June 30, 2018
(FOX, September 26, 1992-November 26, 1994)
Nelvana Limited, Jim Henson Productions, Channel 4, Global Television Network, FORTA, Canal+ Spain
In 1989,hosted a short-lived anthology series on called . The show was modeled after the classic series, having Henson come out and introduce the night’s episode with (controlled by , and , voiced by ) from segments of the show. The first half of the show would be an updated version of called . The second half featured a variety of content, including the dark-toned The StoryTeller and , light-hearted skits, or mini-movies.
One of those mini-movies was. Dog City was a film noir parody set in a world entirely populated by anthropomorphic dogs, inspired by the series of paintings by C.M. Coolidge. (Kevin Clash) traveled to the city to take over a bar following the murder of his uncle by mob boss (Henson), whose goons harassed Ace for protection money. The MuppeTelevision portion of the episode served as a set-up for the mini-movie, complete with an introduction and guest-appearance by (Henson). Ace and (also Henson) even made a promo for the episode together. It would be only one of three segments of the Hour directed by Henson.
Hour scored three award nominations, but its ratings were abysmal. It was cancelled by NBC before its only season even finished. Henson decided he wanted to get out of the business-side of things and entered negotiations to sell his company to. The deal fell through when he died suddenly the following year (Disney would later acquire the Muppets in 2004). The Henson family took over management of the company, with his son, , being named president, chairman and CEO at the start of 1991. The younger Henson set out to make the Henson catalogue of characters work for the company, which included a deal with to bring the popular Dog City segment to their network.
|Eliot Shag at his drawing table.|
Although it retained the name and its spoof on the film noir genre, Dog City underwent some heavy revisions from its original concept. The anthropomorphic dog motif remained, but the show was basically two-in-one; withproducing puppet segments and producing animated segments that would air together and play off each other. The puppet segments followed German Shepherd Eliot Shag (primarily Clash, retained from the special, with assistance from Don Reardon), an animator who drew the adventures of private eye Ace Hart (Ron White) in the tough streets of Dog City. Eliot would often translate his own dilemmas (typically interruptions when he was trying to work) into the stories and characters surrounding Ace, with the two tales often running parallel. The two of them would also break the fourth wall and interact with each other, with Ace giving input over his own story.
|Bruno, Colleen, Bowser and Artie all interrupting Eliot.|
The puppet segments also featured collie Colleen Barker (Fran Brill, also from the special), Eliot’s on-and-off girlfriend; bulldog Bruno (Brian Muehl, who was instructed to emulate Henson in his performance), the building’s surly and incompetent superintendent; St. Bernard Bowser (David Rudman), Bruno’s dim-witted assistant; English Springer Spaniel Artie Springer (Joey Mazzarino), Eliot’s young neighbor and his biggest admirer; and feline Ms. Fluffé (Kathryn Mullen & Lisa Buckley), Eliot’s aloof landlady. All of the puppets were recycled from the special and given some cosmetic makeovers; with Colleen even retaining her name.
|Ace, Eddie and Rosie on the case.|
Over in Ace’s world, there was Rosie O’Gravy (Elizabeth Hanna), the beautiful, by-the-book chief of detectives who also served as Ace’s love-interest. The two often exchanged witty barbs and the affection was often mutual, but Rosie’s first love was the law and would never hesitate to lock up Ace if the law required it. She was also the most competent cop on the force, with the rest of the police department being akin to the. Eddie (Stuart Stone) was a young and enthusiastic news-pup that often followed Ace on his cases. Eddie was hungry for knowledge, and always preempted a barrage of facts with “It’s a well-known fact…”
|The cast (from top): Frisky, Bruiser, Rosie, Ace, Barron, Kitty, Leon, Dot, Eddie and Bugsy.|
Ace’s chief opponent was Bugsy Vile (John Stocker), the “Dogfather of Crime”, and his henchmen. Bugsy’s henchmen included the excitable chihuahua Frisky (James Rankin); psychotic mongrel Mad Dog (Stephen Ouimette), who could only communicate through snarling and mauling until a bump on the head (at least once per episode) turned him articulate; his muscle-bound, though ultimately kind-hearted, nephew Bruiser (Howard Jerome); and his cat moll Kitty (Tabitha St. Germain), who actually was the brains behind Bugsy’s plans. Kitty owned the Kitty Kat Club, which served as the gang’s hideout.
