Dastardly Whiplash

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Fieschi ended up with severe injuries from the explosion, which prevented him from fleeing the scene while twirling his mustache and muttering "Blast!"


Curses! But though I be foiled to-day, my proud beauty, a time will come! Ha-ha! (Boo! Hiss!)

An oddly specific kind of character, the Dastardly Whiplash is a cartoonish villain taken from the silent film tradition (or really from the old stage melodrama tradition). Usually a Man of Wealth and Taste, in Great Britain (*cough Evil Brit cough*), he was generally a Bad Baronet; in America, he was often an Evil Banker who held the mortgage on the heroine's farm. Physically, he's slightly hunched with an exaggerated nose and chin, a curling black moustache (typically of the handlebar type; the better to twirl menacingly while threatening you, my dear), and an elaborate costume, usually an old-fashioned black suit with a cloak and a hat, usually a top hat.

In personality, he is a one-dimensional, over-the-top, openly evil villain of limited intelligence who comes up with elaborate schemes for the hero to foil -- tying a woman to a railroad track in an attempt to coerce her into "marrying" him or relinquishing the deed to her property is the old standard. He can usually be expected to go to great lengths to cheat at things he could easily win legitimately.

He generally has two moods: when happy, he sneers, cackles, and rubs his hands in malevolent glee, and when unhappy, he glowers, sulks, makes a fist, and bites his index finger and snaps at his sidekick/henchman, should he have any. He speaks largely in Antiquated Linguistics, preferring expletives such as "Curses! Foiled again!" and "Drat!" (or, for extreme cases, "Drat and double drat!")

Expect his musical cue to be "Mysterioso Pizzicato", "The Maple Leaf Rag", or similar.

Often turns out to be a Harmless Villain, despite his menacing appearance. This trope is almost never played straight today. The Dastardly Whiplash is well on its way to being a Dead Horse Trope, although some modern works still use it for sheer Camp value.

Compare Darth Vader Clone for when the bad guy wears Dark Armor and a scary looking helmet.

The Trope Namer is a combination of Snidely Whiplash (from Dudley Do Right) and Dick Dastardly (of Wacky Races).

Examples of Dastardly Whiplash include:


Anime and Manga

  • Viper Snakely from Kimba the White Lion is one of these wearing safari hunter gear.
  • "The Grandest Dream Thief Leon the Great" from episode 45 of Pokémon Black and White is this trope to a tee. He does not have a top hat or black clothes, but his mustache, attitude, and scheme has this trope written all over him.

Comic Books

  • Tom Strong's archnemesis Paul Saveen is one of these, except for the hat part. However, in an issue where he uses a time machine to call several versions of himself, one has a top hat. He's actually much more competent than usual examples of this trope, even though Failure Is the Only Option for him, like for most supervillains.
  • Krimson from Suske en Wiske (Spike & Suzy) is a classic example from Belgium.
  • Green Lantern
    • Nemesis Sinestro certainly looks the part. In terms of personality, he's more complex. The added depth is relatively recent with his reinvention as an antihero/disgraced ruler in Emerald Dawn; before that, he was pretty much this, but less cartoonish about it (outside of the Superfriends anyway).
    • Hector Hammond would look like this if not for his superhumanly giant head.
  • Captain Marvel's Mad Scientist nemesis Dr. Sivana doesn't have the wardrobe, but does invoke a few of these traits, including his Catch Phrase "Curses! Foiled Again!"
  • Zot: The Harmless Villain Dr. Ignatius Rumbault Bellows was based on Professor Fate from The Great Race (see below) and is a pretty straight invocation of this trope. He's also a Steampunk Mad Scientist with No Indoor Voice.
  • In a Golden Age story where a supervillain called Funny Face was bringing to life various villains from comic strips, Superman fought an Expy of the Hairbreadth Harry villain Relentless Rudolph Ruddigore Rassendale in the form of the Viper from the fictional strip Happy Daze. This story was later retold in All-Star Squadron with members of the Squadron taking the place of Superman.
  • The iconic 'stache was sported by the villainous Herr Doktor Count Baron Napoleon von Strudel (a.k.a. Bert Maudsley) in one Wallace and Gromit comic, who also had an Eyepatch of Power concealing an experimental ping-pong ball that would explode on contact with the ground. And yes, he did twirl the moustache at least once.
  • Turner D. Century.

