Who was surrounded by incompetence?
January 29, 2008 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Cartoon Filter: Which animated cartoon character used the catch-phrase "I am surrounded by incompetence!"?

In the mid to late 60s, there was an animated cartoon televised in the US - at least in the Chicago area - in which a major character used the phrase "I am surrounded by incompentence!" when foiled. This character was probably a villain. Can you name the character and the cartoon?

My Google-fu has failed me, confound it. I searched using both "incompetence" and "incompetents" and couldn't come up with an answer.
posted by johnvaljohn to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It sounds like the sort of thing that Boris Badenoff (of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show) would say, but that's just a gut feeling. My fu also fails.
posted by jquinby at 8:16 AM on January 29, 2008

Not Boris, I'll put money on it. I delved into YouTube but couldn't find anything. Hanna-Barbera was big in those days but I can't think of a show using that tagline, and those were my prime cartoon-viewing years. Monty Burns would say that but he's far too recent a character.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:22 AM on January 29, 2008

If Googling didn't result in anything ...
Maybe the phrase was "I am surrounded by incompetents" - surrounded by incompetent people.
Though I haven't googled this version.
posted by ollsen at 8:32 AM on January 29, 2008

Maybe Lex Luthor.
posted by JimN2TAW at 8:38 AM on January 29, 2008

If it helps, Mel Brooks put a spin on this line in "Spaceballs" when Dark Helmet learned the last name of most of the men on the bridge, which was "Asshole."

"Great!" he said, "I'm surrounded by Assholes!"
posted by bryanjbusch at 8:46 AM on January 29, 2008

In the Don Bluth cartoon "All Dogs go to Heaven," the villain, Carface, frequently exclaims, "Morons! I'm surrounded by morons!"

posted by SlyBevel at 8:56 AM on January 29, 2008

"Why is the greatest criminal genius of all time surrounded by nincompoops?"

- Lex Luther, Superman movie
posted by ollsen at 9:18 AM on January 29, 2008

This page has the quote attributed to the character of Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, a short lived animated series that you can find all over YouTube.

I'd imagine you might find the quote in one of them thar videos.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:27 AM on January 29, 2008

Oh, hold on, this is from the 60s. Probably not Sherlock Holmes then.

Oh well.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:29 AM on January 29, 2008

You know who else said it?

For comic bad guys, though, JimN2TAW has it. It was Lex Luthor.
posted by misha at 9:49 AM on January 29, 2008

Part of me hopes it is Dick Dastardly.
posted by willmize at 10:06 AM on January 29, 2008

Not a villain, but it sure sounds like a Daffy Duck-ism.
posted by sourwookie at 10:08 AM on January 29, 2008

My late father used this phrase all the time, in a jokey way, toward us kids. This would have been in the late 70s/early 80s, but I'm sure his use of it predates having kids. He was a huge fan of the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons, so maybe that's a possibility?
posted by amyms at 10:09 AM on January 29, 2008

Response by poster: OP here.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far, but I don't think any of these are it. Several of the characters may have said it once or twice (e.g. Lex Luthor), but the character I'm looking for used this as a catch-phrase, repeatedly.

And, to clarify, I searched for both "I am surrounded by incompetence" and "I am surrounded by incompetents". Both are fairly common phrases, in wide use. My guess is that the cartoon brought this into the public mind, but I could be wrong. After all, I remembering this from my single-digit years.
posted by johnvaljohn at 10:40 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

"I am a lone oasis in a desert of fools!" Zoltar, Battle of the Planets. Is that it?
posted by Mr. Justice at 10:54 AM on January 29, 2008

Cy-Kill, the villainous leader from the Go-bots cartoon, was fond of disparaging the intelligence of his minions.

posted by speedo at 12:16 PM on January 29, 2008

I don't know who the "Cobra Commander" was, but I also saw the quote attributed to him, if that helps.
posted by misha at 12:26 PM on January 29, 2008

In my head, I'm hearing Daffy Duck. Because of the play on his speech impediment. But I can't pin the specific cartoon.
posted by hermitosis at 1:09 PM on January 29, 2008

Seconding Daffy Duck - could swear I've seen something with him saying that - "I'm surrounded by incompetents!" (I always took it as plural)

maybe an episode where he's battling the animation artist? who's erasing his "set" and things? I know bugs had one like that too but I think daffy also did
posted by clanger at 7:37 PM on January 29, 2008

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