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|The Fluppy Dogs|
|Written by||Haskell Barkin
|Directed by||Fred Wolf|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||44 minutes|
|Original airing||November 27, 1986|
The Fluppy Dogs is a one-hour animated television special which aired on November 27 (Thanksgiving), 1986 on ABC, and was intended to be a pilot for the third Walt Disney Television animated series. The series suffered low ratings and it was cancelled. The series did not revive either. It featured five pastel-colored talking (fluppy) dogs that came through a fuppy interdimensional doorway and into the lives of 10-year-old Jamie, with his slightly older teenage neighbor, Claire. The dogs were the intended prey of the evil miser Wagstaff.
The basic premise for the series, akin to the live-action sci-fi show called Sliders, was the story of a band of adventurous, cuddly, dog-like creatures who utilized a fluppy crystal key to open inter-dimensional doorways. They became lost between worlds while trying to find their way home and end up on Earth.
Mistaken for regular dogs, they are captured and placed in the pound. As their only means of escape, Stanley- the leader of the Fluppies -manages to get a human woman to pick him as a pet for her son, Jamie, with plans of returning to the pound to free the others. Jamie is disappointed at this new dog of seemingly unimpressive breed, but takes him for a walk. Taking the opportunity, Stanley escapes his leash and makes a break for it, but Jamie pursues him so as to not anger his mother for losing the new pet so soon. Unfortunately, the chase leads to a construction site and Jamie finds himself in danger, forcing Stanley to reveal his intelligence and humanoid nature to save him. Unfortunately, Wagstaff- a rich collector of exotic animals -recognizes the animals and vows to capture them.
Now with a secret, Stanley explains the situation and Jamie offers to help. Unfortunately, the boy only has enough money to purchase one of Stanley's compatriots, Tippi, and his mother won't let him keep her. Fortunately, Jaimie's neighbor and nemesis, Claire, eagerly agrees to take her in. That night, as Jamie and Stanley sleep, the boy reflexively scratches the Fluppy's head, which causes their bed to fly. Once they awaken and learn how to control the flying effect, Stanley resolves to break his compatriots out that night and pick up Tippi to do so, inadvertently revealing their nature to Claire in the process. At the pound, Stanley and Tippi manage to free their company and barely avoid Wagstaff who had the pound opened to seize them.
The next day, the Fluppies depart to find another dimensional portal, but are forced to ask Jaimie to cut school to help them access it. This portal turns out to be a water world and the company are flooded out and have to return to Jamie's home to dry out. Hiding in the basement, the Fluppies discover another portal in that very room, but opening it releases a large rambunctious creature into the home and it runs about, throwing Jamie's home into a shambles before they can bring it under control. Although the gang manages to put the house in order before Jamie's mother returns, she's upset at Jamie playing hooky and asks questions. Jamie struggles to answer without betraying his friends.
Hoping to avoid ruining Jamie's life any more, the Fluppies continue their search on their own while the two youngest Fluppies keep the alien creature hidden in the basement. Unfortunately, Wagstaff captures one of them, forcing Stanley and Tippi to ask for Claire's help. Jamie sees them depart in Claire's car as he and the youngest Fluppies ride on the creature in pursuit. Unfortunately, Wagstaff was expecting this and captures all the Fluppies in his home while threatening to call the police on the children for breaking and entering.
With a desperate plan, the Fluppies convince Wagstaff to let the children bid them goodbye and signals them to scratch on all their heads. The combined strength of this magic tears the entire section of Wagstaff's house into the air. As the occupants struggle to keep their footing with the violent jostling, the Fluppies sense another portal at the front of a public building and they crash land the building in front of it. As they struggle to open this portal, which happens to enter into the Fluppies' home dimension, Wagstaff and his butler find themselves knocked inside by the creature while Stanley's company bolts to safety. Before Wagstaff and his butler can exit, the door closes permanently, leaving Jaimie and Claire alone in their own reality.
Months later, Jamie and Claire have grown to be close friends with this extraordinary adventure, but they miss the Fluppies dearly. However, Stanley and his companions return to Jaimie's dimension and reveal that not only have they reopened the portal, but now hundreds of other Fluppies are using it as well to cross over, inspired by the travelers' example to explore the human world themselves.
Some of the characters in the Fluppy Dogs and the voice actors that played them were:
- Jamie Bingham - Carl Steven
- Claire the Neighbor - Jessica Pennington
- Stanley the Blue - Loyal Fluppy - Marshall Efron
- Ozzie the Green - Cool Fluppy - Lorenzo Music
- Tippi the Pink - Lovely Fluppy / Bink the Yellow/Peach - Shy Fluppy - Susan Blu
- Dink the Red - Playful Fluppy / Mr. Hamish - Hal Smith
- Mrs. Bingham - Cloyce Morrow
- J.J. Wagstaff - Michael Rye
Differences between the pilot and the book
While she may have been intended for the series, Fanci, an additional pink Fluppy Dog, was not featured in the pilot. Images, dolls, coloring books and puzzles supplied in the 1980s are from a children's book which included Fanci, and were apparently based on preliminary designs for the Fluppies. These are slightly different from the designs that appeared in the actual pilot film. Based on these designs it would appear that the Fluppy Dogs were originally targeted to young girls, and by the time it reached post-production, the focus was changed dramatically, but it was not enough to form a concrete target audience, which might explain its failure to become a regular series.
In the book, the Fluppy Dogs are as follows: Fanci Flup (pink/white with a pink hairbow), Cuddle Flup (purple/white with two purple hairbows), Brave Flup (blue/white with a plaid bandana), Cool Flup (green/white with sunglasses), Shy Flup (peach/white with a flowered hat), and Silly Flup (yellow/white with two yellow hairbows).
The Fluppy Dogs special aired on the U.S. television network ABC on November 27, 1986, pre-empting Our World. It scored a Nielsen rating of 5.3/10; placing 70th among network programming, it was the week's lowest-ranked program.
- Grant, John (1992). Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Animated Characters: From Mickey Mouse to Aladdin. Hyperion Books. p. 138. ISBN 1-56282-904-1.
- Buck, Jerry (1986-11-21). "His voice is famous, but face still secret". Spokane Chronicle. Associated Press (AP). p. 12. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
- Feder, Robert (1986-12-03). "NBC leads ratings race for 10th week in a row" (Registration required to read article). Chicago Sun-Times (Sun-Times Media Group). p. 58. Retrieved 2010-08-30. "The lowest-rated program of the week was 'Disney's Fluppy Dogs,' an animated special on Thanksgiving that pre-empted ABC's 'Our World'."
- Bark, Ed (1986-12-04). "The ratings" (Registration required to read article). Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2010-08-30. "70. Special, Disney's Fluppy Dogs/ABC 5.3/10."
- "NBC narrowly wins week 10". Broadcasting (Reed Business Information) (111): 102. 1986-12-08.