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Top Cat

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Top Cat

Top Cat
Top Cat and the gang. Left to right: Benny the Ball (foreground); Officer Dibble (Behind fence); Brain; Fancy-Fancy; Top Cat; Spook (foreground); Choo-Choo
Genre Animation
Comedy
Sitcom
Written by Kin Platt
Directed by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voices of Arnold Stang
Allen Jenkins
Maurice Gosfield
Leo DeLyon
Marvin Kaplan
John Stephenson
Opening theme "The Most Effectual Top Cat"
Ending theme "The Most Effectual Top Cat"
Composer(s) Hoyt Curtin
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 30 (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Running time Between 24 and 27 minutes
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera Productions
Distributor Screen Gems
Release
Original channel ABC
Picture format Color (initially telecast in black and white)
Audio format Mono
Original release September 27, 1961 (1961-09-27) – April 18, 1962 (1962-04-18)

Top Cat is an animated television series made by the Hanna-Barbera studios which ran from September 27, 1961 to April 18, 1962 for a run of 30 episodes on the ABC network.

History

Originally broadcast on Wednesdays (8:30–9pm Eastern), Top Cat was co-sponsored by Kellogg's and Bristol-Myers (Bufferin). The central character, Top Cat—called T.C. by close friends, "pro-vid-ing it's with dignity" according to the lyrics of the theme song—is the leader of a gang of Manhattan alley cats: Fancy-Fancy, Spook, Benny the Ball, Brain, and Choo Choo, living in Hoagy's Alley.[1]

Top Cat and his gang were inspired by characters from the popular 1940s B movies, "The East Side Kids", but many suggest it derived from a later 1950s military comedy whose lead was a crafty con-man (The Phil Silvers Show). Maurice Gosfield, who played Private Duane Doberman on The Phil Silvers Show, also provided the voice for Benny the Ball in Top Cat (Benny's rotund appearance was based on Gosfield too).

Even Arnold Stang's voicing of Top Cat strongly resembled Phil Silvers' voice. Other possible sources cited have been Guys and Dolls where actor Stubby Kaye played a short, stout street-wise gambler and a virtual Benny the Ball prototype. Lastly, an unlikely contender (as it also came from Hanna Barbera) was the character Hokey Wolf, from a segment on The Huckleberry Hound Show, which also had parallels to The Phil Silvers Show.[2][3]

A frequent plot-line revolved around the local beat cop Charles "Charlie" Dibble, NYPD, and his ineffective attempts to evict the gang from the alley due to them constantly attempting to earn a quick dollar — usually through an illegal scam. Dibble's appearance was modeled on Allen Jenkins, who voiced the part. The word dibble, previously used only for an implement for making holes to plant seeds, acquired a second meaning in the vernacular as slang for police officers.[4]

Characters

Episodes

Voice cast

Main voices:

Additional voices: Bea Benaderet, Herschel Bernardi, Daws Butler, Paul Frees, Sally Jones, Don Messick, Ge Ge Pearson, Gigi Perreau, Jean Vander Pyl

Home media releases

In the USA, a box set with all 30 episodes was released in December 2004 (2004-12).

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
Top Cat – The Complete Series 30 December 7, 2004 (2004-12-07)
  • Commentary on various episodes
  • Back to Hoagy's Alley: The Making of Top Cat (retrospective featurette)
  • Interviews: Cool Cats in Interview Alley
  • Top Cat sing-along
  • Production Sketches: Top Cat Collection (art, stills, sketches, backgrounds)
  • Storyboards: Storyboard Showcase
  • TV Spot: Top Cat Kellogg's commercials (US release only)

In the UK, the complete series box set was released in 2007, initially as a HMV exclusive until 2008. Alternatively, five single DVD volumes, each containing 6 episodes, were released. The covers were originally from the US edition but later re-released with a new design. Each volume shows a group picture of Top Cat using Dibble's phone with his gang beside him, but the colour-coding is:

  • Volume 1: Primrose (Episodes 1–6) – Top Cat
  • Volume 2: Green (Episodes 7–12) – Choo-Choo
  • Volume 3: Red (Episodes 13–18) – Fancy Fancy
  • Volume 4: Blue (Episodes 19–24) – Benny
  • Volume 5: Orange (Episodes 25–30) – Spook

The DVDs have since been made available to buy in other retailers across the UK.

Top Cat's cameos

Other characters appearing in Top Cat

Other Hanna-Barbera characters make cameo appearances during the series.

