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Pongo and Missis are a pair of married Dalmatians who have a litter of 15 puppies. Cruella de Vil is a Rich Bitch who attempts to buy said puppies. When she's told that they're not being sold, she swears revenge and sends her two Bumbling Henchmen, Saul and Jasper Badun, to kidnap the puppies. When Scotland Yard is unable to find them, Pongo and Missis embark to rescue the puppies themselves. Once they get to the bad guys' hideout, they find that Cruella intends to skin their puppies, along with 84 more, and turn them into dogskin coats. Thus, Pongo and Missis take all 97 (in the book, there were 4 adult dogs) dalmatian puppies home with them.

Adapted several times by Disney into One Hundred and One Dalmatians.


The 1956 children's book and its 1967 sequel contains examples of:

  • Alien Lunch: What Cruella eats (food in bizarre colors, all of which tastes like pepper) could very well be that.
    • She got expelled from school and got the skunk stripe in her hair by drinking ink.
  • Big Bad: Cruella De Vil.
  • Big Fancy House: Hell Hall, the manor where the puppies are kept.
  • Brainless Beauty: Missis is described as very pretty and brave but also somewhat vain, selfish, and baffled by abstract concepts such as "left." Then again, many dogs are.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted.
    • Well, averted by Lieutenant Willow but subverted by Cruella's cat. She is initially hostile to the dalmatians but the book makes a point that this is only the result of mistreatment by her owner.
  • Classic Villain: Cruella De Vil.
  • Cruella to Animals: The Trope Namer.
  • Demoted to Extra: Several characters in The Starlight Barking, most notably Cruella, who is discussed often but only actually appears once -- and even then she spends the entire scene asleep.
  • Disney Death: Cadpig, who was born nearly dead and was revived by Mr. Dearly.
  • Dog Walks You
  • Fur and Loathing: The trope didn't really kick in until The Eighties, so this is more a prototypical example (if not the Ur Example).
  • Genre Shift: The Starlight Barking, the sequel to the original book, is a fairly bizarre departure from the mundane (except for the sentient animals) setting of the first book featuring Sirius, Lord of the Dog Star, a Sufficiently Advanced Alien who, concerned about the possibility of nuclear war destroying dogkind, causes all humans and other animals to fall into an unnaturally deep sleep. This is likely a significant part of the reason why the sequel never saw a film adaptation and has subsequently been almost forgotten.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Perdita recalls a time, not long after she grew up, when she "felt a great desire to marry".
  • Gold Digger: Cruella married a furrier for his money and, of course, all the furs he could give her. She even insists he keep his stock at the house so she can wear anything she likes. This comes back to bite her on the arse, hard, when Pongo and Missus break into her house and rip the whole lot to shreds.
  • A Hero Is Born: 15 of them!
  • Hitler Ate Sugar: Fur is bad because a Manipulative Bitch like Cruella likes it.
  • Ill Girl: Cadpig
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Cruella's husband. The dalmatians initially pity him, but the cat tells them not to bother. He's just as evil as his wife, but he's weak and bad, whereas she is strong and bad.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The boy who meets the dalmatians on their trip across country. He lures them close to him by offering food, then throws rocks at them, injuring Pongo. Missus is willing to forgive him because of this trope, figuring that he's just too young to know better.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: There are hints that "de Vil" is not just a Meaningful Name but is a literal description of the members of the family ("de Vil" = "devil"). Cruella eats nothing but pepper and tastes of pepper when one of the puppies nips her. The sheepdog also tells Pongo stories about an ancestor of hers with hooves and a long tail.
  • Meaningful Name: Cruella de Vil is cruel and the villain of the book. Shocking.
    • Also her country estate, Hell Hall (which was originally "Hill Hall" before the de Vil family bought it).
    • Nanny Cook and Nanny Butler invoke this deliberately. After they meet and have a good laugh over their names, they decide to train to be an actual cook and butler, since that is what the Dearlys need at the moment.
    • The book's Perdita is a stray; Mrs Dearly names her Perdita because it is Latin for "lost".
    • The Badduns are two bad ones.
  • Multicolored Hair: Cruella. Even more spectacularly by the end of the book; the black half turns white, and the white half turns green, apparently from stress.
  • The Musical: Surprisingly followed the book, rather than the Disney versions.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Cruella de Vil, naturally.
  • No Name Given: The adult couple are simple "Mr. Dearly" and "Mrs. Dearly."
  • Noodle Incident: The Dearlys can afford a nice house near Regent Park because Mr. Dearly, a financial wizard, had "done a very great service for the government." Later they can afford to move to the country (and buy Hill Hall) because he had done yet another "very great service."
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Cruella always appears wearing loads of jewelry and a white mink cloak.
  • Rich Bitch: Cruella.
  • Right-Hand-Cat: Cruella's white Persian cat. Subverted, in that the cat hates Cruella and Cruella herself keeps her only because she's a valuable purebreed.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After rescuing the puppies, the dalmatians break into Cruella's house and destroy every fur that she owns. This wasn't just about revenge, though: Pongo was trying to put the de Vils out of business so that they couldn't try again with another group of dalmatian puppies.
  • Tear Jerker The old man who woke up to find Pongo and Missis lying by his fire and mistook them for his childhood pets of the same name. The two dogs play along and comfort him.
  • Too Many Babies: The premise.
  • Tribute to Fido: Dodie Smith's inspiration for the book was her dalmatian Pongo; naturally, she put him into it as the main character.
  • Villain Ball: There was no reason to for Cruella to kidnap the Dearly puppies. She already owned 82 dalmatians, which should have been plenty to start her fur farm. She also could have tried to buy other dalmatian puppies. The only thing that taking the Dearly puppies accomplished was 1) Wasting money (she paid more to the dog thieves than she had for any litter), 2) Bringing unwanted police attention (before she hadn't done anything illegal), 3) Causing her husband's business to be destroyed by 99 extremely irate dogs.
  • Your Other Left: Missis, while trying to get directions from an elderly dog.
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