Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Pound Puppies (1980s)

Go To

Hanna-Barbera created an animated TV special based on Tonka's popular line of stuffed dogs in 1985. A series appeared the next year which followed it closely, despite changing several characters and most of the voice cast. Both revolved around "the Pound Puppies", a group of dogs consisting of:

  • Cooler, leader with a trademark laugh.
  • Nose Marie, a melodramatic Southern Belle bloodhound.
  • Bright Eyes, a perky cheerleader type.
  • Howler, an eccentric inventor with Harpo Marx-like hair.
  • Whopper, the diaper-wearing cute kid, who often lies and exaggerates.

The Pound Puppies lived at a dog pound and helped other canines find good homes while taking a Masquerade as normal dogs. The puppies were cared for by their neighbor Holly, a kindly orphan girl who the dogs drop the disguise for and is a kind of Cool Big Sis. Holly lives with her guardian, an evil Cruella De Vil wannabe named Katrina Stoneheart, who hates The Pound Puppies (and dogs in general). Katrina was constantly plotting against them, with the help of her bratty daughter Brattina; their pet cat, Catgut, and occasional partner, Captain Slaughter.

The show was dramatically retooled for its second season, called The All-New Pound Puppies in the opening credits, including adding an Expository Theme Tune, dropping Captain Slaughter and reducing Howler's presence, and having Katrina run the pound like a prison to lock all the dogs up. The Pound Puppies and Holly were now freedom fighters who operated out of an Elaborate Underground Base, trying to save dogs from Katrina and hook them up with lonely kids.

The premise was then retooled once more for the 1988 movie Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw, before disappearing completely, followed by the toy line in 1990. However, the toy range was briefly revived by two companies in The '90s (Playmates Toys in 1994, Galoob in 1996) before getting a more substantial reboot from Hasbro in 2007, which included its own TV tie-in. After that, the license went to Funrise in 2014.

The sister line of toys, Pound Purries, never had the luxury of their own TV special or series, although they made a token appearance in The Movie as supporting characters.

If you're looking for the 2010 series, click here.

