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Where Oh Where has My Underdog Gone?

A tiny piece of my childhood has been tragically stolen. I have been so
adversely affected by this, it took me a few weeks to gain enough
composure to write about this horror. I never saw it coming, and I am
shocked that I wasn't made aware of this before. I am talking about the
DVD releases of the Underdog television show.

I had
purchased a few of these DVD titles for my wife a few Christmases back.
We're both fans of the little cartoon hero, and all of his cronies-- Tennessee Tuxedo, Commander McBragg, Go Go Gophers,
and the like. Our schedules and our ever-growing collection of DVDs had
made it so we couldnt get to watching these animated gems until
recently. I wish I had never opened the damned case.

The actual
Underdog episodes were well presented and fun to watch. I was a bit
upset that the fine folks at Sony had decided to edit all of the
vignettes into one full episode featuring Underdog alone. I was hoping
that theyd have simply shown the programs as they originally aired:
Underdog cliffhanger segments with shorts from the other characters in
between our heros adventures. But I was willing to forgive this error
as all of the other pieces were found elsewhere on the disc. All that
changed when I started watching the bonus shorts.

Every piece,
every little segment from the supporting characters was minus one
extremely important element: they all had their theme songs and
accompanying animation removed. I heard nobody telling me to come on and see, see, see TENNESEE TUXEDO, no song about the world of Commander McBragg, and most significantly NO GO GO GOPHERS THEME SONG! Not since George Lucas shoved Episode One into the rectums of Star Wars fans everywhere had such a travesty been committed. I was devastated.

Everything was gone. Mr. Wizard didnt tell young Tooter the Turtle to
be just what you is, not what you is not. Heck, Tooter didnt even tell
us about Mr. Wizard living in the forest next to a tall, tall tree that
used to be a short, short tree but it, uh, grew. I heard no intro for Klondike Kat, and while I cant even remember what songs introduced us to the Underdog cliffhanger episodes of The Hunter or King & Odie, I am certain that I wanted them to be there!

How
can such a thing happen? Theme songs from our favorite cartoons and TV
shows in some ways are more important than the episodes themselves.
They are what we sing in our heads on the way to school, and they are a
big part of the reason why we loved the shows at all. Would anybody
have watched Threes Company if the theme song wasnt so damned
addictive? Catchy tunes make all the difference. Sherwood Schwartz (The Brady Bunch & Gilligans Island) knew this. Neil Hefti & William Dozier ("Batman") knew this. Why didnt the folks at Sony know this?

I
suppose this is all my fault. I could have researched the Underdog DVDs
before shelling out my hard-earned money. Surely there were some angry
internet people starting websites and posting to bulletin boards about
this. But alas, I did not do the homework and trusted that my keen
sense of pop culture was working properly. I was wrong. I bought a
crappy gift. My memories from childhood and those of my wife are now
tainted, and my wife is considering divorce. I had to buy her the Bullwinkle box set just to keep her away from her attorney. I hope Sony didn't butcher those classics as well.

The
sale of DVD's based upon classic television shows has been such a
mainstay in the general consumers world that it seemed impossible that
such a thing could happen. You can get every episode of The Simpsons or Cheers on
DVD and the theme songs remain intact. And yet, I have three completely
useless Underdog DVDs in my collection that will likely remain
unwatched for all eternity. I wouldnt show these to my own children, if
I had any. In fact, knowing the Go Go Gophers song could not be heard
by my own little ones may be enough to guarantee I get that vasectomy.
I wouldnt even show these to people I hated. How could I? Who deserves
that kind of cruelty?

This is up there with Charlie Brown not
kicking the football, Greedo shooting first, and all the violence being
edited out of the classic Warner Bros. cartoons on TV. Of
course, in their defense, when the time came for the Warner Bros.
cartoons to find their way to DVD, every frying pan hit every head,
leaving them shaped like the pan and my sides split with laughter the
way God and Chuck Jones intended.

I dont know what else to say other than NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BUY THE UNDERDOG DVD's! If
you receive them as gifts from friends, immediately end these
friendships. These people obviously HATE YOU. Dont use the DVDs as
coasters for your drinks, as they will turn your beverages into bitter
poisons. I see no practical use for these discs, except if you run out
of clay pigeons when skeet-shooting.

I encourage all with way too much time on their hands to go to the Sony website and write angry e-mails demanding apologies from the culprit responsible for this blunder, Simon Barsinister.
If you have any love for pop culture, you will stage massive Underdog
DVD burnings across the country. You have the right to have a kick-ass
Underdog DVD box set, loaded with extras. Take action, fellow geeks!
These DVD's were released in 2002. Ive no way of knowing just how many
hearts have been broken since. Today it is Underdog. Tomorrow it could
be The Muppet Show."

Come on everybody, join in. Where oh where has my Underdog gone? Oh where, oh where can he be?

More information about Andy Martello can be found at www.andymartello.com.


Get to know Andy by visting his blog at andymartello.com. Recently he also published a book, The King of Casinos: Willie Martello and the El Rey Club, which you can learn more about here.


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