Episode 13 of The Harveytoons Show included a character and short called "Top Cat".[1]
Top Cat
Top Cat and the gang. Left to right: Benny the Ball (foreground); Officer Dibble (Behind fence); Brain; Fancy-Fancy; Top Cat; Spook (foreground); Choo-Choo
Genre Comedy
Format Animated series
Directed by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voices of Arnold Stang
Allen Jenkins
Maurice Gosfield
Leo DeLyon
Marvin Kaplan
John Stephenson
Opening theme "The Most Effectual Top Cat"
Ending theme "The Most Effectual Top Cat"
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 30 (List of episodes)
Producer(s) William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Running time Between 24 and 27 minutes
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera
Distributor Screen Gems (1961-1974)
Worldvision Enterprises (1983-1992)
Turner Program Services (1992-1998)
Warner Bros. Television Distribution (1998-present)
Turner Entertainment (1999-present)
Original channel ABC
Cartoon Network
Picture format Color (initially telecast in black and white)
Audio format Mono
Original run September 27, 1961 (1961-09-27) – April 18, 1962 (1962-04-18)

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 were formerly played on Cartoon Network, but are now shown on its sister 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-Fancy, Spook, Benny the Ball, Brain, and Choo Choo living in Hoagy's Alley.[2]

Top Cat and his gang were inspired by characters from the popular 1940s B movies, "The East Side Kids", but many suggest it derived from a later 1950s military comedy whose lead was a crafty con-man (The Phil Silvers Show). Maurice Gosfield, who played Private Duane Doberman on The Phil Silvers Show, also provided the voice for Benny the Ball in Top Cat (Benny's rotund appearance was based on Gosfield too). Even Arnold Stang's voicing of Top Cat strongly resembled Phil Silvers' voice. Other possible sources cited have been Guys and Dolls where actor Stubby Kaye played a short, stout street-wise gambler and a virtual Benny the Ball prototype. Lastly, an unlikely contender (as it also came from Hanna Barbera) was the character Hokey Wolf, from a segment on The Huckleberry Hound Show, which also had parallels to The Phil Silvers Show.[3][4]

A frequent plot-line revolved around the local beat cop 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. The word dibble, previously used only for an implement for making holes to plant seeds, acquired a second meaning in the vernacular as slang for police officers.[5]


Episode list

No. Title Air date
1 Hawaii, Here We Come September 27, 1961
Benny wins a trip to Hawaii, leading to Top Cat (and the rest of the gang) joining him on his trip by stowing away. Things take a drastic turn as Officer Dibble also ends up aboard the ship, and the discovery of a suitcase containing counterfeit money leads to Top Cat and the gang being thrown into the brig as suspect counterfeiters. However, with Top Cat's assistance, Officer Dibble is able to catch the actual counterfeiter and verify the gang's innocence.

Credited Animators: Kenneth Muse, Jerry Hathcock, Ed Aardal. Note: This is the series premiere. 

2 The Maharajah of Pookajee October 4, 1961
Top Cat impersonates the Maharajah of Pookajee and lives the good life at a swank hotel with his cronies... until a pair of gangsters show up.

Credited Animators: Carlo Vinci, Don Williams, Ed Love

3 All That Jazz October 11, 1961
Jazz (voiced by Daws Butler impersonating Phil Silvers), the new cat in town (known as "A.T." - All That), takes over the pool hall, steals Top Cat's girlfriend, sways the gang and cleans up the alley. This sparks a contest between the pair. However, when both Jazz and Top Cat are offered a part in a Hollywood film, they assume that it is another trick. The offer turns out to be legitimate, and Benny is cast in the starring role in The Thing from the Alley. He leaves for Hollywood in a limo, accompanied by Top Cat and the gang in the guise of Benny's manager, valet, vocal coach, tailor and chauffeur. After that, Officer Dibble catches Jazz using the police phone, now declaring that Jazz "is just as bad as Top Cat". Jazz and his companion Beau (voiced by Don Messick) are forced to keep the alley clean for 30 days.