Hanna-Barbera's Pound Puppies contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Four episodes of the first season featured Captain Slaughter, a Dr. Claw-esque villain who was responsible for destroying the puppies' home in the first place and was Cooler's Arch-Enemy. When the show was retooled in its second season, he disappeared, his storyline never resolved.
  • Accidental Misnaming: For some reason, Cooler keeps calling Violet "Sam" in the '85 special.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: The "Pet Care Corner" segment that appeared at the end of every episode in the first season, where viewers are given hints on pet care.
  • Animation Bump: The Title Sequence of the second season has noticeably more fluid animation.
  • Art Evolution/Art Shift: The special, the two seasons of the TV series and the movie all have strikingly different art styles.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Bright Eyes and Nose Marie are halfway between this trope and Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal.
  • Bond Gun Barrel: The famous gun barrel sequence used in the opening of the James Bond movies is parodied in the episode "Secret Agent Pup" by having Cooler hold a dog biscuit as if it were a gun and splash a bucket of water at the gun barrel.
  • A Cat in a Gang of Dogs: Tuffy has this role in some episodes.
  • Cats Are Mean:
    • Catgut is just as nasty as his owner Katrina Stoneheart.
    • Subverted in "The Captain and the Cats", "Happy Howlidays", and "Tuffy Gets Fluffy", which all featured friendly cats that the Pound Puppies were on good terms with.
  • Christmas Episode: "Happy Howlidays" takes place during Christmas and has Katrina Stoneheart attempt to shut down the Puppy Pound by withholding the pound's bills and not giving them to Holly until it's too late for her to pay them on time.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The All-New Pound Puppies saw the complete disappearance of Captain Slaughter, while Howler was pushed Out of Focus.
  • Dark Reprise: In the episode "Garbage Night: The Musical", Howler uses an invention to show the inside of Bright Eyes' body after she eats a nutritious piece of meat, which is accompanied by "Vita-Men", an upbeat song about how vitamins help build a strong, healthy body and fight off germs. When the machine is used on Scrounger after he eats a piece of cake, he instead finds his body full of Blobs, which is accompanied by a reprise of the "Vita-Men" song that explains how eating junk food doesn't help your body from getting sick.
  • Disney Death: Happens at the end of the '85 special when Cooler gets hit by a car.
  • Dropped After the Pilot: Several characters featured in the original pilot are absent for the remainder of the series, one of them being Mr. Bigelow, who was depicted as the owner of the Puppy Pound instead of Holly or Katrina Stoneheart.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The original 1985 television special has rather notable differences from the series.
    • Whopper, Holly, Katrina and Brattina are all absent.
    • Howler is silent aside from his trademark howling and his hat and dog collar are all he wears, when the series gives him a vest and has him capable of speech.
    • Bright Eyes appears to be older than she was in the series, and is mostly teamed up with Howler.
    • Nose Marie is named "The Nose", and she speaks in a nasal voice with a heavy New York accent, rather than the soft Southern Belle voice she has in the series.
    • The pound is run by a man named Mr. Bigelow instead of a girl named Holly. Bigelow is also Catgut's owner instead of Katrina Stoneheart.
    • Catgut himself had a more cartoonish and blob-like design.
  • Evil Plan: In nearly every episode of the first season, Katrina Stoneheart had a scheme to shut down the Puppy Pound or harm or inconvenience the Pound Puppies in general. In the second season, where she became the owner of the pound with Cooler, Bright Eyes, Whopper, and Nose Marie on the run, she still comes up with schemes to harm dogs, but her new main goal is to capture the four Pound Puppies.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Used in the second season by added lyrics to the instrumental version.
  • Expy: Katrina is a fairly obvious one for the Disney Cruella de Vil.
    • A number of the one-shot puppy characters were pretty obvious dog versions of famous characters, entertainers or actors, probably as a sort of Parental Bonus. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the "Three Wise Guys" from one episode who were clearly modeled on The Marx Brothers.
  • Fantastic Racism: Due to their experience with Catgut, Whopper and Bright Eyes express disdain toward cats in "Tuffy Gets Fluffy", though they do learn in the end that not all cats are bad.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Bright Eyes and Nose Marie wear nothing underneath their skirts, and Cooler and Howler are pantless as well. Whopper wears only a diaper.
  • Hates Baths: The title character of "Tuffy Gets Fluffy" despises bathing and tries to run for it whenever anyone attempts to give him a bath.
  • Having a Gay Old Time: Thought to be one of the reasons Pound Puppies' feline counterparts were called Pound Purries.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Whopper, who has a tendency to tell tall tales, states that he hates puppies who tell fibs in "The Invisible Friend".
