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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. Debuting on September 6, 1969 on ABC, this hourlong series had no live-action segments.

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 Happy, while the sinister Crumden, his pet monkey Smirky, and his idiotic chauffeur Bumbler race them because Crumden wants the money.
  • 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.

For the 1970 season, The Cattanooga Cats was reduced to a half-hour airing on Sunday mornings, retaining Around the World in 79 Days as a feature. This season consisted solely of reruns. Meanwhile, Motormouse & Autocat was split off into a separate show airing on Saturdays, taking It's the Wolf! with it; unlike their feline and balloon-racing brethren, they got new episodes. Both series were cancelled in 1971.


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  • Character 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!" Bristlehound 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 Bristlehound and slung into the air by the dog's shepherd's crook. "Muscle-bound mutt!" is a typical example, though he never repeats himself.
  • 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.
    • There was also a 1970 coloring book that featured an original Cattanooga Cats story, bringing back Geronihoho and Ellie May the elephant from the cartoon. It even featured Crumden, Bumbler, & Smirky as the villains.
  • 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
  • Funny Animals: Well, it is Hanna-Barbera.
  • 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.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Groove; also Lambsy when he (sarcastically) asks who the "stranger of the week" could be.
  • 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).

    The Cattanooga Cats 
  • Art Initiates Life: Scoots has a magic crayon, and whatever he draws becomes real. Oddly, Scoots doesn't use the crayon very often; it only comes into play in four of the Cats' nine episodes.
  • 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.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: The Cats' Loony Fan, appropriately named Chessie.
  • Everybody Do the Endless Loop: Get used to seeing the same dancing animations a LOT in the music videos.
  • 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!.
  • Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Country, Kitty Jo and Chessie.
  • Groupie Brigade: Chessie the Autograph Hound was this to the Cats.
  • Furry Confusion: Kitty Jo, an anthropomorphic cat, owns a pet dog.
  • I'm Your Biggest Fan: Chessie, the Autograph Hound (so named because she always has a wide Cheshire Cat grin).
  • Living Drawing: Scoots' crayon is able to create them; one adventure even had Scoots draw an exact copy of the day's antagonist.
  • 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.
  • Recycled Animation: The music videos relied more and more on this as the series went on. The first few had visuals that very closely matched the lyrics, but later music videos were simply cobbled together with shots from the previous ones...the further in the run a video was, the less chance the visuals would have anything to do with the actual lyrics. The last few were extreme cases, flat out taking one of the old videos and slapping the new song over it with minimal changes to the visuals, leading to action that didn't even match the tempo of the songs.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Groove's schtick. Everything he says is either a rhyming couplet, or rhymes with the last sentence someone else said.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Kitty Jo is the only girl in the band.
  • Spell My Name With An S: The Native American character is spelled "Geronihoho" in the title of his episode and the coloring book, and "Geranihoho" whenever it's written in the episode itself.
  • Tonto Talk: Geronihoho spoke like this.

    Around the World in 79 Days 
  • 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.
  • Cut Short: In 17 installments, Around the World in 79 Days never did conclude the round-the-world race between Phineas Fogg and Crumden.
  • Fat and Skinny: Crumden and Bumbler, respectively.
  • 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.

    It's the Wolf! 
  • 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.
  • Bagof Kidnapping: Mildew Wolf manage to capture Lambsy by doing this.
  • The Big Bad Wolf: Mildew Wolf always sought to make Lambsy his next dinner only to be thwarted by Lambsy's protector Bristlehound.
  • Breakout Character: Mildew 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.
  • Little Guy, Big Buddy: Lambsy is a little lamb and his guardian, Bristlehound, is his big buddy.
  • Moving the Goalposts: Literal example in the episode "Any Sport In A Storm." Lambsy is running with a football heading for the goalposts when Mildew Wolf, hiding in a bush, secretly moves the goalposts as far away from Bristle Hound as possible. It doesn't work.
  • 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 
  • Robot Me: Mildew Wolf builds a robot version of himself in "Smart Dummy."
  • Tonto Talk: In "Lamb Scout Cook Out", Mildew disguises himself as an "Indian Scout" and uses stereotypical broken English when doing so. What blows his cover is when he accidentally speaks proper English.

    Motormouse and Autocat 
  • Befriending the Enemy: At the end of a long day of a cat-and-mouse chasing routine, Motormouse will give Autocat a lift home.
  • 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.
  • Cats Hate Water: Motormouse is a volunteer fireman, and every time he responds to an emergency, Autocat gets in the line of fire from his water hose.
  • Chariot Race: Motormouse and Autocat participate in a chariot race as part of scene in a movie being filmed with them in "Lights! Action! Catastrophe!" Naturally, Autocat finishes on the short end.
  • Friendly Enemy: After Autocat clocks out (after an unsuccessful shift of mouse-chasing), Motormouse will occasionally give him a lift home.
  • Generic Graffiti: We see "Autocat is a rat" scribbled under the garage time clock.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: They sport crash helmets with goggles that go to no use in protecting the eyes.
  • Impersonating an Officer: In "Party Crasher," Autocat schemes to stop Motormouse from throwing a surprise birthday party. In one instance he impersonates a motorcycle cop and pulls Motormouse over for speeding. As he hops off his cycle, Autocat accidentally plummets off a cliff.
  • 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.
  • Nice Mice: Motormouse was usually Autocat's antagonist as it was Autocat's job to get rid of him from the Spin Your Wheels Garage. Once in awhile, though, Motormouse would help out Autocat and on occasion give him a lift home from work.
  • One-Liner, Name... One-Liner: "What's The Motor With You?" concludes with Autocat, having had his butt literally kicked in a foiled plan, getting a lift home from Motormouse. Autocat is standing on the exhaust pipe of Motormouse's motorcycle and he has a pillow tied to his bottom. When Motormouse asks why he doesn't sit down:
    Autocat: I've got my reasons, Motormouse. I've got my reasons.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Autocat, although he's not really a villain. His job at the garage is to get rid of Motormouse.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The background music from Wacky Races is used frequently.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: "King Size Caddy" opens with Autocat creating a device with a timer that will cause a mallet to smash down on Motormouse, whom Autocat knows will show up at 8 AM sharp, as he sets the device's timer for 8 AM. But Motormouse shows up ten minutes early for a round of golf, and (wouldn't you know it), Autocat is standing under the mallet protesting Motormouse's early arrival, just as the timer hits 8 AM.