A big screen animated feature version of Hanna-Barbera’s 1974 TV series Hong Kong Phooey has been green-lit with Eddie Murphy voicing the protagonist hero. It’s totally understandable that movie execs have been inspired by the piles of money the Smurfs movie is racking up, but let’s be honest – Phooey is no Smurfs. Sure, they were both animated TV shows produced by Barbera– but that’s where the commonalities end.
The Smurfs logged 259 episodes and lasted nine seasons from 1981-1990 while Phooey was put out to pasture after only one season and 16 episodes. It seems peculiar to select this obscure cartoon series nearly 40 years later to make into a feature, but maybe the Tinsletown execs behind it know something we don’t. The Smurfs has racked up 135 million worldwide so far in its first two weeks and perhaps they’re hoping Phooey will at least amass a quarter of that in the same time span. Phooey revolved around a mild mannered dog named Penry who after stumbling into a mystical ceremony is accidentally granted the ability to walk, talk and most importantly, do kung-fu.
Let’s check out the opening of the original cartoon version as it appeared in 1974, shall we?