Interview: Harold Ramis
Comedian Rodney “I don’t get no respect” Dangerfield eased up on his naughty nightclub shtick for the G-rated animated feature Rover Dangerfield. The sweaty, bug-eyed comic co-wrote the film’s story (with Ghostbusters director Harold Ramis) and penned lyrics for the film’s songs, as well as providing the voice of the title character.
Rover Dangerfield is a canine translation of Rodney’s stage persona, complete with necktie (but no shirt). The disrespected mutt lives with owner Connie, a blonde showgirl, in glitzy Las Vegas. The beauty treats the pooch well, but her boyfriend Rocky wants Rover gone. When Connie takes a much-needed vacation, the brutish lout stuffs Rover in a sack and tosses him off the Hoover Dam. Two fishermen rescue the drowning doggie, who ends up in farm country with a pair of new owners.
Rover’s city-boy ways don’t earn him any more respect in the rural setting, but he does discover a new sweetheart in dog-next-door Daisy. Just when things start looking up, Rover’s farmer owner, thinking the dog has killed his Thanksgiving turkey, takes Rover out to shoot him. The mutt proves his worth when he defends his master against a pack of hungry wolves, but the ensuing fame brings him back to the attention of Connie. The showgirl comes to take her pet back to the city, forcing Rover to decide where he really belongs.
Though the comedian’s act was toned down to keep things kiddie-friendly, he did manage to sneak in a clever song titled “I’ll Never Do It on a Christmas Tree.” The movie was produced by Hyperion Pictures, who brought The Brave Little Toaster to the big screen four years earlier.