So, do you guys remember Inspector Gadget?
You know, the pseudo-Robocop Humphrey Bogart lookalike? Who couldn’t solve a crime if his life depended on it and had to rely on his niece and her dog to solve it for him? Yeah, it wasn’t really that good a show; a ‘I can’t believe I used to like this shit’ show. Every episode was the same: Gadget would be given a case to solve, he’d see criminal activity but think it something else, and his niece Penny and her dog Brain would be the ones saving the day. The whole thing would be rather routine and boring even by the low standards of kids’ TV.
It did have its plusses though. Its wonderfully catchy theme tune, for one. Also, as per the rule for kiddie shows, the villain was much cooler than the hero. Gadget’s arch-nemesis was the insidious Dr. Claw, and what made him special was the fact you only saw his, well, claw. You didn’t see his face, you didn’t see his torso, only his right hand. When you listen to his voice, which sounds like Satan gargling with the blood of a thousand maniacs, you know whatever he’s hiding, it has to be something big.
Now, you might say, ‘But Dr. Claw’s face was shown in the live-action movie!’ or ‘Dr. Claw’s face was shown via his action figure!’ To the former, I say, ‘Wow, you remember that movie? Shame.’ To the latter, I say, ‘How can that thing be Dr. Fucking Claw?’ I can buy that being a henchman, even a second-in-command, but not the Dr. Claw. Why? Well, look at that action figure and try to imagine Dr. Claw’s voice coming out of it. You can’t, can you?
Yet there are other, more visible cartoon characters that I have heard Dr. Claw’s voice (or something similar) coming from, and I can even believe that those cartoon characters might be the true true identity of Gadget’s enemy. So here are three characters from cartoons other than Inspector Gadget that still may very well be Dr. Claw:
Zordrak (The Dreamstone)
The villain of British toon The Dreamstone didn’t sound exactly like Claw, but pretty damn close. He was the Lord of Nightmares, and was always forcing his henchmen into the Land of Dreams (not to be confused with Dreamland) to capture the eponymous stone to eliminate all nice dreams forever. If he had his way, people would be doomed to suffer through endless visions of showing up at the office naked while they slumbered; now that’s evil enough to make him a candidate for Dr. Claw, isn’t it?
The Case For: Well, for one thing, have you seen the logo for Claw’s company MAD? Looks a lot like Zordrak’s head, doesn’t it?
Also, just fucking look at Zordrak. Think back to when you were a kid watching Inspector Gadget, and pondering what Claw looked like behind that chair. Your mental image was probably closer to Zordrak then that bloody action figure, wasn’t it?
Every episode of The Dreamstone would have Zordrak send his henchmen to do something evil, only for that plan to be stopped by an idiot (Rufus, who looks like the Grinch had a one-night-stand with an Ewok), a smarter girl (Amberly, another Grewok) and a dog (OK, half-dog-half-fish). Does that sound familiar?
The Case Against: Unless Claw’s cat is a gigantic mutant, Dr. Claw seemed to be the size of a regular human while Zordrak is as big as a fucking house. I guess since Zordrak is a demon, he probably has the power to shrink to human size, but is probably too proud to do so (like Voldemort is too proud to make a Horcrux out of something insignificant, really, stop moaning about that). Also, Zordrak has a hunched back to rival Quasimodo’s; if that was him sitting in Claw’s chair, you’d think we’d see at least a shadow of his face.
In The Dreamstone, Zordrak wanted to steal a powerful artefact that has the power to ward away evil. In Inspector Gadget, all Claw wanted was money. Money, I think, would be pretty useless to a demon overlord. If Zordrak wanted some milk, he could probably just march up to the Co-Op and demand their entire milk supply for free lest the employees suffer an eternity in a dark abyss.
Also, though Zordrak’s voice sounded similar to Claw’s, it wasn’t the same guy. Claw was voiced by Frank Welker, Zordrak was voiced by Gary Martin.
Gary Martin voiced the Honey Monster.
So yeah, I guess we can cross Zordrak off the list.
Darkseid (DC Comics)
We all know Superfriends as that hilariously bad Hanna-Barbera show that adapted DC Comics’ famous heroes and villains. With terrible dialogue and acting and horrendous animation, the show was terrible but still fun to watch. In its final two iterations, however, the writing and animation slightly improved, but it became less fun to watch. Still, they did bring into the show DC’s most powerful villain Darkseid.
Ruler of the hellish planet Apokolips (yes, they have made an “Apokolips Now” pun at least once) and greatest enemy of the Justice League, Darkseid sought the “Anti-Life Equation” that would allow him to conquer the universe. Also, his Superfriends version was voiced by Frank Welker, exactly how he voiced Dr. Claw.
The Case For: Darkseid is more generally known as a Superman villain these days, but is more or less a general threat to all of DC’s superheroes. Well, I guess Inspector Gadget kind of counts as a superhero given his doo-hickeys. I mean, the Justice League has a cyborg called…Cyborg. Gadget’s also kinda like Batman given he’s a detective with lots of mechanical devices, an annoying kid sidekick and an ally in a moustachioed policeman.
Claw was also shown in silhouette in the spin-off Gadget and the Gadgetinis, and the silhouette looked pretty close to Darkseid; muscular, block-headed and not a goatee or lazy eye to be found.
The Case Against: Well, for one thing, I think Gadget and the Gadgetinis was as bad as the live-action movie. There were little buggers called Gadgetinis, for fuck’s sake. So that doesn’t count.
Once again, you’d think the ruler of a dismal planet, seeking to rule the universe and with a demonic army at his disposal, would have better things to do then send some stupid human goons to steal a diamond so a little girl could stop them. The guy’s held his own against the goddamn Man of Steel, so I’m pretty sure he’d think a moron like Gadget was beneath him.
If Darkseid ever went up against Inspector Gadget, the former would blast the latter’s ass to kingdom come with optic lasers. It’s a battle that would last five seconds and yet Claw and Gadget have been fighting each other for 86 episodes.
Adolf Hitler (history)
The dictator of Nazi Germany, who mercilessly slaughtered millions and is the most evil, reviled man who ever lived. You may think that putting him on this list is a bit extreme, and I thought the same thing when I heard he appeared on the children’s series Histeria.
Histeria was a semi-edutainment show by the guys who made Animaniacs, showing sketches and skits based world history, all with a surreal comic slant. There was an episode based on World War II, which featured Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin as superheroes (though they still show Stalin as evil) vowing to stop Hitler’s evil (it actually isn’t the stupidest use of Hitler in a kids’ show). And yes, here, Hitler had the same voice as Dr. Claw.
Sorry that this is the only video I could find.
The Case For: “Dr. Claw” might actually be a rather fitting alias for Hitler; his first name means “noble wolf” after all. And again, take a look at the MAD logo. If you squint a bit it kind of looks like a wolf too, but more importantly, having that as your logo is like having skulls and crossbones on your caps; they’re scaaary. Just ask Mitchell and Webb.
It would actually sort of make sense for Hitler to want to kill Gadget too. Gadget is more or less made out to be an all-American hero with his dedication to justice (and lack of brains), which is sure to get on the Fuhrer’s bad side. I’m pretty sure it’s a requirement for all superheroes to face Hitler at some point. If Superman and Doctor Who can do it, why not Gadget? Also, Gadget does seem to have learning difficulties…
The Case Against: Dr. Claw has a cat. I’m pretty sure Hitler was a dog person.