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Western Animation / Clue Club

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L - R: Wimper, Woofer, Pepper, Larry, D.D., and Dotty.
Clue Club was a Hanna-Barbera cartoon that was a copy in largest part of Scooby-Doo in that it entailed a group of four kids tapping into crimes and mysteries that the local law enforcement seemingly can't solve themselves.

The group consists of Larry, the team leader; Pepper, one of two female members; D.D., Pepper's partner in clue searching, and Dotty, the youngest member of the group, Pepper's sister, and the team's troubleshooter. There are two dogs as well—Woofer (a bloodhound with a bravado complex) and Wimper (a basset who knows better). These two dogs can talk plain English to each other and other animals, just not to humans. Sheriff Bagley is the baffled flatfoot who sees the Clue Club as more nosy than helpful but he takes his cap off to them when the crime is solved.

Clue Club aired on CBS starting on August 14, 1976 (replacing Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, which moved to ABC a month later). After a season, the episodes were chopped down to ten minutes and used as a feature on The Skatebirds, rebilled as Woofer & Wimper: Dog Detectives. At mid-season, The Robonic Stooges (another Skatebirds feature) was given its own time period (retitled The Three Robonic Stooges) and took Woofer & Wimper with them. In 1978, Clue Club returned to CBS, airing on Sunday mornings. In the mid-Eighties, reruns of the series would become a staple of the early USA Cartoon Express.

The complete series was released on DVD on August 11, 2015, via Warner Archive.

