Top Cat is a Hanna-Barbera prime time animated television series which ran from November 26, 1961 to April 18, 1962 for a run of 30 episodes on the ABC network. Reruns are played on Cartoon Network's classic animation network Boomerang.
Originally broadcast on Wednesdays [8:30-9pm Eastern], Top Cat was co-sponsored by Kellogg's and Bristol-Myers (Bufferin). The central character, Top Cat—called T.C. by close friends, "pro-vid-ing it's with dignity" as the lyrics of the theme song say—is the leader of a gang of Manhattan alley cats: Fancy Pants, Spook, Benny the Ball, Brain, and Choo Choo living in Hoagy's Alley.
Top Cat and his gang were inspired by characters from the popular situation comedy You'll Never Get Rich (later called The Phil Silvers Show). Maurice Gosfield, who played Private Duane Doberman on The Phil Silvers Show, also provided the voice for Benny the Ball inTop Cat (Benny's rotund appearance was based on Gosfield too). Even Arnold Stang's voicing of Top Cat strongly resembled Phil Silvers' voice. Another possible source material was Hokey Wolf, a segment on The Huckleberry Hound Show, which also had parallels to The Phil Silvers Show.
A frequent plot-line revolved around the local beat policeman, Charles "Charlie" Dibble, NYPD and his ineffective attempts to evict the gang from the alley. The only reason that he wanted to be rid of them was that Top Cat and his gang were constantly attempting to earn a quick dollar—usually through an illegal scam. Dibble's appearance was modeled on Allen Jenkins, who did his voice. Dibble, previously only an implement for making holes for planting seeds, has acquired a second meaning in the vernacular as slang for police officers.
The gang's adventures continued off-screen in comic books as Dell (which became Gold Key) published 31 issues from 1961 to 1970.Charlton Comics published 20 more issues from 1970 to 1973. In Mexico, La Coleccion Primavera featured Don Gato in 1968.
Little Golden Books and Durabooks have both produced hardcover children's books starring Top Cat.
In the UK, BrownWatson published the 1978 annual entitled The Great Grape Ape and Boss Cat.
The Original TV Soundtrack was released by Colpix Records in 1962, consisting of slightly edited versions of "The Unscratchables" and "Top Cat Falls In Love".
In 1965, Hanna-Barbera Records released an LP titled "Robin Hood Starring Top Cat". T.C. and the gang were pictured as merry men on the cover. Songs included Top Cat, M-O-N-E-Y, Dibble, Robin Hood, and Buddies. It was re-released in 1977 on Columbia Records' Special Products label.
A jazzy arrangement of the Top Cat theme can be heard most weeks over the end credits of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour. The Top Cat theme song is the opening track on Ted Kooshian's 2008 jazz CD, Ted Kooshian's Standard Orbit Quartet.
Anima Studios of Mexico and Illusion Studios of Argentina have produced a feature film in 2D and 3D, entitled Don Gato y su Pandilla (the name used for the Spanish dub of the series). The film was initially released exclusively in Mexico and South American markets on September 13, 2011 by the Latin American branch of Warner Bros. Pictures (whose parent company, Time Warner ownsTurner Entertainment, which acquired Hanna-Barbera in 1990). The film was released in cinemas asTop Cat: The Movie in the United Kingdom through Vertigo Films in June 1, 2012. To date, there has been no word from Warner Bros. if the film will be released in any form in the United States or Canada. However, Rotten Tomatoes reported that this film may be released on DVD on March 26, 2013. It is also planned to have a limited theatrical release in the United States and a sequel that is in the works.
The movie has become one of the most successful Mexican movies ever; in its 5th week it had earned 108 million pesos (about US$7,929,515). However, the English dub of the film received overwhelmingly negative reviews from UK critics criticizing the animation and voice acting.It currently scores a 14% "Rotten" on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 14 reviews, with an average score of 2.8/10. It was later released theatrically and direct-to-video in several other intercontinental countries, such as Israel, Russia, India, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Slovakia, andCzech Republic.