May 15, 2021

CLUE CLUB

 

CLUE CLUB /

WOOFER & WHIMPER, DOG DETECTIVES
(CBS, September 4-December 11, 1976)

 

Hanna-Barbera Productions

 

 

MAIN CAST:
Paul Winchell – Woofer
Jim MacGeorge – Whimper
David Jolliffe – Larry
Patricia Stich – Pepper
Bob Hastings – D.D.
Tara Talboy – Dottie
John Stephenson – Sheriff Bagley

  

            One in a series of Hanna-Barbera’s attempts to duplicate the successful Scooby-Doo formula, Clue Club followed the titular club of teenaged sleuths as they investigated a series of mysteries that often involved the strange disappearance of some object or person typically at the behest of Sheriff Bagley (John Stephenson). The Club was comprised of Larry (David Jolliffe), the oldest member and leader that typically handled interviewing the suspects; Pepper (Patricia Stich), who handled the investigation by looking for clues; D.D. (Bob Hastings), who wore a deerstalker cap and often worked with Pepper; and Dottie (Tara Talboy), Pepper’s brilliant sister and the youngest member who typically stayed home (although sometimes made her way into the field) and entered information relayed from Larry into her crime-solving minicomputer or run various forensic tests. The Club was accompanied by two dogs: Woofer (Paul Winchell), a bloodhound that also wore a deerstalker and tended to accuse suspects of the crime without good reason, and Whimper (Jim MacGeorge), an easy-going and intelligent basset hound that sometimes went along with Woofer’s schemes and other times worked against him. While Woofer and Whimper could talk, they did only to each other and communicated in traditional dog fashion with their humans (similarly to Winchell’s earlier vehicle, Goober and the Ghost Chasers). The Club travelled around in a dune buggy (a reworked version of the one from The Funky Phantom) and utilized wristwatch communication devices.


The Clue Club crew: Larry, Sheriff Bagley, D.D., Dottie, Pepper, Whimper and Woofer.


            Clue Club debuted on CBS on September 4, 1976. The series was written by Herb Armstrong, Haskell Barkin, Dick Conway, Jack Fox, Gordon Glasco, Orville H. Hampton, Duane Poole, Dick Robbins, James Schmerer, Jeffrey Scott and Lee Sheldon, with music provided by Hoyt Curtin. Alex Toth and Donna Zeller handled the character designs. Although the series primarily aired on Saturday morning, the episode, “One of Our Elephants is Missing”, received a special airing on Thanksgiving.


Whimper trying to see Dottie right-side-up in the buggy's malfunctioning monitor.

            Following the initial airings, the series was heavily edited to put a greater focus on the antics of the two dogs and have the episodes’ overall length shortened. Retitled Woofer & Whimper, Dog Detectives, these reformatted episodes aired as a segment of the package program The Skatebirds from September 10, 1977 until January 21, 1978. Following The Skatebirds’ cancellation, it was moved over to be a part of The Robonic Stooges after they were spun off into its own show. The unaltered episodes returned to CBS on Sunday mornings on September 10, 1978 and remained until January 21, 1979. Clue Club returned periodically to television in the 80s as part of USA Cartoon Express, in the 90s on Cartoon Network as part of their Mysteries, Inc. programming block, and in the early 2000s on Boomerang.

Dottie at her computer.


            Despite its short run, Clue Club gained a decent bit of merchandise. Rand McNally published a storybook, The Case of the Missing Racehorse by Fern G. Brown and Jim Franzen, a coloring book, a read & color book, The Racetrack Mystery and tray puzzles. Whitman released several standard puzzles. Marvel Comics featured Clue Club stories in two issues of the anthology comic Hanna-Barbera TV Stars in the United States, and World Distributors released Clue Club Annual 1979 in the United Kingdom. Europe was also the only one to receive the board game based on the show from Arrow Games. Letraset Action Transfers released a set of rub-on transfers to create your own scene with the characters. There was also a school tablet from Westab. In 2015, Warner Archive released the complete series to DVD as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection.

 

 

EPISODE GUIDE:

“The Paper Shaper Caper” (9/4/76) – In the middle of their abduction, Larry, D.D. and Pepper discover a counterfeiting scheme.

 

“The Case of the Lighthouse Mouse” (9/11/76) – The Clue Club investigates a jewelry theft that seems to point to Uncle Salty as the culprit.

 

“The Real Gone Gondola” (9/18/76) – The Clue Club investigates the disappearance of a woman at a ski resort.

 

“Who’s to Blame for the Empty Frame?” (9/25/76) – The Clue Club is called on to investigate the theft of a million-dollar painting, resulting in Woofer and Whimper being stolen.

 

“The Weird Seaweed Caper” (10/2/76) – An investigation into a sea monster leads to a diamond smuggling operation.

 

“The Green Thumb Caper” (10/9/76) – The Clue Club investigates a string of robberies at Mr. Cosgrave’s mansion.

 

“The Disappearing Airport Caper” (10/16/76) – A pilot asks the Clue Club to investigate the disappearance of the plane he landed.

 

“The Walking House Caper” (10/23/76) – The Clue Club is asked to check out a top security safe that ends up missing.

 

“The Solar Energy Caper” (10/30/76) – A solar generator goes missing at the science fair the Clue Club attend.

 

“The Vanishing Train Caper” (11/6/76) – The Clue Club investigates the disappearance of a train carrying gold bullion that they witnessed themselves.

 

“The Dissolving Statue Caper” (11/13/76) – The Clue Club are presented with a statue at the amusement park that suddenly vanishes.

 

“The Missing Pig Caper” (11/20/76) – Sally brings the Clue Club to the county fair to see her prize pig only to discover he’s missing.

 

“One of Our Elephants is Missing” (11/25/76) – The search for a missing elephant at the zoo leads to the discovery that more animals are missing.

 

“The Amazing Heist” (11/27/76) – A werewolf interferes with the Clue Club’s investigation of a crown theft at a rock festival.

 

“The Circus Caper” (12/4/76) – While at the circus the Clue Club witness the disappearance of an acrobat.

 

“The Prehistoric Monster Caper” (12/11/76) – A prehistoric film shoot is put on hold when its director vanishes.

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