Credited Animators: George Goepper, Tony Love, Dick Lundy

4 The $1,000,000 Derby October 18, 1961
Benny gets a new pet, a devoted camera-loving nag. Top Cat tries everything to get rid of the horse, but changes his mind when he sees the horse's shock-induced superior racing abilities.

Credited Animator: Carlo Vinci

5 The Violin Player October 25, 1961
Mr. Gutenberg, the musical director of Carnegie Hall, mistakes a recording of violin virtuoso Laszlo Laszlo for the playing of Benny the Ball, who has just taken up the instrument. He approaches Benny with an offer to perform and Top Cat negotiates a deal for $50,000 for a Saturday night performance at the Hall—an offer that is withdrawn when Carnegie's Board of Directors really hear Benny play. When Gutenberg offers a $10,000 reward to find the true violinist, the gang discovers that it's their neighborhood street cleaner, Laszlo Laszlo.

Credited Animators: Carlo Vinci, Irv Spence, Kenneth Muse

6 The Missing Heir November 1, 1961
Benny is a double for the missing heir to a millionaire's fortune; Top Cat and the gang get Benny to the mansion in time to claim the money, but this is bad news to the scheming Butler Chutney (voice by Paul Frees) and dog Griswald (voiced by Don Messick) who hoped to claim the fortune for themselves.

Credited Animator: Ed Love

7 Top Cat Falls in Love November 8, 1961
While visiting tonsillectomy patient Benny in the hospital, Top Cat falls for the pretty cat nurse, Miss LaRue (voiced by Gigi Perreau). T.C. decides to attract her attention by pretending to come down with a rare illness, which will need a lot of nursing care. Don Messick provides the Voice of Dr. Dawson While Jean Vander Pyl Provides the Voice of the Nurse.

Credited Animator: Kenneth Muse

8 A Visit from Mother November 15, 1961
Benny has written to his mother that he's the Mayor of New York. Now Benny's mother is coming for a visit, and Top Cat and the gang must do everything they can to convince Mrs. Ball (voiced by Bea Benaderet) that her son really is the Mayor.

Credited Animator: Ed Love

9 Naked Town November 22, 1961
"Naked Town", a TV crime show, will be shooting a warehouse robbery scene in Top Cat's alley. Officer Dibble offers his cooperation, but is unaware that some crooks will be using the TV filming as a cover for a real robbery.

Credited Animator: Don Patterson

10 Sergeant Top Cat November 29, 1961
After overhearing Officer Dibble suggesting ways to improve conditions for the police force, Top Cat passes off Dibble's ideas to the Chief as T.C.'s own. This leads to Top Cat's being made an honorary police sergeant (and Dibble's boss in the alley).

Credited Animator: Irv Spence

11 Choo-Choo's Romance December 6, 1961
Choo-Choo has fallen in love with a beautiful French cat, Goldie (voiced by Jean Vander Pyl); Top Cat and the gang help Choo-Choo to court her, but they've reckoned without Goldie's jealous boyfriend, Pierre (voiced by John Stephenson).

Credited Animator: Carlo Vinci

12 The Unscratchables December 13, 1961
When a missing diamond ends up in Benny the Ball's stomach, it's up to Top Cat and the gang to find a way retrieve him from gangsters who've kidnapped him and are attempting to retrieve the diamond the hard way.

Credited Animators: George Goepper, Harry Holt, Carlo Vinci

13 Rafeefleas December 20, 1961
After Benny spends the night sleeping inside a museum, T.C. discovers a scarab attached to his back. The jewel is later found to be an expensive antique, and the gang attempts to return it. Once the scarab is returned, a jewel thief arrives and takes a number of jewels. Dibble arrives and mistakes T.C. as the thief, however the thief is caught when he runs into the rest of the gang.

