Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw
|Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw|
Original theatrical poster
|Directed by||Pierre DeCelles|
|Edited by||John Blizek|
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures|
|Running time||78 minutes|
Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw is a 1988 animated feature film distributed by TriStar Pictures. The film is based on the Tonka/Hasbro toy line and Hanna-Barbera television series of the same name. It was directed by Pierre DeCelles, and stars the voices of Brennan Howard, B.J. Ward and Tony Longo.
The film's story centers on a magical artifact called the Bone of Scone, a reference to the Stone of Scone in Irish and Scottish Legend that gives "Puppy Power" to the Pound Puppies (dogs) and Pound Purries (cats). However, a villain named Marvin McNasty plans to take it and use it for world domination. Without Puppy Power, humans and animals will not be able to communicate or understand each other, and if the Bone of Scone is broken, Puppy Power will be lost and can only be restored if the Bone is repaired.
The Legend of Big Paw was the last theatrically released animated feature from the late 1980s to promote a major toy line, a common trend in the American cartoon industry during that time. The film did not fare well with critics or audiences during its original release, and grossed only US$500,000 domestically. It premiered on DVD in North America on October 24, 2006.
In present-day 1988, Whopper is taking his niece and nephew to the museum. Along the way, he tells them the origin of Puppy Power, the ability of humankind to understand the Pound Puppies and Purries. In the Dark Ages (specifically 958 AD), a young boy named Arthur and his dog Digalot came across a stone which contained both the mythical sword Excalibur and the magical Bone of Scone. While Arthur pulled the sword from the stone, Arthur’s dog Digalot pulled the Bone of Scone from the same stone, and soon afterward Arthur discovered that the dog could talk. Sir McNasty, who had witnessed the withdrawal of Excalibur and the Bone and Arthur's coronation as King of England, planned to conquer the world by retrieving the Bone. However, it was kept hidden by the giant guardian, Big Paw.
Whopper's story continues in 1958, when the town museum exhibits the Bone of Scone in honor of its 1,000-year anniversary. The Puppies and Purries, along with teenagers Tammy and Jeff, will be holding an Adoption Bazaar the following day. The Pound Puppies, led by Cooler, visit the exhibit, where Whopper, then a pup, and Bright Eyes, a cheerleader, stray away from the group. Unknown to them, Marvin McNasty, a descendant of Sir McNasty, is inside plotting his domination. Some moments later, a nurse called Florence tells the Puppies and teenagers that Collette is having Puplings. They rush out of the exhibit, along with the Purries, Hairball and his girlfriend, Charlamange, in order to see them all. After Collette and the rest bless them in song, however, McNasty comes to the Pound to adopt four other young dogs in advance. Whopper and the new mother worry about his namesake and stingy attitude. Before McNasty can have the pups, Tammy and Jeff inform him that he has to sign adoption papers. He soon does so and quickly goes off. A suspicious Whopper goes after him over Collette's objections. Whopper follows him to his truck near the museum, in which his henchmen, Lumpy and Bones, are eating sandwiches. The pup finds out what McNasty is going to do with the four puppies. With his Mean Machine, McNasty will transform them and the rest of the Pound into vicious guard dogs, steal the Bone of Scone from the museum, and use its power and his army of dogs to conquer the world. Whopper goes and tells Cooler, but Cooler does not take him seriously. Disguised as janitors, Lumpy and Bones enter the museum and suck up the Bone with a vacuum cleaner. The Bone goes through a complicated series of contraptions, and Lumpy smashes it on Bones' head. With the henchmen in pursuit, Whopper runs back to the Pound with one half of the Bone. However, the henchmen catch Whopper and Collette and return to their boss.
Meanwhile, the Bone has lost its magic, and with Puppies and humans no longer able to communicate with each other, the Adoption Bazaar will have to be canceled. Cooler tells Howler to tell all of the town dogs that two dogs have been kidnapped and taken to the nearby woods, where McNasty operates. The Pound Puppies, and Purries, set off to rescue them. Soon, Collette and Whopper escape from their cage inside McNasty's laboratory, and briefly reunite with the rest of the Puppies. However, Lumpy and Bones snatch them back. The Puppies give chase, but nearly all of them end up in a rat-infested cave, hanging on a rope, before the Purries pull them up to safety. The Puppies and Purries continue looking for their friends. When they get caught in a patch of mire, they are saved by the legendary Big Paw, who agrees to find the Bone with them. Later, McNasty's henchmen transform the Puppies into guard dogs, save for Cooler. Big Paw brings him and the Purries back to town to stop the evil trio, as the trio's truck heads to the Pound. At the exhibit, Lumpy and Bones help crown Marvin. As they glue back the Bone together, "Puppy Power" returns, and Cooler can finally understand Tammy and Jeff. They head back to the museum to chase off McNasty via a tunnel that Big Paw has dug up, followed by the transformed Puppies. While encaged in a dinosaur exhibit, Cooler and Big Paw see one of Collette's Puplings tell her, "I love you." Thus, she is changed back to her good side, and Cooler whispers the same thing to his friend Reflex, whose kisses bring the other Puppies back to normal. Big Paw and Cooler chase McNasty and his henchmen all over town and eventually back to the museum and their Mean Machine, which turns them into good men. A moment later, Big Paw and Nose Marie finally get back the Bone of Scone. The next day, a reformed Marvin, Lumpy and Bones go to the Pound and celebrate the Adoption Bazaar along with the Puppies, Purries, Tammy and Jeff.
