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Top Cat
Topcat.jpg
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
Format Animated television series
Voices of Arnold Stang
Paul Frees
Maurice Gosfield
Leo DeLyon
Marvin Kaplan
John Stephenson
Allen Jenkins
Jean Vander Pyl
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of episodes 30 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time Between 24 and 27 Minutes
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera Productions
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Picture format Color (initially telecast in black and white)
Original run September 27, 1961 (1961-09-27) – April 18, 1962 (1962-04-18)

Top Cat is a Hanna-Barbera prime time animated television film series which ran from September 27, 1961 to April 18, 1962 for a run of 30 episodes on the ABC network on Wednesdays [8:30-9pm Eastern]. Originally co-sponsored by Kellogg's and Bristol-Myers (Bufferin). Re-runs can be seen on Boomerang (a sub-division of Cartoon Network) and also on DVD from Warner Home Video.

Contents

History

The central character, Top Cat — called T.C. by close friends, "providing it's with dignity" as the lyrics of the theme song say — is the leader of a gang of New York City alley cats: Fancy-Fancy, Spook, Benny the Ball, The Brain, and Choo Choo. Top Cat and his gang were inspired by characters from the popular situation comedy The Phil Silvers Show. It has also been said that the Bowery Boys influenced the 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). Arnold Stang's voicing of Top Cat strongly resembled Phil Silvers' voice as well.

A frequent plot-line revolved around the local NYPD (although it's never mentioned that Dibble is a New York cop) policeman, Officer Charles "Charlie" Dibble, and his ineffective attempts to evict the gang from the alley. The only reason that he wanted to be rid of them was that Top Cat and his gang were constantly attempting to earn a quick dollar—usually through an illegal scam. Dibble's appearance was modeled on Allen Jenkins, who did his voice. The name Dibble has passed into the vernacular as slang for police officers.

Characters

Benny the Ball

Benny and his mother from the episode "A Visit From Mother".

Benny is one of Top Cat's right-hand men. He is short, chubby, naive, and cute, a blue-coloured cat with a white sweater that fastens with a single button at his neck. Benny may appear to be simple-minded, but he manages to ask the most logical questions during the gang's erratic endeavors. He is slow, not stupid. The gang relationship between Benny and Top Cat is based on a devoted friendship between them. An example of the lengths to which Top Cat will go to help Benny is illustrated by the episode "A Visit From Mother" in which Top Cat arranges for Benny to appear to be the mayor of New York City. A number of episodes have focused on Benny, including "The Violin Player", "The Unscratchables" and "The Missing Heir". Benny the Ball is modeled after his voice actor Maurice Gosfield.

Choo-Choo

Choo-Choo aka Chooch is another of Top Cat's right-hand men, usually his second in command, and is enthusiastic and devoted to Top Cat even when he’s clueless as to what he’s doing. He is a pink cat with a white long-sleeve turtle-neck shirt, is the tallest of the alley gang cats, and often is depicted with the eyes of a Siamese cat. He lives at the fire house as the fire house cat as seen in one episode (the first one actually: Hawaii here we come). He had a couple of love crushes [“Choo-choo's romance”, “Choo-choo goes gaga-gaga”], however unlike Fancy-Fancy or Top Cat, Choo-Choo has no courage talking to girls. When he talks, his voice sounds like Woody Allen. The voice actor for Choo Choo is Marvin Kaplan.

Brain

Brain appears to be a common henchman to Top Cat. Brain is the dim-witted member of the alley gang, an orange cat with a purple T-Shirt with a black line. Brain is notorious for being unable to keep a secret, and for his stuttering. He also seems to be in charge of the group's money (which they rarely have) and he runs up and down the road. Despite his apparent stupidity, he can sometimes say something brilliant. Which Top Cat instantly rephrases to make it sound like he said it. The voice actor is Leo De Lyon.

Fancy-Fancy

Fancy-Fancy appears to be a common henchman to Top Cat. He is laid-back, sweet-talking and is regularly seen chatting up the ladies before leaving them when hearing the 'dustbin lid call', a brown cat with a white scarf. He resembles Spook in appearance, and his voice (John Stephenson) and character were based on Cary Grant.

Spook

Spook rarely speaks in the episodes, but when he does, a torrent of "like"'s are used. He is similar to Fancy-Fancy in demeanor and appearance, a sweet talking cat whose vernacular is based on that of a beatnik. He is a pool shark with green fur and a black tie. The voice actor is Leo De Lyon.

Officer Dibble

Officer Dibble is the NYPD policeman whose beat includes the alley. Though he usually resents the gang's presence in the alley, there are times when he respects and loves them, but wants Top Cat to clean up the alley, and to stay off his telephone. Is sometimes called variations of his name by Top Cat such of Dabble, Drubble, Dripple and so on. Voiced by Allen Jenkins.

Cameos

In one of the episodes Top Cat and his friends are reading comic books. At the right and at the bottom there is a Yogi Bear and a Huckleberry Hound comic.

In another episode, 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 Top Cat waves this off. Of course, the statues are modeled after Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. In "A visit from mother" episode "El Kabong" (Quick Draw McGraw’s alter-ego) is seen singing in the background.

In another Hanna-Barbera production, The Powerpuff Girls, he briefly can be seen in the background before the end shot. This only appears on "Catastrophe".

