The show was a package program in the vein of the Hanna-Barbera/NBC show The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, except that it contained no live-action segments. During the 1969-1970 season, Cattanooga Cats ran one hour on Saturdays and contained four segments. During the 1970-1971 season, when it aired on Sunday mornings, the segments It's the Wolf! and Motormouse and Autocat were spun off into their own half-hour show; Around the World in 79 Days remained a part of Cattanoga Cats, which was reduced to a half-hour. Motormouse and Autocat ran concurrently with Cattanooga Cats until both met their demise at the end of the 1970-1971 season.
Cattanooga Cats depicts the adventures of a fictitious rock band, similar to the Archies and the Banana Splits, populated by anthropomorphic hillbilly cats:
- Lead singer/guitarist Country (voiced by Bill Callaway); drives their tour bus, Gashopper
- Singer/dancer Kitty Jo (voiced by Julie Bennett); sang lead on a number of songs, had her own unique dance, drove Gashopper occasionally
- Upright bassist Scoots Clunk (voiced by Jim Begg); his Magic Crayon could create anything from thin air to get the Cats out of a tight spot, for example, in "Autograph Hounded", Scoots' Magic Crayon came up with a cake to smash Chessie the Autograph Hound
- Drummer Groovy Groove (voiced by Casey Kasem); fond of speaking in rhyme
A fifth member, a mouse keyboardist named "Cheesie", was storyboarded but cut out of the series. Travelling around the country in a converted bus known as Gashopper, they were perennially chased by a female cat groupie named Chessie the "Autograph Hound" (also voiced by Julie Bennett), who, as her name indicated, would stop at nothing to obtain their autographs despite their many efforts to avoid her. Kitty Jo also owned a big blue dog named "Teeny Tim" (appearing only in the videos and comedy "bumpers"). The singing vocals for the Cattanooga Cats were performed by Michael Lloyd and Peggy Clinger.
- An album collection of the songs was released to coincide with the series. It only contained eleven of the songs.
- The Cats also appeared in various comic "bumpers" between the other cartoons, but were best remembered for their animated musical segments. These cartoons showed a strong psychedelic and op-art influence, and the Cattanooga Cats remain a cult favorite to this day.
- "Cattanooga" is a play on Chattanooga, Tennessee.
- The Cats have very distinctive Southern accents. However, the accents disappear when they sing.
- Related article: Cattanooga Cats song lyrics
Only nine cartoon story segments featuring the Cats were produced:
- "Witch Whacky"
- "The Big Boo-Boo"
- "The Wee Greenie Goofie"
- "Mummy's Day"
- "Zoo's Who"
- "Autograph Hounded"
- "The Caribbean Kook"
- "Ghosting A-Go-Go"
Starting with the tenth broadcast, a second music video and additional comic shorts were added in lieu of a more conventional episode for the remainder of the series.
- "Wavy chitlin' gravy!"--Scoots
- "Ding-a-ling, Ding-a-lings!"- Scoots
Around the World in 79 Days
Loosely based upon the classic novel Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, this was an adventure segment involving balloonist "Phinny Fogg" a.k.a. Phileas Fogg Jr. (conceived as the son of the main character Phileas Fogg in the novel and voiced by Bruce Watson) and his friends, teenage reporters Jenny (voiced by Janet Waldo) and Happy (voiced by Don Messick), who set out on a globetrotting adventure in his father's hot air balloon to sail around the world in 79 days and beat the original record set by Phinny's father by one day. The trio are in competition for both the world record and a million-dollar prize against the sinister Crumden (voiced by Daws Butler), who supposedly was the butler of the original Phineas. Crumden was aided by Phineas' chauffeur, the idiotic and appropriately named Bumbler (voiced by Allan Melvin), and Crumden's sneaky pet monkey, Smirky (voiced by Don Messick). Unlike the other segments, Around the World in 79 Days was a serial with a continuing story. However, as with many shows made during this period, it has no specific ending. This was the longest of the segments.
- The Race Is On
- Swiss Mis-Adventure
- Arabian Daze
- Madrid or Busted
- Mr. Bom Bom
- India or Bust
- Snow Slappy
- Finney Finney Fun Fun
- The Argentiny Meany
- The Tree Man
- Saucy Aussie
- Crumden's Last Stand
- Egyptian Jinx
- Border Disorder
- Troubles in Dutch
- The Fiji Weegees
- Hawaiian Hangup
It's the Wolf!
