Top Cat

Top CatIf you are tasked to make a list of the most famous cats in the world, Top Cat’s name will definitely show up on that list. Even though the Top Cat animated series only had less than a year’s run on television, its influence has extended even to other media, such as films, books, comics, and continues to do so up to this day. It is also being broadcasted on various countries all over the world. Let us get to know more about Top Cat, one of Hanna-Barbera’s most popular characters of all time.

Fast Facts
  • Directors:
    William Hanna
    Joseph Barbera
  • First appearance:
    Detective Comics #27 (May 1939)
  • Country of origin:
    United States
  • Number of episodes:
    30
  • Original run:
    September 27, 1961 to April 18, 1962
  • Original channel:
    ABC

Top Cat Cartoon

Top Cat is an animated television series that has a total of 30 episodes, which ran from 1961 to 1962 on ABC network. The title character, also known as T.C., refers to the leader of a gang of alley cats living in Manhattan, and the plot line often revolves around the gang and their antagonizing relationship with Officer Charlie Dibble, a cop who wants to kick them out of the Manhattan alleys.

According to the show’s creators, the idea for Top Cat stemmed out from various inspirations, one of them being the 1940 movie The East Side Kids. Another inspiration was the 1950s military comedy titled, The Phil Silvers Show. Just like T.C., Phil Silvers was also a crafty leader, and even had a similar voice as that of T.C.

At present, reruns are constantly being shown on different networks all over the world, most notably Boomerang, a network operating under Cartoon Network. The Top Cat series is still being shown in the United States, Australia, Russia, Canada, and most of Europe and Southeast Asia. It has been particularly successful in Latin America, where a movie version was even released in 2011.

Top Cat Characters

Top Cat Gang

Top Cat Gang

The main protagonist of the television series is Top Cat, also known as T.C. He is not the conventional protagonist, as he is lazy and greedy but quite clever. This yellow-furred cat clad in a mauve vest and hat often takes credit for the good things that the rest of the gang does. He also often tricks the gang and the main antagonist, Officer Charlie Dibble. However, he is a loyal and helpful friend to them, especially when they are in need. T.C. is voiced by Arnold Stang in the series.

 

Officer Dibble

Officer Dibble

Speaking of the antagonist, Officer Dibble is a 45-year-old NYPD policeman whose main mission in the series is to clean up the alley. That includes T.C. and his gang, although there are times when he also learns to respect them. He has become so popular that the term “dibble” has entered the English language as a belittling slang term for police officers.

 

 

Benny

Benny

T.C. also has a sidekick by the name of Benny. This blue-colored cat is the opposite of T.C. in terms of sensibility, since Benny’s simple-mindedness contrasts T.C.’s cleverness. However, he is extremely devoted to T.C. and can sometimes get the whole gang out of trouble. He often wears a white jacket with a single button fastened at his neck. Benny is voiced by Maurice Gosfield.

 

 

To complete Top Cat’s gang, here are the other characters in the cartoons:

  • Choo-Choo – Affectionately nicknamed as Chooch, this pink cat is often clueless throughout the whole gang’s escapades, and is voiced by Marvin Kaplan.
  • Brain – Another somewhat dim-witted member, Brain is an orange cat known for his stutter and inability to keep a secret.
  • Fancy-Fancy – As a sweet-talking and handsome cat, Fancy-Fancy is popular with the lady cats. He is a brown cat with a white scarf and is based on actor Cary Grant.
  • Spook – Just like Fancy-Fancy, Spook is also a sweet talker. As the oldest member of the gang, he has a sharp wit and can be relied on during times of need.

Top Cat Theme Song

Top Cat Cast

Top Cat Cast

The animated TV series has the same opening and closing theme song, titled as The Most Effectual Top Cat. This theme song has been featured in several shows and programs, like in The Flintstones’ episode titled Surfin Fred. Ted Kooshian’s 2008 CD, Ted Kooshian’s Standard Orbit Quartet, had The Most Effectual Top Cat as the opening track. A jazz arrangement of the said song also became the ending credits of Theme Time Radio Hour by Bob Dylan for some time.

Top Cat Lyrics

Here are the lyrics for The Most Effectual Top Cat:
Top Cat, the most effectual
Top Cat, who’s intellectual
Close friends get to call him T.C.
Providing it’s with dignity
Top Cat
The indisputable leader of the gang
He’s the boss, he’s the pip
He’s the championship
He’s the most tip top
Top Cat
Yes he’s the chief, he’s the king
But above everything
He’s the most tip top
Top Cat
Top Cat

Film Songs

The Most Effectual Top Cat was also featured in the 2011 movie version. However, the movie had its own musical score composed by Leoncio Lara, and the song New York Groove sung by Ace Frehley had been featured in both the end credits and trailer.

Other Media

Aside from the television series, this famous gang leader has also been featured in other merchandise, like movies, comics, and books.

Movie Version

Don Gato

Don Gato

In September 16, 2011, the Latin American arm of Warner Bros. Pictures released Don Gato y su Pandilla, the film version of the animated series. The title came from the Spanish dub of the series. It became a phenomenal success in Mexico and was released in both 2D and 3D theaters. The English version of the film was released in the United States on August 2, 2013. It was also shown in other countries like Argentina, Brazil, Spain, United Kingdom, Peru, Turkey, and Uruguay.

Raul Anaya dubbed Don Gato in the Spanish version. Other voice talents included Jorge Arvizu as Benny and Choo Choo, Sebastian Llapur as Officer Dibble and Rosalba Sotelo as Trixie, T.C.’s feline crush.
In the U.S. version, Jason Harris voiced T.C., Choo Choo, and Brain, while comedy actor Rob Schneider lent his voice for Lou Strickland, the main antagonist in the film.

Comics

Dell Comics, which later on became Gold Key Comics, published stories about this popular cat and the rest of the gang from 1961 to 1970. It went on for 31 issues. From 1970 to 1973, Charlton Comics took up where Gold Key Comics left off and published 20 more issues about the gang. There was also a Mexican version of the T.C. comics under the title Don Gato, published by La Coleccion Primavera in 1968.

Books

Top Cat Book

Top Cat Book

Both Durabooks and Little Golden Books came out with hardcover children’s books about the favorite cat cartoon in the United States. In the United Kingdom, an annual titled The Great Grape Ape and Boss Cat was published by BrownWatson in 1978 featuring T.C.

Top Cat Names

Although the American TV series was simply named Top Cat, versions all over the world have different titles. Examples of the names of this show in different languages include:

  • Spanish – Don Gato y su Pandilla (which roughly translates to Mr. Cat and His Gang)
  • French – Le Pacha
  • German – Superkater
  • Brazilian Portuguese – Manda Chuva
  • Japanese – Doraneko Taisho (which literally translates to Stray Cat Boss)
As one of the most popular Hanna-Barbera characters, Top Cat’s clever antics will not only be appreciated by the kids in the past, but also by the generations to come, since his story continues to be told on television in different parts of the world.

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