Saturday 21 November 2020

Sgt. Kling and George the Wonder Dog are Missing

George the Wonder Dog, where are you now?

You probably haven’t heard of George. That’s because he never made it to movie or TV screens. But he tried.

George was the invention of the people at Animation Inc., one of a number of companies making animated TV commercials in the 1950s. It was formed May 1, 1955 by Earl Klein, who quit as president of 15-month-old Storyboard, Inc. to open his own firm. Storyboard was an award-winning company, known at the time for spots for Heinz Worcestershire Sauce, the Ford Car bird and E-Z Popcorn (I believe all of these are on-line somewhere). It soon expanded its operations and hired people like Ed Barge and Irv Spence. Saul Bass was employed by Animation Inc. to create the animated titles to “Around the World in 80 Days.”

By 1960, when commercial companies like TV Spots (Calvin and the Colonel) and Grantray-Lawrence (Dick Tracy) were getting a piece of television cartoon action, Animation Inc. decided to do the same thing. And they came up with a concept that sounds like a cross between Lassie and the yet-to-air Dudley Do-Right.

August 16, 1961
Animation Inc., long-time producer of animated TV commercials, has entered the field of entertainment films with “Sgt. Kling of the Preston and His Wonder Dog George,” an adult-geared animated film. Earl Klein, president of Animation Inc., is producer of the half-hour program.

August 31, 1961
Howard McNear will be the voice of Sgt. Kling in Sgt. Kling of the Preston and His Wonder Dog George,” new 30-minute animated film series being produced by Animation, Inc. Hal Smith will be the voice of the dog, with Dave Barry and Mae Questel doing the audio tracks in other roles.

December 5, 1961
Earl Klein of Animation Inc. says he’s going to bring to the TV screens the first “adult northwestern” with his “Sgt. Kling of the Preston and His Wonder Dog George,” animated series now in production.

August 23, 1962
Six segments of “Sgt. Kling and His Wonder Dog George,” an animated film series prepared for theatre distribution, are being readied for early release, according to Earl Klein, president of Animation Inc., producer of the series. First segment is completed, said Klein.
“This is the first major series of animated cartoon short subjects to be geared to the growing theatre audience,” Klein states. Howard McNear is the voice of Sgt. Kling.

Unfortunately, Wonder Dog George joined prospective TV cartoon shows such as Keemar, the Invisible Boy (Format Films) and Sir Loin and His Dragon (TV Spots/Creston Films) and a number of others in sitting on the shelf when the bottom fell out of the prime time cartoon business in 1962. Within five years, Klein was a supervising director for DePatie-Freleng.

I’d love to show you a clip or even some concept art with the show, but perhaps it has been lost to the ages. I heard about this cartoon only by randomly leafing through old editions of the Hollywood Reporter. Perhaps Mike Kazaleh or someone will have a little more information about this cartoon that never was.


  1. According to Earl's Biography. He was born around 1916 in Cleveland, Ohio

  2. Likewise, Jay Ward's similarly-titled Fang, the Wonder Dog!? never got past the pilot stage.

    1. Right, TCJ. I forgot about that. It would have been funny and stories could have been pretty versatile. This would have been stuck, like Sgt. Preston, in the Yukon.

  3. Klein was in the Chuck Jones unit as a layout/background artist, working with Bob Gribbroek, in the mid-1940's.