- “Pongo, you ol' rascal!”
Pongo is the narrator and male protagonist of the 1961 Disney animated feature film, One Hundred and One Dalmatians. He is the husband of Perdita and father of 15 puppies and adoptive father of 84 more puppies.
Much like his owner, Roger, Pongo is laid-back, playful, and a tad goofy. Aside from this, he is extremely loyal, and actually took note of Roger's loneliness as a songwriting bachelor, thus making it his mission to find his good friend a suitable companion. With this, Pongo is the reason Roger and his wife, Anita, actually came together. This was an example of Pongo's love for Roger, and the two were shown to be the best of friends, having a mutual understanding towards one another. Roger affectionately refers to Pongo as "Pongo, ol' boy" and the two were even shown to share their own dance, which they engaged in whenever something celebratory occurred.
After the marriages of Roger and Anita, and Pongo and Perdita, the male Dalmatian retained his laid-back nature, though his fun-loving personality tone down considerably upon the birth of his and Perdita's fifteen puppies. With their arrival, Pongo remained playful but proved to be a responsible and loving father. His children, such as Patch and Penny, notably looked up to their father and admired him greatly. His love for his children was put to the test when the thieving Cruella De Vil hatched a plot to use their skin for fur coats, resulting in both Pongo and Perdita embarking on a perilous journey to save both their children and the other eighty-four puppies being held in captivity.
Throughout the adventure, different sides of Pongo's personality were showcased. He was shown to be intelligent, tactical and stealthy. With his wits, he was easily able to outsmart the cunning Cruella, and her bumbling henchman, almost flawlessly. And with these assets, Pongo and his family were able to return home safely.
In the original film, Pongo is the narrator. Having grown bored with the bachelor life, Pongo is first seen trying his best to find his master (dogs call them pets) Roger, a suitable wife. So far, there's no luck until Pongo sees mates that will suit both him and Roger. A woman named Anita, and her pet dalmatian Perdita. Pongo gets Roger to follow them into the park. Once there, Pongo tries to get their attention but it ends in an apparent failure. Although it seemed terrible, Roger and Anita fall in love as do Pongo and Perdita. A few months later, the happy couples reside right down the block from the park, also living with Nanny. At this time, Perdita is having puppies, and Pongo would be proud. Just then, Anita's school friend, Cruella De Vil, makes a visit.
She quickly demands the whereabouts for the puppies but does not reveal the reason for her interest in them. Perdita, knowing the woman is a monster, now worries over the very idea of having children. In October, the puppies arrived, much to the relief of a worried Pongo. Pongo licks Roger happily when Roger is able to revive one of the puppies after he was born. Cruella makes another visit. She is initially repulsed by the puppies spotless appearance but calms once she learns that the Dalmatian puppies will get their spots three weeks after birth. She begins to write a check for the puppies' purchase, but Roger angrily refuses her offer. Cruella furiously departs after ending her friendship with Anita and claims that she'll get even. With Cruella gone, Pongo quickly tells the resting Perdita the good news. A few months later, Pongo and Perdita are happier than ever with fifteen wonderful puppies. During their walk in the park, two hoodlums by the name of Jasper and Horace, break into Roger and Anita's home, and, after trapping Nanny in the attic, kidnap the puppies. After realizing that there is little hope of the humans finding their puppies, Pongo uses the Twilight Bark, normally a gossip chain, to spread the news of their kidnapped puppies to the dogs of London.
The news eventually reaches the Colonel far away in the countryside. According to his associate, Sergeant Tibbs, puppy barking was heard over in an old mansion that has recently been occupied. Colonel and Tibbs head over to investigate, learning that Jasper and Horace are working for Cruella and that she plans to use the fur from Pongo and Perdita's puppies, as well as another eighty-four, to make dog-skin coats. The news is relayed back to Pongo and Perdita, who immediately head to the area to rescue their puppies. Pongo and Perdita arrive just in time to rescue their puppies from Jasper and Horace. Upon learning that there are now ninety-nine puppies, Pongo decides to adopt the extras, knowing Roger and Anita would never turn them out.
The dalmatians begin to make their way home through the help of several dogs. While Perdita leads the puppies, Pongo brings up the rear and keeps count of all the puppies. Cruella learns about their escape and goes on a hunt for the dogs, forcing the Dalmatians to avoid them.
In the small town of Dinsford, a Labrador reveals to the group that a truck is heading to London, and there is enough room for the entire group. Perdita worries about how to get on, as Jasper, Horace, and Cruella are roaming the town. After some inspiration from Lucky and Patch, who had been fighting in a nearby pile of soot, Pongo is inspired to disguise everyone as Labradors by rolling in the soot. The dalmatians are barely able to get on the truck before it leaves, but they are discovered when Pongo is seen carrying Lucky, whose disguise had been washed off by the snow. Cruella chases them down but crashes into the van of Jasper and Horace, ultimately foiling her plans. Back in London, Roger, Anita, and Nanny mourn for the lost dogs but are greeted by a wonderful Christmas Day gift when Pongo and the others arrive. Roger and Anita decide to keep the other eighty-four pups and move to a bigger property in the country, giving the dalmatians enough room to roam freely.
