The 2007 Underdog film was amusing, but not the most logical or plausible superhero [parody] movie. In it, a normal canine is granted various Superman-like powers after being doused in various, unspecified serums and vials of diverse animal DNA. It brought to light the question:

How did Underdog in the original series get his powers?

Underdog from the original cartoon

In almost every episode, the hero Underdog would be at full, Mighty-Mouse comparable power levels before his strength began to fade and he'd need to "recharge" with an Underdog Super Energy pill, which he kept in a ring. Nothing further was ever explained. Not where he got the pills from... Not why his powers would wear down... Not how he got them originally.

Note: This was a 1960s "spoof" show that purposefully didn't hold too close to logic; anthropomorphic animals coincided with humans, some folks had green skin, and clouds from another planet wanted Earth's silver to make linings for their coats.

I checked the first episode, and no details were provided there either. In the movie, it was Dr. Simon Bar Sinister who accidentally gave the regular dog his powers, but he was a mere supervillian in the cartoon.

Is there any real back story or origin for the character?

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    he got the powers from the pills, he got the pills from the writers who didn't care if it made sense – DJ Spicy Deluxe Jan 14 '20 at 4:26
  • @DJSpicyDeluxe Ha! Funny. – Russhiro Jan 14 '20 at 11:44
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    @DJSpicyDeluxe - I'm assuming the writers had plenty of pills lying around. – Valorum Jan 14 '20 at 15:25
  • @Valorum Just as, at this same time, the writers of Super Chicken likely had a lot of "super sauce" at their disposal. – Russhiro Jan 14 '20 at 16:24

In the book "How Underdog Was Born" according to the creators, it was explained that Junior (his name before he had super powers) had been tracking an evil dentist who had killed his father (Lewis N Clark). He followed the trail to a mine. It was a trap. The evil dentist blew up the opening of the mine and began filling the mine with laughing gas. At that exact moment lightning hit the mine and it exploded. The result was that it instantly turned the coal to diamonds and also gave Junior super powers.

Molly Barker, his mother made Junior promise to stay humble and help the underdogs in life, and so that's also how he got his name.

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    since when does lightning igniting laughing gas cause coal to turn into diamonds? Diamonds are created by extreme pressure, not explosions. And on that point: since when is laughing gas flammable? – Firestryke Nov 28 '20 at 3:56
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    @Firestryke You're quibbling with cartoon logic? – DavidW Nov 28 '20 at 4:18
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    Underdog often got a bit illogical, especially with his powers. Sometimes he could move planets and other times he'd struggle with something much easier. But the above origin story was never presented in the cartoon, just in the book. I was trying to find how he ends up having to take those pills and where that came from.Didn't find it. – TonyBoy Nov 28 '20 at 5:19
  • Okay.... interesting. And where did the Power Pills come from? – Russhiro Nov 29 '20 at 15:12
  • Not sure about his powers , but still love his theme song/music. – dean1957 Jan 21 at 21:18

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