  • In the episode "King for a Day", Top Cat and his friends are reading comic books. Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound comics can be seen in the bottom right corner of the scene.
  • In the episode "Rafeefleas", the gang is wandering through a museum at night when they come upon a group of statues labeled "Prehistoric Man". Choo-Choo insists that he's seen the figures before, maybe on T.V., but TC waves this off. The statues are modeled after Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble.
  • In the episode "A Visit from Mother", "El Kabong" graffiti (Quick Draw McGraw's alter-ego) is seen on the wall in the background.

Top Cat's appearance in other shows

  • In one episode of, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Gomer is seen in a restaurant reading a Top Cat comic book.
  • Top Cat also made a cameo appearance in one of What-a-Cartoon shorts named "Buy One, Get One Free" in a party scene.
  • Top Cat made a cameo appearance in a 2012 MetLife commercial enititled, "Everyone".
  • Top Cat's theme is featured in The Flintstones episode "Surfin Fred" when Barney and Betty discover that Jimmy Darrock is in fact not a lifeguard.
  • Officer Dibble makes a cameo appearance in The Flintstones episode "Time Machine", as a policeman in the future. Thus returning the favor done in episode "The Rafeefleas" when T.C and the gang found two statues of cave man (Fred and Barney) in an art museum, while searching for the jewelry display case.
  • Top Cat and his gang appeared in Yogi's Ark Lark. While the others don't have dialogue, Top Cat was voiced by Daws Butler while Benny the Ball was voiced by John Stephenson. It was presumed that Arnold Stang wasn't available at the time while Maurice Gosfield was already dead in 1964.
  • In 1985, Top Cat appeared on Yogi's Treasure Hunt with Yogi Bear and other Hanna-Barbera toon stars; he was the one who assigned the treasure hunts. Officer Dibble made an appearance in the end of the show's episode, "Yogi's Beanstalk" voiced by John Stephenson since Allen Jenkins was already dead in 1974.
  • In 1987, Hanna-Barbera produced a feature-length television film based on the show titled Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats (part of the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 film series), in which the gang helps a young girl claim her inheritance. During that time, John Stephenson reprised Officer Dibble while Benny the Ball was voiced by Avery Schreiber.
  • In the Fender Bender 500 segment of Wake, Rattle, and Roll, Top Cat and Choo Choo were one of the racers driving a trash can-modeled monster truck called the Alley Cat.
  • In Yo Yogi!, Top Cat was a teenage cat voiced by Arte Johnson. Even here, he still lives in a trash can.
  • Top Cat was seen in a Cartoon Network Rap in 1995.
  • In the Duck Dodgers episode "K-9 Quarry", Top Cat was amongst the poached characters on the Alien Hunter's ship.
  • Top Cat, Benny and Brain made a cameo appearance at the end of The Powerpuff Girls episode "Catastrophe". They can be seen at the bottom left corner of the screen (Note: Instead of his hat, Top Cat has a splat of slime on his head).
  • Top Cat was seen briefly driving a motorcycle in the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Cheese a go-go."
  • In the Futurama episode "That Darn Katz!", a picture of Top Cat is seen.
  • In a sketch from BBC Radio 4 show That Mitchell and Webb Sound, a cop claims to have problems with TC. one particular moment similarly mentions from Maharajah of Pookajee.
  • An excerpt from the show appears in the 1982 film Cat People.
  • There is someone that dresses up as Top Cat in a Hanna-Barbera convention in the film Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon.
  • Top Cat and his gang will appear in the upcoming Scooby-Doo! direct-to-video Scooby-Doo! Mission: Hanna-Barbera.

In other media

Comic books

The gang's adventures continued off-screen in comic books as Dell (which became Gold Key) published 31 issues from 1961 to 1970. Charlton Comics published 20 more issues from 1970 to 1973.[5] In Mexico, La Coleccion Primavera featured Don Gato in 1968.

Books

Little Golden Books and Durabooks have both produced hardcover children's books starring Top Cat. In the UK, BrownWatson published the 1978 annual entitled The Great Grape Ape and Boss Cat.

View-Master

T.C. and friends appeared on three View-Master reels in 1962. These were titled "Medal for Meddling", "Zoo-Operation", and "No Cat Fishing".

Music

The Original TV Soundtrack was released by Colpix Records in 1962, consisting of slightly edited versions of "The Unscratchables" and "Top Cat Falls in Love". In 1965, Hanna-Barbera Records released an LP titled Robin Hood Starring Top Cat. T.C. and the gang were pictured as merry men on the cover. Songs included "Top Cat", "M-O-N-E-Y", "Dibble", "Robin Hood", and "Buddies". It was re-released in 1977 on Columbia Records' Special Products label. A jazzy arrangement of the Top Cat theme can be heard most weeks over the end credits of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour.

Feature film

Official Mexican release poster for the movie.