Credited Animator: Kenneth Muse

14 The Tycoon December 27, 1961
A Tycoon (voiced by Don Messick) decides to give away $1,000,000 to the most unfortunate person he finds, which ends up being Top Cat. He gives the check to Benny, who tries to show it to Top Cat (who ignores him), so he tries to cash it himself. A merchant overhears him and tells all his associates. Everybody gives things to Top Cat thinking he is a millionaire, and that he'll pay them back.

Credited Animator: Ed Love

15 The Long Hot Winter January 3, 1962
During the cold winter in the alley, Top Cat and the gang scheme to find a way into Officer Dibble's house in an attempt to keep warm. Once inside the house, Dibble struggles to live with the gang. In the end, the gang stay for several months until spring and the warmer weather arrives.

Credited Animators: Edwin Aardal, Jerry Hathcock. 

16 The Case of the Absent Anteater January 10, 1962
Benny gets a new pet; a hungry, brown giant anteater which followed him into the alley. Top Cat attempts to get rid of the animal until it is revealed that the anteater has escaped from the zoo and a large reward is on offer for its return.

Credited Animators: George Goepper, Harry Holt. 

17 T.C. Minds the Baby January 17, 1962
An abandoned baby (voiced by Jean Vander Pyl) is found by Top Cat and the gang, who intend on looking after it. However, they find parenthood much more difficult than they thought it to be. In the end, the mother is found and the baby is safely returned.

Credited Animator: Irv Spence

18 Farewell, Mr. Dibble January 24, 1962
Officer Dibble is replaced by a new recruit named Ernest Prowler (voiced by Don Messick). Prowler intends to be more forceful in his duty than Dibble and intends to stop the trouble that Top Cat and the gang cause. Due to the new regime, the gang hatch a plan to have Dibble return to his old beat in the alley.

Credited Animators: Carlo Vinci (opening scene only), Don Williams

19 The Grand Tour January 31, 1962
Top Cat and the gang are struggling to make money. However, T.C. comes up with a new get-rich-quick scheme which involves creating a fake "historical" tour of New York. Choo-Choo begins selling "phony" maps, however it is later found that the maps point to a real treasure in a dilapidated house.

Credited Animator: Carlo Vinci

20 The Golden Fleecing February 7, 1962
Benny receives an insurance payment of $2,000, giving T.C. ideas about how to spend it. The first spend is made on visiting a local nightclub to visit Honeydew Mellon (voiced by Sally Jones), a showgirl who also happens to be part of a gang of poker-playing con-artists, who will do everything they can to separate Benny from his money.

Credited Animators: Edwin Aardal, Jerry Hathcock. 

21 Space Monkey February 14, 1962
Officer Dibble takes a job at Cape Canaveral, and the gang discover about the luxurious treatment a Chimpanzee (voiced by John Stephenson) receives while in the space program. The group decides to join up in attempt to access the same luxurious facilities, however wants out when they discover they will be going into space. It is not known, who did the voices of the Space Shuttle Doctor and his assistant Bernie. Correction: Daws Butler provides the voices of the Space Shuttle Doctor and his assistant Bernie.

Credited Animator: Kenneth Muse

22 The Late T.C. February 21, 1962
Top Cat is injured when hit in the head by a baseball; from the resulting injury, a misunderstanding leads Officer Dibble to believe Top Cat only has a week left to live. T.C. and the gang take advantage of Dibble and his kindness during the week.

Credited Animators: Ed Love, Tony Love. 

23 Dibble's Birthday February 28, 1962
Officer Dibble's birthday is coming up and he begins to feel he is getting too old. To help cheer him up, the gang decide to throw him a birthday party, with gifts from everybody in the neighborhood.

Credited Animators: Edwin Aardal, Jerry Hathcock. 

24 Choo-Choo Goes Ga-Ga March 7, 1962
Choo-Choo threatens to commit suicide unless he can get a date with a Hollywood movie star, named Lola Glamour (voiced by Jean Vander Pyl). Top Cat trys getting him that date by visiting her at her penthouse, but Officer Dibble was given complaints from other people who live there.Top cat eventually escapes from Officer Dibble,but soon find out Lola would only date rich men,so Choo Choo once again trys to commit suicide.This annoys Top cat so he tries to get Lola to think Choo Choo is a rich count named Count Chooch.