Eastern Animation

  • Believe it or not, Shapoklyak from Cheburashka. Bonus points for being a female example.

Fan Works

Films -- Animation

  • Bowler Hat Guy in Meet the Robinsons is an incompetent example. Turns out, the Bowler Hat itself is a better villain.

Films -- Live-Action

  • Professor Fate, Jack Lemmon's character in The Great Race. In fact, Dick Dastardly was clearly based on Professor Fate, so this is, in fact, the (half-)Trope Namer's origin.
  • Gustav in the Czech film The Stolen Airship
  • Terry-Thomas made his career out of playing these:
    • Sir Percy Ware-Armitage in Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. With his clipped moustache, clipped English accent, and clipped morals, he was the epitome of the "disreputable cad".
    • In Monte Carlo Or Bust (a.k.a. Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies), he plays Sir Percy's equally devious son, Sir Cuthbert Ware-Armitage.
  • Bill The Butcher in Gangs of New York could be seen as a reconstruction of this character, as he fits the description in dress and outward behavior, but betrays more depth as the movie progresses. While partially just a product of his time period, the visual references must be deliberate.
  • Barnaby from Laurel and Hardy's March of the Wooden Soldiers replaces the mustache with sideburns, but fits every other aspect of the trope, including forcing the heroine to marry him in exchange for the mortgage.
  • In the Disney re-make, which reverted to the title of the original Victor Herbert operetta, Babes in Toyland, Barnaby (played by Ray Bolger) changes the side-whiskers for a small waxed moustache.
  • Tod Slaughter, in nearly all his roles, played this character seriously—or, at least, as seriously as one can. "So, you wanted to be a bride, my dear Jessica, did you? So ye shall be -- a bride of DEATH! Ehehehehehhehaaa!"
  • In 1940, the silent movie villain was caricatured in The Villain Still Pursued Her in the person of Silas Cribbs (Alan Mowbray).
  • In an Unbuilt Trope aversion, the silent film epitome of this character, Koerner (Paul Panzer) in The Perils of Pauline, is a fairly young man (the secretary of the eponymous Pauline (Pearl White)'s guardian, bent on gaining her fortune), clean-shaven, and not particularly antiquated or exaggerated in manner or appearance. (Incidentally, contrary to popular belief, few of the "Pauline" films were cliffhangers; most were self-contained episodes.)
  • In 1947, Pearl White's life was romanticized in The Musical The Perils of Pauline. In this musical, actor Timmy Timmons (Billy DeWolfe) plays the villainous character "Hugo Mortimer" in White's films as the full-blown Dastardly Whiplash character of the popular imagination, rather than strictly recreating the Koerner of the original serial (who didn't really fit this trope). Interestingly, the original Koerner, Paul Panzer, plays the bit part of a "Drawing Room Gent" in this film.
  • Cactus Jack, Kirk Douglas' character in the 1979 Western spoof The Villain.


  • Simon Legree from Uncle Tom's Cabin is a sort of proto-Whiplash. No pretensions to refinement, but plenty of exultation-in-evil.
  • Soon I Will Be Invincible: Trophies from his past exploits indicate Baron Ether was one of these in his youth, before becoming an Evil Overlord.
  • Discworld
    • Since Moving Pictures races through the entire history of cinema up to Gone with the Wind in a couple of weeks, a Dastardly Whiplash naturally appears early on. He's tying Ginger to a tree (in the absence of railroad tracks on the Discworld) and a sign is held in front of the picture-box saying "Ahar! My proude beauty!"
    • Abrim in Sourcery is sort of this trope meets Grand Vizier. When he first appears, it's said that "He twirled his mustache, probably foreclosing another dozen mortgages."
  • Alec D'Urberville, from Tess of the D'Urbervilles, is an early version of this trope played straight (it's Victorian melodrama with a Realist touch). Hardy starts to give him Hidden Depths when he attempts to become a religious man, but he soon drops it and goes back to his dastardly, womanizing ways.
  • "Squire Hardman" from H.P. Lovecraft's "Sweet Ermengarde" is an early parody:

When the lovers had finally strolled away he leapt out into the lane, viciously twirling his moustache and riding-crop, and kicking an unquestionably innocent cat who was also out strolling.
"Curses!" he cried -- Hardman, not the cat -- "I am foiled in my plot to get the farm and the girl!..."

