Top Cat

the king of the alley

Top Cat was a television series produced by the Hanna-Barbera team. The series debuted on September 27, 1961, and there were a total of 30 episodes.

T.C., as he was also known, and the gang still have a following of devoted fans, myself included.

Indeed, this is one of my favorite cartoons of all time. When I was little, I used to watch it in Spanish. The show was known as "Don Gato y su Pandilla" (Mr. Cat and his Gang).

Life in the alley

Top Cat- or T.C. to his friends - is the head of a gang of cats who live in a Manhattan alley (known as Hoagy’s alley). T.C. is a suave, quick-witted, small-time hustler who is always trying to make a quick buck. He spends a great deal of time devising scams that will, supposedly, allow him to reach his goals. Despite the fact that he lives in a dirty alley, he manages to live very well and to have lots of fun. The gang’s nemesis is Officer Charlie Dibble (of the 13th precinct) who is always trying to evict them from their home in the alley. Of course, Officer Dibble is no match for Top Cat and his gang. Most of the time, they manage to outwit him. In the Spanish version I saw as a kid, Officer Dibble was renamed Inspector Carlos Matute.

The characters of this series were inspired by characters of The Phil Silvers Show, which ran from 1955 to 1959.

Meet the gang

T.C.'s gang of feline friends is always there to help him with his tricks and scams. And to evade Officer Dibble. They are a loyal bunch indeed. Here's a little information on each member of the gang:

Benny the Ball: Trusted and highly regarded by T.C. and the gang, he’s sweet, chubby, cute and good-natured. He and T.C are very close friends. In the Spanish version he was named Benito Bodoque (Blob).

Choo Choo: Always wearing his white turtleneck, Choo Choo is one of T.C.’s right-hand men. He was Cucho in the Spanish version.

Brain: This cat is the total opposite of his name. The Brain is rather slow but well-meaning and cute. In the Spanish translation, he was named Demostenes (as in Demosthenes, the great Greek statesman and orator. Like the Brain, he suffered from a speech impediment.)

Fancy-Fancy: He is quite the ladies man. A sweet talker, he’s T.C.’s deputy. In the Spanish version he was renamed Panza (Tummy).

Spook: This suave cat T.C.’s assistant. He has a striking resemblance to Fancy-Fancy. He too is a smooth talker. Spook was Espanto (Spook) in the Spanish version.

Here's additional info about this popular cartoon cat.

T.C. in other countires

As I mentioned previously, T.C. was renamed for the Spanish-speaking audience as Don Gato y su Pandilla. In the United Kingdom, the series was renamed Boss Cat because Top Cat was the name of a cat food brand. In the late 1990s the series was shown with its original name after the brand was retired.

In addition to Spanish, the series was translated into several other languages, including Portuguese, French, Italian, German, and Japanese.

The Movie

The Hanna-Barbera Studios produced a television movie based on the adventures of T.C. and the gang. The movie was titled Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats, and it premiered in 1987. The plot of the movie revolves around T.C. and his gang trying to do good deeds and helping a young girl reclaim her inheritance.

Interestingly, for this movie, Hoagy's Alley was relocated to an area near the posh neighborhood of Beverly Hills.

Appearances in other shows

T.C. (along with all the Hanna-Barbera characters) appeared in Yogi’s Treasure Hunt in 1985. He reappeared in 1991 in Yo, Yogi, an NBC animated series featuring Yogi Bear.

T.C. also appeared in Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law. And, he and the gang made a cameo appearance in The Powerpuff Girls show.

Cast

Top Cat -- Arnold Stang

Benny the Ball -- Maurice Gosfield

Choo Choo -- Marvin Kaplan

Brain and Spook -- Leo De Lyon

Fancy Fancy -- John Stephenson

Officer Dibble -- Allen Jenkins

Gift idea

In 2004, Warner Home Video released Top Cat- The Complete Series (it contains all 30 episodes) on DVD. For those devoted Top Cat-fans, this DVD makes a great gift. The DVD includes commentary, storyboards, and a sing-along. This is great fun for all ages.

Note: All the copyrighted characters mentioned here are trademarks of their owners.




Related Links

Additional information about T.C. and his gang

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