Credited Animators: George Goepper, Harry Holt. 

25 King for a Day March 14, 1962
After Top Cat upsets Officer Dibble one time too many, he and the gang decide to lie low for a while. After spending the night in a department store, the gang go on the "King for a Day" show which offers a number of prizes, after writing to the show's producers about the gang being a "poor family". Instead, Dibble wins the prizes and offers to take T.C. and the gang for a ride to show no hard feelings.

Credited Animators: Edwin Aardal, Jerry Hathcock. 

26 The Con Men March 21, 1962
A friendly hot dog vendor is swindled out of $1,000 by con men who pretended to have an oil well in Nova Scotia. Top Cat disguises himself as a wealthy Texan in an attempt to get the money back, by convincing the crooks that the oil well really does exist.

Credited Animators: Ed Love, Tony Love. 

27 Dibble Breaks the Record March 28, 1962
Dibble attempts to break a record as the longest serving police officer on the beat, which had been set years ago by his idol, policeman, "Iron Man" Muldoon; if he beats the record, he wins a holiday which allows him to escape the gang for a while. With this information, Top Cat does everything he can to help Dibble win and have the gang watch over him so he doesn't have an accident.

Credited Animators: Kenneth Muse, Jerry Hathcock. 

28 Dibble Sings Again April 4, 1962
Top Cat owes money to a loan shark named Big Gus, and after hearing Officer Dibble singing, he convinces him that under his management, he could become a big singing star. Leo De Lyon doubles as the voices of Brain, Spook and Big Gus' gorilla.

Credited Animators: Harry Holt, George Goepper, Carlo Vinci

29 Griswald April 11, 1962
Dibble gets a new partner on the beat: a dog named Griswald. Top Cat and the gang attempt to outwit him, but the dog always seems to be one step ahead. T.C. manages to get the dog removed from duty after he bites the police commissioner.

Credited Animators: Ed Love, Tony Love. 

30 Dibble's Double April 18, 1962
A thief named Al the Actor, disguised as Officer Dibble, steals a fortune from an art gallery. Top Cat has also taken up painting, but discovers his own artwork was also stolen. The gang, together with Dibble, team up to catch the thief. Don Messick voices Al, while Leo De Lyon does the voice of his henchman.

Credited Animators: Dick Lundy, George Goepper, Harry Holt, Carlo Vinci. Notes: This was the series finale. 23 years later, Arnold Stang returns to do the voice of Top Cat in the series Yogi's Treasure Hunt. 10 years later in Yogi's Ark Lark, Daws Butler did the voice of Top Cat who sounded just like Hokey Wolf

DVD release

In the USA, a box set with all 30 episodes was released in December 2004 (2004-12).

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
Top Cat - The Complete Series 30 December 7, 2004 (2004-12-07)
  • Commentary on various episodes
  • Back to Hoagy's Alley: The Making of Top Cat (retrospective featurette)
  • Interviews: Cool Cats in Interview Alley
  • Top Cat sing-along
  • Production Sketches: Top Cat Collection (art, stills, sketches, backgrounds)
  • Storyboards: Storyboard Showcase
  • TV Spot: Top Cat Kellogg's commercials (US release only)

In the UK, the complete series box set was released in 2007, initially as a HMV exclusive until 2008. Alternatively, 5 single DVD volumes, each containing 6 episodes, were released. The covers were originally from the US edition, but was later re-released with a new design. Each volume shows a group picture of Top Cat using Dibble's phone with his gang beside him, but the colour-coding is:

Volume 1: Primrose (Episodes 1–6) – Top Cat Volume 2: Green (Episodes 7–12) – Choo-Choo Volume 3: Red (Episodes 13–18) – Fancy Fancy Volume 4: Blue (Episodes 19–24) – Benny Volume 5: Orange (Episodes 25–30) – Spook

The DVDs have since been made available to buy in other retailers across the UK.


