Hong Kong Phooey (ABC, 1974)
I have now come to the final Hanna-Barbera cartoon that I want to review, and I have realised that there really have been a lot of them. Others include Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, and so on, but I don’t really remember those. It has definitely been a good experience to look back at these, there really are a lot of creative and amusing characters.
And it’s proof for me that they were as enjoyable as anything that the likes of Disney and Warner Brothers have had to offer. This was shown on CBBC for about a decade until the mid-80s, but the repeats stopped before I was a viewer, the first time that I saw this was actually on Cartoon Network in the late-90s. This is another one with a rather bizarre idea.
Who is the mysterious superhero who plays the main character in this show? Is it Sergeant Flint? No. Is it Rosemary, the telephone operator? No. Is it Daffy Duck? No. Is it Penry Pooch, the mild-mannered (canine) janitor at the police station? Could be… Penry turns into Hong Kong Phooey by jumping into a filing cabinet, but he always gets stuck, and Spot The Police Cat has to help out.
Hong Kong Phooey really was “The Number One Superguy”, according to the rather groovy opening theme, and he was voiced by Scatman Crothers, and remember, if the Scatman can do it, then so can you. He was also quicker than the human eye, although that’s taking his boasting to rather ridiculous levels, as that’s not entirely possible.
He also had a car that he would jump into, that could change into various shapes. And he learned martial arts, well some of them, he would often have an instruction book to hand, if he needed some help. He would take on various villains, and often save the day (although it seemed that Spot was actually more skilled than he was). And nobody at the police station ever realised that he was their janitor all along!
Once again, it’s a surprise to realise that there weren’t a huge amount of episodes of Hong Kong Phooey made, but there seemed to be so many Hanna-Barbera cartoons in production at this time, all competing for the attention of viewers, maybe they only had so many paintbrushes to go round. And this was another one shown as part of Cartoon Network’s Cult Toons, a real delight.