SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron
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|SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron|
SWAT Kats Season 2 title card, featuring T-Bone, Razor, and the Turbokat.
|Created by||Christian Tremblay
|Developed by||Davis Doi|
|Voices of||Charlie Adler
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||23 (regular)
6 (cancelled) (List of episodes)
|Executive producer(s)||William Hanna
|Running time||approx. 22-26 minutes|
Turner Program Services (1993–1995)
|Distributor||Turner Entertainment (original run)
Warner Bros. Television (reruns)
|Original channel||TBS (1993-1994)|
|Picture format||480i 480p SDTV 720p 1080i 1080p HDTV|
|Audio format||Dolby SR|
|Original run||September 11, 1993– August 9, 1995|
SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron is an animated television series created by Christian Tremblay and Yvon Tremblay and produced by Hanna-Barbera and Turner Program Services. The series takes place in the fictional metropolis of Megakat City, which is populated entirely by anthropomorphic felines who are just like people, known as "kats". The titular SWAT Kats are two vigilante pilots who possess a state-of-the-art fighter jet with an array of weaponry. Throughout the series, they face various villains as well as Megakat City's militarized police force, the Enforcers.
The show originally premiered and ran on TBS's syndication block The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera from 1993 to 1995. Every episode of the series was directed by Robert Alvarez. The bulk of the series was written by either Glenn Leopold (13 episodes) or Lance Falk (6 episodes). Jim Stenstrum contributed two episodes, while David Ehrman, Von Williams, Eric Clark (with Lance Falk), Mark Saraceni and Jim Katz all contributed one episode each. There were a total of twenty-five finished episodes and a special episode, that features a report on the SWAT Kats and of all their missions and gadgets as well as three unfinished episodes and two episodes still in the concept stage. The show re-aired on Cartoon Network and Boomerang.
Chance "T-Bone" Furlong and Jake "Razor" Clawson were members of Megakat City's paramilitary law enforcement agency, known as the Enforcers. Unfortunately, the Enforcers were commanded by Feral, an incompetent, overbearing and inflexible Enforcer who was believed to have owed his position entirely to political machinations. While in pursuit of Dark Kat, one of the main arch-villains of the series, the two rebelled against Enforcer Commander Feral's orders to fall back and leave Dark Kat to him. When they objected, citing their already-acquired target lock, Commander Feral used his jet to slap their wing, sending Chance and Jake's jet crashing into Enforcer headquarters and allowing Dark Kat to get away. In his anger, Feral discharged Chance and Jake from the Enforcers and reassigned them to work at the city's military salvage yard to pay for the damage to the Enforcer Headquarters.
Using discarded military parts and weapons from the salvage yard, Chance and Jake built themselves a three-engine jet fighter called the Turbokat, which resembled several different jet fighters, most notably the Grumman F-14 and the Saab Draken, along with a handful of such other vehicles as the Cyclotron, a motorcycle built into the jet; the Turbo Mole, a subterranean vehicle used to drill underground; the Hoverkat, a militarized hovercraft, the Thunder Truck, a militarized Jeep modified from their tow truck, and they also built two jet skis which they used in the second season episode Mutation City. All these vehicles were stored, along with a training area and other equipment, in a secret hangar below the yard.
They commenced to patrol Megakat City as the SWAT Kats, defending it against any kind of menace that threatened the city. Their enemies included the criminal mastermind Dark Kat; the undead sorcerer The Pastmaster; the mutant evil genius Doctor Viper; and the robotic gangsters the Metallikats. The SWAT Kats also faced many villains-of-the-week, such as Madkat and Volcanus.
T-Bone and Razor kept their identities secret from everyone, and their closest ally became Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs, a character more important than the mayor himself. Their methods did not endear them to Commander Feral, and in the series the three often clashed. The Metallikats were the only characters in the series to learn their true identities, when they invade the secret hangar. In the second season, Feral's niece Lieutenant Felina Feral, who disagreed with her uncle's view about the SWAT Kats' activities, became another ally.
Select episodes of the show were released on VHS in NTSC format. Since 2010, the episodes have been released on DVD (see DVD Release below).
Remco produced a line of action figures in 1994 which included T-Bone, Razor, Dr. Viper and Dark Kat. They can be seen here. Other products were produced including a Super Nintendo game, a handheld game, posters and fast food tie-ins at Carls Jr. and White Castle.
