Sunday, May 28, 2017
I should explain. One might call Top Cat a Latino phenomenon, a Spanish or Iberian or Ibero-American thingie, because for some reason these countries absolutely love him, even if characters' names and personalities are sometimes changed, and even the location shifted.
In spite of the modest success of the show in the United States, the show was a massive hit in Mexico, Chile, Peru and Argentina, where it is recognized as one of the most famous Hanna Barbera characters ever, being as popular as The Flintstones. In Mexico the show is aired under the name Don Gato y su pandilla (literally Mr. Cat and his gang) and the main characters adopted different accents. : Benny was renamed Benito B. Bodoque y B. and given a more childlike voice than was the case in the original dubbing, Choo Choo was renamed Cucho and spoke with Mexican-yucatan accent, Fancy-Fancy was Panza (belly), Spook renamed as the word's rough translation Espanto, The Brain was called Demóstenes (honouring the Greek statesman Demosthenes, with whom he shares a speech impediment) and Officer Dibble renamed as Oficial Carlos "Carlitos" Matute. This name, "matute" was used in Argentina and Uruguay as a slang reference for policemen. In Brazil, the character is known as Manda-Chuva (Brazilian Portuguese for big shot) and was voiced by actor Lima Duarte. In addition, the city of New York was replaced by Brasília (federal capital) in the Brazilian version.
SO! I also found an incomplete list of countries in which Top Cat was a hit, much more so than in the U. S. where it was cancelled after one 30-episode season (whereas the Flintstones went on for something like 35 years). T. C. was no more than a footnote in the Hanna-Barbera lexicon until he went international. VERY international, like this:
Mexico, Canada, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, S. E. Asia, Japan, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Poland, Hungary, Middle East and Africa, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela and OH SHIT, I cannot do any more!
Is this a sort of Fawlty Towers effect, where the scarcity of episodes makes the show that much more of a cultish hit? Perhaps it's the adaptability, though T. C. does seem more Hispanic than anything else.