—The Rhyming Caped Canine
Underdog Always Speaks in Rhyme. Some of the superhero’s most iconic phrases are:
“When Polly’s in trouble, I am not slow
So it’s hip! hip! hip! and away I go!”
“There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here.”
—It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, It’s a Frog?!
Underdog is a parody of a number of superheroes. Most notably, he closely resembles Superman. To change into his suit, Shoeshine Boy sneaks into a red telephone booth Clark Kent-style and emerges as Underdog – destroying the phone booth in the process.
—Shoeshine Boys, Would-Be-Girlfriends and Villains
Audiences all over the world continue to cheer Shoeshine Boy and his alter ego Underdog, as the unlikely superhero helps restore order to society whenever danger looms. Called into action by his would-be girlfriend, ace news reporter Sweet Polly Purebred, the anti-hero must thwart the evil plans of his notorious foes, mad scientist Simon Barsinister and the underworld boss Riff Raff.
—Celebrity Profiles…Wally Cox, Marilyn Monroe and Lionel Barrymore
Many of the characters in “The Underdog Show” are based on Hollywood actors and notable figures of the time. Screen siren Marilyn Monroe provided the inspiration for Sweet Polly Purebred, Underdog was modeled after renowned character actor, Wally Cox, and legendary stage actor Lionel Barrymore was the basis for the diabolical Simon Barsinister.
—Wally Cox the Voice of Underdog
In 1963, the creators of Underdog knew exactly what they wanted in a super hero for their new cartoon, but didn’t know where to find it. Nintey-eight pound, timid figures weren’t in high demand, or appeared on screen very often. Luckily, they saw Wally Cox in “Spencer’s Mountain”, and knew they had found the right man to “be” Underdog.
—Cox had trained with Stella Adler and achieved fame as the mild mannered teacher on the sitcom “Mister Peepers”.
He also guest starred on shows like, “The Bill Cosby Show”, “The Beverly Hillbillies”, and in the movie, “The Bedford Incident.” Wally Cox also became a regular fixture on the television show, “Hollywood Squares,” occupying the top left square.
—Cox was lifelong friend with Marlon Brando, and their ashes were scattered together in Death Valley, California.
—Roar of Lightning, Speed of Thunder!
In 2005, Underdog teamed up with NASCAR and Kevin LePage’s #37 Dodge to race in the Nextel All-Star Challenge and the Coca-Cola 600. The Underdog race car was voted one of the most popular paint-schemes of the year by NASCAR fans.
—Underdog was the First!
Underdog was the first Saturday Morning Cartoon Character to make the cover of New Yorker Magazine.
—Underdog is a Pop Culture Icon
The Pup-of-Steel is a pop culture icon, influencing everything from movies to TV to music.
—In the popular Friends Episode, “The One Where Underdog Gets Away”, the Underdog balloon comes free and flies away during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
—In the Scrubs episode “My Hero”, Ted Buckland’s band (The Blanks) sings the Underdog theme song.
—The Underdog theme song was performed by the rock band Butthole Surfers for Saturday Morning Cartoon’s Greatest Hits CD.
—In the Powerpuff Girls episode “Super Zeroes”, one of Underdog’s catchphrases is parodied. “When danger comes, I am not slow, For it’s hop! hop! hop! and away I go.”
UNDERDOG (Now) FURRY FACTS
* Starring in the role of Underdog, the beloved super-canine, are five “Lemon” Beagles, a rare color variation on the popular family breed that sports a dashing light yellow coat, not unlike the original, yellow-tinged cartoon character.