|For his day job, Penrod Pooch worked as a police station janitor, which wasn't nearly as glamorous as it sounds. His fellow employees, clumsy Sgt. Flint and nasal-voiced switchboard operator Rosemary, referred to him as Penry and thought he was a nice enough guy, albeit a mild-mannered one.
Little did they know that when a call came in for a crime too difficult for Sgt. Flint to handle, even-keeled Penry leapt into a filing cabinet and emerged as Hong Kong Phooey, Number One Super Guy! Actually, the file cabinet would get stuck in every episode, and Penry would need some help from his faithful cat Spot, who, with a well-placed elbow or a swift kick, would allow Penry to emerge from the cabinet as Hong Kong Phooey, Number One Super Guy!
Unfortunately, the filing cabinet was the only place Penry felt comfortable changing into Hong Kong Phooey. This posed quite a challenge for poor Spot, who was often sent back to the police station to retrieve the cabinet so Penry could change.
After Phooey had escaped the cabinet, he and Spot would leap into the alley behind the police station, landing a dumpster which housed the truly remarkable Phooeymobile. All it took was one crash of Phooey’s gong, and the Phooeymobile could transform into any mode of transportation, no matter how primitive (pogo stick, unicycle) or advanced (jet plane, hovercraft).
While Phooey was not the world’s greatest crime fighter, he may have been the world’s luckiest, as every week either Spot or, by accident, the criminals themselves would make sure that justice prevailed. Phooey, armed with his "Hong Kong Book of Kung Fu," was around just long enough to receive the credit. Switchboard operator Rosemary would then swoon over Phooey, never realizing he was secretly the janitor whom she virtually ignored every day at work.
Veteran character actor Scatman Crothers provided the voice for Penry/Phooey, and his comic timing brought an extra spark to the role. There were only 16 original episodes of the show, which ran from 1974-76 on ABC, but Phooey's klutzy chop-socky style was too popular with the kids to fade away so quickly. The kung fu pooch moved over to NBC, where his nearly-heroic adventures ran off and on until Fall 1981, giving him a chance to back up his theme song's boastful title, "Number One Super Guy!"