Underdog and Sweet Polly Purebred.


Original Medium: Television animation
Produced by: Leonardo Productions
First Appeared: 1964
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In the grand tradition of Mighty Mouse, Captain Carrot and Super Goof, comes …

continued below

Underdog — one of the most popular and enduring of the funny animal superheroes.

Speaking only in four-beat iambic verse, Underdog never failed to respond to Sweet Polly Purebred's plaintive plea, "Oh where, oh where has my Underdog gone?" And since Polly was a fearless investigative reporter, she voiced that plea frequently. Unfortunately, her grateful admiration of the superhero did not extend to his alter ego, a humble shoe shine boy named Shoe Shine Boy. Villains the intrepid hero saved Polly from included Fearo the Ferocious, Overcat, and of course, Simon Bar Sinister.

Underdog premiered Oct. 3, 1964, on NBC. Two non-Underdog segments rounded out the half-hour — "The Hunter" and "The World of Commander McBragg", both of which were retreads from earlier shows by the same producer, King Leonardo & His Short Subjects and Tennessee Tuxedo & His Tales respectively. In its 1966 season, the show moved to CBS, and the back-up segments were replaced with fresher material — Go Go Gophers (a new segment about a two-gopher Native American tribe resisting a two-coyote cavalry) and Klondike Kat (in only its first rerun, sort of a cross between Dudley Do-Right and Tom & Jerry.) At both networks, Underdog's voice was provided by veteran character actor Wally Cox. Polly was voiced by Norma MacMillan, who also did the voices of Casper the Friendly Ghost and Gumby.

Underdog appeared in comic books from four different publishers. First, Charlton Comics published ten issues between 1970 and '72. Then Gold Key did 23, running from 1975-79. Spotlight Comics, which licensed several minor animated properties, did three issues in 1987. Most recently, Harvey Comics did a oneshot in 1993.

When last seen, Underdog was uttering his famous battle cry, "When trouble calls I am not slow; it's hip hip hip and away I go" in syndicated reruns.


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Text ©2000-06 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Leonardo Productions.