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Top Cat

USA



Original Air Date:
1961
Channel:
ABC
Prod. Co.:
Hanna Barbera
Genre:
Series
 

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Characters & Voices
Top Cat - Arnold Stang
Benny the Ball - Maurice Gosfield
Choo Choo - Marvin Kaplan
Spook / Brain - Leo DeLyon
Fancy Fancy - John Stephenson
Off. Dibble - Allen Jenkins
Pierre - John Stephenson
Goldie - Jean Vander Pyl
 
Top Cat has the distinction of being one of the few animated series to debut in prime time. After one season, it was moved to Saturday mornings, and was met with huge success.

Essentially, Hanna-Barbera took Phil Silversí popular character from the hit prime-time sitcom Sgt. Bilko and turned him into a cat. T.C. and the gang (Benny, Choo Choo, Fancy-Fancy, Spook, and The Brain) lived on the streets of Manhattan and were always in search of a free lunch, figuratively and literally. Their main obstacle was Officer Dibble, who had an extreme dislike for the crafty cat and his schemes, especially when they involved using the police phone for personal calls. The Sgt. Bilko connection was strengthened by the fact that Maurice Gosfield, who played Doberman on the sitcom, voiced Benny, T.Cís right hand cat.

Like The Flintstones, Top Cat was written for adults and children alike, since it was initially shown during the family hour on a weeknight. This particular programming effort made the scripts stronger than your average cartoon, relying less on overused cartoon cliches and more on character. Unfortunately, T.C. didn't do well in prime time, but when he and the gang moved to Saturday mornings, the show found a loyal audience, who still remember it fondly.
 
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In 1956, DC Comics executive Paul Levitz was born.