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.
Catherine Woolley was a
prolific writer best known for her children’s books under both her name and her
pen name, Jane Thayer. Her first book, I
Like Trains, was published in 1944 and her last, Writing
for Children, in 1989. Within that 45-year timeframe, she had penned 87 children’s books,
including 1958’s The
Puppy Who Wanted a Boy. It was the story of a puppy named Petey who
wanted a little boy of his own for Christmas in a town where they were in short
supply. After trying and failing to convince several dogs to give up their
boys, he would eventually find Ricky at an orphanage, and found himself with
not one but many boys.
The original book.
later, the book got a second life as it was one of the ones chosen for an
adaptation into an episode of the anthology series ABC
Weekend Specials. Produced by Ruby-Spears Enterprises,
it followed Beagle mix Petey
(Todd Turquand), the only
member of a litter not to be adopted, as he searched for a boy of his own. Like
the book, he tried to convince a couple of dogs to give up their boys to no
avail. In order to expand the story to a full 22-minutes, Barbara Avedon and Barbara Corday added Petey
encountering two dog bullies and foiling their attempt to steal food; escaping
capture from a cruel dog-seller with a group of strays; and attempting to pass
himself off as a toy dog so a boy and his mother would buy him. He finally
found his boy, now named Tommy, at the orphanage.
The original special title card.
The episode performed well enough
to not only earn Ruby-Spears its first Emmy
nomination, but gained something the book itself never did: sequels. “The
Puppy’s Great Adventure” saw Petey (now Bryan Scott) have to win over
Tommy’s dog-hating adoptive parents. “The Puppy’s Amazing Rescue” had Petey and
his friend/love interest, a Cocker Spaniel mix
named Dolly (Nancy McKeon), try to avoid dangers while getting help for their
humans trapped in an avalanche. “The Puppy Saves the Circus” gave Petey (now Sparky Marcus) amnesia and saw
him becoming a breakout performer in a struggling circus.
Dash, Duke, Lucky, Dolly and Petey.
sequels also being well-received, and reruns of the original still getting high
ratings, ABC decided to take things to the
next level and greenlight a full animated series. Dubbed The Puppy’s New
Adventures, Petey’s (now Billy Jacoby) family decided to move overseas by
ship and took Dolly with them. Stowing away were Petey’s friends from his days
as a stray: Duke (Michael Bell), a German shepherd/Labrador Retriever
mix who looked after the group; Dash (also Bell), a sleek and speedy Greyhound who was both the
smartest of the group and also the most cowardly; and Lucky (Peter Cullen), a
big and strong St. Bernard
who was a little light in the brains department. A freak storm washed the dogs
overboard and they had to journey through various counties looking for Tommy
(Tony O’Dell) and his parents. Along the way, they encountered people (understanding
them perfectly, although they couldn’t speak back) or animals who needed their
help before they could move on to the next destination. Each episode featured
an opening narration by Petey setting up the circumstances of their upcoming
Puppy’s New Adventures debuted on ABC on September 25, 1982. Inexplicably,
it was combined with the dissimilar Scooby-Doo
and Scrappy Doo (1980) in a block called The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo/Puppy
makers of Scooby-Doo, and Ruby-Spears were both owned by the same parent
Broadcasting, and Joe Ruby
and Ken Spears
were former employees of Hanna-Barbera and the creators of Scooby-Doo.
While Hanna-Barbera continued the pre-production and voice-over work for their
half of the block, Ruby-Spears handled the actual production of the entire
program, resulting in some of their unique sound effects library being heard in
the Scooby segments. The series was written by Mark Jones, Buzz Dixon, Diane Dixon, Jack Enyart, Steve Gerber and Gary Greenfield, with Jones
serving as executive story consultant and Michael Maurer as story editor. Dean Elliott and Hoyt Curtin were the musical
directors, with Paul DeKorte
as the musical supervisor.
was renewed for a second season, this time airing independently as The
Puppy’s Further Adventures. The globe-trotting storyline was ended in a
two-part episode resulting in Petey being reunited with his family and his
friends being adopted by them. Their new adventures usually involved joining
Tommy as his father (John Stephenson) went on scientific expeditions or visited
friends. A new recurring dog character was introduced named Glyder (Josh Rodine), whose enormous
ears caused him to constantly trip when on the ground, but allowed him to glide
in the air. Writers for this season included Jones, Gerber, Flint Dille, Michael J. Reaves, Marc Scott Zicree, Janis Diamond, Martin Pasko and Sheldon Stark, with Diamond
serving as story consultant. Although no new episodes were made for the third season,
a third season of reruns did air as The Puppy’s Great Adventures from
September 8-November 10, 1984. Great Adventures would return for a final
run on CBS from September 13-November 8,
Ad for CBS Saturday morning's initial 1986 line-up.