A feature film based on the TV series was released on September 16, 2011 in 2D and 3D theaters. The film was produced by Mexico's Ánima Estudios and Argentina's Illusion Studios and was released by the Latin American branch of Warner Bros. (whose parent company, Time Warner owns Turner Entertainment, which acquired Hanna-Barbera in 1990). Entitled Don Gato y su Pandilla (the name used for the Spanish dub of the series),[6] the film was a major box-office success in Mexico and was one of the most successful releases from a Mexican production.[7]

The film later had a limited theatrical release in the United States on August 2, 2013, featuring the voices of Rob Schneider as Lou Strickland and Danny Trejo as Griswald.[8]

Broadcasting

United States

Canada

Mexico

Sri Lanka

India

Bangladesh

Southeast Asia

Pakistan

Japan

Denmark

France

Germany

Italy

Czech Republic

Macedonia

Poland

Hungary Dubbed:

Middle East & Africa:

Russia

Spain

Sweden

Netherlands

Norway

United Kingdom

Australia

New Zealand

Argentina

Brazil

Costa Rica

Chile

Uruguay

  • National Television Uruguay

Venezuela

Canada

Top Cat was among the first programs aired on CTV. The country's first private television network commenced broadcasts in October 1961.

Ibero-America

In spite of the modest success of the show in the United States, the show was a massive hit in Mexico, Chile, Peru and Argentina, where it is recognized as one of the most famous Hanna Barbera characters ever, being as popular as The Flintstones. In Mexico the show is aired under the name Don Gato y su pandilla (literally Mr. Cat and his gang like mafia style, but stands for Mr. Top Cat or just Top Cat like in the United States) and the main characters adopted different accents. Besides Top Cat, all the other characters from the show were very famous, and their popularity is commonly attributed by the excellent dubbing and voice acting: Benny was renamed Benito B. Bodoque y B. and given a more childlike voice than was the case in the original dubbing, Choo Choo was renamed Cucho and spoke with Mexican-Víctor Alcocer (voice of Dibble), David Reynoso among others.

In Brazil, the character is known as Manda-Chuva (Brazilian Portuguese for big shot) and was voiced by actor Lima Duarte. In addition, the city of New York was replaced by Brasília (federal capital) in the Brazilian version.

United Kingdom

Boss Cat title card

Top Cat is the most enduringly popular of all Hanna-Barbera shows in the United Kingdom, having been rerun on network TV more than any other since its debut.

It debuted on 16 May 1962, under its original name[9] but was renamed "The Boss Cat" on 13 June 1962.[10] This was shortened on 22 February 1967 to Boss Cat.[11] This rapid name change was made because Top Cat was also the name of a then-popular British brand of cat food. The dialogue and theme tune still referred to the character by his original name but a small cut was made at the climax of the opening credits (resulting in a slight 'jump' in the film) and a title card added before the episode proper. Similarly, the 'Top Cat' name was edited from the final section of the show's closing credits, causing another slight 'jump' (as Top Cat is putting on his eyeshades and readying himself for sleep in his trash can).

Despite the 'Boss Cat' title card, the continued use of the Top Cat name (and the acronym 'T.C') throughout the UK-aired soundtrack meant that the character was always popularly referred to as 'Top Cat' by every generation of UK viewers. The 'Boss Cat' title card was last used for a repeat run in 1989; by the time the series was next aired in 1999 the 'Top Cat' food brand had been discontinued in the UK (as had any concerns about mirroring such a brand name even if it did exist), allowing the original title to be used. This continues to be the case in contemporary showings on Boomerang and BBC Two. "Top Cat" cat food is still available in South Africa.

"The Dibble" is a name sometimes used as a slang term for the police (after Officer Dibble). The use of this phrase is more prevalent in the Greater Manchester area of the United Kingdom.

Hungary

Top Cat (Turpi úrfi) was one of the first American cartoons premiered on Hungarian television channels in 1969. It also broadcast later with The Huckleberry Hound Show, Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes, The Flintstones and The Jetsons on Magyar Televízió from 1985 to 1990, and tv2 from 1997 to 1999 (together with Wacky Races, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo). From 2012 Boomerang broadcasts it in Hungarian.

India

Top Cat was one of the early favorites on Cartoon Network. It was aired in India in the 1990s. Top Cat was aired again in 2003 until 2004.

Sri Lanka

Top Cat (Sinhala: Pissu Poosa (පිස්සු පූසා)) was one of the most popular cartoon shows in Sri Lanka and it has been repeated several times on the same TV channel.