Other characters appearing in Top Cat

Other Hanna-Barbera characters make cameo appearances during the series.

  • In one of the episodes, Top Cat and his friends are reading comic books. Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound comics can be seen in the bottom right corner of the scene.
  • In the episode "Rafeefleas", the gang is wandering through a museum at night when they come upon a group of statues labeled "Prehistoric Man". Choo-Choo insists that he's seen the figures before, maybe on T.V., but TC waves this off. The statues are modeled after Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble.
  • In the episode "A Visit from Mother", "El Kabong" graffiti (Quick Draw McGraw's alter-ego) is seen on the wall in the background.

Top Cat characters appearing in other shows

  • In one episode of, Gomer Pyle, Gomer is seen in a restaurant reading a Top Cat comic book.
  • Top Cat also made a cameo appearance in one of What-a-Cartoon shorts named "Buy One, Get One Free" in a party scene.
  • Top Cat made a cameo appearance in a 2012 MetLife commercial enititled, "Everyone".
  • Top Cat's theme is featured in The Flintstones episode "Surfin Fred" when Barney and Betty discover that Jimmy Darrock is in fact not a lifeguard.
  • Officer Dibble makes a cameo appearance in The Flintstones episode "Time Machine", as a policeman in the future. Thus returning the favor done in episode "The Rafeefleas" when T.C and the gang found two statues of cave man (Fred and Barney) in an art museum, while searching for the jewelry display case.
  • Top Cat and his gang appeared in Yogi's Ark Lark. While the others don't have dialogue, Top Cat was voiced by Daws Butler while Benny the Ball was voiced by John Stephenson. It was presumed that Arnold Stang wasn't available at the time while Maurice Gosfield was already dead in 1964.
  • In 1985, Top Cat appeared on Yogi's Treasure Hunt with Yogi Bear and other Hanna-Barbera toon stars; he was the one who assigned the treasure hunts. Officer Dibble made an appearance in the end of the show's episode, "Yogi's Beanstalk" voiced by John Stephenson since Allen Jenkins was already dead in 1974.
  • In 1987, Hanna-Barbera produced a feature-length television film based on the show titled Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats (part of the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 film series), in which the gang helps a young girl claim her inheritance. During that time, John Stephenson reprised Officer Dibble while Benny the Ball was voiced by Avery Schreiber.
  • In the Fender Bender 500 segment of Wake, Rattle, and Roll, Top Cat and Choo Choo were one of the racers driving a trash can-modeled monster truck called the Alley Cat.
  • In Yo Yogi!, Top Cat was a teenage cat voiced by Arte Johnson. Even here, he still lives in a trash can.
  • Top Cat was seen in a Cartoon Network Rap in 1995.
  • In the Duck Dodgers episode "K-9 Quarry", Top Cat was amongst the poached characters on the Alien Hunter's ship.
  • Top Cat, Benny and Brain made a cameo appearance at the end of The Powerpuff Girls episode "Catastrophe". They can be seen at the bottom left corner of the screen (Note: Instead of his hat, Top Cat has a splat of slime on his head).
  • Top Cat was seen briefly driving a Motorcycle in the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Cheese a go-go."
  • In the Futurama episode "That Darn Katz!", a picture of Top Cat is seen.
  • In a sketch from BBC Radio 4 show That Mitchell and Webb Sound, a cop claims to have problems with TC. one particular moment similarly mentions from Maharajah of Pookajee.
  • An excerpt from the show appears in the 1982 film Cat People.
  • There is someone that dresses up as Top Cat in a Hanna-Barbera convention in the film Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon.

In other media

Comic Books

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.[6] 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.


T.C. and friends appeared on three View-Master reels in 1962. These were titled "Medal for Meddling", "Zoo-Operation", and "No Cat Fishing".

