Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Penelope Pitstop originated in the Wacky Races cartoon series, produced by the Hanna-Barbera Productions animation studio. In many ways a traditional "damsel in distress" stock character as in the old serial The Perils of Pauline, she is best remembered for shouting "Help, help!" (which sounded more like "Hayulp, hayulp!" in an affected upper-class U.S. South accent). In Wacky Races, Penelope drove "The Compact Pussycat", a pink stereotypically feminine car with personal grooming facilities.
Penelope also starred in The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, a direct spinoff from Wacky Races, but set in the 1920s. Here she displays a curious combination of ingenuity and helplessness. She often figured out clever ways to get out of peril, and was very athletic; if any sport happened to be mentioned, she revealed that she was the women's champion in the sport in college. Nonetheless, when the villain "The Hooded Claw" grabbed her and held her supine over his head, she would somehow be incapable of doing anything other than yelling "Hayulp!", and flailing her legs helolessly above her like an upside down turtle.
More recently, she has appeared in Penelope Pitstop GT , a more enlightened cartoon featuring a formidable, more modern, sexy Penelope who is more than a physical match for any male competitor.
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