We call them “man’s best friend,” but they should rightly be called “kids’ best friends.” Really, it’s when we are children that we fall in love with our canine besties, and it’s an appreciation that lasts a lifetime. We all remember our first dog, probably with more fondness than our first girlfriend or boyfriend. Our pooches always remain close to our hearts, and it is in this spirit that we remember seven dogs from the distant (and not so distant) past that our kids are sure to love, too.
1. Hong Kong Phooey
A superhero of sorts, Hong Kong Phooey was a man-dog crime fighter with a knack for screwing things up. Were it not for his feline sidekick, no crime would go punished, and the bad guy would always get away. Still, with his Kung Fu moves and his soulful tones (Scatman Crothers lent his voice to Mr. Phooey), kids find this pup freakishly hilarious.
If you’re a kid of the ‘70s, then you’ll remember this cheesy pooch. A wanderer with a heart of gold, Benji captured the innocence of our childhoods with his simple, friendly ways. In the first of several films, Benji found himself embroiled in a crime caper, one that involved a kidnapping. Of course, with more brains and cunning that Hong Kong Phooey could ever muster, Benji foiled the plot, and as a result, became a national sensation.
3. The Angriest Dog in the World
A panel comic created by filmmaker David Lynch, the Angriest Dog in the World featured a dog so full of rage he couldn’t move, which meant the image in the comic was always the same. The dog, lead pulled tight, never moves, only the bizarre talk bubbles change. Fantastic humor from our generation’s most surreal artist.
Though the original will always be my favorite – and my 6-year-old’s, too – Scooby has been rendered many times over, even in a more modern version (Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated) with hipper storylines. Animated, live-action and even stage show Scoobys have put this dog front and center for kids for the last four decades. Long live the Doo!
Astro, or “Rastro” as kids are wont to call him, is that iconic space pooch from The Jetsons. The futuristic family, as modern as they were, still had a canine companion, and good thing they did. What would the show be without Astro chasing the cat on the treadmill during the closing credits? We’d never have the line: “Jane, stop this crazy thing!”
The stop-action claymation dog with the googly eyes and more brainpower than a Washington think tank is a favorite of any kid who crosses his path. Gromit — the smarter half of the duo Wallace and Gromit – seems to have the inside line on smoothness, a wonderful counterbalance to Wallace’s goofiness. It’s a relationship that echoes the ones we share with our real-life furballs.
The dog is undead. Nuff said.