|One of Barron's schemes almost saw Rosie marrying him.|
Also giving trouble to Ace was German Rottweiler Baron Von Rottweiler (Dan Hennessey), a stereotypical German villain with a monocle and tailored suits, and his mute dachshund valet, Leon Burger. As the owner of Rottweiler Explosives Incorporated, it was rare to not see Barron without some form of explosive device. Barron’s often maniacal schemes, generally involving twisted science, painted him as more of a spoof of typical Bond villains. His plans were often thwarted by his own valet’s love of fetch, which usually resulted in Leon retrieving some kind of dangerous item.
|Kitty feeds a scheme to Bugsy.|
Dog City, also known as Jim Henson’s Dog City, debuted onon September 26, 1992. Along with spoofing various movies in the crime genre, the series’ humor came from the plethora of dog-related puns in its writing. That included names of characters and places, parodies of real-life products and people, episode titles, and even expressions. Henson veteran Clash was in charge of coordinating the puppets, while fellow veteran Mullen served as a voice coach for the Canadian animation cast during the first season. Writers for the show included , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and , with Sauder and Smith serving as story editors. The music was composed by .
|The second season cast, featuring Terri (bottom), Ms. Fluffé (top), and Eliot's new look.|
The show was renewed for two additional seasons, and both came with some changes. For the second season, the character of Colleen was dropped, with the in-story explanation of having moved away, and replaced by Artie’s mother, Terri (still Brill), in an attempt to have a female character whose identity wasn’t just “Eliot’s girlfriend” and give Artie some kind of family. Terri was a confident businesswoman and single mother, which explained why Artie hung out with Eliot so often. Fluffé was originally intended as a one-off character but was given a recurring role with Buckley assuming her performance. Bruno and Bowser were also given larger roles. Eliot was given a new look; his striped shirt and sweater vest replaced by a t-shirt and open Hawaiian shirt. On the animated side, O’Gravy was given a rival in the form of Mayor Kickbark (Ouimette). He was the mayor of Dog City who always undermined O’Gravy either intentionally or accidentally, hampering investigations. Kickbark was often accompanied by his flunky, Spunky (Stocker).
|The Woof Pack.|
For the third season, which was also the show’s shortest, Dog City’s format was heavily revamped. The noir spoofing and references were greatly reduced in favor of science fiction and sitcom elements. The animated segments were split to include several rotating short slapstick segments that interjected during the main story: “His Masters Choice Theater”, spoofing, was hosted by Bugsy from his prison cell and featured sketches starring Frisky; “Rosie and Dot” had O’Gravy spending time with her niece, Dot (Tara Strong), who often only said “Why?”; “The Woof Pack” saw the return of superhero guest-character the Watch Dog now leading a team of heroes in a spoof of the genre; “The Adventures of Moogie” gave Artie’s favorite chew toy his own spotlight (narrated and “animated” by Artie in a slightly different style); and “Yves and Seven” (pronounced like “even Steven”), where literal cat burglar Yves (Rino Romano) ended up being foiled by dimwitted, overweight guard dog, Steven (George Buza). Each segment had its own title card introducing the shift in focus from the main story.
|Yves and Steven.|
In true Dog City fashion, the new segments were introduced to the audience by Eliot himself in the first episode of the season. Following the show’s cancellation, the final episode also served as a series finale; with Eliot and his characters saying farewell to each other and the audience within context of the story (Eliot was actually going away on vacation and was going to miss Ace). All of the animated series regulars made cameos in the episode, and the segments interjected into the main story rather than being separated as usual. During the show’s run, it was nominated for several, winning one for “Best Children’s Television Programming” for 1993-94. Following its conclusion in the United States, the show was translated into German, French, Italian, Danish and Swedish and broadcast internationally.
