Dog City
Dogcity.jpg
Also known asJim Henson's Dog City
Genre
Created byJim Henson (original made for TV movie)
Developed by
Directed byJohn van Bruggen
Starring
Voices of
Country of origin
  • United States
  • Canada
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes31
Production
Executive producers
Production companies
DistributorNelvana International
Release
Original network
Picture formatNTSC
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseSeptember 26, 1992 (1992-09-26) –
November 26, 1994 (1994-11-26)

Dog City is an animated television series that was produced by Nelvana Limited and Jim Henson Productions in association with Channel 4, Global Television Network, FORTA and Canal+ Spain and aired on Fox Kids from September 26, 1992, to November 26, 1994, and in Canada on YTV until 2000. The show contained both animation by Nelvana, and puppetry by Jim Henson Productions, similar to Little Muppet Monsters.[2]

Television film

Dog City was originally an hour-long live-action television film, broadcast on May 5, 1989, as an episode of The Jim Henson Hour, featuring the characters as puppets.[3] In Dog City: The Movie, Ace Yu inherits a bar-restaurant called the Dog House following the death of his Uncle Harry and is harassed for protection money by crime syndicate boss Bugsy Them (who was responsible for the death of Uncle Harry. Harry as it turns out, was actually Ace's father). Refusing to pay or fight him, Bugsy kidnaps Ace's love interest, Colleen. There are car chases and shoot-em-ups and rubber duckies involved in the action. In the end, Ace defeats Bugsy and gets the girl.[4]

Characters

Dog City: The Movie also features cameos by Sprocket the Dog from Fraggle Rock, Lyle the Dog and Baskerville the Hound from The Muppet Show, a dog character that resembles Tramp from Lady and the Tramp, and a background pug that later appears in Jim Henson's Animal Show, Puppet Up!, and other Henson Alternative projects.

The Muppets of Ace Yu and his associates would make cameos in The Muppets at Walt Disney World and would later go on to become Eliot Shag and the other "real world" counterparts to the animated characters.

Dog City: The Movie (sans the framing sequences) was released to regions 1 and 2.

The company's YouTube channel has 6 clips from the pilot in a playlist called "Dogs of Anarchy!".[5]

Plot

The animated portions of the show focused on a canine private investigator named Ace Hart. The Muppet portions of the show focused on the interactions between Ace Hart and his animator Eliot Shag (who, like Ace, is a German Shepherd). Eliot would illustrate the stories while Ace would go traverse through it, occasionally breaking the fourth wall to speak with Eliot about the various troubles with the story. In one episode, Eliot even enters Dog City himself to join Ace in solving a mystery.

A recurring gag was that many of the characters in the cartoon were seemingly based on the residents of Eliot's apartment building. The bulldog crime-boss Bugsy Vile was inspired by the building's grouchy bulldog superintendent Bruno. Ace's love interest Rosie was based on Eliot's deep feelings for his neighbor Colleen, and so on. The Muppet characters were unaware of this. In the first episode, Bruno asks Eliot how a loser like him could have created a great character like Bugsy. Eliot replies, "Sometimes it just stares me right in the face."

Later series included segments from other shows Eliot worked on, including skits featuring the main Dog City characters and a superhero series starring the Batman parody Watchdog.

Characters

Animated

Muppets

Episodes

Series overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
PilotMay 5, 1989 (1989-05-05)NBC
113September 26, 1992 (1992-09-26)January 30, 1993 (1993-01-30)Fox Kids
210September 18, 1993 (1993-09-18)November 20, 1993 (1993-11-20)
38September 17, 1994 (1994-09-17)November 24, 1994 (1994-11-24)

Season 1 (1992–93)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleWritten byOriginal air date
11"The Big Squeak"J.D. SmithSeptember 26, 1992 (1992-09-26)
Bugsy Vile steals all the squeaky toys in the hope of finding one that will unlock a millionaire's safe.
22"Taming of the Screw"Peter SauderOctober 3, 1992 (1992-10-03)
Ace Hart is persuaded to capture escaped lunatic Screwy Louie before Bugsy's gang can recruit him.
33"Meat the Butcher"J.D. SmithOctober 10, 1992 (1992-10-10)
When Eliot's boss wants an Ace Hart adventure with violence, Eliot takes up Ace's advice and animates an episode where Ace is attacked by a psychopathic hitman named Meat the Butcher.
44"Disobedience School"Jim Lewis & Peter SauderOctober 17, 1992 (1992-10-17)
Bugsy takes over a school with the intent of corrupting young pups into robbing the bank. Unknown to him, all of his pupils (except Eddie and Bingo) are cops in disguise.
55"The Dog Pound"Peter SauderOctober 31, 1992 (1992-10-31)
Ace Hart is sent to jail for stealing a priceless slipper and must prove his innocence.
66"Radio Dazed"Marty Isenberg & Robert N. SkirNovember 14, 1992 (1992-11-14)
A series of suspicious accidents threaten to put Dog City's radio station off air.
77"The Bloodhound"Mark Saraceni & Peter SauderNovember 21, 1992 (1992-11-21)
When Eliot gets suspicious of Colleen's new boyfriend, he animates an Ace Hart adventure where he tracks down a vampire called the Bloodhound.
88"Adventures in Puppysitting"Marty Isenberg, Robert N. Skir, Michael Edens & Mark EdensNovember 28, 1992 (1992-11-28)