  • Sir Percival Glyde, a "bad baronet" in The Woman in White, is pretty much this, involved in the standard financial scheming and wife imprisonment.
  • The trope is mocked by Artemis Fowl:

Butler: Focus, Artemis, one dastardly crime at the time.
Artemis Fowl: Dastardly, Butler? Dastardly? Honestly, we are not cartoon characters. I do not have a villainous laugh or an eyepatch.


Live-Action TV

  • Firefly
    • Referenced in the episode "War Stories": after Simon has planned and executed his first heist, Shepherd Book asks if he's got his next scheme lined up, referring to him jokingly as a "criminal mastermind". Simon responds, "Not yet, but I was thinking of growing a big, black mustache. I'm a traditionalist."
    • In the first episode, Simon is used as a Red Herring and looks a lot like this kind of character.
  • A couple of the original incarnations of The Master from Doctor Who had aspects of this.
    • Lampshade Hanging in the novel Who Killed Kennedy: when Intrepid Reporter James Stevens sees a TV report on "Reverend Magister", his reaction is that nobody who looks that much like a Dennis Wheatley villain could possibly really be a terrorist and this is obviously part of the UNIT coverup.
    • Also lampshaded when Jo Grant—finding the Master speechless with fury over how she and the Doctor escaped his latest Death Trap—suggests "Curses, foiled again!" as an appropriate remark.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Picard references this archetype when he refers to "villains with black hats who twirl their moustaches" being easier to spot than a Knight Templar in "The Drumhead."
  • M.T. Promises on The Great Space Coaster.
  • Robbie Rotten of LazyTown may not have the loftiest of goals (he just wants the kids to be lazy so they won't be running back and forth across the roof of his subterranean lair all day—one might suggest he move, but it's probably rent-controlled), but he more than makes up for it with the kind of elaborate costumes and schemes that define this trope.
  • The Star Wars Holiday Special. All of the Imperial troops, naturally, especially a Lord Helmet clone who beats a trader out a groomer for no other reason than to be a dick, but even in the animated special, Boba Fett does everything but chortle "MWUAHAHAHAHA!" when speaking to Luke.


  • The original picture sleeve for The Beach Boys' 1967 single "Heroes and Villains" had a cartoon illustration of one of these (getting bested by a Dudley Do Right-esque hero, of course).
  • The cover for the 1969 Ohio Express album Mercy features a villain with everything but the mustache in a match of fisticuffs with a lumberjack on a handcar, while the rope-bound Damsel in Distress cries for help.
  • The Coasters' song "Along Came Jones" has the exploits of the Villain, Sweet Sue, and Jones running on the TV—on every channel, apparently.
  • One of Doctor Steel's Steampunk outfits includes a black stovepipe top hat and black PVC cape (along with his ubiquitous goggles), reminiscent of 19th century villains. '
  • Taylor Swift's "Mean" has a picture in the liner notes of a stereotypical villain standing over Taylor, who is tied to a railroad track. He's also in the music video and on the single cover, too.
  • In Tom Smith's song "Sheep Marketing Ploy", the titular sheep in question (the usurper of Satan's position as ruler of Hell) is described as having as classic villain mustache.
  • The Coasters' 1959 song "Along Came Jones" (later covered by Ray Stevens) describes random scenes seen on TV by the singer, involving a villain of this stripe threatening "poor Sweet Sue" in various classic ways (buzzsaw, railroad track, dynamite), heralding the arrival of the titular hero.