|Rosie and Dot camping out next to Bugsy.|
In 1993,released two VHS collections of the show. contained the episode of the same name and “Boss Bruiser”. also contained the titular episode, and “Old Dogs, New Tricks”. In 2006, Australia got a DVD release called that featured five episodes, including the titular one. The first five episodes of the of the show was released to DVD in 2008 by Foreign Media Group. It was re-released by in 2009, following their release of the next five episodes the month before. 1993 also saw releasing a based on the show. In 1994, released an of “The Big Squeak” as part of their line.
|Dog City: The Movie.|
Between 2005-2010, the original special, called, was released to home video without the MuppeTelevision segments, since they are owned by Disney (Rowlf’s appearance in the actual film remained, however). HTI Entertainment released it in the United Kingdom and in the United States. released it in Japan on Laserdisc and was the only release to include the Muppet segments.
“The Big Squeak” (9/26/92) – Ace and Rosie have to retrieve the city’s squeaky toys from the clutches of Bugsy.
“Taming of the Screw” (10/3/92) – A loose screw in Eliot’s drawing table inspires Screwie Louie, a crazy dog whose obsession with screwing things attracts the attention of Bugsy.
“Meat, the Butcher” (10/10/92) – Ace convinces Eliot to follow his boss’ wishes and create the violent Meat, but Meat ends up taking over the story and puts the entire city in peril.
“Disobedience School” (10/17/92) – While Eliot consoles Artie over having to go to a new school, Ace has to rescue Eddie from Bugsy’s school that looks to create new gang members early.
“The Dog Pound” (10/31/92) – Eliot being accused of chewing Bruno’s slipper leads to Ace being framed for a crime he didn’t commit.
“Radio Daze” (11/14/92) – As Eliot’s TV is being haphazardly repaired, Ace investigates a series of mysterious accidents plaguing one of the radio shows at WFIDO.
“The Bloodhound” (11/21/92) – Eliot suspects Colleen’s new friend is a vampire, leading to one plaguing the citizens of Dog City.
“Adventures in Puppysitting” (11/28/92) – As Eliot is talked into puppysitting Colleen’s nephew, Ace goes up against Puppy-Face Felson who plans to steal the Hope on a Rope Diamond.
“Ya Gotta Have Hart” (12/12/92) – When Eliot and Ace refuse to change the show as per the boss’ wishes, they end up getting fired.
“In Your Dreams” (1/9/93) – When Eliot falls asleep at his table, he ends up inside Dog City in a surreal parallel dimension created by his subconscious.
“Rocketship K-9” (1/16/93) – Bruno’s beliefs that aliens are invading has Eliot send Ace to the moon to investigate the disappearance of Arfstrong, the first mutt on the moon.
“Cats ‘N Dogs” (1/23/93) – Ms. Fluffé fires Bruno over his bigotry of a cat potentially moving in, while Bugsy is plagued by his own cat rival whose gang mirrors his own.
“Is It Arf?” (1/30/93) – Artie’s new detective hero inspires Eliot to give Ace a rival in super sleuth Surelick Bones, who is called in to stop a rash of theft’s Ace has thus far been unable to.
“Boss Bruiser” (9/18/93) – Bruno’s firing leaves Bowser in charge, inspiring Eliot to put Brusier in charge of the Vile gang for a while.
“Springer Fever” (9/25/93) – Eliot meets and becomes smitten with Artie’s mother, leading him to create embarrassing situations for Ace and Rosie as they try to rescue the mayor’s secretary.
“Much Ado About Mad Dog” (10/2/93) – While Ace is busy with Mad Dog after saving his life, a rash of flea powder thefts plague the city.
“Of Mutts and Mayors” (10/9/93) – The new mayor strips Ace and Rosie of their licenses.
“Who Watches the Watch Dog?” (10/16/93) – Reminiscing about his favorite superhero leads Eliot to introduce the Watch Dog to Dog City.
“The Great Dane Curse” (10/23/93) – Ace thinks Eliot’s idea of dating Terri is dumb, and Eliot sets out to prove him wrong.
“Out of the Mouths of Pups” (10/30/93) – Artie and some fan mail inspire Eliot to have the Vile gang kidnap Eddie, which then turns into Eddie giving them a never-ending lecture.
