Do you remember the Way-Out Wacky Races from Hanna-Barbera on Saturday Mornings? I only saw it in re-runs myself, many years after its original airing in the late 60s, but it did make an impression:
Anyway, the Wacky Races was undoubtedly inspired by today's Friday Film Buff selection, The Great Race, a Blake Edwards film itself inspired by the real-life 1908 around-the-world race. The film starred Tony Curtis (whose birthday it is today) as the larger-than-life hero Leslie Gallant III and Jack Lemmon as the villainous and conniving Professor Fate. Like a live-action cartoon, The Great Race is filled with Laurel and Hardy-like sight gags, and plenty of absurdism.
The film also features Keenan Wynn and Peter Falk as the hero's and villain's respective sidekicks and the beguiling Natalie Wood as the intrepid and independent lady newspaper reporter chasing her story.
Henry Mancini, a frequent collaborator with Edwards, provides the music. It's one of Edwards's more overlooked films, which is a shame, because it's great fun.