Motormouse and Autocat. From a comic book cover.


Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1969
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MGM's Tom & Jerry series was one of the biggest hits in the history of animated cartoons. Also one of the most frequently imitated — once the simple formula was established, it was …

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… no great feat for Famous Studios to put Herman & Katnip out on the market, and for Terrytoons to respond with Little Roquefort. In fact, the most prolific imitator was the Hanna-Barbera Studio itself, after the creators had struck out on their own. They did variants such as twin mice or placing the antagonists in a hillbilly setting, but basic the cat-versus-mouse framework was one of the staples they repeatedly used.

In Motormouse & Autocat, the variant was to place add car race competition, such as had been seen in Jay Ward's Tom Slick, the Japanese import Speed Racer or their own Wacky Races, to the mix. It debuted on September 6, 1969, as one of the back segments to Cattanooga Cats show. Sixteen episodes appeared as part of that show. The following year, the hour-long show was split into two half-hours, and this segment shared one of them with another of the Cattanooga back segments, It's the Wolf. This version began September 12, 1970.

Motormouse's voice was done by Dick Curtis and Autocat's by Marty Ingels, neither of whom is noted for voice work. Curtis's only other credit in animation was Sky Hawks, an extremely minor production from an extremely minor studio, which aired about the same time. Ingels, tho famous as a face actor, did Beegle Beagle in The Great Grape Ape, the lead role in the TV version of Pac-Man, bit parts in Darkwing Duck and one of the sequels to the video game Zork, and not much other animation.

Motormouse & Autocat were never even spun off into their own comic book, but they did appear at least once in Gold Key's Fun-In, an anthology of Hanna-Barbera properties such as Where's Huddles?, Speed Buggy and Penelope Pitstop. There also wasn't as much in the way of merchandising as one would expect from the studio's stars. When the show went off the air, they were pretty much forgotten.


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Text ©2005-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Hanna-Barbera.