On Saturday morning, we’ll remind you of the time when it was still cool to wake up early on weekends. So whenever the hell you wake up these days, there will be a nostalgic treat waiting for you, reminding you of those old jammies you used to wear and that old television set. They make even less sense now, but that’s half the fun. We hope you enjoy.
The Cartoon: Dynomutt, Dog Wonder
Animation Studio: Hanna-Barbera
Original Run: September 11, 1976 – October 22, 1977
Episodes: 20 (16 half-hour episodes and 8 11-minute two-part episodes)
Aired On: ABC
- Radley Crown/Blue Falcon
- F.O.C.U.S. One
- Mayor Gaunt
Big City, your typical metropolis with a light villain problem.
The Bruce Wayne-esque millionaire socialite Radley Crown (voiced by Laugh In‘s Gary Owens) enjoys the leisurely life of a rich art dealer along with his pet dog, Dynomutt (Frank Welker). The two attend fancy parties together wearing matching ascots and asshole playboy jackets, living the high life. That is, until someone activates The Falcon Flash! That’s when we learn a little somethin’-somethin’ about Crown and Dynomutt. Dashing back to Crown’s swanky penthouse, man and dog slip into The Falcon’s Lair and switch into their superhero identities – The Blue Falcon and Dog Wonder – and receive orders via a TV screen from special agent F.O.C.U.S. One. Then they jump into the The Falconcar (which is sort of a plane) and it is off to fight some crime!
The hook for the show is that Dynomutt is no ordinary dog. Sure, he talks, but so do a lot of cartoon dogs. Dynomutt is a fucking cyborg super dog, capable of extending his limbs and neck to great distances, turning his legs into springs, and retrieving a cornucopia of Swiss Army Knife tools and gizmos from his body. Basically he’s the bastard child of Inspector Gadget and Astro from The Jetsons (though Inspector Gadget was created well after Dynomutt, so he’s frankly kind of a rip-off). Dynomutt could easily be the world’s greatest crime fighter. Except for one fatal flaw: he’s retarded. Crown must clearly love the dog deep down, because every episode features Dynomutt causing more problems for Crown than actually helping him. Instead of beating or selling Dynomutt, Crown generally just vents his frustration by cleverly referring to Dynomutt as “Dog Blunder.” Though, to be honest, Crown can’t be too bright himself, considering he gave his dog’s secret identity the name “Dynomutt.” Kinda gives things away. Big City only has one robot dog, after all. He probably should have given Dynomutt a dog name. Like Max or Charlie or Buckles.
The show featured a laugh track (a weird quirk of the era), and frequent guest appearances by fellow crime-fighting canine fuck up, Scooby-Doo, and the rest of the Mystery Machine team. Why? I’ll explain below…
The Short History:
The show was created by Joseph Ruby and Kenneth Spears, who were instrumental in creating or helping develop many of Hanna-Barbera’s myriad of characters from the 70’s. I became familiar with the character as a wee one in the late 1980’s, when Dynomutt was flying solo on USA’s Cartoon Express, but the series originally appeared in 1976 as one half of The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour, until ABC added another half hour from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and retitled the block The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Show. The following year yet another half hour was added, and the name was changed to Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics. Though that show was soon scaled back to 90 minutes, and Dynomutt was canned.
Fun fact: Dynomutt has the significance of being the first Saturday Morning cartoon to ever feature an African-American public official, Mayor Gaunt, voiced by Larry McCormick, who Los Angelenos may remember from his long running tenure as a KTLA new anchor.
You Might Have Seen This Commercial:
If you are caught watching this video at work, they’ll probably seize your computer and search it for inappropriate material. Heads up.
Tune in next Saturday morning for another installment.
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