Western Animation / Famous Fred

Let's take a walk in the moonlight...

"Let's call her...Brenda!" *She checks the kitten's gender* "Oh no, lets call him...Fred."
Fred's owner names the soon-to-be famous cat

Famous Fred is a 1996 30-minute Animated Musical based on the picture book Fred by Posy Simmonds. It was made by the same people who created The Snowman.

The night after Fred the cat is buried at the bottom of the garden after dying from cat flu, the children of the family sneak outside and stumble across the cat community having a funeral for him. For Fred was no ordinary cat; he was pretty much the cat version of Elvis. Kenneth, the family's guinea pig and Fred's manager, tells the story of Fred's rise and fall. After leaving the opera house, Kenneth moved into the house and taught Fred stardom, but after they both embark on the 'Famous Fred World Tour' Fred falls into bad habits, and eventually catches the illness that's the death of him. Then everyone goes inside to party to a bootleg of his final song, and scarper, leaving Kenneth to tidy up. But has Fred really used up all nine of his allotted lives?

The story is interspersed with Fred's songs, sung by Lenny Henry who also voiced Fred. For tropers in the UK, the film can be seen here. A Vimeo version is here.


  • Ambiguously Gay: We have no idea what Kenneth is, but he is definitely camp. He also acts a lot like a stereotypical actor. On the other hand, he seems to enjoy a kiss from the oldest kid (who is a girl), so it's definitely ambiguous.
  • Animated Adaptation: Of the childrens' book Fred by Posy Simmonds.
  • Animated Musical
  • Anthropomorphic Animal Adaptation: Is it fair to say this is one of Elvis' whole life?
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Several instances
    • A vet bill for Chronically Chapped lips? Really? Certainly nowhere near as bad as worms or the cat flu.
    • Kenneth coming into the room to tell him that his trousers are creased is also much less of a problem than Fred's overeating and penchant for women.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted, although the cats steal all the flowers from the family's garden to put on the grave.
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: Kenneth seems to think so, anyway.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Three costume changes in one song.
  • Costume Test Montage
  • Downer Beginning: How many other kids' movies begin with a pair of teary eyed siblings mourning the loss of their beloved pet?
  • Expy: Fred is obviously one of Elvis.
  • Faking and Entering: After Fred wrecks the living room, he sleeps in the middle of the room to convince the family they've been burgled instead.
  • Faking the Dead: At the end, Kenneth realises Fred still has one of his nine lives left...
  • Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal: The animals either wear no clothes (when they're around humans) or go about fully dressed.
  • Gender-Blender Name: As the page quote shows, Fred narrowly dodged one.
  • Good Times Montage: Subverted. It seems like a Good Time Montage for Fred at first, but Kenneth knows he's overdoing it, and eventually he catches the Cat Flu.
  • Groin Attack: Fred accidently does the splits on a car and, well in his own words...
    Fred: I've hurt my bits!
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Kenneth and Fred.
  • It's All My Fault: Kenneth blames himself for not realising when Fred was going downhill. (And probably for starting him down that road in the first place)
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: In-universe example. Kenneth never recorded any tapes of Fred singing, but Ginger (the cat in charge of the funeral) secretly recorded Fred's latest song. Kenneth isn't too happy, since he wasn't consulted about it.
  • Musical Pastiche: Apart from all the elvis-esque songs, there was a very 70's Bee Gees-esque disco music in the party scene.
  • Really Gets Around: Fred. Since this is a children's film, it's only implied.
  • Running Gag: Kenneth's jeans are way too loose around the waist, causing them to keep falling down.
  • Stock Footage: They tend to re-use shots of the backing singing cats a lot, in the same song.
  • Shout-Out: Elvis, obviously. Then there's the shoutout to hippies, Prince and Elton John in the makeover montage.
  • That Was Not a Dream: The kids were never under any illusion about it being a dream, but finding the tombstone at the end of the garden proves it to the viewer.
  • Weirdness Censor: The mother of the family doesn't seem to think too much about Kenneth having a little suitcase, although she did look pretty confused about it.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: Fred ends up in Las Vegas during his world tour, playing to packed venues.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Elvis' life. Suprised?
  • Soap Opera Disease: Fred gets the flu.