Top Cat is a Hanna-Barbera Prime time animated television series which ran from September 27, 1961 to April 18, 1962 for a run of 30 episodes on the ABC network on Wednesdays.
History and treatmentRectify
The central character, Top Cat — called T.C. by close friends — is the leader of a gang of New York 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 plotline revolved around the local policeman, Officer Charlie Dibble, and his ineffective attempts to evict the gang from the city. 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 modelled on Allen Jenkins who did his voice. The name Dibble has passed into the Vernacular as slang for police officers.
Cast and charactersRectify
- Arnold Stang — Top Cat
- Maurice Gosfield — Benjamin T. "Benny the Ball" Ball, Jr., who is modeled after Mr. Gosfield
- Marvin Kaplan — Choo Choo
- Leo De Lyon — Brain/Spook
- John Stephenson (actor) — Fancy-Fancy
- Allen Jenkins - Officer Charles "Charlie" Dibble, who is modeled after Mr. Jenkins
Top Cat, a yellow cat with violet hat and vest, is the Protagonist of the series and leader of the gang of cats around which the series revolves. Top Cat is laid-back and persuasive, a leader who can also be a friend. Top Cat's leadership is sometimes challenged by the rest of the gang, particularly when he has done something particularly shameful. Resolution of the revolt usually comes as capitulation by Top Cat to the will of the gang. One such incident features in "Dibble's Birthday" where Top Cat plans to give away all of Dibble's birthday gifts.
Benny the BallRectify
Benny is one of Top Cat's right-hand men. He is short, chubby, naive, and cute, an indigo-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. A number of episodes have focused on Benny, including "The Violin Player", "The Unscratchables (Top Cat episode)" and "The Missing Heir".
Choo Choo is another of Top Cat's right-hand men and usually his 2nd in command. 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.
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 shirt. Brain is notorious for being unable to keep a secret and his Stuttering.
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 dark orange cat with a white scarf. He resembles Spook in appearance, and his voice and character were based on Cary Grant.
Spook rarely speaks in the episodes. He is similar to Fancy-Fancy in demeanor and appearance, a sweet talking cat whose vernacular is based on that of a beatnik and is a pool shark with green fur and a black tie.
Officer Dibble is the 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.
- "Hawaii Here We Come" (Sep 27, 1961)
- "Maharajah of Pookajee" (Oct 4, 1961)
- "All That Jazz" (Oct 11, 1961)
- "The $1,000,000 Derby" (Oct 18, 1961)
- "The Violin Player" (Oct 25, 1961)
- "The Missing Heir" (Nov 1, 1961)
- "Top Cat Falls In Love" (Nov 8, 1961)
- "A Visit From Mother" (Nov 1, 1961)
- "Naked Town" (Nov 22, 1961)
- "Sergeant Top Cat" (Nov 29, 1961)
- "Choo-Choo's Romance" (Dec 6, 1961)
- "The Unscratchables" (Dec 13, 1961)
- "Rafeefleas" (Dec 20, 1961)
- "The Tycoon" (Dec 27, 1961)
- "The Long Hot Winter" (Jan 3, 1962)
- "The Case of the Absent Anteater" (Jan 10, 1962)
- "T.C. Minds the Baby" (Jan 17, 1962)
- "Farewell, Mr. Dibble" (Jan 24, 1962)
- "The Grand Tour" (Jan 3, 1962)
- "The Golden Fleecing" (Feb 7, 1962)
- "Space Monkey" (Feb 14, 1962)
- "The Late T.C." (Feb 21, 1962)
- "Dibble's Birthday" (Feb 28, 1962)
- "Choo-Choo Goes Ga-Ga" (Mar 7, 1962)
- "King for a Day" (Mar 14, 1962)
- "The Con Men" (Mar 21, 1962)
- "Dibble Breaks the Record" (Mar 28, 1962)
- "Dibble Sings Again" (Apr 4, 1962)
- "Griswald" (Apr 11, 1962)
- "Dibble's Double" (Apr 18, 1962)
On December 7, 2004, Warner Home Video released the complete series (30 episodes) on DVD R1.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date||Additional Information|
|Top Cat- The Complete Series||30||December 7 2004||
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 presumably since Arnold Stang wasn't available at the time.
In 1985, Top Cat appeared on Yogi's Treasure Hunt with all the other Hanna-Barbera characters, he was the one who assigned the treasure hunts.
Hanna-Barbera Studios created and produced a feature-length telefilm based on the show titled Dibble's Birthday (part of the Hanna-Barbera film series), in which the gang helps a young girl claim her inheritance.
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.
In 1991 he became a teenage cat (but he still lived in a trash can) on NBC's Yo Yogi! voiced by Arte Johnson.
In the Duck Dodgers (TV series) episode "K-9 Quarry," Top Cat was amongst the poached characters on the Alien Hunter's ship.
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 was among the first programs aired on CTV. The country's first private television network commenced broadcasts in October 1961.
Mexico and Latin AmericaRectify
The show was a massive hit in Mexico, where it is known as Don Gato y su pandilla (literally Mr. Cat and his gang) and the main characters adopted accents from different regions of Mexico. Besides Top Cat, all the other characters from the show were very famous: Benny was renamed Benito B. Bodoque y B., Choo Choo was renamed Cucho and spoke with a strong Yucatan accent, Fancy-Fancy was Panza (Tummy), 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. Top Cat is still rerun every few years.
In the United Kingdom, the show was first aired on BBC television (now called BBC) 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.
- Brazilian Portuguese: Manda Chuva 'voice by Lima Duarte
- Finnish: Topi Katti
- French: Le Pacha
- German: Superkater
- Hungarian: Turpi Úrfi
- Italian: Temistocle
- Japanese: (lit. 'Stray Cat Boss')
- Norwegian: Topp Katt
- Polish: Kocia Ferajna (lit. 'Catfellas')
- Portuguese: Top Cat
- Serbian: Mačor Mika
- Sinhala: Pissu Pusa (පිස්සු පූසා)
- Spanish: Don Gato y su pandilla