The Fluppies with Jamie.


Original Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Disney
First Appeared: 1986
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Disney, usually an innovator in animation, was a relative latecomer to half-hour TV cartoon shows. After finally starting out with a couple of original character sets, The Wuzzles and Gummi Bears in 1985, the studio quickly fell into a routine of adapting its old properties into the new use — Uncle Scrooge became DuckTales in 1987, the Jungle Book characters became TaleSpin in 1990, etc. But there's one …

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… set of Disney TV characters that's usually overlooked by even the most ardent of its fans. Fluppy Dogs was introduced in an hour-long pilot episode on ABC, on November 27, 1986.

It isn't exactly clear what "Fluppy" means or where the word came from, but it sure makes 'em sound cute, doesn't it? Kenner Toys (M.A.S.K., Strawberry Shortcake) worked alongside Disney to market them as cute toys cross-promoted with the show, coloring books and other products. The technique was pioneered by Hanna-Barbera and Ideal Toys with Magilla Gorilla in the 1960s but reached its full expression in the '80s with He-Man, My Little Pony, etc. The Fluppies were dimension-hopping denizens of a funny animal world, where dog-like creatures talk and have hands instead of front paws, who wound up on Earth, palling around with 10-year-old Jamie Bingham and his next-door neighbor, Claire.

There were six Fluppies, their cuteness enhanced by coloring them in pastels. They also had dominant traits that served as shorthand characterization. Tipi (lavender) was gushing with love; Stanley (blue) was loyal; Bink (yellow) was playful; Ozzie (green) was cool; Dink (peach-colored) was shy; and Fanci (pink) was especially pretty. Fanci didn't appear in the pilot episode, but did in promotional materials. They were pursued by Wagstaff, an animal collector and one of the few humans who realized (despite the colors, which one would think would be a tip-ff) they weren't ordinary dogs.

Jamie's voice was provided by Carl Stevens (Freddy Jones in A Pup Named Scooby Doo), and Claire's by Jessica Pennington (also heard in a Transformers video game). Tipi and Bink were Susan Blu (Granny Smurf); Stanley was Marshall Efron (Larry the Duck in Home on the Range); Ozzie was Lorenzo Music (Garfield); and Dink was Hal Smith (Gyro Gearloose). Wagstaff was Michael Rye (Green Lantern in a couple of incarnations of Super Friends).

The Fluppies flopped. The toys, books etc. were short-lived, and the animated version never went beyond that one pilot episode.


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Text ©2007 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Walt Disney Co.