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Animated childrens show about a dog who is the janitor for a police station...until danger threatens, at which point he turns into the martial arts superhero Hong Kong Phooey!Written by
What superhero was a dog who changed into a black mask and robe in a file cabinet before emerging to fight off evildoers throughout the land? The answer? Hong Kong Phooey,of course. Number One Superguy. Hong Kong Phooey,quicker than the human eye. This was one of the best of the Hanna-Barbera produced shows that was part of ABC-TV's Sunshine Saturday Morning schedule which produced 16 episodes from its premiere on September 7,1974-September 4,1976,and from there switch networks over to NBC-TV until September 5,1981. However,the original 16 episodes aired during the show's first season from 1974-1975. During the years from 1975 until 1981,the series aired repeated episodes three times during the remainder of the decade from the mid-1970's all the way toward the early 1980's. However,the ABC-TV years were from 1974-1976,and then it went to NBC-TV in repeated episodes from 1978 until 1981. What makes "Hong Kong Phooey" such a standard astoundishment during the heyday of 1970's Saturday Morning cartoons? Not since the "Underdog" series of the early 1960's,you might be hard pressed to figure out why "Hong Kong Phooey" remains a object of cult worship among veterans of Saturday Mornings. And it is to this day a cult animated classic. For one,it is one of the first ever pedestrian Hanna-Barbera fare which has the adventures of an inept superheroic cartoon dog and his cat assistant.
The other secret has to do with repeated exposure:the original episodes,16 produced were recycled three times during the remainder of the 1970's. Much of it was the totally successful theme song,one of the all-time Saturday Morning greats. More of it was Scatman Crothers' warm and humorous performance as the voice of Hong Kong Phooey. And let us not forget that the show appeared in the middle of a major cultural craze for Asian martial arts,and this came at a time when Kung-Fu mania when wild in the movies and on television,when everybody was Kung-Fu fighting. Not to mention at the time the show came out,R&B singer Carl Douglas had one of the biggest hits of the 70's playing on the radio which was a huge smash hit(hince the title of the song:Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting). Speaking of which the show itself was indeed hilarious to boot since it supported genuinely funny writing,ranging from gags centered on Phooey's secret identity as a janitor in a police station to his use of a book of martial arts instructions as a means in a middle of a fight with a supervillain. It not only spoof the Kung-Fu movie craze,but also the writers took elements from several shows,and in one episode based on Don Knotts' character of Barney Fife(from the Andy Griffith Show),and another was poking fun of just about every police-cop show that came out during the 70's and for good reason.
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