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Set in the Alleys of New York, "Top Cat" tells the story of a gang of low-life cats with their charismatic Leader, Top Cat. With ability and mischief, Top Cat will always try to get rich gambling, to eat for free, or to play jokes on someone, but he is always being watched by Officer Dibble, who is very strict and fierce with them, but in fact is a friend to all of them.Written by
The show was a parody of The Phil Silvers Show (1955), with Arnold Stang imitating Sgt Bilko's voice for the character of Top Cat. Benny the Ball was voiced by Maurice Gosfield who played Pvt Duane Doberman in The Phil Silvers Show. Benny and Pvt Doberman both shared the same demeanor and rotund appearance. See more »
In the opening title song "Top Cat" (seen in every episode) the waiter should be shown in front of the lunch box on the table. His torso is behind the box until Top Cat jumps up and runs for the taxi. At that point the waiter "pops" fully in front of the lunch box. This was related by Arnold Stang on the DVD commentary and he was very annoyed (even years later!) that the studio would let such an error occur every week. See more »
[admiring a contemporary painting]
This man has artistic temperament, like Van Gogh. You know, the painter who cut off his ear and sent it to his girlfriend.
Oh, yeah, to ask her why he hadn't heard from her.
See more »
The opening credits feature Top Cat entering a high-class restaurant to have lunch... which he picks from a construction worker working across the restaurant. He escapes from the maitre'd and the worker into a taxi and gets away (originally the series title appears on a blind TC pulls down in the taxi - later versions feature the title as TC gets into the taxi). See more »
In Mexico's Spanish dubbed version the name of characters was changed to:
Don Gato (Top Cat)
Benito B. Bodoque y B. (Benny the Ball)
Demóstenes (The Brain)
Agente Carlitos Matute (Officer Dibble)
Also the voice of Benito B. Bodoque y B. sound like a child and every cat had an accent in voice of some different Mexican regions.
TOP CAT = TOP NOTCH! Yet Another By Product of serious Drama; Rendered by the Animator's pen and the Best Voice Acting Ensemble available!
When the Animation Team of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera first enjoyed success on TV, it was with some anthropomorphic "funny animals" series. RUFF & REDDY (Hanna Barbera/Screen Gems, 1957) on NBC's Saturday morning schedule was followed by the syndicated HUCKLEBERRY HOUND Show (Hanna-Barbara/Screen Gems, 1958); which introduced not only old HUCK, but also YOGI BEAR and PIXIE, DIXIE & MR. JINX.
About a year or so later western spoofing QUICK DRAW McGRAW Show (Hanna-Barbera/Screen Gems, 1959) bowed (also syndicated). It gave us not only "Queeks Draw" & Baba Louie, but added back up features of SUPER SNOOP & BLABBER MOUSE (Detective Parody) and single parent family of AUGIE DOGGIE & DOGGIE DADDY.
HANNA-BARBERA made the jump back to the networks with ABC TV and THE FLINTSTONES (Hanna-Barbera/Screen Gems TV, 1960). It was shown on Friday evenings, early; but it was in primetime. The Stone Age HONEYMOONERS derivative was highly successful; hitting all the right demographics as well as piling up some good ratings in the nights "Lead-Off Position. The ground was traveled and a new phenomenon was broken into the networks, the Primetime Family Animated Cartoon Series.
THE folks at Hanna-Barbera Productions next hit on a second primetime project with the idea of a group of New York specific comedy series which would be highly reminiscent of the old Movies set in the Big Apple with a lot of characters which would definitely remind one of folks like Bogart, Cagney, John Garfireld, Frank McHugh, Marc Lawrence,Warren Hymer, "Slapsie" Maxie Rosenbloom, Ed Brophy, "Rags" Ragland,Jimmy Gleason and Allen Jenkins.
The main characters were mostly of the Feline Persuasion; except for the Beat Cop, Officer Dibble. They were voiced by a fine gang of NY types; with the title guy, Top Cat (Arnold Stang), Choo-Choo (Marvin Kaplan), Benny the Ball (Maurice Gosfield from SGT. BILKO), Fancy-Fancy (John Stevenson) and Brain & Spook (Leo DeLyon). The voice for Officer Dibble was done by the previously mentioned, Allen Jenkins. The resulting series, TOP CAT (Hanna-Barbera/Screen Gems/ABC TV, 1961-62), was born.
IN one Episode after another the action would revolve around the "boys" getting involved in some sort of mischief or deal; which was not exactly kosher with the law. Officer Dibble always had Top Cat and the Gang under suspicion and they usually pulled through the crisis with flying colors; the hard-boiled Dibble usually revealed a soft side as well as a deep down affection and admiration for the gang of alley cats.
ANIMATION is of the limited type as all of the Made for TV stuff was and basically is. The backgrounds were of the typical sorts that the Hanna-Barbera Productions' teams had made famous. Their extra long and repetitive hallways, fences and tree lined cityscapes with multi identical trees, planks and other landmarks abound and flourished. The incidental music was mostly the standard made-for-television stock stuff; with usually some of the original theme music blended in.
WE found TOP CAT to be greatly to our liking in our household. The stories were quite upbeat, often clever and most importantly, they were funny. But alas, the show failed to get any great sized following and consequently did not survive the cut leading up to a season two. That we believe to this very day was unfortunate; for the production team really gave some great individual personalities to the characters. There was a large component of the fresh and originality present; which is oft a rare commodity in TV.
AS for a model for TOP CAT as an individual character and as the Series; we were surprised to see that Nat Hiken's YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH/SGT. BILKO Show with Phil Silvers and Company was chosen to get the sort of semi-official nod and endorsement. There is a certain resemblance to Sgt. Ernie Bilko's barking out of orders to a subordinate; but there is so much more to it. First of all, the storyline is not in a Military setting; but rather it's in an urban, NYC type of locale.
PERSONALLY speaking, we (that is I) always felt that we were watching a sort of animated funny animal spin-off of the DEAD END Kids or rather their own off spring, THE BOWERY BOYS. The similarities are there. TOP CAT is essentially animated EAST SIDE KIDS/BOWERY BOYS Series.
OR is it the other way around; THE BOWERY BOYS movies are actually a Live Action sort of Cartoon?
It's food for thought, anyway!
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