Underdog was sweet on ace TV reporter Sweet Polly Purebred, and it was usually her cry of "Oh where, oh where has my Underdog gone?" that prompted the humble and loveable Shoeshine Boy to slip into a nearby phone booth, pop a "Super Vitamin Pill" that he kept in a secret compartment on his ring, and emerge as Underdog, champion of justice.
Felix the Cat made his first appearance on November 9, 1919, in the five-minute short "Feline Follies". Created by Otto Messmer for the Pat Sullivan Studio, Felix was a smash hit with audiences and he held the title of world's most popular cartoon character for a few years until Walt Disney introduced the world to a certain mouse. Unfortunately for Felix, the Pat Sullivan Studio was behind the curve in adding sound to their cartoons, and lost much of the market to other, more technologically advanced studios like Fleischer and Disney. For several decades, Felix the Cat appeared mostly in comic books and strips, but he would enjoy a brief resurgence, from 1958 to 1961, with the release of a new cartoon show, produced by Joe Oriolo, featuring Felix and his Magic Bag of Tricks.
In 1942, inspired by an unflattering baby photo of himself and his longtime fascination with baby birds, Warner Brothers artist Bob Clampett created the character of Tweety Bird. Originally, however, Tweety was not the cute little canary that we know and love today. He started out as an aggressive, mean-spirited, pink-feathered bird named Orson who tormented two cats based on the popular comedy team Abbot and Costello. Eventually, Tweety's character and look were tweaked, and he was teamed up with Sylvester the Cat in a cartoon entitled "Tweetie Pie". This turned out to be a match made in heaven, and "Tweetie Pie" went on to become the first Warner Brothers cartoon to win an Oscar.
Minnie Mouse was around right from the start, appearing with Mickey on May 15, 1928, in his first film, "Plane Crazy". Patterned after the popular "flapper" girls of the time, Minnie provided a love interest for Mickey to pursue. She did not, however, make the pursuit easy for him, and when he first tried to kiss her during an airplane flight, she deflected his advances and parachuted to safety!
During the final season of The Flintstones, a tiny green alien named Gazoo was introduced. Exiled from his home planet Zetox for inventing a weapon capable of destroying the universe, Gazoo's punishment was to serve prehistoric "dumb-dumbs" Fred and Barney. Invisible to other adults, Gazoo provided questionable advice to his two charges and occasionally reported to his leader, the Great Gazam. Intended to inject some life into the show, Gazoo was a somewhat controversial character among diehard Flintstones fans as he added a futuristic element to the otherwise prehistoric cartoon. He appeared in several episodes of The Flintstones, and was voiced by comedic actor Harvey Korman.
Originally created in 1958 by the Belgian cartoonist Peyo, the Smurfs didn't make their way to North America until 1981 when they joined NBC's Saturday-morning lineup. The show, which featured such characters as Brainy Smurf, Papa Smurf, and Smurfette, was an immediate success and captured the imagination of children across North America. It went on to win several Emmy Awards before it was cancelled in 1990.
When Professor Utonium set out to create the perfect little girl, he brewed up a concoction that included sugar, spice, and everything nice. Then he accidentally added "Chemical X" to the mixture and the Powerpuff Girls were born -- three super-powered girls dedicated to fighting the forces of evil and protecting the citizens of Townsville.
Although Yu-Gi-Oh first appeared in comic form in 1996, it was two years later, in 1998, that it really became a huge hit with the release of a 27-episode television series and a collectible card game. Kids began collecting cards and monsters so that they could duel like their favorite Yu-Gi-Oh characters on the show and the phenomenon quickly spread to other countries, including the United States, where some duelists have paid thousands of dollars for a single Yu-Gi-Oh card on auction web sites such as eBay.
Hawkgirl did NOT appear in the original Super Friends cartoons, the producers choosing instead to go with such memorable heroes as Apache Chief, Black Vulcan, and El Dorado. However, when the more recent Justice League cartoons came out, Hawkgirl took her rightful place among DC's greatest heroes.