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Scruffy (voice)
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Tibbles (voice)
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Butch (voice)
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Duchess (voice)
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Michael Rye ...
(voice)
Alan Dinehart ...
(voice)
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Ceasar / Ken (voice)
Linda Gary ...
(voice)
Walker Edmiston ...
(voice)
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Alice (voice)
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4 October 1980 (USA)  »

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Ruby Spears pulls at the heart and watches the tears fall.....
4 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There were many memorable short films during the run of ABC's "Weekend Special", which started in the 1970's, but this particular offering from Ruby Spears Enterprises in 1980 was(and still is) probably one of the most remembered, primarily for its tragic content that wasn't usually found in many children's cartoons back then, except of course in feature films like "Bambi" or "The Fox and the Hound". "Scruffy" was in fact a more depressing children's story in literary form than the finished product that came onto TV screens and home video. The plot surrounds a stray puppy searching for a home. It's a pretty simple premise granted. The problem in this case, for television anyway, seemed to be about dealing with the horrible situations given in the book and yet make it marketable for a child. Many scenes, joyfully reminiscent of classic Saturday Morning TV material, obviously were put in for a lighter viewing. Even with this, the cartoon is still a dark and actually even upsetting account of the lives of unwanted animals. In truth, you would have to be made of stone not to be touched by this, which some people consider a "guilt trip" of sorts. The actors were mostly TV celebs you have seen or heard of at least one time or another. Hans Conried, remembered mostly for his wonderful roles as "Captain Hook" from Peter Pan and "Snidely Whiplash" from the Bullwinkle show brings in a nice performance as street performer Joseph Tibbles. Nancy McKeon of "The Division" really keeps the drama in motion as orphaned Scruffy. "Rugrats" and "Transformers" favorite Michael Bell was a good choice for the tough but kind hearted Butch. June Foray, of course is wonderful(and if you don't know who she is you have not been watching enough cartoons) as well as cartoon vets Janet Waldo and Frank Welker. Should you watch this? If you are too soft hearted, I would keep my distance. For those who are interested, keep the tissues handy. It is practically the "Beaches" or "Terms of Endearment" of Saturday morning kid specials.


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