Hong Kong Phooey
is a 16-episode (31 shorts) Hanna-Barbera animated series
that first aired on ABC Saturday morning
from September 7
to September 4
. The star, Hong Kong Phooey, is the secret alter ego
of Penrod Pooch, or Penry (sometimes mispronounced "Henry"), a "mild-mannered" police station janitor
. Although Penry/Phooey appears to be the only anthropomorphic
dog in the entire city where the series is set, no one ever connects his two identities.
Hong Kong Phooey is supposedly a master of kung fu
and other martial arts
. Although he is very lithe and athletic, he actually accquired his "skills" through a correspondence course manual, The Hong Kong School of Kung Foo
(later spelled correctly as "Kung Fu"). Hong Kong Phooey carries this book with him at all times and uses it to look up the "appropriate" move for any situation he's in. On the rare times he loses the book, his self-confidence disappears. On occasion, he also tries "powers of mental concentration" which amount to nothing without either dumb luck or the help of his "faithful companion" Spot, a "police cat." The stories begin at the police headquarters, where Hong Kong Phooey's alter ego, Penry, works as a mild-mannered janitor. He works with Sergeant Flint ("Sarge") and Rosemary, the telephone operator, who has a crush on Hong Kong Phooey. After Rosemary gets a call and explains the crime, Penry runs into a filing cabinet (and always get stuck) to transform himself into Hong Kong Phooey. He usually enters the lower drawer as Penrod and leaves the upper one as Hong Kong Phooey. In each episode, he ends up needing assistance from Spot. (Except for one episode where he somehow crawls under the carpet from the file cabinet to a nearby door and get no assistance at all from Spot. There's also one episode where he decides to use the middle drawer to leave the cabinet after getting stuck at the upper one but his attempts to show his "skills" get him stuck back there) Hong Kong never quite notices Spot's help, but instead is always proud of himself because he thinks he is the one who does everything.
Phooey gets into his Phooeymobile and uses the "bong of the gong" to turn it into whatever sort of vehicle best suits the occasion. He finds the thieves committing their crime. Spot is usually the one who finds a way to capture the criminals and foil their crime, but on occasion, Hong Kong Phooey captures the villain on his own through sheer dumb luck. Because Hong Kong is the reputed superhero, every time Spot saves the day, everyone else (including Phooey) credits Hong Kong Phooey with being the hero. Every episode ends with a return to police headquarters, where Penry usually has some sort of accident that causes Sarge to yell at him. Penry is never hurt by Sarge's yelling and finds a way to compliment himself on his incognito crime-fighting prowess as Spot sighs.
A running gag is that Hong Kong Phooey is such a respected hero that when his incompetence caused him to crash into, harm, or otherwise inconvenience a civilian, the passerby declares what an honor it was to have so interacted with "the great Hong Kong Phooey." For example, he drives the Phooeymobile through some wet cement, splattering the workers, who say that it was an honor to have a whole day's work ruined by "the great Hong Kong Phooey."
Sergeant Flint was very similar both in voice and appearance to Botch, assistant zoo-keeper at the Wonderland Zoo on Help! It's The Hair Bear Bunch.
Hong Kong Phooey was voiced by Scatman Crothers
, who was also the voice of Scat Cat in Disney
's The Aristocats
(not to be confused with Scat Cat from the live-action show called The Skatebirds
for which Scatman also did the voice). Sergeant Flint was voiced by Joe E. Ross
, best known as Officer Gunther Toody in the 50's TV series Car 54, Where Are You?.
