Thursday, August 9, 2012

What Might've Been: The Adventures of Superpup (1958)

Sometimes, the noblest of ideas end up failing due to poor execution, and the final product becomes so bad (How bad is it?), that no one wants to admit it ever existed.

Producer Whitney Ellsworth, who was also an editor at DC Comics, wanted to create a series similar to the successful Adventures of Superman, but with dogs, albeit people in dog suits. In 1958, Ellsworth produced a pilot for the Adventures of Superpup, using the dog-costumed actors and puppets. After you watch this sample, you might begin to wonder if Ellsworth should've considered animation..........

Three years later, Ellsworth tried again, this time with the original pilot for the Adventures of Superboy. That pilot didn't sell, either, but ultimately was released, as was Superpup, on video. I actually had the Superboy video at one time, and later traded it, but if I can find it on YouTube, it'll eventually turn up here. Superboy, of course, would finally become a series nearly 30 years after Ellsworth's version, and has recently been reviewed on my other blog, Saturday Morning Archives.

Rating: D-.


magicdog said...


To be fair, in the 50s just about anything went and since puppets were popular (Howdy Doody), Ellsworth probably thought he'd created what would ultimately be considered a cult classic. You have to love the fact that they used the same sets as the real Superman series.

I do agree an animated show would have been far better, then again, Underdog essentially became the quintessential "dog as Superman" series.

hobbyfan said...

Underdog came along about 3-4 years after the Superpup pilot, but one wonders if the boys at Total Television didn't happen to see this pilot and thought they could do better.......!

Of course, the big diff with Underdog was his chosen profession in his civilian identity, opting to be a shoeshine boy (which was also his name) instead of a reporter. That way, they wouldn't be quite so redundant as a Superman satire.