Clockwise from upper left: Dingdog, Puttypuss, Rhubarb, and Musselmutt. In the center: Stutz.
A Saturday Morning Cartoon
, made by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises
, that aired on NBC
during the 1972-73 season.
It's a loose take on Mission: Impossible
, The Wild Wild West
and (especially) the short-lived Bearcats!
, in which three canines and two felines traverse the southwestern United States to deal with all manner of high-level national offenders, circa 1914.
- Bald of Evil/Goatee Of Evil: Diamond Head.
- Blinding Bangs: Mussellmutt.
- Cool Car: Sparkplug (their Stutz Bearcat).
- Evil Laugh: In Captain Blight's first episode, it's a Running Gag that he gets stuck in evil laugh mode, and his Sidekick has to bring him out of it by hitting him on the back.
- Expository Theme Tune
- Five-Man Band:
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Except for Musselmutt, who's a Barefoot Cartoon Animal. Incredibly, Rhubarb manages to be both!
- Hammerspace: Rhubarb’s sombrero holds an assortment of equipment. How it manages to stay in that scrawny space with all their running around is another matter.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode is titled "The ___ Mission".
- Laugh Track
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to its live-action inspirations. The show was made when the networks were cutting back on televised violence, especially in childrens' programming, so the Houndcats used Zany Schemes to trick the villains into defeat.
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: The Houndcats are the only Funny Animals in an otherwise human world. No one ever mentions this.
- Master of Disguise: Puttypuss, The (so-called) Cat of a Thousand Faces.
- Mission Briefing: Once an Episode, and always as a parody of Mission: Impossible. One episode has the Chief singing the info to the tune of "Clementine".
- Nice Hats: Stutz wears a forest ranger hat; Dingdog wears a Union blue cap; Musselmutt has a nice blue one; Rhubarb has his Hammerspace sombrero; and Puttypuss wears a derby with a feather.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Considering their fur and their builds – especially pint-sized Puttypuss – they don't work very long.
- The Smurfette Principle: Madame X was practically the only female character in the entire series.
- This Page Will Self-Destruct: Goes with the Mission Briefing.
- The Voice: The Chief, who gives the Houndcats their assignments.