Episode list

# Title Airdate Summary
1 Hawaii Here We Come (September 27, 1961) Top Cat and the gang hide onboard a boat going to Hawaii.
2 Maharajah of Pookajee (October 4, 1961)
3 All That Jazz (October 11, 1961)
4 The $1,000,000 Derby (October 18, 1961)
5 The Violin Player (October 25, 1961)
6 The Missing Heir (November 1, 1961)
7 Top Cat Falls In Love (November 8, 1961)
8 A Visit From Mother (November 15, 1961)
9 Naked Town (November 22, 1961)
10 Sergeant Top Cat (November 29, 1961)
11 Choo-Choo's Romance (December 6, 1961)
12 The Unscratchables (December 13, 1961)
13 Rafeefleas (December 20, 1961)
14 The Tycoon (December 27, 1961)
15 The Long Hot Winter (January 3, 1962)
16 The Case of the Absent Anteater (January 10, 1962)
17 T.C. Minds the Baby (January 17, 1962)
18 Farewell, Mr. Dibble (January 24, 1962)
19 The Grand Tour (January 31, 1962)
20 The Golden Fleecing (February 7, 1962)
21 Space Monkey (February 14, 1962)
22 The Late T.C. (February 21, 1962)
23 Dibble's Birthday (February 28, 1962)
24 Choo-Choo Goes Ga-Ga (March 7, 1962)
25 King for a Day (March 14, 1962)
26 The Con Men (March 21, 1962)
27 Dibble Breaks the Record (March 28, 1962)
28 Dibble Sings Again (April 4, 1962)
29 Griswald (April 11, 1962)
30 Dibble's Double (April 18, 1962)

Broadcast history

USA

Canada

Denmark

United Kingdom

Southeast Asia

Australia

India

Latin America

DVD release

In the USA, a boxset 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

In the UK, the complete series boxset has been released as a HMV exclusive on October 8, 2007. Alternatively, 5 single DVD volumes, each containing 6 episodes, were released. The covers were originally from the US edition, but was 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: Purple (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

Other appearances

  • 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 voice by John Stephenson. It was presumed that Arnold Stang wasn't available at the time, while Maurice Gosfield died in 1964.
  • In 1985, Top Cat appeared on Yogi's Treasure Hunt with Yogi Bear and the other Hanna-Barbera 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.
  • 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 1991, Top Cat was a teenage cat (but he still lived in a trash can) on NBC's Yo Yogi! voiced by Arte Johnson. Top Cat was seen in a Cartoon Network Rap in 1995.
  • Top Cat and his gang appeared in the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode "Mindless" with Top Cat and Choo Choo voiced by Tom Kenny, Benny the Ball voiced by Maurice LaMarche, and Fancy-Fancy voiced by Chris Edgerly. The Brain has no dialogue and Spook is nowhere to be seen. In that episode, Harvey Birdman takes Top Cat and his gang home. Top Cat gets sued for bookmaking and running an illegal gambling service out of Harvey's home. He is found guilty and is sentenced to probation.

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.[1] 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.

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. The Top Cat theme song is the opening track on Ted Kooshian's 2008 jazz CD, Ted Kooshian's Standard Orbit Quartet. The theme for Top Cat is also used in the 2009–2010 ABRSM Grade three exam pieces. It is C:2

International broadcasters

Canada

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

Mexico and Latin America

In spite of the modest success of the show in the United States, the show was a massive hit in Mexico 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 was aired under the name Don Gato y su pandilla (literally Mr. Cat and his gang, 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: Benny was renamed Benito B. Bodoque y B. and given a more child-like voice than was the case in the original dubbing, Choo Choo was renamed Cucho and spoke with mexican-yucatan accent, Fancy-Fancy was Panza (belly), Spook renamed as the word's rough translation Espanto, The Brain was called Demóstenes (honouring the Greek statesman Demosthenes, with whom he shares a speech impediment) and Officer Dibble renamed as Oficial Carlitos Matute. This name, "matute" was used in Argentina as a slag reference for policemen. Top Cat is still rerun every few years. The main voice actor were Jorge Arvizu , Víctor Alcocer, David Reynoso among others.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the show was first aired on BBC television (now called BBC One) but renamed Boss Cat shortly after it premiered in 1962 because Top Cat was also the name of a brand of cat food. The dialogue and theme tune still referred to the character by his original name but a small cut was made in the opening credits (resulting in a slight 'jump' in the film) and a title card added before the episode proper. The new name 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 long since disappeared, allowing the original title to be used. This continues to be the case in the showings on Boomerang and BBC Two.

As of 2010, Top Cat is shown every day on Cartoon Network Too, with two airings at weekends. It is also still shown on Boomerang, but only in the early hours.

India

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

Name in different languages

  • Brazilian Portuguese: Manda Chuva 'voice by Lima Duarte
  • Bulgarian: Топ Кет (Top Ket)
  • Canadian French: Pacha et les chats
  • Czech: Kočičí banda
  • Danish: Top Kat
  • Dutch: Top Kat
  • Finnish: Topi Katti
  • French: Le Pacha
  • German: Superkater
  • Hungarian: Turpi Úrfi
  • Italian: Top Cat
  • Japanese: Doraneko Taishō (ドラ猫大将?) (lit. 'Stray Cat Boss')
  • Macedonian: Тошо Мачорот (Tosho Machorot)
  • Norwegian: Topp Katt
  • Polish: Kocia Ferajna (lit. Catfellas) and earlier translation Kot Tip Top (lit. Tippytoe Cat), featuring vastly better translation of the original, reels with that version were lost or recorded over
  • Portuguese: Top Cat
  • Serbian: Mačor Mika
  • Sinhala: Pissu Pusa (පිස්සු පූසා)
  • Spanish: Don Gato y su pandilla (Top Cat and his gang)
  • Swedish: Top Cat

See also

References

External links








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