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Top Cat
Topcat.jpg
Top Cat and the gang. Left to right: Benny the Ball (foreground); Brain; Officer Dibble (Behind fence); Fancy-Fancy; Top Cat; Spook (foreground); Choo-Choo
Genre Animated sitcom
Created by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Written by Kin Platt
Directed by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voices of Arnold Stang
Allen Jenkins
Maurice Gosfield
Leo DeLyon
Marvin Kaplan
John Stephenson
Theme music composer Hoyt Curtin
Opening theme "The Most Effectual Top Cat"
Ending theme "The Most Effectual Top Cat"
Composer(s) Hoyt Curtin
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 30
Production
Producer(s) William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Running time 24-27 minutes
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera Productions
Distributor Screen Gems
Release
Original network ABC
Picture format Color (initially telecast in black and white)
Audio format Mono
Original release September 27, 1961 (1961-09-27) – April 18, 1962 (1962-04-18)

Top Cat is an American animated sitcom produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and originally broadcast in prime-time on the ABC network. It aired in a weekly evening timeslot from September 27, 1961 to April 18, 1962 for a single season of 30 episodes. The show was a ratings failure in prime time, but found a receptive audience in a Saturday morning timeslot. The show aired on Saturdays in 1962 and 1963 on ABC, and was then rerun in various Saturday morning slots on NBC from 1965 to 1969.

Premise

Top Cat, the titular character of the show

The central character, Top Cat (T.C.) is the leader of a gang of Manhattan alley cats living in Hoagy's Alley: Fancy-Fancy, Spook, Benny the Ball, Brain, and Choo-Choo.

Top Cat and his gang were inspired by the East Side Kids, humorous tough characters from a series of 1940s B movies, but their more immediate roots lay in The Phil Silvers Show (1955–59), a successful military comedy whose lead character (Sergeant Bilko, played by Silvers) was a crafty con-man. Maurice Gosfield, who played Private Duane Doberman in The Phil Silvers Show, provided the voice for Benny the Ball in Top Cat, and Benny's rotund appearance was based on Gosfield's. Additionally, Arnold Stang's vocal characterization of the lead character, the eponymous Top Cat, was based on an impression of Phil Silvers' voice. Senior non-commissioned officers or leaders of squads were unofficially called “top” as in top or First sergeant.

The gang constantly attempts to earn a quick buck, usually through illegal scams, and a frequent plot-thread revolved around the local beat cop, Charles "Charlie" Dibble (voiced by veteran character actor Allen Jenkins), ineffectually trying to evict them from the alley and stop them using the policebox phone.

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