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Western Animation / Hello Kitty's Furry Tale Theater

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The main characters of the show note 

Hello Kitty's Furry Tale Theater note  is a 1987 Saturday-Morning Cartoon starring everyone's favorite, Hello Kitty!

Presented in a two shorts format, Hello Kitty and her friends run a playhouse that performs quirky retellings of classic fairy talesnote , storybooksnote , and even various films.note  as shows within a show.

This is the only Hello Kitty animated series that is an International Coproduction intended for a non-Japanese market, originally airing on CBS in the United States; the animation was produced in Japan (by Toei Animation, with assistance from Korean studio Big Star) but all scripts and voice acting are in English. Three later anime series, Sanrio Anime Festival, Hello Kitty and Friends and Hello Kitty's Animation Theater, also plug her and other Sanrio characters into fairy tale retellings, though those adaptations are much more straightforward and faithful (especially Animation Theater) and lack a Framing Device.

U.S. viewers can watch the whole series on digital retailers. VUDUnote  is also streaming the show for free in the U.S. (until 2019)

Furry Tale Theater contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Nice Girl: The mother duck in The Ugly Duckling was neglectful if not outright abusive toward the eponymous Ugly Duckling. Fangola meanwhile portrays the mother duck in "The Ugly Quackling" as, at worst, somewhat exasperated toward "Ugly" (portrayed by Chip) for his clumsiness, but otherwise treats him with mostly the same love and attention as her other hatchlings.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In "Kittylocks and the Three Bears," the Three Bears steal Kitty's food before she wanders into their house, to make her a little more sympathetic.
    • In "Kitty and the Beast" Sam is transformed into a beast by an evil witch rather than a fairy to teach him a lesson, however this leans more towards Truer to the Text than Adaptational Villainy when reading the original tale.
  • Anachronism Stew: A regular feature of the stories involves a dose of this. Such as the curse in "Sleeping Kitty" being brought upon by watching television. Or the evil fairy of the same segment using a moped in her attempt to foil the heroes.
  • Anchovies Are Abhorrent: In "Kittylocks and the Three Bears," Kittylocks rejects Mama Bear's pizza not for being too cold, but because it has anchovies on it. This despite telling Ranger Sam earlier that she loves fish—anchovies are apparently just so bad, even a cat doesn't want them!
  • Androcles' Lion: "Paws", the Hello Kitty retelling of Jaws, features the revelation that the shark's aggression was prompted by a fish hook caught in his fin. He befriends the protagonists after they pull it out.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Grinder Genie and the Magic Lamp," Sultana Catnip says the penalty for Grandpa Kitty not paying his taxes would be the taking away of his houseboat, the taking of his children to be her slaves, and having to do homework every night.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • While Tuxedo Sam was already prominently used by Sanrio between the late 1970s and 1990s, in this show, Sam alongside his friend Chip are the main characters alongside Hello Kitty and My Melody. Since the show's cancellation, Tuxedo Sam and Chip both managed to star in a couple OVAs that were part of Sanrio's home video series called Sanrio Video and both served as MC for Sanrio Anime Festival between 1989 and 1996 similar to Furry Tale Theater. Since the introduction of Keroppi and Badtz-Maru, Tuxedo Sam was demoted to a minor character before given a prominent role once again for Sanrio's music group "Hapidanbui" in 2021. Where he alongside Badtz-Maru, Keroppi, Pekkle, Hangyodon, and Pochacco are band members.
    • Chip from the Tuxedo Sam line is usually a supporting character in numerous Sanrio merchandise and animated media while usually a minor character elsewhere. In Furry Tale Theater, he's one of the show's leading characters alongside Hello Kitty, Tuxedo Sam, and My Melody. To date, this is the only Sanrio animated work where Chip is given a prominent role before Keroppi and Badtz-Maru were introduced (the former created a year after this show's cancellation) with both characters taking over Tuxedo Sam and Chip's roles as Sanrio's leading characters.
  • Big Bad: Catnip often portrays these roles in the performances.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In "Paws of the Roundtable" Chip, who plays future king Arthur and is worried he won't be strong enough to pull Excalibur from the stone. Furlin scolds him for giving up without even trying. Chip says that he'll try, and then give up.
  • Bubblegum Popping: The episode "Robin Hood Penguin" based on Robin Hood involves My Melody, Chip and Grandpa Kitty blowing up giant-size bubble-gum bubbles that allow them to fly and then are burst against their enemies, leaving them covered in sticky bubble gum.
  • Canon Foreigner: Catnip, Fangora and Grinder are all exclusive to this show. Since the show's cancellation, Sanrio never again acknowledged the existence of these characters (especially Catnip and Grinder) and never appeared on any merchandise.
  • Casting Gag: Catnip as Bill Cosby in "Sleeping Kitty", as Cree Summer was in A Different World (a spinoff of The Cosby Show).
  • Composite Character: In "Cat Wars", Grandpa Kitty's role is a mix of Obi-Wan and Yoda.
    • Catnip's role in "How Scrinchnip Stole Christmas" is a mix of Ebenezer Scrooge and The Grinch.
    • Grinder as the dwarf in "Snow White Kitty and the One Dwarf." He gets accused of being grumpy, bashful and dopey during the episode.
    • Catnip's character in "The Wizard of Paws" combines elements of both wicked witches. Unlike the Witch of the East, she survives getting crushed by Hello Dorothy's house (her only injury being temporarily Squashed Flat) and spends the rest of the episode in the role of the Witch of the West.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The episodes that parody movies (such as "Paws" and "KT, the Kitty-Terrestrial") have to shrink a LOT to fit the plots into an 11-minute cartoon short. "Cat Wars" in particular has elements from the first two Star Wars movies crammed into a very short space.