It's the Wolf! followed the comic exploits of a sneaky, smart alec wolf named Mildew (voiced by an uncredited yet easily recognizable Paul Lynde), who aspires to catch and eat a sure-footed little lamb named Lambsy Divy (voiced by Daws Butler), but is always thwarted in this plan by the clever dog Bristlehound, Lambsy's bodyguard (voiced by Allan Melvin). Bristlehound would chase and apprehend Mildew (usually after hearing Lambsy's cries of, "Help! It's the wool-uff!"), pound him, and toss him sailing over the hills with his shepherd's crook, with Mildew screaming a phrase such as "Spoil Sport!" "Sheep Dog Brutality!" or "Bow-Wow Buffoon!" as he flies over the mountains and into the horizon and lands with a loud thud.
Showing modest responsibility, Lambsy never fails to recognize Mildew. He often pretends not to know him at first and gives several rhyming guesses as to who he is before saying "Uh uh, I know who it is!" and giving his signature cry for help.
- High Hopes
- When My Sheep Comes In
- A Sheep in the Deep
- Lambsy Divey in Winter- Blunder Land
- Merry Go Round Up
- Super Scientific Sheep Sitting Service
- Any Sport in a Storm
- Magic Wanderer
- Runaway Home
- Smart Dummy
- Channel Chasers
- Mask Me No Questions
- Freeway Frenzy
- Slumber Jacks
- Pow Wow Wolf
- Ghost of a Chance
- Lambscout Cookout or Mildew
- Wolf in a Sheeps Clothing
- To Beach His Own
- Sheep Scene Stealer
- How to Cook a Lamb
- Train Tripped
Motormouse and Autocat
Motormouse and Autocat involved the antics of a fast-talking race car-driving cat and a motorcycle-driving mouse. Much of the segment's appeal lay in the bizarre cars that Autocat (voiced by Marty Ingels) devised in his attempts to catch Motormouse (voiced by Dick Curtis), and in the pleasing and unusual character voices and dialect. For example, Motormouse would often over-enunciate words, saying things like "Chi-co-ry," "That's Plumb Dumb," and greeting Autocat with a friendly "Hey there, Au-to-cat!" Autocat was fond of saying 'Tally Ho-Ho-Ho!'
- Motormouse resembled Pixie and Dixie in character design.
- Autocat would often break the fourth wall. Occasionally, Motormouse would too.
- Wheelin' and Dealin'
- Party Crasher
- Water Sports
- What's the Motor with You?
- Mini Messenger
- Wild Wheelin' Wheels
- Soggy To Me
- Crash Course
- Fueling Around
- Buzzin' Cousin
- Hard Days Day
- Tally Ha Ha
- Hocus Focus
- Kitty Kitty Bang Bang
- King Size Kaddy
- Catch as Cat Can
- Catnapping Mouse
- Paint That Ain't
- I've Been Framed
- Match Making Mouse
- Electronic Brainstorm
- Brute Farce
- Bouncing Buddies
- Ramblin Wreck from Texas
- Two Car Mirage
- Geni and the Meany
- Choo Choo Cheetah
- The Fastest Mouse in the West
- Cat Skill School
- The Cool Cat Contest
- Lights! Action! Catastrophe!
- Follow That Cat
- Bill Callaway - Country
- Julie Bennett - Kitty Jo, Chessie
- Jim Begg - Scoots
- Casey Kasem - Groove
- Bruce Watson - Phinny Fogg
- Janet Waldo - Jenny
- Don Messick - Hoppy, Smirky, Opening Announcer
- Daws Butler - Crumden, Lambsy
- Allan Melvin - Bumbler, Bristlehound
- Paul Lynde - Mildew Wolf
- Dick Curtis - Motormouse
- Marty Ingels - Autocat
Cattanooga Cats in other languages
- Brazilian Portuguese: Turma da Gatolândia
- Italian: I gatti di Cattanooga
- Spanish: Los Gatedráticos del Ritmo
Hanna-Barbera had high hopes for Cattanooga Cats to be a hit program, like The Banana Splits, but the show failed to attract a large audience (and ratings) during its original run. Mildew Wolf, the most popular character on the program, resurfaced in his own right six years after the cancellation of Cattanooga Cats as co-host, with Snagglepuss, on Laff-a-Lympics, this time voiced by John Stephenson.
Lambsy appeared in his own right in Yogi's Ark Lark.
Reruns of Cattanooga Cats did not rerun until the program began airing as part of the Sunday-morning Boomerang programming block on the Cartoon Network, which later became a spin-off network of its own. For several months, the UK Boomerang channel ran the musical interludes from the show, all of which ran to exactly 1 minute 45 seconds, as short (and unidentified) fillers before closing down at midnight. When the channel expanded to 24 hours, these interludes were dropped. The complete show has not been seen in the United Kingdom in recent years.
The Cattanooga Cats, Mildew and Lambsy appear in Jellystone! The Cattanooga Cats are portrayed as animatronics.
