Top Cat



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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 on Wednesdays [8:30-9pm Eastern]. Originally co-sponsored by Kellogg's and Bristol-Myers (Bufferin).

The central character, Top Cat — called T.C. by close friends, "providing it's with dignity" as the lyrics of the theme song say — is the leader of a gang of New York City alley cats: Fancy-Fancy, Spook, Benny the Ball, The Brain, and Choo Choo. Top Cat and his gang were inspired by characters from the popular situation comedy The Phil Silvers Show. It has also been said that the Bowery Boys influenced the 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). Arnold Stang's voicing of Top Cat strongly resembled Phil Silvers' voice as well.

A frequent plot-line revolved around the local NYPD (although it's never mentioned that Dibble is a New York cop) policeman, Officer Charles "Charlie" Dibble, 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 name Dibble has passed into the vernacular as slang for police officers.

Benny the Ball

Benny is one of Top Cat's right-hand men. He is short, chubby, naive, and cute, a blue-coloured cat with a white sweater that fastens with a single button at his neck. Benny may appear to be simple-minded, but he manages to ask the most logical questions during the gang's erratic endeavors. He is slow, not stupid. The gang relationship between Benny and Top Cat is based on a devoted friendship between them. An example of the lengths to which Top Cat will go to help Benny is illustrated by the episode "A Visit From Mother" in which Top Cat arranges for Benny to appear to be the mayor of New York City. A number of episodes have focused on Benny, including "The Violin Player", "The Unscratchables" and "The Missing Heir". Benny the Ball is modeled after his voice actor Maurice Gosfield.


Choo-Choo aka Chooch is another of Top Cat's right-hand men, usually his second in command, and is enthusiastic and devoted to Top Cat even when he’s clueless on what he’s doing. He is a pink cat with a white long-sleeve turtle-neck shirt, is the tallest of the alley gang cats, and often is depicted with the eyes of a Siamese cat. He lives at the fire house as the fire house cat as seen in one episode. He had a couple of love crushes [“Choo-choo's romance”, “Choo-choo goes gaga-gaga”], however unlike Fancy-Fancy or Top Cat, Choo-Choo has no courage talking to girls. When he talks, his voice sounds like Woody Allen.


Brain appears to be a common henchman to Top Cat. Brain is the dim-witted member of the alley gang, an orange cat with a purple sweater. Brain is notorious for being unable to keep a secret, and for his stuttering. He also seems to be in charge of the group's money (which they rarely have)


Fancy-Fancy appears to be a common henchman to Top Cat. He is laid-back, sweet-talking and is regularly seen chatting up the ladies before leaving them when hearing the 'dustbin lid call', a brown cat with a white scarf. He resembles Spook in appearance, and his voice and character were based on Cary Grant.


Spook rarely speaks in the episodes, but when he does, a torrent of "like"'s are used. He is similar to Fancy-Fancy in demeanor and appearance, a sweet talking cat whose vernacular is based on that of a beatnik. He is a pool shark with green fur and a black tie.

Officer Dibble

Officer Dibble is the NYPD policeman whose beat includes the alley. Though he usually resents the gang's presence in the alley, there are times when he respects and loves them, but wants Top Cat to clean up the alley, and to stay off his telephone.










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Genre Animated television series
Created by  
Voices of Arnold Stang
Paul Frees
Maurice Gosfield
Leo DeLyon
Marvin Kaplan
John Stephenson
Allen Jenkins
Jean Vander Pyl
Narrated by  
Counrty of origin United States
No. of episodes 30
Running Time) 24 mins.
Original Run September 27, 1961 (1961-09-27) – April 18, 1962
Language English