As soon as the story ends, Whopper and his niece and nephew Puplings find themselves in the museum. The Bone of Scone has returned for another visit, and Whopper introduces Big Paw as a little surprise for the young ones, who did not believe before that he was real. As long as he is here to protect the Bone, Whopper says, Puppy Power will never be lost again.
- Brennan Howard – Cooler / Digalot
- B.J. Ward – Whopper
- Nancy Cartwright – Bright Eyes
- Greg Berg – Beamer
- Ruth Buzzi – Nose Marie
- Hal Rayle – Howler/ Reflex
- Susan Silo – Florence
- Tony Longo – Big Paw
- George Rose – Sir McNasty / Marvin McNasty
- Wayne Scherzer – Lumpy
- Frank Welker – Hairball / Bones / Reporter / Howler (howling vocals) / Big Paw (growling vocals)
- Cathy Cavadini – Charlamange/Collette
- Janice Kawaye – Tammy
- Joey Dedio – Jeff
- James Swodec – Arthur
Pound Puppies and Pound Purries
- Cooler (Beagle) is the leader of the Pound Puppies, and teams up with the other Puppies and Purries to help solve the mystery of the Bone of Scone. Voiced by Brennan Howard.
- Nose Marie (Bloodhound) is another of the Puppies. She has a very keen sense of smell, and always "knows what the nose knows". Voiced by Ruth Buzzi.
- Howler, (Pug) yet another Puppy, is an inventor who always utters out his namesake, and helps spread the word about the "puppynapping" with his "Grapevine". Voiced by Frank Welker.
- Whopper (Golden Retriever) is a mischievous Pupling who gets into trouble with Marvin McNasty. As a grown-up, he shares the story of Puppy Power to his niece and nephew at the beginning and end of the film. Voiced by B.J. Ward.
- Collette mothers a litter of six Puplings early on. Along with Whopper, she gets kidnapped by McNasty. Her Puplings come to the rescue later in the film.
- Bright Eyes (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) is the cheerleader among the group, and stamps out papers during the Adoption Bazaar as the film ends. Voiced by Nancy Cartwright.
- Reflex (Schnoodle/Old English sheepdog mix) turns into a lovesick canine whenever a bell rings, kissing everyone he meets and shouting "I love you!" every time, and is later on used to turn the other Puppies back to normal. Voiced by Hal Rayle.
- Florence is a nurse who announces, and attends to, the birth of Colette's Puplings.
- Big Paw (Newfoundland/Old English sheepdog mix) is the ages-old guardian of the Bone of Scone. He is introduced to the dogs and cats as a lonely puppy who is homeless and has no friends. Voiced by Tony Longo.
- Hairball, who always coughs up his namesake, and his girlfriend Charlamange, are the Pound Purries featured in the film. Hairball was voiced by Frank Welker and Charlamange was voiced by Cathy Cavadini.
- In the Dark Ages scene, Digalot pulls out the Bone of Scone while his owner, Arthur, pulls out Excalibur and later becomes King of England. Cooler can trace his family history back to Digalot.
- Beamer (Scottish terrier/Doberman Pinscher mix) is a happy go lucky puppy. Voiced by Greg Berg.
- Marvin McNasty is the film's villain, and a descendant of Sir McNasty. Like his ancestors, he has always wanted to conquer the world with the Bone. He also suffers from cat allergies.
- Lumpy and Bones are McNasty's two awkward henchmen, and goof up some of his schemes.
- Tammy and Jeff are the two teenagers who run the Puppies' Pound and the Adoption Bazaar.
- Sir McNasty is the Evil Knight who tries to claim the Bone of Scone in the Dark Ages segment.
- King Arthur, as a boy, pulls Excalibur out of the stone in that same scene.
