Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
the Talking Dog was a live-action sitcom featuring, as the title states, a
talking dog. However, McDuff (voiced by Jack Lester) wasn’t just your average
talking dog; he was the spirit of a hundred-year-old English sheepdog that
lived in the home moved into by veterinarian Dr. Calvin Campbell (Walter
Willison), his kid sister, Kimmy (Michelle Stacy), and housekeeper, Mrs. Osgood
(Monty Margetts). Only Calvin could see McDuff, who just happened to speak perfect
English (which others could hear) while also communicating with the animals
that entered Calvin’s care. This, of course, led to a series of
misunderstandings and complications with his family believing he was eccentric
while his neighbor, Amos Ferguson (Gordon Jump), thought something funny was
going on next door. The only other regular human character on the show was Calvin’s
nephew Squeaky (Johnnie Collins III).
Publicity shot of Calvin and McDuff with Kimmy.
the Talking Dog debuted on NBC on
September 11, 1976, as part an attempt to shift into live-action programming
and away from animation. The series was created and written by William Raynor with Myles Wilder, Dick Conway, Fred S. Fox, Seaman Jacobs
Mendelsohn. The series’ music was composed by Richard LaSalle with a theme written
by Raynor and Wilder. McDuff’s talking effects were accomplished via close-ups
of a puppet dog head with a movable mouth, or by the camera focusing on the
spot where an invisible McDuff was supposedly sitting.
Press release for the first episode.
entire live-action Saturday morning programming slate was a failure, with McDuff
becoming the first casualty. It was cancelled two months after its premiere,
airing only 11 of the 13 produced episodes before it was replaced by reruns of Speed Buggy.
As of this writing, only clips from the Smilin’ Saturday Morning
Paradepreview special and the intro can be found online. “The Not So
Greatest Show on Earth” has been circulated in VHS collector circuits and eventually
made its way online, but
the YouTube account hosting it had since
been suspended. Clips from it can be found in an episode of the Stay
“Par for the Course” (9/11/76) – Walter is entered into a charity golf tournament with McDuff ensuring his swing will always be true—at least, that’s the plan.
“K-9 Hustler” (9/18/76) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“The Little Dog Who Wasn’t There” (9/25/76) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“K.O. Calvin” (10/2/76) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“The Indian Legend” (10/9/76) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Grin and Bear It” (10/16/76) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Well, Well, Well” (10/23/76) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“The Picnic Olympics” (10/30/76) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Horse of Another Color” (11/6/76) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“The Not so Greatest Show on Earth” (11/13/76) – NO SYNOPSIS
“A Haunting We Will Go” (11/20/76) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“The Dog Show” (N/A) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“There Was a Crooked Dog” (N/A) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.