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Thursday, 1 March 2018

⏪ Classic Cartoon Rewind: Dynomutt, Dog Wonder (1976)

Dynomutt, Dog Wonder
1976
Country of Origin: U.S
Hanna-Barbera Productions
Number Of Episodes/Seasons: 20 episodes in total if you also count the Laff-A-Lympics, 1 season
Characters: Blue Falcon/Radley Clown, Dynomutt, Narrator, The Mayor
Ran from September 11, 1976 - October 29, 1977
Aired on ABC, Cartoon Network, Boomerang 
'Stronger than a train with a so-so brain' 

Dynomutt, Dog Wonder is the creation of Joe Ruby and Ken Spears (& who initially came up with Scooby-Doo), when they were still working at Hanna-Barbera, and the duo would later go on to form their own production company in Ruby-Spears Productions in 1977. From there onwards they created shows in Thundarr The Barbarian, The Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour, the early 1980s incarnation of Alvin & The Chipmunks & Rambo: The Force of Freedom, based on the live-action Rambo films. 


Before that, Ruby-Spears unleashed The Dynomutt, Dog Wonder 30-min segment, which was originally part of The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour that aired on ABC and thus, it acts more as a parody of another comic book superhero duo in DC Comics' Batman & Robin. The resemblances of both franchises are even more uncanny nowadays, given that Hanna-Barbera's back catalogue of animated shows are now owned by Warner Bros, and DC Comics is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. ABC and Hanna-Barbera thought that Scooby-Doo could do with a companion show and help boost its ratings, and so they came up with The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour. 

From 1992, reruns of Dynomutt aired on Cartoon Network up until 2000 when the Boomerang channel took over its reigns.

The series focused on the adventures, or be it misadventures and antics of a bumbling bionic canine Doberman named Dynomutt and his very own all-blue-clad caped crusader, 'Blue Falcon' aka Radley Crown: a millionaire socialite art dealer, who is also a play on Batman in the format of the 1966 Live-action Batman TV series starring Adam West & Burt Ward. Much like with Batman's Bat Cave, they had a secret hideout called ''The Falcon Lair''. Each episode has a different foe for Dynomutt and Blue Falcon to contend with. The titular character, Dynomutt is a combination of both Scooby-Doo, - or be it Astro from The Jetsons (as they are probably the same dog breed) and Inspector Gadget, in a robotic sense with extendable limbs, springy legs, equipped with a plethora of Swiss army knife tools & fancy gizmos, along with a goofy sounding voice. Together, they protect Big City - a take on Gotham City-, from incoming villains and much like with Batman, respond to a distress call or signal via a Falcon Flash. Unlike Batman, however, Dynomutt and Blue Falcon's attempts at capturing their foes would run into a spot of trouble when Dynomutt messes or goofs up, leading to a calamity of comical/clownish proportions, much to his partner's chagrin. At times, when this happens, Blue Falcon would refer to Dynomutt as 'dog blunder', instead of Dog Wonder. Surprisingly, Dynomutt, Dog Wonder has historical significance for being the first Saturday Morning Cartoon to depict the Mayor character as an African-American. Which was something that hadn't happened before. 


Frank Welker, who voiced Fred Jones and Scooby- Doo in Scooby-Doo provided the voice of the canine, whilst announcer of the 1977 Laugh-In comedy sketch series, Gary Owens, who also voiced another Hanna-Barbera character in Space Ghost, lent his vocals to Blue Falcon. 

Given the feedback I have come across online, this is a series that divides a lot of viewers: some enjoy its silly, goofy humour and spoofing of superhero cartoons, like myself, and others, well, loathe it and who only tune in to the Scooby-Doo portion of The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt hour programme. I enjoy the lighter side of Hanna-Barbera shows, be it this one and Jabberjaw where the main character is a goofball type, who isn't perfect, is prone to mistakes, but also has a good heart, underneath it all. I find myself smiling and laughing at 1 or 2 moments and I liked that it didn't take itself too seriously. I see this show as a parody on Superfriends, Spider-Man etc. Though some may find the show, or be it Dynomutt a dumb show, I still enjoy it from time to time. 

       


Sources

Saturday Mornings Forever


Dynomutt, Dog Wonder - The Cartoon Network Wiki


Dynomutt, Dog Wonder - Retroland

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