|Hong Kong Phooey|
|Created by||William Hanna|
|Directed by||Charles A. Nichols|
Wally Burr (recording director)
|Theme music composer||Hoyt Curtin|
|Opening theme||"Hong Kong Phooey" By Scatman Crothers|
|Ending theme||Hong Kong Phooey (Instrumental)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||16 (31 sub-episodes)|
|Executive producers||William Hanna|
|Producer||Iwao Takamoto (creative producer)|
|Running time||30 minutes (approximately)|
|Production company||Hanna-Barbera Productions|
|Original release||September 7 –|
December 21, 1974
Hong Kong Phooey is an American animated television series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and originally broadcast on ABC. The original episodes aired from September 7 to December 21, 1974, and then in repeats until 1976. The show was brought back in reruns in 1978 and 1981, and was included in the USA Network's Cartoon Express block throughout the '80s. The main character, Hong Kong Phooey, is the clownishly clumsy secret identity of Penrod "Penry" Pooch, working at a police station as a "mild-mannered" janitor under the glare of Sergeant Flint, nicknamed "Sarge".
Penry disguises himself as Hong Kong Phooey by jumping into a filing cabinet – in so doing he always gets stuck, and is unstuck by his striped pet cat named Spot – and once disguised, gets equipped with the "Phooeymobile" vehicle that transforms itself into a boat, a plane or a telephone booth, depending on the circumstances.
In fighting crime, he relies on his copy of The Hong Kong Book of Kung Fu, a correspondence-course martial-arts instruction handbook. However, his successes are only either thanks to Spot, who provides a solution to the challenges, or the direct result of a comically unintended side effect of his efforts. The humor of the incompetence of Hong Kong Phooey is a recurring theme of each episode. The backgrounds were designed by Lorraine Andrina and Richard Khim.
Each episode begins with Rosemary, the somewhat ditzy telephone operator, getting a call about a crime which she explains to Sergeant Flint. Penry, the janitor, overhears the conversation and proceeds to transform himself into the crime-fighting canine (on whom Rosemary has a crush) by slipping into the hidden room behind the vending machine, then jumping into the bottom drawer of his filing cabinet, getting stuck, and, with help from Spot, coming out of the top drawer.
After sliding behind an ironing board to the floor below, he bounces off an old sofa, through an open window, into a dumpster outside, and emerges driving his Phooeymobile. Even when he crashes into, harms, or otherwise inconveniences a civilian, the passer-by feels honored, as opposed to being annoyed or embarrassed, when they see who did it. One example was when he drove the Phooeymobile through wet cement, splattering the workers: they responded that it was an honor to have a whole day's work ruined by "the great Hong Kong Phooey". Despite his blatant lack of talent or intelligence, Hong Kong Phooey is feared by criminals and admired by citizens, but disliked by Sergeant Flint who sees him only as a hindrance to the police, and as evidenced in the final episode "Comedy Cowboys", Flint takes pleasure in arresting the framed hero (though he is later exonerated).
Hong Kong Phooey is voiced by Scatman Crothers. Sergeant Flint is voiced by Joe E. Ross, who was best known as Officer Gunther Toody in the early 1960s television series Car 54, Where Are You? As Flint, Ross revived Toody's famous "Ooh! Ooh!" exclamation, which he had also used when playing mess sergeant Rupert Ritzik, in The Phil Silvers Show.
The final episode, "Comedy Cowboys", was intended as a backdoor pilot for a new series. In this two-part episode, several new cartoon characters, who are named Honcho, The Mystery Maverick, and the Posse Impossible, appear and help to clear Hong Kong Phooey of a crime. These characters later appear in their own continuing segment, "Posse Impossible" on CB Bears. Like many animated series created by Hanna-Barbera in the 1970s, the show uses the limited Hanna-Barbera laugh track.
