Dog Gone Hero
Since time was time, the idea of storytelling has fascinated people the world over, particularly when it comes to tales of the ancient conflict of good vs evil. Children’s cartoons have the luxury of taking all sorts of different twists when it comes to telling the tale of our brave hero saving the day, including replacing our hero with a furry counterpart. In the world of cartoons, there have been all sorts of animals that have been turned into heroes (or villains) and dogs are certainly no exception. While there’s no shortage of animated dogs from Muttley and Scooby Doo to Huckleberry Hound, when it comes to doggie super heroes the first to come to mind is Underdog.
There’s No Need to Fear, Underdog is Here!
While Underdog might seem like your everyday, mild mannered hound as he assumes his identity as Shoeshine Boy, Underdog proves he’s one powerful pup. Bearing a striking resemblance to the story of Superman. Shoeshine Boy dashes off to the nearest phone booth to assume his superhero identity whenever his sweetheart, Polly Purebreed is in trouble. Unlike Superman, Underdog’s powers come from his “Underdog Super Energy Pill” which was later edited to vitamin to discourage children from consuming pills in the hope of gaining super powers.
As Underdog’s superpowers go they’re fairly inconsistent from episode to episode, fortunately he always seems to have just what he needs to save the day. From the power to fly, super strength, super breath, x-ray vision, and lighting quick mental calculations, Underdog can do it all. As if that wasn’t enough, he also has the power to cause massive amounts of collateral damage (Hey, we all can’t be perfect) and a natural gift for rhyming.
Underdog still keeps a watchful eye on the Macy’s Day Parade. Photo Taken By: Jon Harder
Take a bite out of… Breakfast?
It’s no secret that cartoons have been a means of advertising various products to young children. Even the Flintstones were notorious for product placement, including advertising for cigarettes in the 50’s. As for Underdog? He was originally created by General Mills as a means of bolstering their cereal sales, a genius move on their part especially since Saturday morning cartoons held the rapt attention of millions of children in the United States, let alone around the world.
Underdog The Later Years
While Underdog only had a short run as a cartoon series in the 60’s, he was not by any means forgotten. In 2007 a Underdog movie was released. Underdog, up to this point, was never defined as any particular breed, leaving the audience to assume that he was a hound, based solely on how he was drawn. The Underdog movie, which was loosely based on the cartoon, portrayed Underdog as a beagle, using an actual beagle instead of a anthropomorphized one. Rather than Underdog taking his super “vitamin” to gain his powers, they were the result of genetic experiments performed by the villain, Simon Barsinister, who was played by Peter Dinklage. Despite facing a lot of negative reviews, the 2007 Underdog movie was the 3rd highest grossing movie during it’s opening weekend. Proof that while Underdog might be gone, he is certainly not forgotten. Holding a place in the hearts and memories of many as our favorite Dog gone Super Hero.
- License: Creative Commons image source