Forgotten Shows of My Nonage #84: Courageous Cat
This little show is from before my time, but I associate it with a particular time in my life. My high school years coincided with the early ’80s explosion of cable television, which meant (along with a hundred other things) that we finally had constant access to UHF channels 38 and 56 out of Boston, previously only available to us through the highly dodgy reception method of rabbit ears. Boston was the nearest decent tv market; Providence, which was closer, had but 3 or 4 local stations, all affiliates of the big 3 networks or PBS. By contrast, 38 and 56 were INDEPENDENT stations. That meant lots and lots of old movies, comedy shorts, sit-com reruns and above all CARTOONS. I cannot tell you the orgy of cartoon watching we did after school during my high school years. Kids in a candy store! If I recall correctly, 38 had the premium cartoons (your Warner Brothers, your MGM). And 56 had the weird, oddball ones.
And Courageous Cat was one of those (we’ll be writing about several of the others, no doubt). I had never heard of this show or its titular hero character prior to seeing them aired on TV. And frankly I’ve never encountered them since. It’s been a revelation to learn of the show’s origin. Courageous Cat was a project dreamedup by Batman creator Bob Kane late in his career. It has a slightly oddball, ironic tone, not unlike that to be found on Bullwinkle.
Courageous Cat is a superhero who lives in the Cat Cave with his sidekick, Minute Mouse. Like Batman, Courageous Cat has an arsenal and fleet of things that incorporate his name: a Cat Cave, a Catmobile, a Cat Plane, etc. Unlike Batman, Courageous Cat is a talking cat. The fact that his sidekick is a Mouse gives the team a kind of Tom and Jerry like quality. Hilariously, their main villain Chauncey “Flatface” Frog talks just like Edward G. Robinson. (Courageous and Minute both have squeaky high voices, more like Dennis Day). There is a really cool sort of be bop tone to it, with great jazz music on the sound track. The Courageous Cat cartoons were produced around 1960, though they feel a decade or two older in some ways. Most of them are short, only about five minutes long, making them perfect for the Youtube age.