TOP CAT is one of the first cartoon shows I remember watching. (Not the first; that’s probably HUCKLEBERRY HOUND.) But I was a huge fan of TOP CAT and never missed an episode during its two-year run, which probably explains why I can still hear the theme song in my head.
What I didn’t know at the time is that just like THE FLINTSTONES was inspired by THE HONEYMOONERS, TOP CAT also drew its inspiration from a live-action comedy, in this case THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW. I’ve never been a Sgt. Bilko fan. The show’s original run was just a little before my time, and for some reason it never showed up in reruns around here when I was young. I’ve seen clips from it on various shows, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a complete episode.
From what I’ve seen, though, it’s easy to recognize the similarities between TOP CAT and THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW: a scheming, wisecracking, opportunistic leader of a bunch of lovable schmoes, only with cats instead of G.I.s. Hey, it works. One of the actors from THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW even provided the voice for a similar character on TOP CAT.
This is another series where I haven’t seen any episodes in almost fifty years, so I don’t know if it holds up. But I certainly remember it fondly.