Original Medium: TV animation
Produced by: DePatie-Freleng Studios
First Appeared: 1972
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The name "Houndcats" is reminiscent of CatDog, the 1998 series on Nickelodeon (Doug, Aaahh! Real Monsters) about a cat and a dog that were joined like Siamese twins, with one end each. But the Houndcats, which DePatie-Freleng …

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… {Super President, The Blue Racer) had produced a quarter-century earlier, were no such cross-species phenomena. If the name had any relevance at all, it might be that they were cats who functioned in a hound-like way, sniffing out bad guys and "hounding" them into submission.

The "Houndcats" started doing that on September 9, 1972, when their half-hour animated series was launched on NBC. There were five of them — Stutz, Ding Dong, Musselmutt. Putty Puss and Rhubarb. Each had a special ability, like the secret agents in TV's Mission: Impossible, which also provided the means by which they'd get their missions: a recording that would self-destruct after being played. Of course, a cartoon recording's self-destruction was a little more destructive of its surroundings than that of its live-action counterpart.

Stutz was the group leader, with Dingdong his sub-boss. Musselmutt was the strong guy. Puttypuss was the master of disguise, and so-called because his face could be molded like Silly Putty. They also had a name for the car they got around in, Sparkplug (no relation to Barney Google's horse).

Stutz's voice was done by Daws Butler, the cartoon voice superstar who was also heard as Huckleberry Hound, Chilly Willy, Cap'n Crunch and many others. Ding Dong was Stu Gilliam, who did a few scattered roles at Hanna-Barbera. Musselmutt was Aldo Ray (Sullivan in The Secret of NIMH). Putty Puss was Joe Besser, best known as one of The Three Stooges. Rhubarb was Arte Johnson (Misterjaw). The guy on the self-destructing recordings was Michael Bell, who did a couple of the parents in Rugrats.

One season of The Houndcats was made, consisting of 13 episodes. They were rerun a few times over the next year, and that was the end of them. There was only minor merchandising. They were released on videotape in 1984, and more recently as a DVD. But that's about all that's left of them.


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Text ©2008 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DePatie-Freleng.