The show's opening theme, titled "Hong Kong Phooey", was written and composed by Hoyt Curtin, William Hanna, and Joseph Barbera, and sung by Crothers himself. For the end credits, a shortened instrumental version of the same song was used. A cover performed by Sublime is included on the 1995 tribute album Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits, produced by Ralph Sall for MCA Records.
|No.||Title||Original air date|
|September 7, 1974|
|2||"Iron Head the Robot"|
"Cotton Pickin' Pocket Picker"
|September 14, 1974|
|3||"Grandma Goody (Cat Burglar)"|
|September 21, 1974|
|4||"The Penthouse Burglaries"|
"Batty Bank Mob"
|September 28, 1974|
|5||"The Voltage Villain"|
|October 5, 1974|
|6||"The Gumdrop Kid"|
"Professor Presto (The Malevolent Magician)"
|October 12, 1974|
|7||"TV or Not TV"|
"Stop Horsing Around"
|October 19, 1974|
|8||"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall"|
"Great Movie Mystery"
|October 26, 1974|
"Hong Kong Phooey vs. Hong Kong Phooey"
|November 2, 1974|
|10||"The Abominable Snowman"|
|November 9, 1974|
|November 16, 1974|
|12||"From Bad to Verse (Rotten Rhymer)"|
"Kong and the Counterfeiters"
|November 23, 1974|
|13||"The Great Choo Choo Robbery"|
"Patty Cake, Patty Cake, Bakery Man"
|November 30, 1974|
"The Little Crook Who Wasn't There"
|December 7, 1974|
"The Incredible Mr. Shrink"
|December 14, 1974|
|16||"Comedy Cowboys"||December 21, 1974|
|Tin Nose, a conniving cowboy of crime, frames Hong Kong Phooey for the theft of a rare map to the Lost Dutchman Mine from a museum. It is up to Honcho, The Mystery Maverick, and the Posse Impossible to help corral Tin Nose and clear Phooey's name.|
On August 15, 2006, Warner Home Video released the complete series on 2-disc DVD in Region 1. The DVD set includes commentary on select episodes as well as a documentary of the show from its development through its legacy. The set also includes production designs, never-before-seen original artwork, new interviews, and the special feature Hong Kong Phooey—The Batty Bank Gang: The Complete Storyboard. The series is also available in the UK as a Region 2 two-disc set, and as two separate volumes in Region 4. The shorts "Car Thieves" and "Zoo Story" were also released on a 1970s Saturday morning cartoon compilation.
With a copyright of 2001, Alan Lau, in conjunction with Wildbrain.com, produced a flash animation webshow cartoon that was prominently featured on CartoonNetwork.com, and could still be found there as of the middle of June 2015. While Penry appears identical to the original incarnation, Hong Kong Phooey is a much larger, cut, and highly competent and skilled fighter—even without Spot the cat. Hong Kong Phooey faces off against and easily defeats evil anthropomorphic animals: a trio of rabbits, what appears to be a crane, and a reptilianoid (that appears to be a Komodo dragon). At the end he morphs back to Penry with a smile and sparkle in his eye.
The children's novella Hong Kong Phooey and the Fortune Cookie Caper by Jean Lewis, illustrated by Phil Ostapczuk, was published in 1975 by Rand McNally and Company, as well as Hong Kong Phooey and the Bird Nest Snatchers (1976) and Hong Kong Phooey and the Fire Engine Mystery (1977). Hong Kong Phooey's Hidden Pictures book by Tony Tallarico was published by Tempo Books in 1976.
In January 2015, a street art ceramic mosaic of Hong Kong Phooey sold at a Sotheby's auction for HK$2 million. The copy sold was a re-creation by the artist Invader after the original was removed from a city wall by Hong Kong authorities.
Charlton Comics published seven issues of a Hong Kong Phooey comic book during the show's run. Much of the art was produced by Paul Fung Jr.
The character appeared in 2017 in Scooby-Doo Team-Up #51-52 digital comic (released in print as #26).
In 2018, a re-imagined version of Hong Kong Phooey appeared alongside Black Lightning in the DC comic book Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooey Special #1.
Ooh wee, like a Hong Kong Phooey Kick.
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