Hong Kong Phooey: The Complete Series

DVD Reviews | Aug 5th, 2006

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Starring Scatman Crothers, Richard Dawson, Ron Feinberg, Kathy Gori, Bob Holt
Written By:
Directed By: Charles A. Nichols
Studio: Warner Brothers
Buy on Amazon.com link

“Hong Kong Phooey, number one super guy!” You all know the theme song, but now you can own the entire series on DVD! I used to watch this cartoon a lot when I was a young lad but I don’t really remember too many episodes. I just remember the fancy car, and Scatman was the voice of HKP.

Hong Kong Phooey was another great Hanna-Barbera cartoon series and aired during Saturday mornings (do they still air cartoons on Saturday mornings?) Anyway, the cartoon is about a crime fighting, karate dog called, Hong Kong Phooey. His real name is Penry and works as a janitor in the police station, so he usually gets his tip-offs there. Then it’s off to the file cabinet where he changes into the number one super guy, Hong Kong Phooey. How can he change in such a small file cabinet? Ahh it’s a cartoon, shouldn’t ask questions like that! Then the crime fighter karate master hops into his phooeymobile and tries to save the day. He gets help from the cat who’s his sidekick, but the cat should be the super guy since he’s always catching the crooks. Other people that work at the station are Rosemary, the annoyingly voice phone operator who’s in love with Hong Kong Phooey (umm ew?) and the grumpy Sergent. They all don’t expect anything from Penry, so he goes about his secret crime fighting business and stop the bad guys like the Giggler, The Gum Drop Kid and lots of other silly names.

I forgot how funny these cartoons are; it’s been awhile since I last saw all of these episodes. Obviously Scatman Crothers WAS the show and carried it quite well. He sang the theme song, he was the star of the show; the man was just awesome! But sadly, people remember the theme song more than the actual show. It’s probably one of the most recognizable theme songs of any cartoon though. I remember certain things about the show but don’t remember any particular episodes. I remembered the car because it was just so cool and turned into anything. I wish I had that car so when I got my recent speeding ticket it would turn into a stealth bomber. Another memorable thing about the series was when Hong Kong Phooey jumped in the file cabinet. He would get stuck and usually had Spot help him out of it and then he was transformed into the number one super guy.

The animation was a little spotty at first, but it does get better as the series went along. The animation was particularly not that great in the pilot and I noticed the Sergent’s arms were different lengths. But then again, not too many kids were paying attention to that much detail, they just wanted to laugh at the goofy dog doing karate and having the cat save the day. For being so famous among the people, HKP wasn’t pretty bad at crime fighting. It was luck and that cat saving his butt every time! But that’s what made the show fun, seeing Hong Kong Phooey look up karate moves in a book and then screwing them up.

The bonus material includes some audio commentary with creative producer, layout unit manager and a historian; then there’s some other things like a retrospective documentary, and a complete storyboard from the cartoon Batty Bank Mob. I listened to one or two commentaries and actually liked what I heard. It wasn’t boring like other commentaries tend to be. The documentary was cool because people involved with the show came back and talked about it. Some said how the theme song was more popular, and others talked about how great Scatman was. That’s really about it in terms of extras, there’s also some trailers on the DVD but I don’t really consider that an extra. But at least there was some decent extras included with the DVD set.

Hong Kong Phooey was a funny cartoon that had a memorable theme song and character, but I wouldn’t really put this show as the best Hanna Barbera cartoon. Any fan of the cartoon should definitely go out and pick this one up! Now bring on DVD sets of the Hair Bear Bunch, Laff-A Lympics, Speed Buggy and Space Ghost!

Phabulous Retrospective Documentary The Phoo-Nomenon
Hong Kong Phooey – The Batty Bank Gang: The Complete Storyboard
Expert Commentary on 3 Key Episodes

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Mono CC

Standard 1.33:1 Color

Spanish, French

Favorite Scenes: Iron Head and the Robot, Batty Bank Mob, The Giggler, Goldfisher
Rating: NR
Running Time: 397 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: