Adventures of Superpup: Review

"The Adventures of Superpup"

Reviewed by: James Lantz

Superpup Original Broadcast Date: Unaired but filmed in 1958

Writers: Cal Howard and Whitney Ellsworth

Director: Cal Howard

Guest Cast:
Billy Curtis as Superpup/Bark Bent
Ruth Delfino as Pamela Poodle
Angelo Rossitto as Terry Bite
Frank Delfino as Sergeant Beagle
Harry Monty as Professor Sheepdip
Sadie Delfino as Wolfingham/Montgomery Mouse

"The Adventures of Superpup"

"Faster than the speediest jet. More powerful than the mightiest rocket. Able to fly around the world faster than you can say 'Superpup'." - Intro Announcer.

"Yep, that's Superpup, and only you and I know that Superpup is really Bark Bent, star reporter for the Daily Bugle." - Montgomery Mouse, who lives in a drawer in Bark Bent's desk.

Bark Bent has arrived in his office to find an irritated Montgomery Mouse asking him to answer the intercom. Daily Bugle editor Terry Bite wants to see Bent in his office. The chief congratulates him and Pamela Poodle for helping Sergeant Beagle and the police put Professor Sheepdip in prison. Pamela points out that they could not have been able to stop the villain without the aid of Superpup, for which Bark oddly accepts the accolades. Meanwhile, the mad scientist who is the subject of conversation in the Daily Bugle offices is escaping from prison. He is sawing the bars of his cell door while Sergeant Beagle is cutting out paper dolls. Sheepdip's inept henchman Wolfingham is trying to find the correct key to unlock the main jail door in order to assist his boss in his getaway. He succeeds after several failures. Sergeant Beagle is unable to stop them, for he has scoured the entire jail for Sheepdip before eventually shooting and missing the evil inventor's car. Now, Wolfingham and Professor Sheepdip can begin to plot their revenge on the Daily Bugle staff and Superpup.

After beating his police car with his night stick to get it started, Sergeant Beagle is in hot pursuit of Professor Sheepdip and Wolfingham. The pair of criminals dupe him by changing a sign pointing to the city to "They went that way" in the opposite direction. Professor Sheepdip may have outwitted the local law enforcement, but he'll be in for some trouble should he run into Superpup.

Sergeant Beagle is discussing Professor Sheepdip with Terry Bite, Pamela Poodle and Bark Bent. They are wondering how to bring the nefarious scientist to justice as Bark contemplates merely capturing him and putting back in a jail cell as Superpup. At the same time, Professor Sheepdip has created an explosive elixir. Dipping a paper airplane into it, he shows Wolfingham the devastating results. Sheepdip intends to use the concoction to destroy the Daily Bugle Building. Will his diabolical plan succeed, or will Superpup stop the villain before his friends meet a horrible end?

Disguised a grandfather clock, Wolfingham has entered Terry Bite's office as he is talking to Sergeant Beagle. Professor Sheepdip's lackey has the lethal incendiary cocktail. All he needs to do is light its fuse. Terry gives the dimwitted henchman a match after asking for the time. Realizing his error, the chief calls Bark Bent for help. Hopefully, Superpup can stop the bomb in time. Otherwise, the Daily Bugle will be blown to Kingdom Come.

Superpup has thrown out papers and the intercom before finally flying away with the grandfather clock. A scared Wolfingham wants to go home. The Pup of Steel asks where he lives. The lackey is then "dropped off" at 23 And A Half Rock Gulch with an explosive impact on Professor Sheepdip. The villainous scientist may have been thwarted by Superpup, but his next vicious plot could very well put Pamela Poodle in grave danger.

Disguising his voice as society lady Mrs. Gotrocks, Professor Sheepdip tells Pamela Poodle that she must cover a tea party at 23 And A Half Rock Gulch. In reality, Mrs. Gotrocks is at her villa in the French Riviera, and Sheepdip and Wolfingham have tied Pamela to a rocket headed straight for the Daily Bugle Building. This looks like another job for Superpup if he can make it in time to save both Pamela Poodle and the Daily Bugle.