Name in different languages

  • Brazilian Portuguese: Manda-Chuva (voice by Lima Duarte)
  • Bulgarian: Топ Кет (Top Ket)
  • Canadian French: Top chatons
  • Czech: Kočičí banda
  • Danish: Top Kat
  • Dutch: Top Kat
  • Finnish: Topi-katti
  • French: Le Chat
  • German: Superkatt
  • Hungarian: Turppi Yurfi (Mr.Meanace) in the series and Főmacska (Main Cat) in the special.
  • Italian: Top Gattini
  • Japanese: Doraneko Taishō (ドラ猫大将) (lit. 'Stray Cat Boss')
  • Macedonian: Тошо Мачорот (Tosho Machorot)
  • Norwegian: Top Katt
  • Polish: Kocia Ferajna (lit. Catfellas) and earlier translation Kot Tip Top (lit. Tippy Cat), featuring vastly better translation of the original, reels with that version were lost or recorded over
  • Portuguese: Top Cat
  • Romanian: Super pisik
  • Russian: ГлавКот
  • Serbian: Mika Mačor
  • Sinhalese: Pissu Poosa (පිස්සු පූසා)
  • Spanish: Don Gato y su pandilla (Mr. Cat and his gang)
  • Swedish: Top Cat (voice by Per Sandborgh)

Production credits

1961–62

  • Created, Produced and Directed by: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
  • Written By: Kin Platt
  • Story Director: Paul Sommer
  • Associate Producer: Alan Dinehart
  • Musical Director: Hoyt Curtin
  • Starring the Voice of: Arnold Stang, With: Allen Jenkins, Maurice Gosfield, Marvin Kaplan, Leo De Lyon, John Stephenson, Paul Frees
  • Animation: Kenneth Muse, Jerry Hathcock
  • Animation Direction: Charles A. Nichols
  • Production Supervision: Howard Hanson
  • Layout: Jack Huber
  • Titles: Lawrence Goble
  • Backgrounds: Montealegre
  • Camera: Roy Wade, Norman Stainback, Frank Paiker, Charles Flekal
  • Film Editing: Greg Watson, Warner Leighton
  • Top Cat Copyright MCMLXI Hanna-Barbera Productions
  • A Hanna-Barbera Production
  • A Screen Gems Film Presentation
    • Television Subsidiary: Columbia Pictures Corporation

2004 DVD Version

  • Produced and Directed By: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
  • Written by Kin Platt, Joanna Lee, Michael Maltese, Barry Blitzer, Tony Benedict, Ray Allen, Larry Markes, Harvey Bullock, Harvey Marshall
  • Story Direction: Alex Lovy, Lewis Marshall, Paul Sommer
  • Associate Producer: Alan Dinehart
  • Musical Direction: Hoyt Curtin
  • Starring the Voice of: Arnold Stang With: Maurice Gosfield, Allen Jenkins, Marvin Kaplan, Leo De Lyon, John Stephenson
  • Additional Voices: Bea Benaderet, Daws Butler, Herschel Bernardi, Walker Edmiston, Paul Frees, Sally Jones, Don Messick, Ge Ge Pearson, Hal Smith, Jean Vander Pyl, Herb Vigran
  • Animation: Ed Aardal, George Goepper, Jerry Hathcock, Harry Holt, Ed Love, Tony Love, Dick Lundy, Kenneth Muse, Don Patterson, Irv Spence, Carlo Vinci, Don Williams
  • Animation Direction: Charles A. Nichols
  • Production Supervision: Howard Hanson
  • Layout: Dick Bickenbach, Jack Huber, Walter Clinton, Dan Noonan
  • Titles: Lawrence Goble
  • Background: Art Lozzi, Montealegre, Robert Gentle, Neenah Maxwell, Anthony Rizzo, Richard H. Thomas
  • Camera: Charles Flekal, Roy Wade, Norman Stainback, Frank Paiker
  • Film Editing: Greg Watson, Warner Leighton, Zachary Zeiger, Kenneth Spears, Joseph Ruby, Donald A. Douglas
  • A Hanna-Barbera Production

See also

References

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.).
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Mexican Animated Film 'Top Cat' Breaks Record at Box Office The Hollywood Reporter. September 20, 2011. John Hecht
  8. ^ ROB SCHNEIDER AND DANNY TREJO LENDING THEIR VOICES FOR TOP CAT: THE MOVIE | Alien Bee Entertainment News
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links

  • Top Cat on Boomerang
  • Top Cat Unofficial Site
  • Top Cat at the Internet Movie Database
  • Top Cat at TV.com
  • Top Cat at Toonopedia
  • theme songTop CatToon Tracker's lyrics to the
  • The Cartoon Scrapbook – Profile on Top Cat.


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