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Western Animation / The Cattanooga Cats

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Cattanooga Cats was Hanna-Barbera's attempt to duplicate the success it enjoyed with The Banana Splits. Running in 1969/70 on ABC, this hourlong series had no live-action segments.
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The headliners were an all-feline rock band, consisting of Country, a guitarist; Scoots, a bassist, and Groove, a drummer. Their female companion, Kitty Jo, looked like a feline version of Daphne Blakenote ; she also sang on a few of their songs. They had a few cartoon segments, but most of their appearances were in music videos, à la The Archie Show.

Other segments were:

  • Around the World in 79 Days, loosely based on the Jules Verne novel. Phineas Fogg's descendant, Phineas "Finny" Fogg Jr., must break Fogg's record for traveling around the world to get his inheritance. Finny travels in his ancestor's old hot air balloon with the reporters Jenny Trent and Hoppy, while the sinister Crumden, his pet monkey Smirky, and his idiotic chauffeur Bumbler race them because Crumden wants the money.
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  • It's the Wolf, in which a sneaky wolf pursued a lamb through the use of Paper Thin Disguises.
  • Motormouse and Autocat, which was essentially Tom and Jerry on wheels.

A season later, The Cattanooga Cats was reduced to a half-hour airing on Sunday mornings, retaining Around the World in 79 Days as a feature. Motormouse & Autocat was split off into a separate show airing on Saturdays, taking It's the Wolf! with it.


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Tropes:

  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Mildew Wolf and Bristle Hound were essentially a Hanna-Barbera take on Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: Bristle's frequent reaction to Mildew's disguises.
  • Art Shift: The video (so to speak) for the Cats' song "Hoot Hoot Owl" uses cut-out animation— apparently the only time anyone at H-B ever tried this.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Scoots and Groove.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Kitty Jo's dog, Teeny Tim.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Groove, Country and Scoots, respectively.
  • Breakout Character: Mildew Wolf from It's the Wolf. He is the most popular character of the series. He spun off into a package series with Motormouse and Autocat when the show was cancelled. He was also a cohost with Snagglepuss in Laff-A-Lympics.
    • Much of Mildew's popularity can be attributed to the masterful performance of Paul Lynde,
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: In 79 Days the heroes have to break Fogg's record without using modern transportation, since after all they could have it wrapped up inside of two weeks if he could just hop a plane. Instead he has to do it in the original Fogg's hot air balloon.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Motormouse and Autocat do it in their shorts. Especially Autocat.
  • Buffoonish Tomcat: Autocat qualifies as an Wile E. Coyote incarnation of this trope when Autocat's either the Butt-Monkey or the buffoon against the more guile Motormouse.
  • Catchphrase: Motormouse has three—"Boy, howdy!", "Chickaree!" and "That's plum dumb!" Lambsy has "IT'S THE WOL-UF! IT'S THE WOL-UF! That's who it is... the wol-uf!" Mildew Wolf has, "Oh, for Pete's sake!" Scoots has "Wavy Chitlin Gravey!" Gristlehound has "I'm comin', Lambsy. I'm comin'!"
    • Lambsy's phrase can also be the end of a longer soliloquoy, usually the first time Mildew tries to grab him in each episode. Mildew turns up in disguise, but Lambsy is suspicious. "That's not <whatever the wolf is pretending to be>. Now who could that be? Is it <insert a couple of rhyming or alliterative possibilities, e.g., A blue gnu from Kalamazoo>? Uh-uh. I know who that is..." <Cue the above cry for help as the lamb runs for his life.>
    • Mildew also has what is not so much a catchphrase as a series of disparaging exit lines as he repeatedly soars into the distance after being caught by Gristlehound and slung into the air by the dog's shepherd's crook. "Muscle-bound mutt!" is a typical example, though he never repeats himself.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: The Cats' Loony Fan, appropriately named Chessie.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: The Cattanooga Cats appeared in three issues of Gold Key Comics' Hanna-Barbera Fun-In anthology series (issues 2, 3 and 4). Motormouse and Autocat appeared in issues 5, 7 and 9, and It's the Wolf! appeared in issues 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7. Around the World in 79 Days did not appear at all in the comics.
  • Cut Short: In 17 installments, Around the World in 79 Days never did conclude the round-the-world race between Phineas Fogg and Crumden.
  • Every Episode Ending: The original hour long episodes always ended with a Motormouse and Autocat cartoon followed by one final Cattanooga Cats comic short before the closing credits
  • Everybody Do the Endless Loop
  • Fake Band: The same in-studio performers who did the Cats' musical numbers were also responsible for the songs in the Hot Wheels TV series also airing on ABC that year (where The Cattanooga Cats was airing), and the back-up vocalists could also be heard during the chase scenes in the second season of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!.
  • Friendly Enemy: After Autocat clocks out (after an unsuccessful shift of mouse-chasing), Motormouse will occasionally give him a lift home.
  • Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal: Country, Kitty Jo and Chessie.
  • Funny Animals
  • Furry Confusion: Kitty Jo, an anthropomorphic cat, owns a pet dog.
  • Groupie Brigade: Chessie the Autograph Hound was this to the Cats.
  • I'm Your Biggest Fan: Chessie, the Autograph Hound (so named because she always has a wide Cheshire Cat grin).
  • Monowheel Mayhem: Autocat chases Motormouse with a giant spiked tire in "Wild Wheelin' Wheels". It goes as badly as expected when Motormouse leads Autocat aboard a freighter.
  • Official Couple: Country and Kitty Jo are paired up romantically on a lot of the music videos and it's implied they're boyfriend and girlfriend.
  • Parental Bonus: An uncredited Paul Lynde was the voice of Mildew Wolf, and Marty Ingels, already well known for his role on I'm Dickens, He's Fenster, was the voice of Autocat.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Autocat, although he's not really a villain. His job at the garage is to get rid of Motormouse.
  • Punny Name: Lambsy's full name (revealed in at least one episode) is "Lambsy Divy", a reference to the 1940s novelty song "Mairzy Doats".note 
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Groove; also Lambsy when he (sarcastically) asks who the "stranger of the week" could be.
  • Robot Me: Mildew Wolf builds a robot version of himself in "Smart Dummy."
  • Running Gag: Includes both individual segments (Scoots' magic crayon, Teeny Tim's new trick, Scoots Clunk the Caveman sketches, etc.), and regularly occurring parts of other segments (e.g., Mildew Wolf's Paper Thin Disguises).
  • Verbal Backspace: Bumbler's attempts to address Crumden by a chummy diminutive usually end up sounding like insults — e.g. Crum, Crummy, Crummer — which he hastily corrects.

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