While Montgomery Mouse calls Sergeant Beagle, Superpup is flying to the rescue. Professor Sheepdip and Wolfingham are driving away in a different car. The one used in the prison break is new, and they didn't wish to ruin it with the rough ride ahead. Superpup has managed to free Pamela mere seconds before the missile takes off. This causes its target to change. Now, the rocket is following Sheepdip and Wolfingham. The impact from the projectile causes their automobile to go over a cliff in time to be arrested again by Sergeant Beagle. With that, Superpup flies away to his next adventure.

"Ah, isn't he wonderful?," Pamela asks.

"Of course he's wonderful," Montgomery Mouse replies from Bark Bent's desk drawer. "Everybody knows Superpup is wonderful."

4Rating - 4 (out of 5): Former Mole-Man in Superman and the Mole-Men and Mister Zero in The Adventures of Superman Billy Curtis had roles in Star Trek, 1968's Planet of the Apes and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. He was also the Munchkin City Father in The Wizard of Oz.

Ruth Delfino's only other credit is an episode of This Is Your Life about actor Billy Barty.

Angelo Rossitto played Angeleno in the Tod Browning cult classic Freaks.

Frank Delfino had the uncredited role of the auctioneer in 1971's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Both he and Harry Monty were also character actors in Ralph Bakshi's animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

Sadie Delfino portrayed a party hostess in 1975's White House Madness.

As Professor Sheepdip's car drives by in stock footage, normal men can be seen inside at one point if viewers look closely.

As Superpup flies back to the Daily Bugle after "dropping off" Wolfingham, his S shield is backwards.

The first eight minutes and forty-seven seconds of this pilot are in color. The remainder of it is in black and white.

Sets from The Adventures of Superman were used in this unaired pilot. One can particularly notice the offices of Clark Kent and Perry White and Professor Pepperwinkle's laboratory from "All That Glitters". The gold machine from that episode can be seen in a scene with Professor Sheepdip and Wolfingham in their hideout.

If David Lynch worked with Whitney Ellsworth, this would be the result. All kidding aside, there are a lot of folks who will disagree with my rating. I respect that, but hear me out before you come at me with torches and pitchforks. The Adventures of Superpup can be looked in different ways. If you're seeing it as a spin-off of The Adventures of Superman, you might be disappointed. It's a kiddie show, pure and simple. It can also be viewed as a parody. I went into my second viewing of this thinking of it as both of those things.

The Adventures of Superman, while considered a children's show due to the fact it featured a comic book character, set itself up with a film noir atmosphere that also featured some stories perfect for the adults watching during its first two years on the air. Had it maintained this formula in most of the color episodes, I probably would not have been so hard on seasons three through five of the series. The Adventures of Superpup is pure kiddie entertainment, and therefore has a different feeling to it that may disappoint fans of George Reeves and company. The darn mouse is a bit irritating at times, but I'm a bit of a child at heart. I guess this helped me enjoy Superpup and friends more than I had expected to.

The thing that distracted me a bunch was the film going from color to black and white. The version in the Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition DVD set is like this. Unlike the transition from black and white to color in The Adventures of Superman, the change is pretty jarring when it's in the middle of an episode. The same could be said of "The Cage," the first pilot of Star Trek: The Original Series as it was first released with a mixture of color and black and white scenes. It would have been nice if the complete entry of The Adventures of Superpup was either one way or the other. As it is in the Ultimate Collector's Edition, it kind of hurts the eyes. Plus, the latter half is a bit too grainy at times.

Cal Howard and Whitney Ellsworth's story for The Adventures of Superpup does lag a bit in spots, and it feels like they're trying to cram two episodes into one script. Perhaps this was one of the reasons it never made it as a series. Had both writers made the episode into two ten to fifteen minute shorts, maybe there would not have been any signs of weakness in the delivery of the final product.

I initially came into The Adventures of Superpup expecting something as bad as season five of The Adventures of Superman or the vast majority of Smallville. Granted, we have little people in dog suits, slapstick humor and thirty minutes that's strangely hypnotic, trippy entertainment. I'm still on the fence about Montgomery Mouse, and the story itself is a tad too long in spots. Yet, I kept my mind opened during my second viewing of this unaired pilot. I'm glad I did because I had a lot of fun with The Adventures of Superpup.



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