1 9 6 4 – 1 9 7 3 (USA)
Leonardo Productions – the creators of Tennesee Tuxedo – had their biggest success with the adventures of a super-powered pooch named Underdog.
In the guise of the “humble and lovable” Shoe Shine Boy, Underdog would only need to hear the faintest cry for help before transforming himself into a superhero.
The plea usually came from his girlfriend, TV Reporter Polly Purebred, the show’s most frequent canine-in-distress.
A colourful array of villains, from Simon Bar Sinister to Riff Raff to Overcat, seemed to follow the hapless Polly wherever she went.
Whenever she needed her hero’s assistance, Polly would break out into song: “Oh where, oh where has my Underdog gone? Oh, where, oh where can he be?”
Upon hearing this, the Shoe Shine Boy would immediately duck into the nearest telephone booth and emerge ready to fight evil.
For some reason, Underdog only spoke in rhymed couplets, but luckily, this need to recite a verse of poetry before every battle didn’t seem to slow him down.
Two other cartoons shared the Underdog show: The Hunter and The World of Commander McBragg. These segments had been seen before, in King Leonardo and His Short Subjects.
In its second season, Underdog switched networks and replaced The Hunter with Go Go Gophers, a show about two Native American gophers – Running Board and Ruffled Feathers – who were being driven off their land by the local cavalry.
Every week, Col. Kit Coyote would have a different plan to eliminate the Gophers, and every week, he would be outsmarted by the clever duo.
The Colonel’s second in command, Sergeant Oky Homa, often tried to warn him, but to no avail.
The other new segment, replacing Commander McBragg, was Klondike Kat, a feline Mountie who – on orders from the chief, Major Minor – was perpetually on the trail of the thieving mouse Savoir Faire (“Savoir Faire is everywhere”).
Every episode would feature Klondike hatching an elaborate plan to capture his foe, shouting his familiar threat, “I’ll make mincemeat out of that mouse!”
Underdog/Shoe Shine Boy
Sweet Polly Purebred
Simon Bar Sinister
Sergeant Oky Homa
Col. Kit Coyote