Colleen Barker asks Eliot to puppysit her baby nephew Pomeroy who turns out to be a handful. This gives Eliot the inspiration for his latest Ace Hart cartoon where Bugsy recruits master thief Puppy-faced Felson who specializes in disguising himself as a baby so he can steal the Hope on the Rope Diamond from wealthy heiresses Zsa Zsa Gbark.

Note: Pomeroy was previously seen in the Dog City special as a police officer.
99"Ya Gotta Have Hart"J.D. SmithDecember 19, 1992 (1992-12-19)
When Eliot Shag and Ace object to Eliot's boss on the changes of the Ace Hart cartoons, both of them end up fired. In order to pay the rent, Eliot animates Ace into performing in different commercials, French films, and nursery rhyme. Meanwhile, Bruno, who wanted to kick out Eliot anyway, plots to kick Eliot out regardless of status.
1010"In Your Dreams"Jim LewisJanuary 9, 1993 (1993-01-09)
After a long hard day of drawing a new Ace Hart adventure, Eliot Shag falls asleep at his drawing table where he appears as a cartoon in Ace Hart's world.
1111"Rocketship K-9"Robert N. Skir, Marty Isenberg & J.D. SmithJanuary 16, 1993 (1993-01-16)
When Bruno is convinced that aliens are going to invade, Eliot Shag animates an Ace Hart cartoon where Ace has to save the moon from Bugsy Vile, Baron von Rottweiler, and a Russian cat agent named Bestov Breed.
1212"Cats 'n' Dogs"Kirk R. ThatcherJanuary 23, 1993 (1993-01-23)
During Eliot's infestation of fleas, Bruno suspects that the cats are responsible, causing Ms. Fluffé to fire him. This gives Eliot the idea of an Ace Hart cartoon where Bugsy Vile is in a gang war with the East Side Cats led by Clawed Badly.
1313"Is It Arf?"Vincent GrittaniJanuary 30, 1993 (1993-01-30)
Ace meets rival detective Sherlock Bones at the time when an art thief is at large.

Season 2 (1993)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleWritten byOriginal air date
141"Boss Bruiser"Marty Isenberg & Robert N. SkirSeptember 18, 1993 (1993-09-18)
When Bruno gets fired by Ms. Fluffé, the job of building superintendent falls to Bowser. This inspires Eliot to animate an Ace Hart cartoon where Bruiser is put in charge of Bugsy Vile's gang.
152"Springer Fever"Jim LewisSeptember 25, 1993 (1993-09-25)
Bugsy Vile throws Dog City into chaos by kidnapping the Mayor's secretary. Colleen moves out and Eliot gets a new love interest: Artie's mum Terri.
163"Much Ado About Mad Dog"Marty Isenberg & Robert N. SkirOctober 2, 1993 (1993-10-02)

Ace gains a new ally after saving Mad Dog from drowning. In this episode, it is revealed Mad Dog quotes William Shakespeare's lines when hit over the head. In the real world, Terri is approached by Colonel Claghound who wants to make a business deal with her.

Note: Colonel Claghound is a recycled version of Lyle the Dog from The Muppet Show.
174"Of Mutts and Mayors"David FinleyOctober 9, 1993 (1993-10-09)
Bugsy cheats in the election and becomes mayor of Dog City. Ace and Rosie are fired from the police force and declared outlaws.
185"Who Watches the Watchdog?"Marty Isenberg & Robert N. SkirOctober 16, 1993 (1993-10-16)

While Eliot repairs Artie's Bite-Man figure, it inspires him to make an Ace Hart cartoon where Ace accompanies Eddie to a comic convention where Bugsy Vile competes with the Labrador Gang to steal the 100 rarest comics.