This show provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Towards the end of the series, D.D. began to listen to Dotty's excuses to join the group for the reveal with open amusement.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Dotty is smart and adorable. What keeps her from the nerd category is that she's as hip as any 13-year-old girl in 1976 and is into rock and roll music ("The Amazing Heist" demonstrates this).
  • Adults Are Useless: Zig-zagged. Sheriff Bagley will oblige the Clue Club by gathering suspects together, and tip his hat to the team when they solve a mystery.He also also spots and captures a fleeing member of the criminal gang in "The Weird Seaweed Caper". However, he almost never seems to have the correct suspect on his own, and while he is seen looking for evidence or taking in people for questioning himself, he does far less legwork and searching than the kids themselves do.
  • All for Nothing: In "The Circus Caper" an acrobat was kidnapped by his enemies in the circus without them realizing that the man was going to take a job at another circus in a couple weeks, which would have resolved that problem anyway without the need to commit a crime.
  • Animal Talk: Woofer and Wimper only talk to themselves and other animals.
  • Arab Oil Sheikh: In ''The Solar Energy Caper," a sheikh asks Pepper to be his sixth wife and haughtily offers to buy a solar energy device for a million dollars. The gang speculates he wants to destroy the device so that it won't be used to disrupt his oil interests.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Larry pulls one in "The Green Thumb Caper", after being told that no one was being admitted to the crime scene unless it was an emergency. Larry and co. then pretend to be "Tree Doctors" responding to an emergency.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Dotty. "Hold it, fuzzy face. You clobber my dogs with that hose, and I'll turn you into a monkey stew!"
  • Big Eater: Mr. Glut from "The Missing Pig Caper" is always eating, quite fat and eager to buy and eat a prized pig.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Woofer and Wimper are obedient to Larry, D.D. and Pepper, but they adore Dotty. As Woofer opines in "The Amazing Heist":
    Woofer: (dreamy-eyed toward Dotty) Oh, it just breaks my heart that she's a human.
    Wimper: How's that, Woofer?
    Woofer: Can you imagine the sensational lady bloodhound she'd make?
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Several culprits, notably the one from "The Real Gone Gondola" who is described by Dotty as being liked by everybody, shows concern for an employees welfare and manages to effectively fake looking happy and cheerful at the rescue of the very person who he'd kidnapped.
  • Blatant Lies: Dotty's excuses to join the group for the climax. Larry often sees right through them, but lets her stay anyway, in part because her antics have him amused, and in part because he relies on her for forensic analysis of clues.
    Dotty: I think they [the dogs] have laryngitis.
    D.D.: Personally, I think she's sensational.
    Dotty: Go ahead, bark fellas.
    Woofer and Wimper: (bark weakly)
    Larry: Uh-huh. Laryngitis. Would you guys like a couple of dog biscuits?
    Woofer and Wimper: (enthusiastic barking)
    Dotty: I think it's a miracle.
  • Busman's Holiday: Lampshaded in one episode by Sheriff Bagley, after a performer vanishes at the circus. "How come when you kids are involved it's never anything simple, like a holdup?"
  • Butt-Monkey: Woofer, mainly due to how much he gets chased, humiliated and not taken seriously. D.D. and Pepper sometimes as well.
  • Character Tics: Larry did have something of a trademark gesture. When contemplating clues, he would blow a bubble with his gum, then deflate it.
  • Cold Touch Surprise:
    • On more than one occasion, Dee Dee and Pepper have entered a dark room or hallway, with one of them, usually Pepper, requesting they hold hands for safety. Both will complain that the other's hands feel cold or be like ice, only to reveal that the Monster of the Week has somehow got between them.
    • In "The Real Gone Gondola", Woofer and Wimper are warming themselves by a heater in the clubhouse after having been buried in snow. Woofer is in front of the heater, and Wimper's back feet are still blue with cold. Wimper shoves them under Woofer to warm them more quickly, causing Woofer to leap several feet into the air.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Only two appearances in the anthology title Hanna-Barbera TV Stars (Marvel).
  • Defective Detective: Woofer. Yet at the end of every crime he crows to Wimper of how he solved it. D.D. and Pepper may also count since, while they will usually find valuable clues, they also stumble onto the episode's villain and get chased a lot.
  • Easily Forgiven: The running bit of this show is that Dotty cannot join the others on their missions because she's only 13 years old. Yet each week she shows up at the denoument with an alibi why she's there, and Larry can't find it in himself to stay mad at her.
  • Eye Pop: The show was animated at Hanna-Barbera's Australian studio, so any scene animated by Kevin Roper and Richard Jones will feature eyes popping, mainly from Woofer and Wimper.
  • The Family That Slays Together: Pepper and Dotty are sisters, and even though Dotty disobeys orders to stay at home base, Pepper still loves her. Also falls under the Two Girls to a Team arena.
  • Gadget Watch: The Club's watches have a pager function.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Dotty has a pigtail on either side of her head.
  • Graceful Loser: A few culprits, like Foster from "The Solar Energy Caper" who comments that he made a good try while seeming impressed by the kids, Carloff in "One of Our Elephants is Missing" who simply says that th jig is up with a tired sigh rather than deny it, and Crane in "The Dissolving Statue Caper" who makes a confession after being confronted with the evidence and simply ask That a coworker take care of his pet monkey while being arrested.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Eleven of the sixteen episodes are titled under "The _______ Caper" pattern.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Parodied. In one episode, Dotty remarks that if her computer tells her "Insufficient data" one more time, she'll recycle it into a beer can. This from a 13-year-old girl.
  • Kid Detective: All the Club are teenagers, but at 13 Dotty is usually considered too young for field work. In the two comic book appearances—Dotty joins everyone else on the cases.
  • Knew It All Along: Woofer. Or at least that's what he claims at the end of each mystery.
    Wimper: Clue Club solves the crime!
    Woofer: I knew it all the time!
