DYNOMUTT THE DOG WONDEROriginal Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1976
Creators: Joe Ruby and Ken Spears
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There have been series that starred sidekicks, such as The Teen Titans. There have been series that starred a superhero's
animal companion, such as the 2005 animated show about Superman's dog, Krypto. And there have been series where the human hero took a back seat to a mechanical device, such as Bozo the Robot. Dynomutt was all three — a series about a robot animal sidekick whose human companion was a mere supporting character.
Dynomutt and his second banana, The Blue Falcon (no relation), debuted on ABC, on September 11, 1976, as part of The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour. Apparently, Hanna-Barbera, Dyno's producer, wanted him to have the extra boost of being associated with a show that had already had a successful run. Or maybe it was the other way around, with Scooby, the studio's first revival, riding the coat-tails of an all-new character. Either way, Dyno and the Falcon (no relation) were created by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, who later formed a studio of their own and were responsible for Thundarr the Barbarian, Heathcliff and other animated series of the 1980s.
In his secret identity, Dynomutt was the pet of Radley Crown, millionaire resident of a penthouse in Big City who was also, of course, secretly The Blue Falcon. The resemblance of their situation to that of Batman and Robin was acknowledged by Hanna-Barbera (usually quite willing to flaunt the fact that its productions often had very close parallels with prior sources, e.g. The Flintstones (The Honeymooners set in the past) and The Jetsons (Blondie set in the future)), by appending "The Dog Wonder" to Dyno's name — a direct copy of Robin's appended monicker, "The Boy Wonder". The schtick was, The Blue Falcon was a serious, hard-working and reasonably competent superhero, while Dynomutt, despite his many built-in bionic devices, was clumsy and inefficient, and, while sometimes helpful, often caused as much damage as the villains.
Dynomutt's voice was provided by Frank Welker, whose many other credits include Jabberjaw, Quackula and Marvin in Super Friends. The Blue Falcon was Gary Owens, who did several other superhero voices, such as Space Ghost and Roger Ramjet.
Between 1976 and '77, 24 episodes were made. In 1977-78, they joined the cast of Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics, which also included Hokey Wolf, Grape Ape, Hong Kong Phooey and quite a few other Hanna-Barbera retreads. The two-hour show also included segments rerunning episodes of other shows, such as Captain Caveman & the Teen Angels, and Dynomutt appeared there as well (tho in this case, The Blue Falcon got top billing). More episodes were rerun during the summer of 1978, without Scooby. Two years later, they appeared again, this time on NBC in a show with the ungainly title The Godzilla/Dynomutt Hour with The Funky Phantom.
Marvel Comics published six issues of a Dynomutt comic book, running from November, 1977 through September, 1978. He also appeared in the back pages of Marvel's Scooby-Doo from October, 1977 through February, 1979, and was a supporting character in Marvel's Laff-a-Lympics from March, 1978 through March, 1979.
In more recent years, Dyno and Falcon have turned up in new productions, albeit not in an ongoing TV series of their own. They were members of Harvey Birdman's law firm, for example. And when Dynomutt was destroyed in a typical superhero slugfest, The Blue Falcon took his remains to Dexter's Laboratory to be put back together. They starred in a four-part on-line adventure, which can still be seen in Cartoon Network's Toonami section — tho again, The Falcon got top billing. Like their counterparts at the major comic book companies, Hanna-Barbera's old superheroes don't die, but only fade — and never quite fade away, either.