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Western Animation: Underdog

"There's no need to fear — Underdog is here!"

One of Total Television's most famous Animated Series, Underdog was a canine parody of Superman which debuted on NBC in 1964 and moved to CBS in 1966. Usually, each half-hour episode consisted of two chapters of a four-part Underdog story, separated by an unrelated TTV short.

Underdog's alter ego was "humble, lovable Shoeshine Boy". When summoned by TV reporter Sweet Polly Purebrednote , Shoeshine Boy dashed into the nearest phone booth and emerged in his heroic costume. For some unexplained reason, Underdog always spoke in rhyme. His foes included the mad scientist Dr. Simon Bar Sinister and his henchman, Cad Lackey (voice caricatures of Lionel Barrymore and Humphrey Bogart), and the lupine crime boss Riff Raff (based on George Raft).

Supporting segments included Tennessee Tuxedo And His Tales, Go Go Gophers and Klondike Kat. The series' voice talent included Wally Cox as Underdog/Shoeshine Boy and Norma McMillan as Sweet Polly Purebred.

A live-action film that just happened to be called Underdog was released by Walt Disney Pictures in 2007.

Underdog also inspired a well-remembered, well-loved Macy's Thanksgiving Day balloon, as evidenced by this commercial, made 35 years after the balloon's debut.

You might've heard the theme song thanks to being Sampled Up by Wu-Tang Clan on their "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta F' Wit". Parts of the Underdog theme song could also be heard in Wheels!, an Apple Macintosh game aimed at disabled children.

(For the Japanese manga of the same name, click here)

Underdog provides examples of:


Tennessee Tuxedo And His TalesCreator/Kabillion    
The Tyrannosaur ChroniclesAnimal Title IndexVixen
Super Mario WorldSaturday Morning CartoonWheelie And The Chopper Bunch
UndeclaredCreator/Shout! FactoryVisiting Hours
Uncle GrandpaWestern AnimationUndergrads
Ultimate Spider-ManSuperheroWolverine and the X-Men
Today's SpecialCreator/NickelodeonThe World of David the Gnome
Top CatThe Dark Age of AnimationWacky Races

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