“Old Dogs, New Tricks” (11/13/93) – Eliot and his old mentor team-up Ace with his character Sam Spayed, but their differing methods lead to clashes between Eliot, Ace and their guests.
“Farewell, My Rosie” (11/6/93) – An interview causes Eliot to learn a lot about Terri, which inspires him to have Ace learn more about Rosie while investigating her disappearance.
“Sick as a Dog” (11/20/93) – When Eliot is too sick to make his deadline, his neighbors all take turns trying to finish Eliot’s latest story.
“The New Litter” (9/14/94) – While Ace faces the Vile gang in Jurassic Bark, Eliot introduces the new segments of “Yves and Steven” and “Rosie and Dot.”
“Doggy See, Doggy Do” (9/24/94) – Eliot shows Artie learning can be fun, Ace works on a case involving a kiddy show star, Bugsy reads a twisted fable, Ace and Mad Dog demonstrate table manners, and Mr. Moogie learns about math by entering a blackboard.
“Comedy of Horros” (10/1/94) – Artie, Bruno and Eliot believe Bowser may have gone mad, Rottweiler uses a Sci-Fido monster to try and take over the world, Mr. Moogie goes on an adventure under the bed, and the Dog City cast live their own version of an Edgar Allen Poe story.
“Howl the Conquering Hero” (10/8/94) – Eliot helps Artie understand what makes a real hero, Ace and Bugsy compete for “Hero of the Year”, Mr. Mooge shrinks into the stomach of the Presidog to remove some bad grass, and The Wolf Pack searches the supermarket for biscuits.
“Reduce, Reuse, Retrieve” (11/5/94) – Artie makes life miserable to inspire recycling, Rottweiler steals all the trees in the city, Rosie and Dot end up on a camping trip next to the Vile gang, Yves’ theft is once again foiled by Steven.
“Future Schlock” (11/12/94) – Eliot and Artie deal with their fear of the future, Rottweiler develops a doggie door time portal machine, Yves’ reputation as the greatest cat burglar in the cosmos comes to an end when Steven’s foils his plot, Rosie and Dot visit an exhibit about the city of the future.
“No Pain, No Brain” (11/19/94) – Eliot takes up exercising so that he can run with Terri, Ace investigates the disappearance of athletes ad the Fido Olympics, Mr. Mookie acts out his own version of The Tortoise and the Hare, and the Woof Pack engage in their own exercises.
“The Dog Days of Summer Vacation” (11/26/94) – With everyone else going on vacation, Eliot decides to send Ace and Rosie on one as well with Eddie and Dot.
June 28, 2018
You can read the full story here.
Ellison was a notable science-fiction author who also dabbled a bit in acting. He had unspecified voice credits for Mother Goose and Grimm and The Pirates of Dark Water, and contributed a story for an episode of Silver Surfer.
June 23, 2018
It's that time of year again! Around this time, four years ago, a humble little blog called SATURDAY MORNINGS FOREVER began. To celebrate, we'll be spending the next few weeks showcasing every show that's having an anniversary this year (in increments of 5, anyway). So, check them out along with our regularly-scheduled entries, and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO US!
CAPTAIN CAVEMAN AND THE TEEN ANGELS
(ABC, September 10, 1977-June 21, 1980)
Mel Blanc –Captain Caveman
Vernee Watson – Dee Dee Sykes
Laurel Page –Taffy Dare
Marilyn Schreffler – Brenda Chance
Gary Owens – Opening narration
From 1977-1979, Hanna-Barbera dominated two hours of Saturday morning on ABC. This programming block was dubbed Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics, and featured 11 minute episodes of Laff-A-Lympics and Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, 22 minute episodes of The Scooby-Doo Show and reruns of Scooby-Doo, Where are You!, and, the focus of this particular entry, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels.