The music for The Legend of Big Paw was directed by Steve Tyrell, with the original score composed by Richard Kosinski, Sam Winans, Bill Reichenbach Jr., Ashley Hall and Bob Mann. The film's six songs, which are influenced by popular songs and standards from the 1950s and after,:209 were composed by Ashley Hall and Steve Tyrell, written by Stephanie Tyrell, and recorded at the Tyrell-Mann and Tempo Recording Studios in Los Angeles.
|"At the Pound"||Based on "At the Hop" by David White, Arthur Singer and John Medora||Ashley Hall|
|"Now That You're Here"||Ashley Hall||Cathy Cavadini|
|"The King of Everything"||Ashley Hall and Steve Tyrell||George Rose|
|"All in Your Mind"||Based on "Who Do You Love?" Ashley Hall and Steve Tyrell||Ashley Hall|
|"I'm a Puppy Too"||Based on "Duke of Earl" by Earl Edwards, Eugene Dixon and Bernice Williams||Mark Vieha|
|"Puppy Power's Back"||Based on "Jailhouse Rock" Ashley Hall and Steve Tyrell||Cast|
Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw was produced by Carolco Pictures and Atlantic-Kushner-Locke along with The Maltese Companies, financed by Tonka, the original owners of the Pound Puppies franchise, and distributed by TriStar Pictures. The film's director, Pierre DeCelles, was also an art director and directing storyboard artist during production.
According to DeCelles, the film took 5½ months to complete, starting in the fall of 1987. The first 2½ months were spent on preparing its layouts and storyboards, and the remaining time on the animation, backgrounds and shooting. The overseas work was done by Wang Film Productions and Cuckoo's Nest Studio, two Taiwanese companies known for their contributions to children's animated series.[unreliable source?]
The film's animation and character design were different from what was featured in the Hanna-Barbera series, and did not contribute to the latter's continuity. A new set of characters were introduced for the film: Pound Puppies Collette, Beamer, and Reflex, and the Pound Purries Hairball and Charlamange, along with two teenagers, Tammy and Jeff, that replaced the 11-year-old Holly.
During its short run in theaters, The Legend of Big Paw played mainly in matinees and only grossed US$586,938. It was distributor TriStar's only animated feature until 2001's The Trumpet of the Swan. The film was among the last in a line of 1980s animated productions for the big screen which featured established toy properties as their main characters. Previous examples included movies that were based on the Care Bears, My Little Pony and Transformers.:xv–xx
Family Home Entertainment, a division of IVE, the distributor of Carolco's films, released Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw in VHS format on September 14, 1989. Its successor, Lionsgate, released the film on DVD in the United States on October 24, 2006. Like the Hanna-Barbera TV show before it, the film also aired on the Disney Channel during the early to mid-1990s. The 26th anniversary of this movie was finished on March 18, 2014.
Critical response to The Legend of Big Paw was negative during its theatrical run. The Hollywood trade magazine, Variety, called it "uninvolving and endlessly derivative".:209 The Sacramento Bee deemed it "miserably drawn" in comparison to what Disney was offering at the time, and the San Francisco Chronicle gave it an "empty chair" rating. A reviewer in the Detroit Free Press found it "dull and unoriginal", but praised the songs that were written for it.
Martha Baker of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch also denounced it and began her review thus:
If you're in your 40th year and not your fourth, Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw requires the extra dosage of insulin reserved for such treks into celluloid and commercial [sweetness]. But even 4-year-olds have trouble swallowing this cartoon whole.
Writing for The Animated Movie Guide by animation expert Jerry Beck, Stuart Fisher gave the film one star out of four, and saw the film's artistic quality as "a mixed bag". "[While] the backgrounds are somewhat imaginative and colorful, the character animation is flat and lifeless. Rapid cuts to new angles of the same shot seem to try to cover up limitations of the animation technique," he continued.:209 Moreover, Fisher and the Philadelphia Inquirer took note of its purpose as a toy commercial, a trend that was prevalent in the animation industry during the late 1980s.
- Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw at Box Office Mojo
- Beck, Jerry (2005). The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Reader Press. ISBN 1-55652-591-5.
- Baker, Martha (April 4, 1988). "Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw". St. Louis Post Dispatch. p. 8e.
- Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw – Index to Motion Picture Credits at AMPAS site. Retrieved January 5, 2007.[dead link]
- Comments written by "thesevensamurais" (username for Pierre DeCelles) at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
- Sharkey, Betsy (March 28, 1988). "Pound Puppies: A Hair-Raising Promotional Tale". Adweek (A/S/M Communications, Inc.).
- "Box office information for Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 22, 2006.
- VIDEO PREVIEW: Week's top video debuts offer plenty of chills and thrills (2006, October 24). Retrieved December 27, 2006, from Las Vegas Review-Journal site.
- They're back! Galoob Toys to relaunch $600 million brand of the 80s – Pound Puppies (1995, July 11). Business Wire Magazine. Retrieved May 18, 2007.
- "Pound Puppies Draws on the Power of Love". The Sacramento Bee. March 31, 1988.
- Stack, Peter (March 28, 1988). "Pound Puppies Come Up Short – No Sale". San Francisco Chronicle. p. D4.
- "Lots of Bark, But No Bite". Detroit Free Press. April 3, 1988.
- "Pound Puppy Tale Plus Pound Soundtrack". The Philadelphia Inquirer. March 26, 1988.
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