Note: One of the guest at the comic book convention is called Stan Flea, who is a homage to Stan Lee. There is also Mongrel Comics (a parody of Marvel Comics) which published the Whippet (who vaguely resembles The Spirit, but whose costume and whip-like tail are a tribute to Indiana Jones) and Weiner Dog (a rubbery canine a la Plastic Man or Mister Fantastic).
196"The Great Dane Curse"Dale SchottOctober 23, 1993 (1993-10-23)
Ace Hart is hired to protect a wealthy heiress from assassins and her controlling father. Unknown to Ace, her boyfriend is Bruiser.
207"Out of the Mouths of Pups"Rich Fogel & Mark SeidenbergOctober 30, 1993 (1993-10-30)
Eliot's fans (including Artie) mail him ideas for new Ace Hart episodes, which he attempts to incorporate into his latest cartoon.
218"Farewell, My Rosie"Jim LewisNovember 6, 1993 (1993-11-06)
Rosie disappears on the same day as Ace's party. Ace discovers she was Bugsy Vile's prom date and nearly married Baron Von Rottweiler.
229"Old Dogs, New Tricks"Julia Jane LewaldNovember 13, 1993 (1993-11-13)

Eliot Shag teams up with his old animation teacher Scratch McCollie in order to do an Ace Hart cartoon where Ace teams up with Sam Spayed.

Note: Scratch McCollie is a refurbished version of the Wolfhound from The Muppet Show.
2310"Sick as a Dog"J.D. SmithNovember 20, 1993 (1993-11-20)
When Eliot Shag is sick and unable to make his deadline, his neighbors help to make an Ace Hart cartoon where they each take turns animating.

Season 3 (1994)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleWritten byOriginal air date
241"The New Litter"J.D. SmithSeptember 17, 1994 (1994-09-17)
Ace and Eddie visit Jurassic Park and Bugsy steals the secret chemical for cloning dinosaurs. Artie creates his own cartoon featuring the squeaky toy Mr. Mookie.
252"Doggy See, Doggy Do"David FinleySeptember 24, 1994 (1994-09-24)
Ace pursues Bugsy posing as a children's TV star, Bernie. Artie gets bad grades in school and is grounded.
263"Comedy of Horrors"Craig Shemin & J.D. SmithOctober 1, 1994 (1994-10-01)

Baron Von Rottweiler steals Eddie's brain and tries to force Rosie to marry his monster. An escaped lunatic resembling Bowser terrorizes Eliot, Artie and Bruno.

Note: This cartoon pays homage to several classic horror movies, including Frankenstein, Nosferatu, The Wolf Man, The Shining, Godzilla, Roger Corman's adaption of the Edgar Allan Poe series, and Friday the 13th.
274"Howl the Conquering Hero"Cliff MacGillivrayOctober 8, 1994 (1994-10-08)
Eliot helps Artie understand that a hero doesn't always have to be a superhero. This gives Eliot the idea to animate an Ace Hart cartoon where Ace and Bugsy Vile compete for the Hero of the Year award.
285"Reduce, Re-Use, Retrieve"John LudinNovember 5, 1994 (1994-11-05)

Artie tries to get the other apartment residents to recycle. This gives Eliot the inspiration to animate an Ace Hart cartoon where Ace uncovers a plot by Baron von Rottweiler to take over the world by stealing the world's trees.

In the latest adventures of "The Adventures of Rosie and Dot," Rosie and Dot go camping in the same forest as Bugsy Vile's gang.

In "Yves 'n Steven," Yves' plot to steal prized possessions is comically thwarted by Steven.
296"Future Schlock"David FinleyNovember 12, 1994 (1994-11-12)

Baron Rottweiler builds a time machine and travels back to the 1600s where he uses squeaky toys to buy America from the Native American wolves.

Note: Mean Mama makes a cameo as a creature in Artie Springer's nightmare.
307"No Pain, No Brain"Marty Isenberg & Robert N. SkirNovember 19, 1994 (1994-11-19)
Bugsy and Ace compete in the Olympic games. Artie, Bruno and Bowser help Eliot get in shape for the Marathon.
318"Dog Days of Summer Vacation"David Finley & J.D. SmithNovember 26, 1994 (1994-11-26)
Eliot, Artie, and Terri plan a vacation, which inspires an episode where Ace has to take on the Vandalizer, a crooked canine that wrecks vacations for others.

Cast

Muppet performers

Voices

Additional voices

Home releases

Two VHS tapes with two episodes each were released by Sony Wonder. Much Ado About Mad Dog contains the episodes Much Ado About Mad Dog and Old Dogs, New Tricks. The Big Squeak contains the episodes The Big Squeak and Boss Bruiser. Another tape, Disobedience School was released in the UK through Channel 4 and contains the episodes Disobedience School, The Dog Pound, and Radio Daze.

Dog City: The Movie was released to UK exclusive region 2 DVD, and a Region 1 DVD was released on June 8, 2010, though the series has not had any DVD release. Most episodes of all three seasons are available from Amazon Video on Demand.

References

  1. ^ Stevens, Mary (February 5, 1993). "It's Not Easy Being A Henson". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
  2. ^ Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 158. ISBN 978-1538103739.
  3. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 276–277. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  4. ^ "Jim Henson's Dog City: The Movie". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
  5. ^ Dogs of Anarchy
  6. ^ Erickson, Hal (1993). Television Cartoon Shows An Illustrated Encyclopedia 1949-1993. McFarland and Company Inc., Publishers. ISBN 0-7864-0029-3.