Ace Hart
Created by Jim Lewis and Peter Sauder

"Something didn't seem right. There was something about the whole set-up that smelled like someone else's hydrant."
Ace Hart, explaining a hunch.

The genre has finally gone to the dogs. ACE HART is a mutt with a P.I. license who marked the mean streets of the Saturday morning cartoon ghetto as his own in a show called... wait for it... Dog City.

Ace is a private eye right out of the fifties. That includes his attitude toward women, according to a Globe and Mail report on sexism, racism and violence in children's programming. Rosie O'Gravy, also a dog, is a police inspector, and as such there's a lot of professional rivalry going on, although how competent Rosie is is debatable -- Ace is constantly rescuing her from various cartoon versions of fates worse than death. And most of his cases invariably lead him to Bugsy (aka "The Dogfather"), the nefarious crimelord of Dog City and his hapless minions.

The problem is that the show just isn't that good. And coming from Jim Henson productions that's a surprise. I mean, think of Sesame Street, The Muppet Show or Fraggle Rock. There was always a sense of wit, a dash of anarchy, and a poke or two at the status quo you could count on. Alas, Dog City isn't witty enough to be a parody, or funny enough to work on only one level. Or even two. The premise, that it's a show within a show with cartoonist/animator Elliot Shag (a Muppet dog) slaving over a drawing desk creating the Dog City cartoon, fighting off interuptions from various sources, including his alter ego Ace Hart, who frequently complains about the story or art, is promising but never rises past mildly amusing.

And the breaking of the fifth wall, even within the context of a show within a show, and a ton of dog jokes, just aren't enough.

A standard Saturday morning cartoon. The best that can be said about this one is that it might inspire some kid somewhere to pick up something by Chandler somewhere down the line. Throw this dog a bone.

TELEVISION

  • DOG CITY
    (1992-93, Fox)
    30-minute episodes
    A Nelvana Limited Production
    Writers: Jim Lewis, Peter Sauder
    Story Editors: Peter Sauder, J.D. Smith
    Director: John Van Bruggen
    Producer: Stephen Hodgins
    Executive Producers: Michael K. Frith, Brian Henson, Patrick Loubert, Michael Hirsh, Clive A. Smith
    Starring (cartoon cast) Ron White as the voice of ACE HART
    Stuart Stone as the voice of Eddie
    Elizabeth Hanna as the voice of Chief Rosie O'Gravy
    John Stocker as the voice of Bugsy Vile
    James Rankin as the voice of Frisky
    Stephen Ouimette as the voice of Mad Dog
    Howard Jerome as the voice of Bruiser
    and Paulina Gillis as the voice of Kitty
    Muppet Cast:

    Kevin Clash as the voice of Eliot Shag
    with Joey Mazzarino, Fran Brill , Brian Muehl, David Rudman and Lisa Buckley
  • First Season
  • "The Big Squeak" (September 26, 1992)....Buy this video
  • "Taming of the Screw" (October 3, 1992)
  • "Meat, the Butcher" (October 10, 1992)
  • "Disobedience School" (October 17, 1992) ....Buy this video
  • "The Dog Pound" (October 31, 1992)
  • "Radio Daze" (November 14, 1992)
  • "The Bloodhound" (November 21, 1992)
  • "Adventures in Puppysitting" (November 28, 1992)
  • "Ya Gotta Have Hart" (December 19, 1992)
  • "In Your Dreams" (January 9, 1993)
  • "Rocketship K-9" (January 16, 1993)
  • "Cats 'n' Dogs" (January 23, 1993)
  • "Is It Arf?" (January 30, 1993)

  • Second Season
  • "Boss Bruiser" (September 18, 1993)
  • "Springer Fever" (September 25, 1993)
  • "Much Ado About Mad Dog" (October 2, 1993) ....Buy this video
  • "Of Mutts & Mayors" (October 9, 1993)
  • "Who Watches the Watchdog?" (October 16, 1993)
  • "The Great Dane Curse" (October 23, 1993)
  • "Out of the Mouths of Pups" (October 30, 1993)
  • "Farewell, My Rosie" (November 6, 1993)
  • "Old Dog, New Tricks" (November 13, 1993)
  • "Sick as a Dog" (November 20, 1993)

  • Third Season
  • The New Litter" (September 17, 1994)
  • "Doggy See, Doggy Do" (September 24, 1994)
  • "Comedy of Horrors" (October 1, 1994)
  • "Howl the Conquering Hero" (October 8, 1994)
  • "Reduce, Re-use, Retrieve" (November 5, 1994)
  • "Future Schlock" (November 12, 1994)
  • "No Pain, No Brain" (November 19, 1994)
  • "Dog Days of Summer Vacation" (November 26, 1994)

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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