Top Cat (Hanna-Barbera 1961, Arnold Stang, Maurice Gosfield)

Dating from the early 60’s Top Cat was the cream of the crop of Hanna-Barbera’s funky animations, intelligent and super witty the show followed Top Cat and his cronies living in a Manhattan alley where Top Cat’s all mod cons trashcan was the centre of operations for any number of schemes and scams; Top Cats gang included Brain (ironically named), the rotund Benny the Ball, sharp dressed Fancy-Fancy, the fly Spook and the shifty Choo-Choo, the gang spent much of their time pestering local cop Officer Dibble who always wants to get them off his patch but secretly deep down actually quite liked the boys.

Hard to believe that only 30 episodes were made of Top Cat so ingrained is it in our popular culture, pretty much an animated version of the sergeant Bilko character Top Cat is distinguished by its great scripts and clever characterisations (voices were provided by Arnold Stang as TC, Allen Jenkins as Dibble and Maurice Gosfield reprised his Doberman voice from Bilko for the role of Benny the Ball ‘Okay TC’).

Over the course of 30 episodes Top Cat did everything he could to make his Manhattan alleyway the last word in luxury, most of the episodes revolve around elaborate cons such as The Maharajah of Pookagee which sees TC posing as a maharajah to try and get his hands on some emeralds or the gang’s sight seeing business getting out of hand in The Grand Tour. Mostly though the gang spent their time in causing stressed out Officer Dibble as much trouble as possible. Constantly using the police phone to make personal calls and even going so far as to groom him for pop stardom so that they can rake off a managers fee.

Here at Memorable TV we are of the firm opinion that Top Cat is easily one of the best of all Hanna-Barbera’s cartoon series, as inventive as The Jetsons and as witty as The Flintstones and able to give Scooby-Doo a run for its money.

For it’s original run in the UK the show had to be renamed Boss Cat because their was a popular brand of cat food already called Top Cat, later showings reverted back to the original name.

production details
USA | Hanna Barbera – Screen Gems | 30×20 minutes | Broadcast from 26 November 1961

Creator: Joseph Barbera
Executive Producers: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
Producers: Benny Wolf, Jeff Hall

MAURICE GOSFIELD as Benny the Ball
LEO DELYON as Spook/The Brain
JOHN STEPHENSON as Fancy Fancy Pierre
ALLEN JENKINS as Officer Dibble

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.