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Woofer, who always claims to know who the culprit is. When the real culprit is revealed - and it's almost never anyone Woofer suspects - Woofer will claim he knew it was them all along.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: In "The Walking House Caper", Larry, Pepper and D.D. are locked in a house by a creature (a fake, natch). Larry signals Dotty via his ring communicator in hopes she'll call the police. Instead, Dotty, Woofer and Wimper take it upon themselves to lure the creature away so they can rescue the team. And Dotty does have the foresight to call the police as well.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Usually and uniformly, D.D. gets paired with Pepper, Larry goes it solo, interrogating possible suspects, Woofer and Wimper get themselves in trouble, and Dotty stays at home where she uses computer technology (for 1976) and her own forensic science savvy to troubleshoot for the rest of the gang.
  • Locked Room Mystery: The typical case the Club has is the investigation of bizarre thefts of large and presumably immovable objects that seemingly vanished into thin air.
  • Mission Control: Where Dotty is usually relegated to handle research and forensic tests, not that it stops her from getting into the field each episode...
  • Monster Clown: A couple that gave chase to Pepper and D.D. One in "The Dissolving Statue Caper" and again, apropos enough, in "The Circus Caper".
    Pepper: Why are we running from a clown? Clowns are sweet and lovable and sad.
    D.D.: This one's mean and hateful and mad! Keep running!
  • Morally Bankrupt Banker: One appears as a suspect (he's being investigated by the government) in the vanishing train episode.
  • The Nicknamer: Mostly Larry to Dotty, with a variety of affectionate diminutive nicknames, "Little one", "Small fry", "Pipsqueak", "Shorty", "Short stuff", etc.
  • Once an Episode: Dotty will show up at The Reveal, despite being told otherwise by the other club members, with a "perfectly good excuse" why she's there.
  • Only Known by His Initials: D.D.'s full name is never revealed.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The British rock star in "The Amazing Heist." His dialect makes Dick Van Dyke's attempt in Mary Poppins seem authentic.
  • Propping Up Their Patsy: Double-Subverted. In one episode, Pepper and Dotty's Uncle "Salty" Boggs is accused of stealing a diamond from a display in a museum from which he was recently fired. Also suspected is the woman who owns the museum, as she is fully knowledgeable about the security systems that were protecting the diamond. The actual culprit was the man who owned a local lighthouse, and who had been forced to fire Uncle "Salty" from working the lighthouse due to budget cuts. He had expected his plan was foolproof, and would have been a baffling mystery, never intending either Boggs or the museum owner to come under suspicion, and sincerely and earnestly pleads their innocence without revealing that he was the guilty party.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Usually, but at the big unveiling there is no latex mask pulled off the perp. Larry has the sheriff round up all the suspects so he can break down how the crime was committed before identifying whodunnit.
  • Scooby Stack: Dotty, Woofer and Wimper do this in "The Walking House Caper" when they see a sasquatch as they affect a rescue of the others who are locked inside a house.
  • Spoofy-Doo: Basically a Scooby-Doo expy, just with two dogs.
  • The Summation: This Scooby-Doo expy uses more visual footage to depict the criminals' moves more than others.
  • Tag Along Kid: What Dotty wants to be, but Larry always tells her to stay in the lab, for her saftey, since she is just a kid, something she keeps finding a way to get around.
  • Talking Animals: Woofer and Wimper, but only between themselves or with other animals.
  • Tech Marches On: Sure, having a wrist mounted pager would have been advanced in the 1970s, but it's redundant in this age of cell phones unless it had two way communication as well.
  • Teen Genius: Dotty. She's so smart she can program her computer to play gin rummy with her. Only she loses thanks to Woofer's kibitzing.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Dotty and her older sister Pepper respectively.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Pepper describes hotdogs as "Dotty's favorite fruit". In another episode, when going to a circus, Dotty has calculated the budget they'd need for snacks. She's assigned five hotdogs for herself in that budget, and when the mystery breaks out and she is sent home, she complains that she's only had four hotdogs.
  • Tragic Villain: A few of the bad guys come across this way.
    • In the pilot, the counterfeiters are just acting To try and save their once great theater, which other people are also sentimental about, from being demolished.
    • The culprit in "The Vanishing Airport" is implied to have been cheated and mistreated by his employer, being a brilliant design engineer who ended up as a mechanic.
  • Video Phone: The Club's car is equipped with one, which is connected by their Gadget Watch pager functions.
  • Villain of Another Story:
    • In the pilot, a newspaper editor talks about how some of his recent stories have exposed the corrupt deeds of the city's mayor, but the mayor is never seen or mentioned again.
    • In "The Missing Pig Caper," Dotty's background check reveals that Mr. Cleek, the valet of wealthy gourmand Mr. Glut, is a career thief and Con Artist. It's implied that Mr. Glut is Cleek's latest mark, but he's completely innocent of stealing the prized pig Mr. Glut hopes to eat (and is willing to pay a great deal of money for). Upon hearing that he is a suspect, Cleek replies that stealing a pig is beneath him.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • D.D. and Pepper, with loads of Snark-to-Snark Combat.
    • Woofer and Wimper are paired together and have a strong bond despite how much Woofer throws his weight around and how much Woofer can feel threatened by Wimper's (relatively) greater intelligence.
  • Weirdness Magnet: It's the thing to be as a Hanna-Barbera meddling kid.
  • Why Are You Looking at Me Like That?: Dotty pulls this with Woofer and Wimper in "The Real Gone Gondola" in order to join the others.
    Woofer: Uh oh...the kid's got that look in her eyes.
    Wimper: Yeah. Last time we got the blame for it.
  • Wraparound Background: It's a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. What did you expect?
  • You Meddling Kids: More than a few villains expressed frustration that they would have gotten away with it if not for the "nosy" kids. Possibly adding insult to injury, at least a few of them only cited "three nosy kids", utterly discounting Dotty's contributions. Possibly justified. Larry and the others insisted on leaving Dotty at home to keep her safe. Revealing to desperate, potentially dangerous men that she cracked most of the clues might have put her in danger.
  • You Need a Breath Mint: One episode had D.D. and Pepper chased by a vampire, so they eat cloves of garlic and then say "H-h-h-h-h-hi!" to him. The vampire wilts and runs away. As a gag, Pepper does this to Woofer and Wimper, causing them to melt to the ground in repulsion.