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There's no need to fear ---
Underdog is here!

Underdog was an animated superhero TV show that debuted on October 3, 1964 on the CBS network, and ran until 1973. Joe Harris created the character. Approximately 120 episodes were made.

This was an anthropomorphic parody of Superman and similar heroes with secret identities. The premise was that humble and lovable Shoeshine Boy, a cartoon dog, was in truth the superhero Underdog. When villains theatened, Shoeshine Boy ducked into a telephone booth in which he transformed into the caped and costumed hero, destroying the booth in the process. Underdog, unlike Shoeshine Boy, almost always spoke in rhyme.

When Polly's in trouble, I am not slow,
So it's hip! hip! hip! and away I go.

The villains almost always managed to menace Sweet Polly Purebred, an anthropomorphic canine TV reporter, as part of their nefarious schemes; she was a helpless damsel in distress most of the time, and had a habit of singing "Oh where, oh where has my Underdog gone?" when in jeopardy. Recurring villains included Simon Bar Sinister, a human mad scientist, and Riff Raff, an anthropomorphic wolf gangster.

Unlike Superman, Underdog's super powers are apparently not a natural part of his physical makeup. When he is not Underdog, he is incognito as a shoeshine boy. He dresses in a phonebooth much like Superman when trouble calls, and that is when he gets his Super Powers. When Underdog's superpowers begin to fail, he must take an "Underdog super energy pill" to replenish them. He keeps one of these pills inside a special ring he wears at all times. (Several episodes of the cartoon show him losing the ring and being powerless until he gets it back.) When the Underdog series was syndicated in the 1980s and 1990s, the scenes of him actually taking his energy pill were edited out. Animation fans lambast this as a form of political correctness, as they believe the scenes were removed in order to prevent any glorification of "drug use."

Wally Cox was Underdog/Shoeshine Boy's voice actor. Norma McMillan played Polly Purebred.

The show ran in two or four part serial episodes. Usually two brief episodes were shown in a single show, along with cartoons like Go Go Gophers, King Leonardo, Klondike Kat, Tennessee Tuxedo, or The World of Commander McBragg. None of these cartoons ever reached Underdog's popularity. Underdog's balloon is a recurring feature of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. The show is also remembered for its clever theme song, whose lyrics went:

When criminals in this world appear
And break the laws that they should fear
And frighten all who see or hear
The cry goes up both far and near
For Underdog! (Underdog!) Underdog! (Underdog!)

CHORUS: Speed of lightning, roar of thunder
Fighting all who rob or plunder
Underdog. Underdog!

When in this world the headlines read
Of those whose hearts are filled with greed
Who rob and steal from those who need
To right this wrong with blinding speed
Goes Underdog! (Underdog!) Underdog! (Underdog!)