John Slade is the main antagonist of The Shaggy D.A. He is the corrupt district attorney who is Wilby Daniels' opponent for the upcoming election for District Attorney. He comes into possession of the Borgia Ring and uses it to change Wilby into a dog.
John Slade is an incredibly shady man who abuses his rights as a district attorney. The local goons give part of their loot to Slade, who in turns protects them from prosecution. As such, the people of the town are frequently targeted by the crooks. Local lawyer Wilby Daniels is fed up with this and vows to stop this corruption by unseating Slade in an upcoming election for district attorney. Slade initially doesn't see Wilby as much of a threat. He however wants to get ahold of something that would ruin Wilby's campaign. He later realizes Wilby's most embarrassing secret that would arguably ruin his chances at getting elected: the Borgia curse which transforms Wilby into a sheepdog. He later gains ahold of the ring and sees its power when he realizes Wilby transforms after reading the inscription. Confident he has ruined Wilby politically, Slade repeats the incantation multiple times. This proves his undoing, as so many repetitions of the ring's incantation, has caused the Borgia curse to be transferred from Wilby to Slade, who then transforms into a bulldog.
Role in the film
After seeing how the current district attorney, John Slade, was handling the crime situation, local lawyer Wilby Daniels makes it his goal to beat Slade in the election and be the new D.A. When he learns that Wilby is running against him, he scoffs and tells the press that Wilby is not serious about seeking office; rather just doing it to gain free media attention. After the press meeting, he gets a secret call from his associate, "Fast Eddie" Roshak. Slade assures Roshak that Wilby isn't much of a threat and that he is destined to lose the election. On TV, Wilby says that if he is elected, he will say he will check the connection between Roshak and Slade. Roshak calls Slade saying that if Wilby gets elected, they will be in big trouble. Slade still assures him that they would be no way Wilby would get elected. He then asks his assistant Raymond, to get some dirt on Wilby to help ruin his campaign.
Later on, Slade has his annual Cherry Pie Festival, which is ruined when Wilby and the others are caught in a pie fight. He tries to put an end to the fight but is belted in the face by a pie. He calls Wilby a disgrace to his profession and the city that should be run out of town. Hearing this, Wilby's son Brian throws a pie at the back of his head.
Raymond later gets a hold of the ring and gives it to Slade. Raymond informs Slade about Wilby's transforming powers, which is just the thing Slade needs to get rid of Wilby. He tests it on Wilby, by calling him to his office and then reading the inscription. He mocks Wilby while he's transforming and asks Raymond to take him to the pound. Wilby escapes while Slade orders the Animal regulation officers to capture him.
Later Slade orders all police cars to prowl the area in search of Wilby. Raymond suggests telling that they tell the press about Wilby being a dog. Slade thinks this is a dumb idea and that if they mentioned it, they would be put away. Slade and his posse close in on Wilby at the Roller Derby. He goes into the Roller Derby to look for Wilby. Slade tries to search the changing rooms but mistakes a disguised Wilby for a roller derby contestant. He later realizes his mistake and continues to go after Wilby. Slade ends up chasing Wilby who is making his escape in Tim's ice cream truck. They arrive at the park with no sign of Wilby. Slade decides to read the inscription on the ring a bunch of times to keep Wilby in his dog form. Slade is later informed that the authorities have surrounded Wilby in a tree. Slade makes his way there where he makes Wilby an ultimatum: Withdraw or else. Wilby says he is in this 'til the bitter end, so Slade orders one of the dogcatchers (played by John Fiedler) to shoot him with a tranquilizer dart. The dogcatcher misses and shoots Slade instead.
Later as Slade is recovering from his wound, Raymond tells him that Wilby has been successfully caught and that in 72 hours he would be gone. Slade can't wait that long and asks to talk to the governor. Slade convinces the governor to call the pound and order the to euthanize Wilby. Wilby escapes along with friends he made in the pound. When Slade calls the pound and gets this information, he gets very angry and incoherently curses out the worker. He then orders every able form of law enforcement he controls to find Wilby. He continues to read the inscription on the ring when Tim comes to his door pretending to be one of Eddie Roshak's thugs, telling him that Roshak is no longer working with him. Slade rides over to Roshak's Warehouse and continues to read the inscription on the ring. Raymond says he should stop reading the inscription, because it may have adverse effects on him, but Slade refuses to listen. Slade gets to the Warehouse where he meets with Roshak. Slade is angry that Roshak has cut him out, while Roshak is confused at what he is saying. Roshak assures Slade that they are still business partners and that he will rub out the messenger who told him otherwise. Roshak then catches Wilby snooping around and Slade orders someone to shoot him. Slade and Wilby play cat and mouse for a bit, until Wilby's friends from the pound bust in and take the ring from Slade. With Wiby in possession of the ring, he reverts back to human form, but Slade is still in hot pursuit. He gets into his car orders Raymond to follow Wilby and the gang. They get pulled over for running through a red light, where the police find that Slade has turned into a Bulldog.
- Keenan Wynn is known by Disney fans for playing villains in lighthearted comedies such as The Absent-Minded Professor, Son of Flubber, and Herbie Rides Again (in these first three films as the same character, Alonzo Hawk) and in Snowball Express.
- As he is portrayed by the same actor in the same makeup and has the same behavior as Alonzo Hawk, critics have wondered many times on the Internet about why Disney didn't simply reuse Hawk instead of changing his name.
- Despite this being a lighthearted comedy, Slade shows killing intent. He indirectly tries to get the pound to euthanize Wilby, thus murdering him.