  • Imaginary Friend: Bob in "The Invisible Friend". He later becomes real thanks to Puppy Power.
  • Improbable Age: In the first season Holly owns a puppy pound despite being a minor. Averted in the second season where Katrina owns the pound.
  • Inconvenient Summons: In "The Fairy Dogmother", the titular fairy dogmother is bathing when the Pound Puppies summon her.
  • Insult Backfire: When Holly calls out Katrina Stoneheart for stealing the Puppy Pound's food supply in "Whopper Cries Uncle", Katrina sobs and voices her appreciation at Holly describing her actions as mean and cruel.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: When called a silly bumbling mongrel in "The Captain and the Cats", it's being called a mongrel that gets Cooler angry.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Her obvious hatred of dogs aside, Katrina's initial complaints in "How to Found a Pound" are actually quite valid. The constant barking of several dozen dogs would be quite intolerable for any neighbors, along with the potential odor and hygiene issues if the dogs' owner can't keep up.
  • Lighter and Softer: The All-New Pound Puppies toned down the villains, removing the most obviously evil of the lot, and put more emphasis on finding homes for puppies.
  • Long-Lived: Millie, the original owner of the pound, died at the age of 100 years old.
  • Lost Will and Testament: "How to Found a Pound" revealed that the dogs had to find the Puppy Pound's founder's will to prevent Katrina from inheriting it.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Katrina Stoneheart and her daughter Brattina are both as mean and hateful as their names suggest. The former more of a cat person, and the latter being a Spoiled Brat. Their last name refers to being uncaring, especially to the dogs.
    • Howler, who constantly howls.
    • Whopper, who has a habit of telling tall tales.
    • The charismatic leader of the Pound Puppies is appropriately named Cooler.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Yet another cartoon based on a toy.
  • Motive Decay: Katrina in All New Pound Puppies. In the first season, she keeps trying to get the pound shut down so that she can tear it down and build expensive condos for rich people and make a lot of money. In the second season, where she actually owns and runs the pound, her only goal is to lock up every puppy and keep them behind bars.
  • Motor Mouth: Whopper talks a mile a minute, even when he isn't telling tall tales.
  • Musical Episode: "Garbage Night: The Musical" is almost entirely consisted of musical numbers.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When items go missing in the pound, Howler is blamed and exiled from the pound. When the items vanish again, the pups discover it was a family of raccoons who were just "doing what nature meant us to." The pups realize they blamed Howler wrongly and race to find him as the raccoons realize what they did.
    Father Raccoon: Hon, I may be a raccoon but right now, I feel more like a skunk.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Violet in the '85 special; Holly at the start of the TV series.
  • Non-Standard Character Design:
    • Itchy and Snichey in the TV special have an angular, abstract and monstrous design that sets them apart from all the other characters. They look nothing like any of the other dogs in the special, let alone the franchise — they don't even look like they belong in that universe.
    • Catgut, in the same special, may not be as jarring design-wise as Itchy and Snichey, but he definitely has a unique design, looking more like a cartoonish blob than a cat. He'd get a major redesign for the series, where he looks far less out of place.
  • Non-Nude Bathing: The titular character from "The Fairy Dogmother" is seen bathing with her clothes on.
  • Older Than They Look: Millicent Trueblood, the founder of the Puppy Pound shown in flashback in "How to Found a Pound". Cooler mentions that she passed away at the age of 101, but she looks like she can't be any older than her 60's.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Nose, precursor to the TV series' Nose Marie.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The Nose originally had a New York accent, then traded it in for a Southern drawl as Nose Marie. This may have been lampshaded in All-New Pound Puppies with one-shot rival Toots, who had a similar accent and was pointedly disliked by Team Mom Nose Marie.
  • Origins Episode: "How to Found a Pound" explains the backstory of the Pound Puppies, how the Puppy Pound was founded, and how Holly became in charge of the Puppy Pound.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: "Where Do Puppies Come From?" has a scene where Cooler asks Rusty if he is nervous about being a father-to-be. Rusty responds by stuttering and vehemently denying that the notion that he'll be a father has made him uneasy.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In "The Bright Eyes Mob", Katrina tricks a group of high class women into believing she's a dog lover with a very obvious robot dog, until it shorts out and explodes.