Feature film

175px|thumb|right|Official Mexican release poster for the movie. A feature film based on the TV series was released on September 16, 2011 in 2D and 3D theaters. The film was produced by Mexico's Ánima Estudios and Argentina's Illusion Studios and was released by the Latin American branch of Warner Bros. Pictures (whose parent company, Time Warner owns Turner Entertainment, which acquired Hanna-Barbera in 1990). Entitled Don Gato y su Pandilla (the name used for the Spanish dub of the series),[7] the film was a major box-office success in Mexico and was one of the most successful releases from a Mexican production.[8]

The film later had a limited theatrical release in the United States on August 2, 2013, featuring the voices of Rob Schneider as Lou Strickland and Danny Trejo as Griswald.[9]

Production credits


  • Produced and Directed by: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
  • Written By: Kin Platt
  • Story Director: Paul Sommer
  • Associate Producer: Alan Dinehart
  • Musical Director: Hoyt Curtin
  • Starring the Voice of: Arnold Stang, With: Allen Jenkins, Maurice Gosfield, Marvin Kaplan, Leo De Lyon, John Stephenson, Paul Frees
  • Animation: Kenneth Muse, Jerry Hathcock
  • Animation Direction: Charles A. Nichols
  • Production Supervision: Howard Hanson
  • Layout: Jack Huber
  • Titles: Lawrence Goble
  • Backgrounds: Montealegre
  • Camera: Roy Wade, Norman Stainback, Frank Paiker, Charles Flekal
  • Film Editing: Greg Watson, Warner Leighton
  • Top Cat Copyright MCMLXI Hanna-Barbera Productions
  • A Hanna-Barbera Production
  • A Screen Gems Film Presentation
    • Television Subsidiary: Columbia Pictures Corporation

2004 DVD Version

  • Produced and Directed By: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
  • Written by Kin Platt, Joanna Lee, Michael Maltese, Barry Blitzer, Tony Benedict, Ray Allen, Larry Markes, Harvey Bullock, Harvey Marshall
  • Story Direction: Alex Lovy, Lewis Marshall, Paul Sommer
  • Associate Producer: Alan Dinehart
  • Musical Direction: Hoyt Curtin
  • Starring the Voice of: Arnold Stang With: Maurice Gosfield, Allen Jenkins, Marvin Kaplan, Leo De Lyon, John Stephenson
  • Additional Voices: Bea Benaderet, Daws Butler, Herschel Bernardi, Walker Edmiston, Paul Frees, Sally Jones, Don Messick, Ge Ge Pearson, Hal Smith, Jean Vander Pyl, Herb Vigran
  • Animation: Ed Aardal, George Goepper, Jerry Hathcock, Harry Holt, Ed Love, Tony Love, Dick Lundy, Kenneth Muse, Don Patterson, Irv Spence, Carlo Vinci, Don Williams
  • Animation Direction: Charles A. Nichols
  • Production Supervision: Howard Hanson
  • Layout: Dick Bickenbach, Jack Huber, Walter Clinton, Dan Noonan
  • Titles: Lawrence Goble
  • Background: Art Lozzi, Montealegre, Robert Gentle, Neenah Maxwell, Anthony Rizzo, Richard H. Thomas
  • Camera: Charles Flekal, Roy Wade, Norman Stainback, Frank Paiker
  • Film Editing: Greg Watson, Warner Leighton, Zachary Zeiger, Kenneth Spears, Joseph Ruby, Donald A. Douglas
  • A Hanna-Barbera Production

See also


External links

Category:Hanna-Barbera series and characters Category:American animated television series Category:BBC children's television programmes Category:1960s American television series Category:1961 American television series debuts Category:1962 American television series endings Category:American Broadcasting Company network shows Category:Television series by Warner Bros. Television Category:American children's comedy series Category:Charlton Comics titles Category:Dell Comics titles Category:Gold Key Comics titles Category:Television programs featuring anthropomorphic characters Category:CBS network shows Category:Animated sitcoms Category:Television shows set in New York City Category:Fictional cats

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