Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Futuristic Feline Obscurity

Among the things “The Flintstones” and “The Jetsons” had in common is both have closing credit animation featuring a cat who had very little to do in the actual series. The Flintstones’ Baby Puss appeared in comic books and toys and but, on camera, showed up in only three cartoons—“Nuthin’ But the Tooth,” “Pebbles’ Birthday Party” (both with animation by Carlo Vinci) and “Ten Little Flintstones.” (Late note: There was a fourth. See the comment section).

As best as I can tell, the Jetsons’ cat never had a name. He wasn’t even referred to in the ‘Jetsons End Title Theme’ because, unlike “The Flintstones,” the closing theme had no lyrics.

Here’s a frame grab from the ending you all know so well with the little kitten.



The unnamed cat grew up for his appearance in “Dude Planet.” At least, we’ll presume it’s the same cat. Then, again, maybe it’s a different one as the show reveals the cat always gets sucked up by the vacuum cleaner. If it were me, I’d find a new home. Here he is lying around before the vacuum eyes him. An atypical Hanna-Barbera cat design.



Here he is coming out of the vacuum cleaner and sneezing all the dust off himself.



The cel of the cat remains in place for 22 frames as the dust floats away.



There’s a four-drawing cycle of the cat churning its feet in mid-air...



...then it leaps out of the scene. Some of the animation is reused during the cat’s second and final appearance in the cartoon as it sneezes its way out of a cartoon career.



Some reading will know who did the cat animation (Someone does know. Mike Kazaleh reveals who it is in the comments). I thought it might be Jerry Hathcock. It looks to my untrained eye that George Nicholas worked on part of the cartoon but the correct screen credits were taken off years ago. The cat’s voice sounds like one of Don Messick’s.

Despite this blog being named for that fine cartoon dog, Yowp, we believe in giving credit to obscure cartoon cats as well. So we salute you, Catellite, or whatever your name is. Without you, there would be no need for George Jetson to utter the immoral words: “Jane, stop this crazy thing.”

12 comments:

  1. The animation of the cat is by George Geopper. Bill Keil and George Nicholas also did animation on the same episode. The voice of Jane's friend sounds like Joan Gardner to me.

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  2. That is strange that in the next-to-the-last JETSONS episode (at least until the 1980s syndicated revival) that there would all of a sudden be a family cat. The writers must have figured it wouldn't be as funny to have Astro sucked into the vacuum cleaner.

    Continuity was never any long-running 1960s series' strong point. In one FLINTSTONE episode, the Rubbles had a cat who made a five-second appearance. It lifted its head from its basket and mimicked Barney being tickled by Betty. "'Okay, I'll ask him.' SHEE- what a life!" (courtesy of Howard Morris) Both the Flintstones and Rubbles had talking parakeets in one episode each who provided the same kind of brief commentary as all of the various animalized gadgets.

    A bigger mystery is how Astro apparently appeared in the closing credit sequence from the series' outset even though he would be formally introduced in the fourth or fifth episode.

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    1. That is a mystery! It's like in the planning stages of that closing someone figured they needed a "walk the dog" gag thrown in and we got that despite not seeing this pooch for another few episodes.

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    2. Probably more a case of several episodes being produced, or planned in detail, before the closing credits were animated. By then they would have had Astro, and decided to include him.

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  3. One more Baby Puss appearance - "The X-Ray Story", in which Wilma threatens to give an ailing Dino's Shlump pet food to BP, triggering a hasty exit over the front yard gate.

    Howard, how about Dino appearing in the opening credits, but isn't introduced until episode EIGHTEEN, "The Snorkasaurus Hunter"? And he talked - for only that episode. Always wondered how much confusion that caused among the viewing audience.

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    1. I always thought it was obvious what happened to Dino: after the Flintstones adopted him, they had him lobotomized.

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  4. Thanks to Mike and TCJ for their keen eye in filling in blanks.

    Mike, do you know who did the Jetsons closing animation?

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  5. Mike thanks for the information. But are you sure it was Joan Gardner. Sounds to me a little like Sandra Gould. It was definitely something of a guest star, because can't recall hearing her on ''Top Cat'' or ''Yogi Bear''.

    P.S. Dine Got Lobotomized!?!?...Umm...Ugh...Huh...Wow...That's...a thought.

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    1. Or perhaps intelligent Dino realised he couldn't stay with the Flintstones after all so suggested they adopt his idiot brother. Or simply substituted him and ran away.

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  6. Joan Gardner was on Jetsons as Mrs.Spacely (Petunia...also the name of the girlfriend of another Mel Blanc character., Porky Pig's girlfriend Petunia). But Sandra Gould WAS on "The Flintstones"..don't know if she was on the "Jetsons". Yowp, your name for the cat, "Cattelite", fits the cat so well..! SC

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  7. When was Joan Gardner Mrs. Spacely. Sounds to me like it was jean Vander Pyl all the way.

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  8. Hmm, I don't believe the cat in that one episode is the same as in the closing credits. If you look closely, the one that Astro chases has a light orange crest underneath him, while the other one has no such feature. I always assumed the one in the closing credits belonged to one of the Jetsons' neighbors in that high-rise they live in.

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