  • Parental Bonus: What kid would have known that Cooler was a Shout-Out to the Cooler King?
  • Posthumous Character: "How to Found a Pound" revealed that the Puppy Pound was founded by an old woman named Millicent Trueblood, who died at the age of 101 prior to the events of the series.
  • Pounds Are Animal Prisons: In the second season where Katrina owns it. In the episode "Cooler Come Back" the pound Cooler gets taken to has this kind of feel to it. Also in the original special.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: Biff Barker from "Ghost Hounders", who was an actor who played a ghost hunter on a television show Whopper enjoyed. Whopper becomes very disappointed when he discovers Biff to be a coward in real life, to the point that he throws out all of his Biff Barker merchandise. Eventually, Biff Barker succeeds in getting over his cowardice and helps save the day, which causes Whopper to like him again.
  • Retool: The show's second season, All-New Pound Puppies had several aspects from the previous season altered or removed, such as:
    • The Puppy Pound was now owned by Katrina Stoneheart instead of Holly.
    • Several characters such as Zazu the Fairy Dogmother, Mervin (Holly's boyfriend), The Three Wise Guys, and Captain Slaughter were all Put on a Bus.
    • Nose Marie's personality was changed from a Southern Belle to a more motherly figure.
    • Bright Eyes was now a younger pup.
    • Howler was Demoted to Extra.
    • The episode length was changed from a full 30 minutes (with commercials), to two 11 minute segments.
    • The first season had a plot involving a prophecy of the fabled Star Pup. But this plot point was dropped.
  • Rhyme Theme Naming: Rusty and Lucy's three puppies are named Andy, Mandy, and Candy.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Catgut, who is the pet of Mr. Bigelow in the original 1985 special and Katrina Stoneheart in the series.
  • Satellite Love Interest: "The Fairy Dogmother" introduced a boy that Holly and Brattina both crushed on. And he was never seen again.
  • Sequel Episode: "Where Do Puppies Come From?", which had the Pound Puppies help out a dog named Rusty and his pregnant mate Lucy, had a sequel in the episode "Pups on the Loose", which had Rusty and Lucy entrust the Pound Puppies with looking after their new children.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: The Terrible Terrier from "Ghost Hounders" turns out to be Catgut in a costume with a tape recorder around his neck.
  • The Slacker: Jerry from "Kid in the Doghouse", who despised doing chores so much that he ran away from home. The Pound Puppies get him to see the importance of chores by pretending to be too lazy to care about doing them.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spoiled Brat: With a name like Bratina, how could she not take this trope?
  • Step Servant: Holly is an orphan who is constantly abused/exploited by her aunt and cousin. By the end of the first season, it was implied she inherited their house and lived happily ever after. Then came the second season, where her aunt took over the pound and forced the puppies underground.
  • The Talk: The episode "Where Do Puppies Come From?" features Bright Eyes and Whopper confused about where puppies come from while Cooler and Nose Marie tend to the needs of Rusty and his pregnant mate Lucy. When the watered-down explanations given to Bright Eyes and Whopper fail to satisfy their curiosity, Cooler sets them straight in the end by having them watch Lucy give birth.
  • Theme Tune Roll Call: The instrumental opening theme of the first season began with a voice-over introducing the main characters, while the second season's theme song (which added lyrics to the original instrumental) had the cast introduced in the first verse.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Theme Triplet Naming in "Pups on the Loose", where Rusty and Lucy's puppies are named Andy, Mandy, and Candy.
  • Villain Song:
    • Katrina and her daughter Brattina frequently sing songs to themselves about their hatred of dogs and their intentions to do cruel things to them, but one notable song is "She's Grand Old Hag", a song sung by Brattina about her mother to the tune of "You're a Grand Old Flag" in the episode "Whopper Cries Uncle".
    • As one might expect from a Musical Episode, Katrina gets two villain songs in "Garbage Night: The Musical", "Mutts Drive Me Nuts" (which gets a brief reprisal near the end of the episode) and a short number where she sings about capturing the Pound Puppies and making them into a fur coat.
  • Wacky Cravings: In "Where Do Puppies Come From?", Lucy asks Holly and Nose Marie to make her a dog food and ice cream sundae with various unorthodox toppings while preparing to give birth to her puppies. After eating the sundae in one bite, she asks for another one topped with whipped cream.
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: Bright Eyes wears a strapless bikini under her clothes in the 1986 series.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Happened to Whopper on the Episode “Tail of a Pup”. While sneaking out of the Pound, the safety pin on his diaper fell off, not only letting his diaper fall down, but also alerting a nearby Robot. Ironically, Bright Eyes said not to “Let a Pin Drop”.