|Cavey preparing to charge into battle.|
Created by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, the show was a parody of the popular ABC television series Charlie’s Angels. The Teen Angels—comprised of their brilliant unofficial leader Dee Dee Skyes (Vernee Watson), the cowardly Brenda Chance (Marily Schreffler), and the clever Taffy Dare (Laurel Page)—stumbled across the frozen body of Captain Caveman (Mel Blanc) and thawed him out. “Cavey,” as the girls called him, found inspiration in his design from the Slag Brothers from the earlier Wacky Races series; having a body almost entirely obscured by thick fur except for his appendages and nose. He possessed super strength and flight, as well as the ability to hide and pull anything from out of his hairy body and eat almost anything. However, his abilities were often hampered by his limited intelligence. His club also contained a variety of tools he could use on a case, provided by a prehistoric bird that lived inside.
|Model sheet of Cavey and the Teen Angels.|
Following Hanna-Barbera’s sleuth series formula, the group traveled the globe solving mysteries. Usually, the villain would be apprehended by a zany plan of Taffy’s who used Cavey’s crush on her to talk him into being the bait. The series was written by Neal Barbera, Larz Bourne, Bill Butler, Tom Dagenais, Earle Doud, Fred Freiberger, Donald F. Glut, Dave Ketchum, Haskell Barkin, Joseph Bonaduce, Chuck Couch, Lee Davenport, Mark Jones and Orville H. Hampton. Hoyt Curtin served as the show’s composer and reused his theme from C.B. Bears for the show’s credits.
|Flashlight power! Kinda.|
Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels’ first season ran as part of Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics from September 10 to December 24, 1977, running one 11-minute segment per week. The characters also all appeared in the Laff-A-Lympics segment of the block as members of the Scooby Doobies team, filling in for the intended characters from Josie and the Pussycats, whose rights were held by Archie Comics. The 8-episode second season remained with the block when it was reduced to 90 minutes and renamed Scooby’s All-Stars in 1978. In 1980, the series graduated to its own half-hour for 16 more episodes. During the run, Cavey and the Angels appeared in Hanna-Barbera TV Stars and Scooby-Doo #9, both published by Marvel Comics. Milton Bradley also released a board game based on the show. In 2018, a more realistic take on Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels appeared as a back-up feature in Aquaman/Jabber Jaw Special #1, part of the second-wave of Hanna-Barbera/DC Comics crossovers.
Following the show’s cancellation, Captain Caveman remained a Hanna-Barbera mainstay throughout the 80s, joining his prehistoric brethren on The Flintstone Comedy Show and then The Flintstone Kids, and appearing in numerous parodies and cameos in the years following. The Teen Angels, however, weren’t so lucky as it took them until 2011 to resurface in an episode of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. In 1988, Castilian released a collection of 13 episodes on VHS in the United Kingdom. In 2013, the entire series was released to DVD by Warner Archive as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection.
“The Kooky Case of the Cryptic Keys” (9/10/77) – A key leads the gang to a will reading at Skeleton Mountain where the Great Mysto plots to keep the fortune for himself.
“The Mixed Up Mystery of Deadman’s Reef” (9/17/77) – The gang investigates the mystery of a disappearing ship.
“What A Flight for a Fright” (9/24/77) – A jewel thief disappears from a commercial flight, leading the gang to figure out how to catch him before he disappears again.
“The Creepy Case of the Creaky Charter Boat” (10/1/77) – The gang attends an actor party when a diamond necklace is stolen in a mystery that resembles the actors’ play.
“Big Scare in the Big Top” (10/8/77) – The gang investigates the disappearance of tigers from a circus.
“Dobule Dribble Riddle” (10/15/77) – A supposedly cursed basketball team keeps forfeiting games, leading to their owner deciding to sell it to a dubious buyer.
“The Crazy Case of the Tell-Tale Tape” (10/22/77) – The gang learns of a robbery at the Smithsonian after a masked figure interrupts a television broadcast.
“The Creepy Claw Caper” (10/29/77) – A rock band is ransomed for a case of rare coins lest an age ray makes them old men forever.
“Cavey and the Kabuta Clue” (11/5/77) – An African Chieftain’s skeleton comes back to life and kidnaps the owner of an art museum in order to retrieve the golden mask he sold.
“Cavey and the Weirdo Woman” (11/12/77) – The gang helps their prince friend retrieve his stolen scepter from a snow wolf.
“The Disappearing Elephant Mystery” (11/19/77) – The gang witnesses as a rare white elephant disappears from the middle of a parade in India.
