April 30, 2022

FOOFUR

 

FOOFUR
(NBC, September 13, 1986-December 5, 1987)
 
Hanna-Barbera Productions, SEPP International S.A.
 
 
MAIN CAST:
Frank Welker – Foofur, Chucky (some episodes)
Christina Lange – Rocki
Dick Gautier – Louis
Susan Tolsky – Annabell
Pat Carroll – Hazel
Jonathan Schmock – Fritz-Carlos
Eugene Williams – Fencer
Susan Blu – Dolly
Susan Silo – Mrs. Amelia Escrow
Don Messick – Pepe
Chick Vennera – Sammy
Peter Cullen – Baby, Vinnie
Allan Melvin – Chucky
David Doyle – Mel
Michael Bell – Harvey
William Callaway – Burtrand
 
 
            Foofur was the third collaboration between Freddy Monnickendam and Hanna-Barbara after The Snorks. It was part of his attempt to duplicate the success of The Smurfs while maintaining a more prominent ownership stake in the merchandizing bonanza to follow.


Foofur with his gang: Fencer, Louis, Rocki, Fritz-Carlos, Annabell & Hazel.


            Created by Phil Mendez, the series centered on the titular Foofur (Frank Welker), a blue bloodhound who inhabited his late master’s mansion at 32 Maple Street in the town of Willowby. Living with him was a ragtag band of strays, including his niece Rocki (Christina Lange); street-smart bulldog Louis (Dick Gautier); sensitive and near-sighted Old English Sheepdog Annabell (Susan Tolsky), who had feelings for Louis; hoity toity cocker spaniel Hazel (Pat Carroll) and her French, mustachioed Miniature Schnauzer husband Fritz-Carlos (Jonathan Schmock); and martial arts enthusiast cat Fencer (Eugene Williams), who spoke in jive and wore a samurai headband. Additionally, three Rat Brothers claiming “squatters rights” were also on hand: Sammy (Chick Vennera), Baby (Peter Cullen) and Chucky (Allan Melvin mostly, sometimes Welker). They generally took delight in tormenting Fencer, however were not above helping out Foofur and the gang when it benefitted them in some way.

Escrow and a client being run off by a ghost trick.


            The gang’s chief antagonist was executor of the estate Mrs. Amelia Escrow (Susan Silo), whose attempts to sell the property were always foiled by Foofur and company without her knowledge. Only her chihuahua Pepe (Don Messick) knew about the residents and always got his comeuppance when he tried to expose them. Additionally, they were harassed by a pair of dogcatchers, Mel (David Doyle) and Harvey (Michael Bell); a local gang of cats led by Vinnie (Cullen); and on a personal level for Foofur, arrogant Afghan Hound Burtrand (William Callaway) constantly making a play for his girlfriend, basset hound Dolly (Susan Blu).

The Rat Brothers take Fencer for a ride.


            Foofur debuted on NBC on September 13, 1986. As the third SEPP International/Hanna-Barbera series on the network, it was represented in a special dedication from SEPP for NBC’s 60th anniversary. It ran for two seasons of episodes comprised mostly of two segments, with a few full half-hours interspersed here and there. The series was written by Mark Young, Mark Cassutt, Marion Wells, Reed Robbins, Christina Adams, John Bonaccorsi, Tony Marino, David Schwartz, Anthony Adams, Barry E. Blitzer, Samantha Clemens, Mark Edward Edens, Gary Greenfield, Kristina Luckey and Dennis Marks. Young served as story editor for the first season and was joined by Arthur Alsberg and Don Nelson for the second. The characters for the first season were designed by Mendez with Mark Christiansen, Maurice Hunt and Frank Rocco, with Franco Christofani, Noreen Beasley, Leonard E. Johnson, Valerio Ventura and Jesus Rodriguez joining Christensen and Hunt for the second. Animation was handled by Wang Film Productions, Inc. and their subsidiary Cuckoo’s Nest Studios in the first season, with Toei Animation taking over for the second. These changes resulted in the characters’ models being slightly tweaked; most notably Rocki gaining a lighter fur color. The series’ music was composed by Hoyt Curtin.

Foofur featured in the NBC comic ad.


            Foofur received a tremendous marketing push; although mostly overseas where Monnickendam had connections. Among the merchandising blitz was a 6-issue comic series published by Marvel Comics through their all-ages Star Comics imprint; a plush of Foofur by Dakin, Inc. (a subsidiary of Applause, Inc.); figurines found only in Spain and Germany; a vinyl sticker playset from Selecta; sewing quilt fabric; a mug by Kortagaas Merch; plastic character cups; puzzles by Milton Bradley; collectible character standees in Bimbo cupcakes; a vinyl sticker album from Panini; picture storybook adaptations of various episodes; and more. A number of episodes were released individually and as part of VHS compilations and collections through Celebrity Home Entertainment’s “Just for Kids” label and Video Peques in Spanish territories. Foofur has also seen some DVD releases in foreign markets. As for a domestic DVD release or streaming? It appears that unlike the other Hanna-Barbera/SEPP collaborations, Mendez maintained the rights to the series and has yet to grant them to any company.

 
 
EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“A Little off the Top / A Clean Sweep” (9/13/86) – Helping Fritz get over his hair loss is complicated by half his mustache being shaved off. / While the dogs clean the house, dogcatchers come to clean them out for Mrs. Escrow.
 
