|It took a special breed to walk the mean streets of Dog City, where crime and mystery lurked behind every fire hydrant. Ace Heart was just the dog for the job, a hard-boiled private investigator with a nose for danger.
On the show, Ace was the creation of Eliot Shag, an eyeglasses-wearing Muppet dog cartoonist. Eliot’s live-action life served as an inspiration for Ace’s animated exploits. Eliot’s girlfriend Colleen became Ace’s police chief rival Rosie O’Gravy, young Artie Springer became newsboy sidekick Eddie, and bulldog repairmen Bruno and Bowser became crime boss Bugsy Vile and his slow-minded enforcer, Bruiser. In each episode, Eliot interacted directly with Ace, sometimes animating as he went along. The two talked, argued, and traded insults, but Eliot was always there with a handy brushstroke whenever Ace got cornered.
Ace’s adventures followed classic film noir conventions-the femme fatale, the tough guy voiceover, etc.-but the show always kept its sense of humor. Running up against “Dogfather” Bugsy, Bruiser, Mad Dog, Frisky, and gun moll Kitty, Ace already had his paws full, but Eliot threw him even further into danger, facing off with supernatural villains like vampires, MadDogzilla, and deranged scientist Baron Von Rottweiler.
Dog City, a co-creation of the Muppeteers at Henson Productions and animation house Nelvana, was originally part of The Jim Henson Hour. The clever blending of live-action Muppets and animated canines won over both kids and adults during Dog City’s two season run on Fox’s fledgling Saturday morning lineup.