Pongo appears once again in the film's television series but has a very minor role. Pongo has moved to a farm plantation with his family and takes the role to be a good father and best friend of pet Roger. As shown in "The Dogs of DeVil" and "Splishing and Splashing", he is more laid back than Perdita but is notably less mischevious and sterner in the series as seen in "Snow Bounders" and "Food for Thought".
His demotion to a side character is mentioned in "The Making of...", where he mentions that "The producers decided to go for a "younger" look".
Pongo made appearances in the episodes "Home is Where the Bark is", "The Dogs of DeVil", "Lucky to be Alone", "Four Stories Up", "You Say it's Your Birthday", "Lord of the Termites", "Hail to the Chief", "Food for Thought", "Film Fatale", "Snow Bounders", "Splishing and Splashing", "Un-Lucky", "The Making Of...", "Animal House Party" and "Dalmatian Vacation, Part 2: Cross-Country Chaos".
Pongo reappears in the film's sequel. Although he provides the opening narration as he had done in the first film, his role is reduced to that of a minor one much like in the TV series, as his son Patch likes to be Thunderbolt's sidekick. When Patch falls down the stairs, Pongo comes down and comfort him to enjoy the life on a farm. Pongo is accidentally the true reason Patch felt as if he was nothing more than a dalmatian puppy (Pongo was talking in his sleep while Patch was asking him questions), prompting the puppy to leave on a soul-searching journey. Pongo is initially unaware of his son's disappearance until later in the film, when he and Roger read the newspaper and see a photo of Thunderbolt with Patch in it. Pongo shocked at the fact that one of his own has once again disappeared, blames himself for Patch being missing because he lost count. He, along with Perdita, Roger and Anita head back to London to look for him. When they do, he happily tells his son how much they've missed him.
Pongo makes several cameo appearances in the series as a guest at the club. Pongo's most notable appearance is at the beginning of "Dennis the Duck", where the House of Mouse had a black and white day, a tribute to the classic black and white cartoons. When Mickey Mouse informs the club of the tribute, Pongo comments, "It's about time."
In "House of Crime", Pongo growls when Perdita tells Mickey that someone stole their puppies, thinking Cruella De Vil stole them.
In the episode "The Stolen Cartoons", Pongo was seen with his family as Daisy Duck ordered for a table for one hundred and one.
In "The Mouse Who Came to Dinner", Goofy demanded that the magic brooms ensure that the club was "spotless" in time for a critic's arrival, resulting in the brooms wiping away the spots of Pongo and the other dalmatians.
Cameos and other appearances
In The Wonderful World of Disney episode "Adventures in Color", Pongo makes a brief cameo chasing after Ludwig Von Drake after the professor pulled out a large piece of steak to illustrate how dogs see in color.
Pongo can be briefly seen at the start of "The Saga of Windwagon Smith" amongst the inhabitants of the town.
In the live-action remake of the original animated film, Pongo is featured as a non-speaking dog, but still retains his role as the main protagonist. Like the original, Pongo resides with Roger in London. Pongo appears to be quite intelligent, being able to work a computer. When he first catches glimpse of Perdita, he quickly rushes to Roger to arrange their meeting. Like the original, Cruella desires the dalmatians' fur and hires goons to kidnap them. While Pongo and Perdita are gone for a walk by Roger and Anita, the goons break in and lock Nanny in the closet and steal the puppies, they return home hearing the pensioner's bulldog barking angrily at Jasper and Horace and is the witness making Roger and Anita realize what they just have done; They leave the puppies unprotected and why do they have to go out for a walk. Pongo then sends the Twilight Bark signal across London. After awhile, Pongo and Perdita are approached by a dog and taken to their puppies' location. Meanwhile, the puppies are able to outwit Cruella, Jasper, and Horace with the help of several animals. They reunite with their parents and are escorted home by the police.
When Emma and Henry arrive in Storybrooke, Archie shows up, carrying his umbrella and walking his dog. Archie asks what Henry is doing there and if he is alright. Henry says he is fine and pets the dog. After Archie, Henry, and Emma are done talking they part ways.
While Archie and Pongo are having their daily walk, they pass by Mr. Gold as they both cross a road.
Archie is having a drink in his office while Pongo sits beside him. Later, at the entrance to the collapsed Storybrooke mine, Pongo runs across the crater and begins to sniff around the entrance. When Archie and Henry get trapped in the mine, Pongo barks next to Ruby who is sitting on the hill of the crater amongst the townspeople who are all worried about the safety of Archie and Henry. Regina looks annoyed at the dog and turns her attention back to what she was doing. After the mine crater explodes, Pongo barks from the firetruck and Emma rushes over to the firetruck to let him out. The dalmatian begins to sniff the ground in search of his owner and eventually stops at a particular piece of ground. They discover the air shaft. At the end, Archie is safe and Pongo approaches him.
