage animated commercials (from Playhouse Pictures). Rummaging the Rocknowski’s film vault I found the original uncut Mach Go Go Go opening animation and incorporated that into the beginning of the film, and left in all the additional violence I found in the uncut 35mm masters I got from Japan.