Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse in their first 21st century release.


Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Trans-Artist Productions
First appeared: 1960
Creator: Bob Kane
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Batman and Robin weren't the only superheroes created by cartoonist Bob Kane. A couple …

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… of decades after launching DC Comics' dynamic duo, he was behind a virtual clone of them, Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse. The only substantive difference between the two pairs was that the latter consisted of funny animals.

Courageous and Minute were the protectors of Empire City, just as Batman and Robin protected Gotham. Also like their models, they took orders from the local police chief, fought a variety of colorful villains, operated out of the "Catcave", and got around in the "Catmobile". Courageous didn't carry a multitude of cat-themed weapons in a utility belt, but did have one with a multitude of uses — the Catgun, from which, like Captain Caveman's hair, virtually anything he needed could emerge, even things you'd swear could never fit inside. They weren't toondom's first unnatural partnership between a cat and a mouse — Hanna-Barbera's Snooper & Blabber beat them onto the air by a year.

Courageous Cat & Minute Mouse is credited to Trans-Artist Productions, a corporate name used by producer Sam Singer (Sinbad Jr., Pow Wow the Indian Boy) for just this one show. Other credits include directors Sid Marcus (Woody Woodpecker, The Pink Panther) and Reuben Timmins (Hoot Kloot, animated Star Trek), and designer Sheldon Moldoff (Hawkman, Kid Eternity, and for many years, Bob Kane's assistant/ghost). Kane's other animation credits include Cool McCool.

Many sources credit both major characters' voices to Bob McFadden (Milton the Monster, Frankenberry); but McFadden, who died in 2000, is said to have denied it. Dal McKennon (Inspector Willoughby, Gumby) is credited elsewhere, and more likely to have performed the roles.

Like a lot of early TV animation, such as Col. Bleep and Clutch Cargo, it was made in the form of five-minute episodes, with small budgets and therefore low production values. Like Tom Terrific and Crusader Rabbit, also done that way, they're fondly recalled by their then-youthful audience. The episodes were originally collected into half-hour shows, which began syndication during September, 1960. 130 were made. They were re-syndicated in 1965, and aired along with Bugs Bunny, Popeye etc. on local kids shows.

In more recent years, they've been released on home video. Currently, the complete set is available as a set of DVDs. The latter's label credits them as "The original furry foes of felony", ignoring Mighty Mouse, Cosmo Cat, and a great many other cats, mice, dogs etc. that have littered the superhero landscape since the 1940s.


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Text ©2004-06 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Trans-Artist Productions