Newspaper Comics


Tabletop Games

  • Dr. Scrooge, from Spirit of the Century's supplement "Spirit of the Season", is essentially one of these. He's an evil banker (well, businessman of many stripes, really) who uses his wealth to greedily acquire more wealth to acquire more wealth, and so on, but will gladly go out of his way to steal cookies from orphans while he's at it. Somewhat more developed than most in that he's suffering from a delusion where he thinks he is actually Ebenezer Scrooge's heir, despite the character from A Christmas Carol being entirely fictitious. He's (somehow) calculated an exorbitant sum of money that he would have had if Scrooge hadn't squandered it on charity. His goal in life is to earn back that money. His hatred of orphans is tied to the fact that he is one. So...yeah...really messed up. Still comes across as almost a Care Bears villain, though.
  • The Spy piece in Stratego looks like one of these.


  • The villain of the Victorian-era Show Within a Show in Show Boat, "The Parson's Bride".
  • The silent movie stereotype derives partly from seducer figures in Victorian melodrama; Alec, from Tess of the D'Urbervilles, with his curling black mustache which he constantly strokes in order to show off his diamond rings, is one of the most notorious. For some reason, the character is often given the name Jasper, as in the Bawdy Song Oh, Sir Jasper Do Not Touch Me.
  • Spoofed in Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore. In 1887. The baronet of Ruddigore is required, due to an ancestral curse, to commit a single evil deed daily. When the tenor lead, Robin Oakapple, is exposed to secretly be Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, the true heir to the seat of Ruddigore, he exits and then returns with the moustache and top hat. Similarly, his servant Old Adam spontaneously acquires a hump.
    • One of the deceased "bad baronets" was actually named Sir Jasper.
  • The Show Within a Show entrance of "King Simon of Legree" (see Literature, above) in The King and I is accompanied by blood-curdling screams. His cruelty toward the slaves is presented as a barely-veiled allegory for the King of Siam's persecution of Tuptim and her secret lover Lun Tha.
  • The recently discovered Mark Twain play Is He Dead? gives us the evil landlord Andre who stalks the stage and offers to forgive the Starving Artist's debt if said artist's Love Interest marries him. Later, he makes the same deal, offering marriage in exchange for debt-forgiveness to the Starving Artist, now in drag, posing as his sister.

Video Games

  • Wario and Waluigi from the Super Mario Bros. series are variations on this trope. They have the mustaches, the evil grins, and the body language. They are wearing overalls, though. Bonus point in that Waluigi is almost a carbon copy of one of the trope namers in appearance, Dick Dastardly.
  • One of these is introduced in The Sims 2 "Bon Voyage" expansion. He's a pickpocket who sneaks around in a top hat, stroking his handlebar mustache. There's one for each Hollywood Atlas settings, each otherwise dressed in locale-appropriate garb.
  • Albeit he lacks a mustache and dresses in purple, Leopold Charles Anthony Weasleby the Third from Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure is a perfect example of a Dastardly Whiplash with an obsession with clockwork Death Machines.
  • Dampierre from Soul Calibur Broken Destiny is a variation on the trope: although he otherwise fits the trope perfectly, and commits petty crimes typical to the Dastardly Whiplash archetype, he's actually more of a good guy than a true villain and ultimately wishes to atone for the wrongs he's done. Quite Justified Trope when you've got villains such as an Omnicidal Maniac Eldritch Abomination resurrected from an evil sword, a sadistic, batshit insane Psychopathic Womanchild Complete Monster, and similar nasties running around freely.
    • However, according to the fifth game, he did sell Pyrrha into slavery.
  • Bergamot in Steambot Chronicles may not look the part, but once his Voice Actor starts talking, there won't be a doubt in your mind. Bonus points towards the end of the game's Hero path, where he almost seems a hair's breadth from a set of train tracks and an "I have you now, my pretty!"

Bergamot: You little strumpet!


Web Animation

  • "Sir Strong Bad", Strong Bad's Old-Timey counterpart in Homestar Runner, is mostly dead on, except that his face is still a luchador mask (which doesn't stop him from keeping the mustache.)
  • One of these appears on the "Good guys, bad guys, and explosions" part of the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny Flash cartoon.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • In Imperium Nova, Fornuxian Count Giacomo di Scaliger and his family were all officially titled "the Dastardly" by an Imperial judge. He embraced the trappings of this trope very quickly.
  • In Spoony's review of Avatar, he comments that the only way the villains could possibly have been more one-dimensional and Obviously Evil is if they had moustaches to twiddle.