“A Moving Experience” (9/20/86) – While helping a pregnant dog give birth, the gang must keep movers from absconding with their house due to an address mix up.
 
“Dogstyles of the Rich & Famous” (9/27/86) – Mrs. Escrow stays in the house while the paint in hers dries, leading the dogs to a fancy mansion where a burglary is in progress.
 
“Foofur Falls in Love” (10/4/86) – A basset hound turns Foofur’s head, but he has some competition for her affection.
 
“The Last Resort / Thicker than Water” (10/11/86) – Rocki befriends an obedience school runaway. / Foofur is prepared to donate blood to Fencer when Foofur believes he was injured after being angrily dismissed for getting Dolly’s collar stuck on himself.
 
“Hot Over the Collar / A-Job Hunting We Will Go” (10/18/86) – Mel and Harvey set up a phony dog show to trap the dogs. / Pepe makes the dogs work odd jobs to earn the $100 to pay Mrs. Escrow’s house tax before they’re all kicked out.
 
“A Royal Pain / Nothing to Sneeze At” (10/25/86) – Fencer attempts to find new homes for a group of cats that were tossed out of theirs. / Fencer catches a cold after the dogs give him a bath.
 
“Country Club Chaos / You Dirty Rat” (11/1/86) – Foofur, Rocki, Fencer and Dolly attempt to save a fox cub from a group of hunters. / Foofur kicks the Rat Brothers out of the house and they go to a shipyard rat for help.
 
“This Little Piggy’s on TV / Fencer’s Freaky Friday” (11/8/86) – The dogs try to help a pig reconnect with his now-famous girlfriend. / Superstitious twins decide to go on a treasure hunt on Friday the 13th.
 
“Legal Beagles / Bon Voyage Rocki” (11/15/86) – A con artist’s dog fakes an injury and threatens to sue Mrs. Escrow. / Rocki is faced with a choice: stay with Foofur or go out to see with her father.
 
“Russian Through New York / Fritz-Carlos Bombs Out” (11/22/86) – A guided tour turns into protection duty when the dogs must protect a Russian dog from a pair of thieves. / Hazel’s old boyfriend comes to visit, making Fritz very jealous.
 
“New Tricks” (11/29/86) – Rocki is kidnapped to perform her tricks in a circus act.
 
“Mad Dogs and Englishmen” (12/6/86) – Louis, Foofur and Fencer head to London to rescue Annabell from an English spy.
 
Season 2:
“Pepe’s Pet Peeve / Clothes Make the Dog” (9/3/87) – Pepe recruits help to remove a dog named Killer from Mrs. Escrow’s house. / Pepe asks Foofur for help in winning the heart of a poodle from the dog show.
 
“Boot Camp Blues / My Pharaoh Lady” (9/10/87) – Fritz tries to reenlist for the Foreign Legion but instead ends up in the Army with Foofur and Louis. / Fencer’s interest in an archaeologist’s cat leads him to learn he may be related to a mummified cat.
 
“Winging It / Alone at Last, Darling” (9/17/87) - / Foofur helps Fritz and Hazel get onto a cruise.
 
“The Dog’s Meow / What Price Fleadom?” (10/3/87) – Louis is hypnotized into believing he’s a cat. / Circus fleas end up moving into Hazel’s fur.
 
“Just Bumming Around / Friend Foofur’s Foul Up” (10/10/87) – Rocki is grounded when she runs away with Irma’s pups. / Foofur and a lookalike friend trade places with Burt knowing about the switch.
 
“Fencer Finds a Family / Tooth or Consequences” (10/17/87) – A prank causes Fencer to decide to leave the group. / Foofur is too afraid of going to the dentist to get his toothache dealt with.
 
“Just Like Magic / The Nose Knows” (10/24/87) – A Magician chooses to practice at the house just as the Rat Brothers convince Fencer he’s on his last life. / Foofur teaches Rocki how to track.
 
“Louis Sees the Light / Weekend in the Condo” (10/31/87) – Louis must keep his seeing-eye dog friend safe from Mel and Harvey. / The dogs must foil an attempted condo burglary.
 
“Puppy Love / Annabell Goes Punk” (11/7/87) – Rocki gets a crush on the star of some dog food ads, but Foofur has his doubts about him. / A makeover causes Annabell to start hanging out with a new group of friends.
 
“Rocki’s Big Fib / Bye, Bye, Birdie” (11/14/87) – Foofur thinks Rocki is lying about a white alligator in the sewers while the Rat Brothers are lying to get out of paying a cheese tax. / The dogs think Fencer swallowed Mrs. Escrow’s canary.
 
“Fencer Gets Soul / You Bet Your Life” (11/21/87) – Fencer plans to join a singing group in New Orleans. / A crooked dog gets Hazel addicted to rat race games.
 
“Annabell Gets Framed / Scary Harry” (11/28/87) – Accidentally wearing Mrs. Escrow’s glasses shows that Annabell needs some of her own. / Rocki undergoes an initiation to join a club by staying overnight in a condemned dog pount.
 
“Look Homeward, Foofur” (12/5/87) – Foofur reminisces about his past and how he met his friends.

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