  • Dumb Jock: Grinder's not the sharpest knife by a long shot, and he usually wears a number 0 jersey which implies this.
  • Early Adaptation Weirdness:
    • Kitty's full name is often subject of I Am Not Shazam due to many people assuming her full name is Hello Kitty and not Kitty White. In this series however, her full name is Hello Kitty.
    • Many of Kitty's friends like Badtz Maru or Pochacco were either too young or were not created at the time, and as a result, the only recurring Sanrio characters in this show are My Melody, Tuxedo Sam and Chip.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: While not an evil character, per se, Catnip is generally antagonistic and snide. Cue her surprise as to why Hello Kitty would prepare her a sandwich with her favorite ingredients, and then commenting that the suggestion to be nice like her is a "strange idea".
  • Fantastic Racism: In “K.T. The Kitty Terrestrial” cats are banned from Sam’s clubhouse. K.T. enters and does not read the sign. However, she does become the exception since she was hunted by Catnip and Grinder.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms
    • Throughout “Little Red Bunny Hood” water balloons are the primary weapons instead of guns.
    • In “Peter Penguin” the pirates use cherry pies instead of cannons.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: "Phantom of the Theater", the Series Finale, deals with the cast's investigation of strange happenings in the theater, rather than a performance.
  • Genre Savvy: In the episode, Catula- A Fur-Raising Story, Catnip's stage character is this. From luring the heroes to the castle saying the bridge is out, using Dumb Muscle to attack those who thwart her use of hypnotism, and how to foil those who use garlic against her.
    • The heroes are not to be outdone by detecting Catnip's character as the milk-poaching vampire!
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Catnip.
  • How Scrinchenip Stole Christmas
  • Interspecies Romance: A few of the stories involve Hello Kitty and Tuxedo Sam (a penguin) as love interests to one another.
  • Lighter and Softer: Done quite a lot even if it does avert the Sweet Dreams Fuel-flavoring Sanrio is known for. Particularly a parody of Jaws where nobody dies (unless you count some poor people on a carousel).
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Catnip's offstage personality. She's self-involved, snide, and sometimes antagonistic, but she has moments that show she cares for the others, and she's not all bad.
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase: In "Kittylocks and the Three Bears," Catnip-as-Mama-Bear's catchphrase is "I'm not good with X!" (Porridge, curlers, and bramble bushes, to name a few.)
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor:
    • Downplayed. Catnip often plays as antagonistic roles in many stories. Offstage, however, she's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
    • Grinder normally acts as The Dragon to Catnip whenever she is the main antagonist of plays, but when he's not acting he's a sweet-natured Gentle Giant.
  • Off to See the Wizard: The show did this with the story "Wizard of Paws."
  • Punny Name: Besides the names of each individual storynote , the show's name seems to be a pun on the then-recent Showtime series Faerie Tale Theatre. (It helps its case that the prior show was sometimes referred to as Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre, after its creator/presenter/sometimes actress.)
  • Ridiculously Alive Undead: In "Catula", the titular Catula (played by Catnip) goes around stealing the townspeople's milk cartons with the intent to drink from them. She's still seen as a serious threat.
  • Setting Update: Sometimes employed, such as "Little Red Riding Hood" reimagined as a western.
  • Short-Runner: Ran for one 13-episode season.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show Within a Show: The "furry tales" are pitched as stage plays in-universe.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
  • Stage Mom: Catnip's mom Fangora is implied to be one of these, but it's never really confirmed outright.
  • The Teaser: The show has these before the opening sequence.note  Additionally, in most episodes, there's a prologue of what the characters are doing before the show starts. These actions will be used or mentioned in the play. For example, in "KT", some of the cast members were eating cookies that were meant for the show. Grandpa Kitty had to replace them with wooden replacements, but Sam later spit them out, saying they taste like wood.
  • Typecasting: Catnip lampshades her In-Universe typecasting when she complains about how she's always a villainess like a witch and would just like to be the lead for once.
  • Vague Age: Catnip's age is open-ended. She sure looks older than the other cast members and she plays a lot of adult roles, but she also plays Spoiled Brat teenagers sometimes and Fangora is implied to be her Stage Mom.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: Played with. The Christmas Episode of the series starts out as A Christmas Carol, but then becomes a parody of The Grinch.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Chip is from Tuxedo Sam's line, but in this show he looks fairly different than he does in most merch (he's blue in most merchandise, grey in this cartoon, among other traits). In the series, he's the same size as Tuxedo Sam, Hello Kitty, and My Melody compared to his official design where he's notably shorter then Tuxedo Sam.
  • You Go, Girl!: The plot of "Kittyrella" has Kitty trying to become a linebacker on the prince's football team, despite her stepmother thinking that girls should be cheerleaders, not football players. It becomes her cleats that the prince tries to fit on her instead of a glass slipper.