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 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 its 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 depicted 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, the Gashopper
- Singer/dancer Kitty Jo (voiced by Julie Bennett)
- Upright bassist Scoots (voiced by Jim Begg); his Magic Crayon could create anything as can get the Cats out of a tight spot from thin air (for example, in "Autograph Hounded," Scoot's Magic Crayon came up with a cake by which Chessie the Autograph Hound was plastered with)
- 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 The Gashopper, they were perennially chased by a female cat groupie named Jessie the "Autograph Hound" (also voiced by Julie Bennett); as well, Kitty Jo owned a big blue dog named "Teeny Tim" (appearing only in the videos and "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.
The Cats also appeared in various "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, TN.)
Related article: Cattanooga Cats song lyrics
Only nine cartoon story segments featuring the characters were produced:
- Witch Wacky
- The Big Boo-Boo
- Wee Greenie Goofie
- Mummy's Day
- Zoo's Who
- Autograph Hounded
- Caribbean Kook
- Ghosting a Go-Go
Starting with the tenth broadcast, a second music video and additional gag shorts were added in lieu of a more conventional episode for the remainder of the series.
- "Wavy chitlin' gravy!"--Scoots
Around the World in 79 Days
Loosely based upon the novel Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, this was an adventure segment involving balloonist "Phinny Fogg" (conceived as the son of the main character Phileas Fogg in the novel and voiced by Bruce Watson) and reporter teenagers Jenny (voiced by Janet Waldo) and Happy (voiced by Don Messick), who set out on a globetrotting adventure 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 record and a US$1,000,000 prize against the sinister Crumden (voiced by Daws Butler), who supposedly was the butler of the original Phineas, aided by Phineas' chauffeur, the idiotic Bumbler (voiced by Allan Melvin), and Crumden's 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.
- 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! followed the comic exploits of a 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 (voiced by Daws Butler), but is always thwarted in this plan by the dog Bristle Hound (voiced by Allan Melvin). Bristle would apprehend Mildew (usually after hearing Lambsy's cries of, "It's the wool-uff!"), pound him, and toss him sailing into the air, with Mildew screaming a phrase such as "Spoil Sport!" as he flies into the horizon and lands with a thud.
Showing modest responsibility, Lambsy, for his part, never fails to recognize Mildew.
- 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
Essentially a motor-racing version of Tom and Jerry, this segment involved the antics of a 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", and greeting Autocat with a friendly "Hey there, Au-to-cat!" Motormouse resembled Pixie and Dixie in character design.
- 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
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 were not seen 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.
Several of the musical segments, and all but two Cattanooga Cats episodes proper, can be seen on YouTube.
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-2000's. 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 Go 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.
- 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