As Archie is taking a late night walk with Pongo, they run into Emma and have a brief discussion.
When Ruby answers the phones at the sheriff's station, a frightened Miss Ginger calls about a prowler lurking around her house. Ruby assures her that there is no prowler and that it's only Pongo.
Pongo is the only witness to Archie's simulated murder created by Cora. Using the dream catcher given to her by Mr. Gold, Emma is able to see the false events that have been perceived by the dog.
He attends Archie's false funeral, and afterward, Marco and Emma decide that now that Archie is gone, it would be good for Henry to keep him. Henry is thrilled at this and takes Pongo outside to clean him up. Later on, Emma and Henry notice that Pongo is acting strangely. Soon afterward, they get a visitor at the door, who turns out to be Archie; alive and well. He tells them the true events of what happened, and that Cora was the one who kidnapped him to make it look like he was murdered by Regina.
In the episode "Sympathy for the De Vil", with plans of making Emma kill the Author, Cruella puts her scheme into action by making Pongo lure Henry away. Henry, stepping off a bus, sees Pongo sitting on the street, and when the dog takes off, he follows him into an alleyway. There, Cruella corners him, and after sending a message to Regina and Emma about her intentions for Henry if the Author isn't killed, she brings the boy to a remote area and ties him up. While she is distracted playing a game on her phone, Pongo remains under the influence of her magic and keeps a close eye on Henry, who breaks free and runs away. Pongo's bark alerts Cruella, who sends him after Henry, as she follows behind. At the cliff's dead end, the dog blocks Henry from escaping, before Cruella and then Emma show up. With her son's life at stake, Emma is pushed to her limit, deciding to blast Cruella with magic. As soon as Cruella falls to her death, her hold on Pongo disappears, and he reverts to his usual self.
In the book, Pongo and Perdita are shown to be on the council of sidekicks, able to communicate with Prince Ben (son to Belle and the Beast) with a translation device on Ben's ear. During the meeting, Pongo admits that while looking after ninety-nine pups can cause him a lack of sleep, he and Perdita are concerned about their pups' education. Prince Ben then passes the "Puppy Grant" benefit to offer financial aid to the Dalmatians, something which Grumpy claims Pongo shall appreciate.
Pongo makes a minor appearance in Kingdom Hearts, having been transported to Traverse Town with Perdita due to the destruction of their world. During the escape, his owners, Roger and Anita, disappeared during the destruction and the 99 puppies were separated and scattered across other worlds. Sora must locate the puppies throughout Kingdom Hearts and send them back to Perdita in Traverse Town. To return Sora's helpfulness, Pongo and Perdita give gifts to Sora. When Sora sealed Kingdom Hearts, Pongo, Perdita, and all of her children returned home.
In the 101 Dalmatians: Animated Storybook, Pongo acts as a narrator for two pages; the first one being where Roger wakes up, and the third being when he arranges Roger and Anita's meeting in the park. Here, he is voiced by Michael Gough.
In an early demo version of 102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescue, Pongo would have been in Dipstick's role. Based on their dialogue, it is possible that this was either a placeholder name, or the game was intended to be focused about Pongo and Perdita's pups (Patches and Dottie, rather than Domino and Oddball in the demo version) before being changed in production to be set about the time of 102 Dalmatians, possibly to coincide with the film.
At the resort's Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, an oversized statue of Pongo can be seen at the 101 Dalmatians section of the hotel.
Pongo has a prominent role in the Walt Disney World interactive game Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. Here, Pongo serves as the guide for the mission to defeat Cruella on Main Street USA and teams up with the park guests and Merlin the Wizard in a quest to stop Cruella from retrieving part of the crystal of the Magic Kingdom. In this attraction, Pongo communicates with the park guests through barks translated by Merlin. Pongo also has his own spell card called "Pongo's Soot Bucket".
Pongo is also featured in the interactive game Midship Detective Agency. Here, Pongo's puppies are once again stolen. To save them, he teams up with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy to search the ship to find them and discover which villain committed the crime.
- According to Disney animators, Pongo has 72 spots.
- According to Disneystrology, his birthday is October 1st.
- According to the DisneyLife app, his pet peeve is humans who think they're as smart as canines.
- By size and behavior, in human years, he is 42 years old.
- In a number of Mel Brooks films, the name Pongo is used. Robin claims to have a dog named Pongo in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, while in Spaceballs, the name of the critic who is doing a review about a film called Rocky 5,000 is also called Pongo. Mel Brooks has confirmed this to be an intentional homage to 101 Dalmatians, as he himself has also had Dalmatians that he calls Pongo or Perdita.
- If you listen closely when Pongo and Perdita attack Jasper and Horace, their growls and snarls sound like Tramp's.
- Also, some of their growls and snarls are recycled sound effects from Old Yeller when he was fighting the wolf.
- Pongo's bark is later given to Toby from The Great Mouse Detective.