Episodes: 62 (half-hour)
TV show dates: October 3, 1964 — September 2, 1967
Series status: Cancelled/ended
Performers include: Don Adams, Sandy Becker, Bradley Bolke, Wally Cox, Kenny Delmar, George S. Irving, Norma MacMillan, Mort Marshall, George Raft, Delo States, Ben Stone, Larry Storch, and Allen Swift.
TV show description:
In this animated series, humble and lovable Shoeshine Boy, is in truth the superhero Underdog (Wally Cox). When villains threatened, Shoeshine ducked into a telephone booth where he transformed into the caped and clumsy costumed hero.
As part of their nefarious plans, the villains almost always managed to menace Underdog’s crush, canine TV reporter Sweet Polly Purebred (Norma MacMillan). Each episode was broken up into segments and also featured Tennessee Tuxedo and his Tales, Go-Go Gophers, Klondike Kat, Commander McBragg, and the Hunter.
Underdog segment #123 – The Vacuum Gun, Part 3: While Simon Bar Sinister’s Vacuum Army sucks up all of the money in America, captured Sweet Polly searches for Underdog’s ring as her tank fills with water!
Gene Hattree – The Trap
Go Go Gophers segment #27 – The Ironclad
Underdog segment #124 – The Vacuum Gun, Part 4: Sweet Polly finds Underdog’s ring and the newly charged hero makes short work of Simon, his army, and the Vacuum Gun.
What happened next?
A giant Underdog balloon has been a regular part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since 1965. The balloon appeared in the 1984 Woody Allen film Broadway Danny Rose. A 1994 episode of Friends is entitled “The One Where Underdog Gets Away.” In the story, the balloon escaped and, when some of the characters rush to their apartment building roof, they are locked out. The balloon was also featured in an episode of Reba.
>In 2005, a commercial for the Visa Check Card featured a number of Marvel superheroes coming to a woman’s rescue. The heroes determine she doesn’t need their help and leave, just as Underdog arrives.
A live-action film, very loosely based on the animated series, was released on August 3, 2007. None of the original voice performers were involved.
Behind the Scenes
|•||The Underdog segments were mixed and matched in various formats on network airings and in syndication. There doesn’t seem to be any record of the network order so the series finale listed above refers to the syndicated run.|
|•||The final two episodes of The Underdog Show included one-time cartoon segments called “Gene Hattree” and “Cauliflower Cabbie” as well as more common segments of Go Go Gophers and Commander McBragg.|
|•||Underdog was created by ad agency men W. Watts Biggers, Chet Stover, Tread Covington and Joe Harris.|
|•||During the 1970s run on NBC, all references to Underdog swallowing his super energy pill were edited out, presumably so that young children wouldn’t be tempted to take medication that wasn’t meant for them.|