The Cattanooga Cats
The Cattanooga Cats was a Saturday morning cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions for ABC. The show premiered on 6 September 1969 and ran until 4 September 1971, when it was cancelled. The show was a package program similar to the Hanna-Barbera/NBC show The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, except that it contained no live-action segments. The show was produced and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, who also wrote the lyrics for the show's popular theme song, which was composed by Hoyt Curtin.
During the 1969 - 1970 season, The Cattanoga Cats ran one hour and contained four segments. During the 1970 - 1971 season, the segments It's the Wolf! and Motormouse and Autocat were spun off into their own half-hour program, Motormouse. Around the World in 79 Days remained a part of The Cattanoga Cats, which was reduced to a half-hour. Motormouse ran concurrently with The Cattanooga Cats until both met their demise at the end of the 1970 - 1971 season.
The Cattanooga Cats
The Cattanooga Cats depicted the adventures of a fictitious rock band similar to The Archies and The Banana Splits populated by anthropomorphic hillbilly cats: lead singer/guitarist Country (voiced by Bill Callaway), singer/dancer Kitty Jo (voiced by Julie Bennett), bassist Scoots (voiced by Jim Begg), and drummer Groove (voiced by Casey Kasem) (a fifth member, a mouse keyboardist named "Cheesie", was storyboarded, but cut out of the series). The singing vocals for The Cattanooga Cats were performed by Michael Lloyd & Peggy Clinger, and an album collecting the songs was released in tandem with the series.
More so than any other Hanna-Barbera cartoon, The Cattanoga Cats showed a strong psychedelic influence. Only six cartoon story segments involving the characters were produced; they primarily served as the hosts and performed musical numbers.
Around the World in 79 Days
Loosely based upon the novel Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, this was an adventure segment involving balloonist Phileas Fogg, Jr. (the son of the main character Phileas Fogg in the novel, voiced by Bruce Watson) and teenagers Jenny (voiced by Janet Waldo) and Happy (voiced by Don Messick), who set out on a globetrotting adventure to sail around the world in 79 days and beat Phileas Sr.'s record. The trio are in competition for both the record and a US$1,000,000 prize against the sinister Crumden. Unlike the other segments, Around the World in 79 Days was a serial with a continuing story.
It's the Wolf!
It's the Wolf! followed the comic exploits of a wolf named Mildew (voiced by Paul Lynde), who aspires to catch and eat a sure-footed little lamb named Lambsie (voiced by Daws Butler), but is always thwarted in this plan by the dog Bristle Hound (voiced by Allan Melvin). Bristle would apprehend Mildew, pound him, and toss him sailing into the air, with Mildew screaming a phrase such as "Spoil Sport!" as he flies into the horizon and lands with a thud.
Motormouse and Autocat
Essentially a motor-racing verion of Tom and Jerry, this segment involved race car competitions (similar to Wacky Races) between a race car-driving cat and a motorcycle-driving mouse. Dick Curtis provided the voice of Motormouse, and Marty Ingels voiced Autocat.
Hanna-Barbera had high hopes for The Cattanooga Cats to be a hit program, like The Banana Splits, but the show failed to attract a large audience during its original run. Mildew Wolf, the most popular character on the program, resurfaced six years after the cancellation of The Cattanooga Cats as the co-host, with Snagglepuss, of Laff-a-Lympics.
Re-runs of The Cattanooga Cats were not seen until the program began airing as part of the Boomerang programming block on the Cartoon Network, which later became a spin-off network of its own. For several months, the UK Boomerang channel ran the musical interludes from the show, all of which ran to exactly 1 minute 45 seconds, as short (and unidentified) fillers before closing down at midnight. When the channel expanded to 24 hours they were dropped. The complete show has not been seen in the UK in recent years.
The cartoon and its music exist today as cult classics of the 1960s era.
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