“The Fur Freight Fright” (11/26/77) – A fur delivery for Dee Dee’s uncle Frank disappears, leading the gang to investigate.
“Ride ‘Em Caveman” (12/3/77) – The gang head to Wyoming to get to the bottom of a haunted rodeo.
“The Strange Case of the Creature from Space” (12/10/77) – The gang encounters an alien robot that steals a rare mineral.
“The Mystery Mansion Mix-Up” (12/17/77) – At Taffy’s aunt Gladys’ party, an armored figure steals valuable jewels while the gang watches a magic show.
“Playing Footsie With Bigfoot” (12/24/77) – Athlete Juice Brenner is kidnapped by Bigfoot, but even after being rescued his diminished performance threatens America’s chance at winning the Spartan World games.
“Disco Cavey” (9/9/78) – Dancers at a disco on a cruise are robbed, leading the gang to try and find the crooks.
“Muscle-Bound Cavey” (9/16/78) – While at a wrestling match the gang witness as champion the Great Colosso is kidnapped.
“Cavey’s Crazy Car Caper” (9/23/78) – The new fuel and energy efficient Condor car is stolen, leading to the gang having to investigate.
“Cavey’s Mexicali 500” (9/30/78) – While on vacation in Mexico, the theft of an Aztec calendar leads the gang into entering a desert race.
“Wild West Cavey” (10/7/78) – A fake stagecoach robbery turns out to be real in Dodge City.
“Cavey’s Winter Carnival Caper” (10/14/78) – The gang seeks to rescue their friend, a professional ice skater, who is kidnapped.
“Cavey’s Fashion Fiasco” (10/21/78) – The gang must recover their friend’s stolen fashion designs.
“Cavey’s Missing Missile Miss-tery” (10/28/78) – A military test missile disappears in the clouds.
“The Scarifying Seaweed Secret” (3/8/80) – With an inheritance at stake, the gang tries to solve the mystery of a sea creature who kidnaps members of a wealthy family.
“The Dummy” (3/15/80) – What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless your jewels are stolen from an impenetrable vault.
“Cavey and the Volcanic Villain” (3/22/80) – While the gang is in Hawaii, a jewel is stolen and a goddess threatens to curse the island with continuous volcanic eruptions.
“Prehistoric Panic” (3/29/80) – Attempting to get the gang out of traffic, Cavey flies too fast and ends up taking them all back in time.
“Cavey and the Baffling Buffalo Man” (4/5/80) – A Buffalo Man uses coded messages to find gold coins in a mansion, and the gang has to stop him.
“Dragonhead” (4/12/80) – It’s Chinese New Year in Chinatown, and a fortune cookie factory van is stolen.
“Cavey and the Murky Mississippi Mystery” (4/19/80) – The gang must recover a secret case bound for a nuclear lab and stop the river creature that caused its loss.
“Old Cavey in New York” (4/26/80) – Thieves use a series of blackouts to steal gold bars, and the gang has to find and stop them.
“Cavey and the Albino Rhino” (5/3/80) – A witch doctor steals a rare white rhino on its way to a Wild Animal Land preserve, which also leads the gang to discover a diamond heist.
“Kentucky Cavey” (5/10/80) – Taffy’s uncle is losing his property and the gang needs to rescue his horse so he can win the money he needs in the Kentucky Derby.
“Cavey Goes to College” (5/17/80) – The gang must help Central University find a stolen advanced robot.
“The Haunting of Hog Hollow” (5/24/80) – The gang’s singer friend has his performance sabotaged before he ends up kidnapped.
“The Legend of Devil’s Run” (5/31/80) – The gang investigates the ghost of a Civil War general who made off with a munitions train car with a fortune in silver.
“The Mystery of the Meandering Mummy” (6/7/80) – A mummy steals a rare Egyptian ruby from Brenda’s uncle.
“The Old Caveman and the Sea” (6/14/80) – On vacation in Miami, the gang helps treasure hunter Jacques LaFarge locate his stolen recent finds.
“Lights, Camera…Cavey!” (5/21/80) – A phantom causes young actresses to get prematurely wrinkled, leaving the gang to help them restore their looks and keep their careers.