Western Animation

  • The co-Trope Namers:
    • Snidely Whiplash from Dudley Do-Right is among the most prominent examples, although it should be noted that the character type had already existed beforehand, and, like everything else about the show, Whiplash was more of a parody than a straight example.
    • As is Dick Dastardly of Wacky Races and Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, though he eschews the top-hat, morning-suit, and cape, and dresses in purple rather than black.
  • Thaddeus Griffin, Peter's evil twin from Family Guy.

Thaddeus: Nyah, this will surely affect my inheritance... nyah!
(escapes in hot air balloon)


"DJ, you dirty guy!"


"A runabout! I'll steal it! NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW!"

  • The 1933 Bosko the Talk Ink Kid short Bosko's Picture Show has one "Dirty Dalton (The Cur!)", whose appearance Bosko greets with something that sounds very much like, "That dirty f---!"
  • The Hooded Claw from The Perils of Penelope Pitstop has Dastardly Whiplash mannerisms, though his appearance—with color scheme on loan from The Joker—is more flamboyant than most. No surprise, since he's voiced by Paul Lynde.
  • George of the Jungle
    • A Super Chicken episode features theater actor Briggs Badwolf, who, playing the melodrama villain once too often, believes he is the character—he makes off with the female lead of the play. Attempting to get her to go to the Villain's Annual Picnic with him, he takes her to the usual places—the sawmill, the railroad track, the old abandoned mine...
    • And Baron Otto Matic, in the Tom Slick segments.
  • In Sheep in The Big City, there's "The Count D'Ten" (one, two, three-darn it!). And in a Speed Racer parody, "Greedy McGreed-Greed" also may count.
  • In a Pinky and The Brain episode set at the beginning of the silent film era, Brain decides to conquer the world by making himself a movie star. The movies that he and Pinky make together spoof various silent film tropes, including one with Pinky as a villain of this type—complete with cloak, top hat, and mustache—tying a Damsel in Distress to railroad tracks so that Brain, as the hero, can rescue her.
  • Phineas and Ferb: While Dr. Doofenshmirtz is clearly a Mad Scientist, he still echoes quite a bit of this trope: exaggerated nose and chin, hunched posture, elaborate crazy schemes, and over-the-top mannerisms. No mustache or hat, though, and, in keeping with his Mad Scientist role, he wears a lab coat.
  • Professor Hinkel, the self-styled Evil Magician of Frosty the Snowman has the antiquated costume (though he loses the top hat, of course), the handlebar moustache, the exaggerated mannerisms, and the general incompetence associated with this trope. The fact that he is voiced by Billy DeWolfe (see Films, above) demonstrates the provenance of the character.
  • As an Expy of Trope Namer Dastardly, the Dread Baron from Laff a Lympics naturally falls into this category as well.
    • Issue #13 of the Laff-a-Lympics comic book (Marvel, Feb. 1979) notes that Dick Dastardly and Dread Baron are brothers.
  • The Vinegar bottle, the villain of the 1935 Merrie Melodies short "The Little Dutch Plate", mit addischonal German akzent. He even ties the little Dutch girl figurine to a log and is about to saw her in half—using the gears of a Dutch clock. But in a nicely contrived Twist Ending, he replaces his head with a more handsome one from a perfume bottle and goes off with the heroine!
  • Rum-Baa-Baa, the evil sheep from British toon Henry's Cat, may not have the moustache, but has everything else. One variation of the show's end credits even show him doing the old train track routine.
  • Sideshow Mel in The Simpsons episode "The Latest Gun in the West".
    • Moe also appears this way on one side of his business cards, which state his "profession" as villain. When he becomes a volunteer firefighter, he modifies the back of his cards so they reflect the fact that he is now a hero.
    • Homer as Mr. Stingly in Rent II: Condo Fever.

Homer: Where is the rent? I must have the rent. Dollars, dimes, and nickels -- I need them all right now!


Real Life