The Album's Fate
As the original Cattanooga Cats album was copyrighted under the pre-1975 Copyright Act, the original copyright thereof by Modern Records was allowed to lapse in 1997 without any forethought on the part of the Mike Curb organisation, as owned Modern Records, to renew the copyrights thereof, although Hanna-Barbera retained copyright to the show's name, characters and related aspects.
Revival of interest in the show and its songs, thanks to Boomerang, led some fans to exploit the ensuing copyright vacuum to release pirate MP3 recordings of tracks from the original vinyl album online, and at least one online music seller to offer a pirate CD of the album, not to mention MP3 downloads of the album and tracks therefrom (howbeit recorded off the vinyl album) starting in the mid-2000s. Nonetheless, the Mike Curb estate (Curb died in the summer of 2014) still has the master tapes to the Cattanooga Cats album, and remains reluctant to digitally remaster same for possible CD or MP3 release, or sell the rights thereof to Warner Bros. Music in behalf of Hanna-Barbera.
Trivia about songs on the Cattanooga Cats album
- "Cold Wisconsin Night (Sittin' by the Fireside)" [singular] was actually a retitled cover of "Cold Wisconsin Nights" [plural], recorded in 1968 by The American Revolution. Two other songs, "I Wish I Was a Fire" and "My Girlfriend Is a Witch," were originally recorded by October Country, also in 1968.
- "My Birthday Suit" was originally composed for the 1968 independent soft-porn comedy Jenny: Wife/Child (a/k/a Albert Peckingpaw's Revenge); Lydia Marcelle sang the original version. (The term itself is a colloquialism for nudity going back to the mid-18th century.)
- The melody of "The Day That Love Won't Stay Away" is based on the traditional Irish ballad, "The King of the Fairies."
- "Sing a Song of Sixpence" and "Johnny Johnny Jump Up" are based on two traditional children's songs.
- Produced and Directed: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
- Associate Producer: Lew Marshall
- Story: Neal Barbera, Larz Bourne, Ed Brandt, Tom Dagenais, Len Janson, Earl Klein, Bill Lutz, Mike Maltese, Chuck Meville, Bill Perez, Joe Ruby, Dalton Sandifer, Martin Smith, Ken Spears
- Story Direction: Jim Carmichael, Nick George, Earl Klein, Bill Perez, Paul Sommer, Howard Swift, Warren Tufts
- Voices: Jim Begg, Julie Bennett, Daws Butler, Bill Callaway, Peggy Clinger, Mike Crub, Dick Curtis, Marty Ingels, Casey Kasem, Peggy Larey, Mike Lloyd, Paul Lynde, Allan Melvin, Don Messick, Hal Smith, John Stephenson, Ginny Tyler, Jean Vander Pyl, Janet Waldo
- Animation Director: Charles A. Nichols
- Production Design: Iwao Takamoto
- Production Supervisor: Victor O. Schipek
- Layout: John Ahern, Dick Bickenbach, Brad Case, Walt Clinton, Jerry Eisenberg, Gary Hoffman, Willie Ito, Homer Jonas
- Animation: Ray Abrams, Carlos Alfonso, Vincente Bassols, Shannon Lee Dyer, Hugh Fraser, George Goepper, Fernando Gonzales, Terry Harrison, Volus Jones, Lou Kachivas, Casey Onaitis, Ed Parks, Jack Parr, Don Patterson
- Background Styling: Walt Peregoy
- Backgrounds: Bob Inman, Gino Giudice, Richard Khim, Eric Semones, Don Watson
- Titles: Robert Schaefer
- Musical Director for "Cattanooga Cats": Mike Crub
- Background Musical Director: Ted Nichols
- Technical Supervisor: Frank Paiker
- Ink & Paint Supervisor: Roberta Greutert
- Xerography: Robert "Tiger" West
- Sound Direction: Richard Olson
- Film Editing: Earl Bennett, Milton Krear
- Camera: John Aardal, Dick Blundell, George Epperson, Charles Flekal, Roy Wade, Dennis Weaver
- A Hanna-Barbera Production · A Taft Broadcasting Company
- This Picture Made Under the Jurisdiction of IATSE-IA Affiliated with A.F.L.-C.I.O.
- RCA Sound Recording
- © 1970 Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc.
- Cattanooga Cats according to Wingnut
- The Cattanooga Cats Play Duffy's Tavern, a fanfic mashup with Old-Time Radio from It's So Hanna-Barberaesque
- The Cattanooga Cats Group on Yahoo! Groups
- A Postcard from Snagglepuss (fanfic) on It's So Hanna-Barberaesque featuring the Cattanooga Cats at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, IA