Top Cat is a Hanna-Barbera prime time animated television series which ran from September 27, 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-Fancy, Spook, Benny the Ball, The Brain, and Choo Choo living in Hoagie’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 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. 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.

Top Cat Tells The Story Of Robin Hood.

Here’s another record in the Hanna-Barbera collection.

Top Cat doesn’t just tell the story of Robin Hood here. The story starts with TC and his gang of alley cats broke and starving as usual. Brain says they ought to do like Robin Hood does and take from the rich and give to the poor. Well, they reason, nobody’s poorer than they are! They learn to shoot bows and arrows (sort of), but before they get much further they run into a couple of escaped bank robbers. It all turns into the old “pretend to rob a bank for the movie we’re shooting only it’s really an actual robbery” plot that it seems like every show did somewhere along the way.

1.Song: Top Cat
2.Story: Robin Hood (pt. 1)
3.Song: M-O-N-E-Y
4.Story: Robin Hood (pt. 2)
5.Song: Robin Hood
6.Story: Robin Hood (pt. 3)
7.Song: Dibble
8.Story: Robin Hood (pt. 4)
9.Story: Robin Hood (pt. 5)
10.Song: Buddies

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