Saturday, 13 February 2021

He's Still a Top Cat

It’s tough to say how much the older Hanna-Barbera cartoons are in the public consciousness these days. I don’t watch TV so I couldn’t tell you if any channel is airing them. The Flintstones got a Blu-ray release last year and The Jetsons came out in the same format a year earlier, so the people at Warners still thinks there’s a market for some of the cartoons.

This is a roundabout way of saying I was surprised to see a story the other about some of Hanna-Barbera’s output, including Top Cat. It was in, of all places, The Press and Journal of Aberdeen, Scotland. Granted, it appears to be a column designed to bring about nostalgia in older readers, but it’s better than nothing. You can read it here.

You’ll have a good laugh at how the writer praises Bill and Joe’s Tom and Jerry cartoons at MGM—with a frame from a Chuck Jones Tom and Jerry! And you’d think he’d mention that Ken Muse animated both the MGM Tom and Jerry cartoons and Top Cat (in the frame above, you can see the same expression he gave Tom in a number of theatrical shorts).

Meanwhile, the Gwinnett Daily Post this week had a trivia question about the series.

And over at the
NBC Right Now site, a lifestyles writer has named Top Cat number 86 in its list of the Top 100 TV shows of the ‘60s (people love lists).

Incidentally, The Hollywood Reporter blurbed on July 16, 1961:

Writer-cartoonist Tony Benedict has been signed to a three-year exclusive pact by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. As his first assignment, Benedict will tele-script two “Top Cat” shows.

Tony has mentioned to me did work on Top Cat but he wants to make it clear that he started at Hanna-Barbera in 1960 without a contract, first writing and storyboarding the Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear shows (he invented Alfie Gator on the Yakky cartoons) and moved on to the half-hour comedy prime-time shows, and others “too humorous to mention,” he tells me. I was hoping he could tell me which T.C. episodes he wrote, as the credits were snipped from the shows some time ago (before the DVD release), but I am awaiting a response.


  1. MeTV has been airing The Flintstones for almost a year and a half, and will start running The Jetsons on the 21st.

  2. Top Cat (or should I say Boss Cat?) has always been more popular in the UK than in the US. The show aired on BBC 2 as recently as the 2000s (and may still air now, though I'm not sure about that). So it's not surprising to see a Scottish newspaper reminisce about it.

    1. I realise he's phenomenally popular in Mexico, but you're quite right, he's not exactly a slouch in terms of popularity over here too. He definitely eclipses The Jetsons in the UK public consciousness for example.

      The writer missed out Spook and Brain and says Boulder Brothers instead of Slag Brothers though.

  3. The popularity of Top Cat in Mexico resulted in 2 new feature-length animated movies: "Top Cat: The Movie" and "Top Cat Begins".

    1. These both played in UK Cinemas too (although the second's run was rather brief I believe).