Hong Kong Phooey
|Hong Kong Phooey|
Charles A. Nichols|
Wally Burr (recording director)
Joe E. Ross
|Theme music composer||Hoyt Curtin|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||16 (31 sub-episodes)|
|Producer(s)||Iwao Takamoto (creative producer)|
|Running time||30 minutes (approx.)|
|Production company(s)||Hanna-Barbera Productions|
Taft Broadcasting (original)|
Worldvision Enterprises (former)
Warner Bros. Television Distribution (current)
|Original release||September 7 – December 21, 1974|
Hong Kong Phooey is a 30-minute Saturday morning animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and broadcast on ABC from September 7, 1974, to December 21, 1974. It was a parody of kung fu shows and movies of the time. The main character, Hong Kong Phooey himself, 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 ("Sarge").
Penry disguises himself as Hong Kong Phooey by jumping into a filing cabinet despite always getting stuck — and unstuck by his striped cat 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 by banging his gong or changes automatically whenever necessary.
He fights crime relying 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 conscious efforts. The background was designed by Lorraine Andrina and Richard Khim.
Each episode begins with Rosemary, the telephone operator, getting a call (and routinely saying "Hallo, hallo, police headquarters, this is Rosemary, the lovely lassie with the classy chassis") and explaining the crime to Sergeant Flint. Penry, the janitor, overhears Rosemary and proceeds to transform himself into the crime-fighting canine (which Rosemary has a crush on) by slipping 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 in the 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."
Hong Kong Phooey was voiced by Scatman Crothers. Sergeant Flint was voiced by Joe E. Ross, best known as Officer Gunther Toody in the early '60s television series Car 54, Where Are You? As Flint, Ross revived Toody's famous "Ooh! Ooh!" exclamation. Sergeant Flint was very similar both in voice and appearance to Botch, assistant zookeeper at the Wonderland Zoo on Help! It's the Hair Bear Bunch, whom Ross also voiced.
The final episode, "Comedy Cowboys," was a backdoor pilot for a new series. In this two-part episode, several new cartoon characters (Honcho, The Mystery Maverick and Posse Impossible) appeared and helped to clear Hong Kong Phooey of a crime he did not commit. These characters later appeared in their own continuing segment, "Posse Impossible" on CB Bears. Like many animated series created by Hanna-Barbera in the 1970s, the show used the limited Hanna-Barbera laugh track.
The show’s theme song, titled "Hong Kong Phooey," was written and composed by Hoyt Curtin, William Hanna, and Joseph Barbera, and was sung by lead character-voice provider Scatman Crothers. A cover of the show’s theme song, performed by Sublime, is included on the 1995 tribute album Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits, produced by Ralph Sall for MCA Records.
|HKP-1||"Car Thieves / Zoo Story"||7 September 1974|
|HKP-2||"Iron Head the Robot / Cotton Pickin' Pocket Picker"||14 September 1974|
|HKP-3||"Grandma Goody (Cat Burglar) / Candle Power"||21 September 1974|
|HKP-4||"The Penthouse Burglaries / Batty Bank Mob"||28 September 1974|
|HKP-5||"The Voltage Villain / The Giggler"||5 October 1974|
|HKP-6||"The Gumdrop Kid / Professor Presto (The Malevolent Magician)"||12 October 1974|
|HKP-7||"TV or Not TV / Stop Horsing Around"||19 October 1974|
|HKP-8||"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall / Great Movie Mystery"||26 October 1974|
|HKP-9||"The Claw / Hong Kong Phooey vs. Hong Kong Phooey"||2 November 1974|
|HKP-10||"The Abominable Snowman / Professor Crosshatch"||9 November 1974|
|HKP-11||"Goldfisher / Green Thumb"||16 November 1974|
|HKP-12||"From Bad to Verse (Rotten Rhymer) / Kong and the Counterfeiters"||23 November 1974|
|HKP-13||"The Great Choo Choo Robbery / Patty Cake, Patty Cake, Bakery Man"||30 November 1974|
|HKP-14||"Mr. Tornado / The Little Crook Who Wasn't There"||7 December 1974|
|HKP-15||"Dr. Disguiso / The Incredible Mr. Shrink"||14 December 1974|
|HKP-16||"Comedy Cowboys"||21 December 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's up to Honcho, The Mystery Maverick, and Posse Impossible to help corral Tin Nose and clear Hong Kong's name.|
Home Media releases
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.
- Scatman Crothers – Hong Kong Phooey/Penrod "Penry" Pooch
- Kathy Gori – Rosemary
- Joe E. Ross – Sergeant Flint
- Don Messick – Spot, Narrator, Additional Voices
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.
On July 12, 2009, it was announced that David A. Goodman had been hired to write the screenplay for a Hong Kong Phooey film. Alex Zamm was slated to direct, and Broderick Johnson, Andrew Kosove, Brett Ratner, and Jay Stern were identified as producers. According to the announcement, Alcon Entertainment would back the film. But as of the beginning of May, 2016, the identity of the studio that would actually release it remained unknown.
It was announced on August 10, 2011, that Eddie Murphy would be voicing Penry/Hong Kong Phooey in the film. On December 28, 2012, test footage of the film with live action CG was leaked.
- The Bloodhound Gang song "Why's Everybody Always Pickin' on Me?" describes a person as looking "like Chewie, Baba Booey and Hong Kong Phooey all in one."
- The Moldy Peaches song "Nothing Came Out" mentions Hong Kong Phooey among other cartoons: "I want you to watch cartoons with me. He-Man, Voltron, and Hong Kong Phooey."
- The song "Sugarcane" by The Space Monkeys mentions the side-effect of drugs as being "Quicker than the human eye or Hong Kong Phooey."
- The song "Old School" by Danger Doom, features a few classic cartoon mentions. One of these is a mention of Phooey by rapper MF Doom in the line "Ooh Wee, like a Hong Kong Phooey Kick," reminiscing about his childhood.
The short children's novel 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).
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.
- "IMDB:Hong Kong Phooey-Plot Summary". IMDb. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
- CD liner notes: Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits, 1995 MCA Records
- "'Hong Kong Phooey' lands Goodman". Hollywood Reporter. July 12, 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-07-17. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
- McNary, Dave (July 12, 2009). "'Phooey' kicks into high gear". Variety (magazine). Retrieved November 11, 2009.
- Fleming, M. "Eddie Murphy Lends Voice To 'Hong Kong Phooey' Feature" Deadline.com (August 10, 2011).
- "'Hong Kong Phooey' Movie Test Footage Revealed; 'Marvin The Martian' As Well (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. December 28, 2012. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
- Danger Doom; MF Doom, Danger Mouse, Talib Kweli. "Old School Rules". Epitaph Records. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
Ooh wee, like a Hong Kong Phooey Kick.
- "Hong Kong Phooey takes his revenge at Sotheby's". January 21, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
- Hong Kong Phooey at the Internet Movie Database
- Hong Kong Phooey at TV.com
- Hong Kong Phooey at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on February 5, 2016.
- Big Cartoon DataBase: Hong Kong Phooey
- Hong Kong Phooey – Profile on Hong Kong Phooey
- Hong Kong Phooey – Cartoon Network Department of Cartoons (Archive)
- Hong Kong Phooey Fanriffic Zone – Featuring an interview with Kathy Gori, voice of Rosemary the telephone operator
- InternationalHero Hong Kong Phooey tribute
- Warner Bros. – Hong Kong Phooey on DVD – The Official Site