Top Cat (TV series)
- This article is about the TV series. For the main title character, see Top Cat (character). For other uses, see Top Cat.
On-screen title card.
|Created by:||William Hanna|
|Original release:||September 27, 1961—April 25, 1962|
|Run time:||25 minutes|
Leo De Lyon
|Music composed by:||Hoyt Curtin|
Barry E. Blitzer
|Second title card|
British title card in the 60s and 80s.
Top Cat is an American animated sitcom television series produced by Hanna-Barbera (H-B) for ABC. It ran from 1961 to 1962, airing 30 episodes that spanned one season. It was the second prime-time animated series geared towards adults, although its accessibility for the whole family allowed it to be aired on Cartoon Network and Boomerang in their heydays.
The entire series has been released on DVD.
Top Cat was sold on a drawing Joseph Barbera made of a smart aleck cat with the words "Top Cat" underneath. As the series came into further existence it was inspired by the Phil Silvers comedy You'll Never Get Rich (aka The Phil Silvers Show).
Before Arnold Stang was selected to voice Top Cat, Michael O'Shea was first slated to voice the character, but dropped out because of other commitments. According to associate producer Alan Dinehart, O'Shea took too long to record his lines and was replaced by Stang mid-production. In a story published by Weekly Variety (dated July 19, 1961), Andy Devine, Mickey Rooney, Jerry Lester, Larry Storch, and Max Rosenbloom were also among the actors who had auditioned for the role before Stang.
The music was composed by Hoyt Curtin.
Opening Theme Lyrics
The most ineffectual, Top-Cat!
Close friends get to call him T.C.
Provided it's with dignity.
The indisputable, leader of the gang.
He's the boss, he's the quip, he's the championship!
He's most tip top,
Yes, he's the chief, he's the king, but above everything,
He's most tip top,
Dates are in order of release:
- United States: September 27, 1961 at 8:30 pm on ABC
- United Kingdom & Ireland: May 16, 1962 at 5:10 pm on BBC TV
- Arnold Stang as Top Cat
- Maurice Gosfield as Benny the Ball
- Marvin Kaplan as Choo Choo
- Leo De Lyon as Brain and Spook
- John Stephenson as Fancy Fancy
- Allen Jenkins as Officer Dibble
|Title||Number||Original air date|
|Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law: "Mindless"||1||September 25, 2005|
While the series proved to be a ratings failure, it found better success on Saturday morning television and all or some of the characters appeared in crossover productions of H-B, including Yogi's Ark Lark and Yogi's Treasure Hunt. They also starred in their own 1988 TV movie, Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats. Top Cat also proved to be a big hit in Mexico, where it is dubbed as "Don Gato y su Pandilla". Two official theatrical films were produced in that country, later translated and dubbed into the English-language films Top Cat: The Movie and Top Cat Begins.
In the United Kingdom, Top Cat became quite successful when it aired on BBC Television Service (now BBC One) on May 16, 1962. However, on June 13 of the same year, the show had to be renamed "The Boss Cat", which would then be shortened to "Boss Cat" in 1967. The name change occured because of a then-popular British cat food similarly named "Top Cat", and because BBC didn't carry advertisements in their broadcasts, responded quickly by altering the visuals for the show's intro and end credits with a simple "Boss Cat" title card. Despite this, Top Cat's original name was left unaltered in the audio tracks of each episode. The last time the "Boss Cat" titles were used was in a 1989 rerun on BBC One, marking the end of its long-run of the program, and by the time the show was aired again in April 6, 1999 on BBC Two (which once carried the program twice in August, 1983 and in December, 1988), the aforementioned "Top Cat" food brand had been long since discontinued, allowing the show's original American title cards to be used on British airings without issue. The last time Top Cat aired on a BBC channel was BBC Two in 2007, although Boomerang kept airing it in the early morning for a few years after that.
In the 1990s, Turner Entertainment commissioned a 20-part talk show hosted by Top Cat in the form of interstitials for Cartoon Network's international market. Top Cat's first two guests were David Hasselhoff and Carl Lewis. Sadly, all 20 seem to have not survived for the internet to watch.
In the 2000s, Top Cat and his gang had a guest appearance in the Adult Swim spoof, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. Warner Bros. Animation attempted to do a new Top Cat TV series at one point, but never completed it outside of some concept art. T.C. and his gang would have looked the same except for wardrobe changes, whereas Officer Dibble would have been given a radically new design. There were also plans to introduce a new girl in T.C.'s gang called Roxy.
In 2021, Top Cat, Benny the Ball, Choo Choo, Brain, Spook and Fancy Fancy have made several guest appearances in the HBO Max web TV series, Jellystone! This series not only presents new personalities for each of the gang, but Choo Choo, Brain and Spook (named Spooky) are also girls for this series.
In popular culture
- In the Lucifer episode "Yabba Dabba Do Me," a young Jimmy Baines watches Top Cat.
- Sennett, Ted (October 30, 1989). The Art of Hanna-Barbera, page 120. Viking Studio Books. Retrieved November 24, 2022.
- Sennett, Ted (October 30, 1989). The Art of Hanna-Barbera, page 115. Viking Studio Books. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
- Yowp, Don M. (September 28, 2009). "Top Cat! Starring the Voice of ... Who?" yowpyowp.blogspot.com
- Yowp, Don M. (December 9, 2015). "Hanna-Barbera Chugs Along, 1961" yowpyowp.blogspot.com
- (1996). "MIP TV ISSUE". Television Business International. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
- Kupcyzk, Dave (January 11, 2008). "Top Cat Remake". Dave's blog. Retrieved August 1, 2021.