As Flint, Ross revived Toody's famous "Oooh! Oooh!" exclamation. Like many Hanna-Barbera shows from this era, Hong Kong Phooey
was originally broadcast with a laugh track
. In the episode "Comedy Cowboys," several new cartoon characters (Honcho, The Mysterious Maverick, and Posse Impossible) appeared and helped to clear Hong Kong of a crime he didn't commit. Posse Impossible found their way onto The CB Bears Show
| Episode Number
|| Title/Production Number
|| Airdate |
|| Car Thieves (prod. #74-1 Act 1) / Zoo Story (prod. #74-1 Act 2)
|| September 7, 1974 |
|| Iron Head the Robot (prod. #74-2 Act 1) / Cotton Pickin' Pocket Picker (prod. #74-2 Act 2)
|| September 14, 1974 |
|| Grandma Goody (Cat Burglar) (prod. #74-3 Act 1) / Candle Power (prod. #74-3 Act 2)
|| September 21, 1974 |
|| The Penthouse Burglaries (prod. #74-4 Act 1) / Batty Bank Mob (prod. #74-4 Act 2)
|| September 28, 1974 |
|| The Voltage Villain (prod. #74-5 Act 1) / The Giggler (prod. #74-5 Act 2)
|| October 5, 1974 |
|| The Gumdrop Kid (prod. #74-6 Act 1) / Professor Presto (The Malevolent Magician) (prod. #74-6 Act 2)
|| October 12, 1974 |
|| TV or Not TV (prod. #74-7 Act 1) / Stop Horsing Around (prod. #74-7 Act 2)
|| October 19, 1974 |
|| Mirror, Mirror on the Wall (prod. #74-8 Act 1) / Great Movie Mystery (prod. #74-8 Act 2)
|| October 26, 1974 |
|| The Claw (prod. #74-9 Act 1) / Hong Kong Phooey vs. Hong Kong Phooey (prod. #74-9 Act 2)
|| November 2, 1974 |
|| The Abominable Snowman (prod. #74-10 Act 1) / Professor Crosshatch (prod. #74-10 Act 2)
|| November 9, 1974 |
|| Goldfisher (prod. #74-11 Act 1) / Green Thumb (prod. #74-11 Act 2)
|| November 16, 1974 |
|| From Bad to Verse (Rotten Rhymer) (prod. #74-12 Act 1) / Kong and the Counterfeiters (prod. #74-12 Act 2)
|| November 23, 1974 |
|| The Great Choo Choo Robbery (prod. #74-13 Act 1) / Patty Cake, Patty Cake, Bakery Man (prod. #74-13 Act 2)
|| November 30, 1974 |
|| Mr. Tornado (prod. #74-14 Act 1) / The Little Crook Who Wasn't There (prod. #74-14 Act 2)
|| December 7, 1974 |
|| Dr. Disguiso (prod. #74-15 Act 1) / The Incredible Mr. Shrink (prod. #74-15 Act 2)
|| December 14, 1974 |
|| Comedy Cowboy (prod. #74-16 Act 1) / Storm Warning (prod. #74-16 Act 2)
|| December 21, 1974 |
On August 15, 2006, Warner Home Video
released the complete series on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time.
||Additional Information |
| Hong Kong Phooey- The Complete Series
|| August 15 2006
- Commentary on select episodes
- Documentary of the show from its development through its legacy. Includes production designs and never before seen original artwork as well as new interviews
- "Hong Kong Phooey - The Batty Bank Gang: The Complete Storyboard"
Hong Kong Phooey in other languages
Outside of his native cartoon, Hong Kong Phooey was later featured/referenced in several media:
- In Laff-A-Lympics, he was a member of the Scooby Doobies (a large Hanna-Barbara franchise group including fellow super-heroes Blue Falcon, Dynomutt, and Captain Caveman).
- In Hanna-Barbera's All-Star Comedy Ice Revue, he along with other Hanna-Barbera characters including: Jabberjaw, The Banana Splits, Scooby-Doo, The Hair Bear Bunch from Help! It's The Hair Bear Bunch, Quick Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss, Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound came to join Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble in that 1977 TV Special that was aired on CBS.
- Decades later, Hong Kong Phooey subsequently guest-starred in an episode of Duck Dodgers. A re-imagining of the character also appeared in a Flash cartoon with a more serious, action-focused tone. The animation was originally viewable on the Cartoon Network website during 2001.
- The show's eponymous theme song later became a novelty hit, airing on The Dr. Demento Show several times. Ska-punk band Sublime would later cover this song for the 1995 album Saturday Morning Cartoon's Greatest Hits. and later it would be released on the DVD of their posthumous 2006 boxset "Everything Under the Sun".. The bassline during the bridge is the same as from their song "Pawn Shop."
- Hong Kong Phooey appeared in the Robot Chicken episode "S&M Present" voiced by Seth Green. In the "Enter the Fat One" segment, he was one of the many opponents that Joey Fatone had to face in a martial arts tournament. In another episode of that series, "Ban on the Fun," the Laff-A-Lympics experiences the Munich massacre. Scooby finds out that Hong Kong Phooey is dead, and apparently just realized Phooey was a dog.
- In 2006, McFarlane Toys released an action figure of the character through its Hanna-Barbera series of toys.
- A live-action adaptation produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions & Brett Ratner's Rat Entertainment is rumored for a 2010 release. Jackie Chan & Larry Joe Campbell have been rumored to have roles with Chan providing the voice of Hong Kong Phooey/Penrod "Penry" Pooch and Larry Joe Campbell in the role of Sergeant Flint. The film will be distributed by Warner Bros.
- Hibernian F.C. right back Thierry Gathuessi is known affectionately among fans as "Hong Kong Thierry" on account of his amusingly aggressive playing style.
- In a Halloween episode of What's New Scooby-Doo, one guest attends a party wearing a Hong Kong Phooey costume.