- Chance Furlong (alias: T-Bone) (voiced by Charlie Adler) - The larger member of the SWAT Kats and pilot of the Turbokat jet. T-Bone is one of the best pilots in the SWAT Kat universe, as seen in "Cry Turmoil." He loves aerial warfare history, as seen in "The Ghost Pilot," and Scaredy Kat cartoons. It was revealed in "The Ci-Kat-A" that he had a strong dislike of bugs that he eventually overcame. In "Mutation City," it was revealed that he was unable to swim, though later in the episode, he learned, and rescued an unconscious Razor from drowning. He is very protective of his partner and the Turbokat and gets extremely upset if anything happens to either. Chance is also the more daring of the two—in his willingness to take chances (especially when in the TurboKat). Chance commonly flew the Turbokat out of tough situations, refusing to eject, and coaxing his "baby"--the TurboKat—to perform. He soon started to like Felina.
- Jake Clawson (alias: Razor) (voiced by Barry Gordon) - The smaller member of the SWAT Kats, who is a mechanical genius. He designed the various gadgets and advanced weaponry used in the Turbokat, and he serves as the radar interceptor and weapons control officer, or RIO, in the Turbokat. He is a martial arts master. He is the more measured, and restrained, of the two kats. In "Razor's Edge", he lost his self-confidence in his fighting because he had "hurt" two pedestrians, but recovered from this upon discovering it was a set-up by Dark Kat. He loved the late night show with David Litterbin (a pun on David Letterman). His catchphrase is "Bingo!"
- Calico "Callie" Briggs (voiced by Tress MacNeille) - Deputy Mayor of Megakat City and the one who did the real work of City Hall. The SWAT Kats' biggest supporter, she had a radio communicator which enabled her to call them directly when danger threatened the city. Although she did not know who they were, Callie usually trusted her life to the SWAT Kats if required. In "The Dark Side of the SWAT Kats," her equivalent in a parallel universe was an evil ally of Dark Kat. In "Bride of the Pastmaster," her ancestor Queen Callista was leader of the medieval kingdom of "Megalith City." Though T-Bone had a crush on her, she had a crush on Razor (more evident in the fact that even her ancestor seemed to favor Razor over T-Bone), likewise, she also seemed to favor Jake and only saw Chance as a friend. Her name was a pun on Calico cat breed.
- Commander Ulysses Feral (voiced by Gary Owens) - Head of the Enforcers, Feral had a strong and obvious dislike for the SWAT Kats, whom he considered "reckless vigilantes." He had worked with the SWAT Kats when the situation called for it, such as in "Katastrophe" and "A Bright and Shiny Future," but he more often called on his men, saying, "The Enforcers will handle this" and "Get me chopper back-up!" He is solely responsible for the birth of the SWAT Kats; when Chance and Jake were once Enforcers, they were kicked out of the force for their disobedience during an aerial assault against Dark Kat, and forced to work at the city junk yard to paid off a hefty debt from the damage of Enforcer HQ; all of which Feral himself was also and mostly responsible for. He sees them as nothing more than "ruthless vigilantes", but is likely jealous because they made him and the Enforcers look very incompetent. He would go as far as to issue an "arrest on sight" if the duo would go too far. Despite his ego, he has a strict sense of justice. It is uncertain if he has any respects for SWAT Kats. When the Metallikats offered to reveal the identities of the SWAT Kats in exchange for their freedom, he rejected the offer, vowing never to make deals with scum.
- Lieutenant Felina Feral (voiced by Lori Alan) - Commander Ulysses Feral's niece (she was the daughter of Feral's brother) first appeared in season 2's "Mutation City" as a new female heroine. Being something of a reckless hot-head herself, she appreciated the help of the SWAT Kats, unlike her uncle, and would work openly with them. Feral himself faced something of a dilemma over her: trying to keep her out of danger but not show any favorable treatment. Furthermore, he has stated that Felina was too good an officer to eject off the force, and his brother would never speak to him again. She was also a very skilled pilot, as seen in "When Strikes Mutilor" and "Cry Turmoil." She wouldn't take "No" for an answer, a fact to which T-Bone once remarked, "You are one stubborn she-kat!"
- Mayor Manx (voiced by Jim Cummings) - The Mayor of Megakat City for 10 terms. He spent nearly all of his time working on his golf game; as Callie once stated, "he hasn't done an ounce of paperwork in years!" He also tried to rent out Megakat Towers to investors; a first-season running gag had the building constantly being ruined in "Destructive Nature" and "The Ci-Kat-A." He was descended from a famous and brave fighter pilot named the Blue Manx who was the sworn enemy of the Red Lynx, as revealed in "The Ghost Pilot." But in contrast to his ancestor, Mayor Manx was a coward who usually ran and hid whenever danger arose, but he did act bravely and shoot down the ghost of the Red Lynx in the same episode–-doing so only after Razor goaded him into action on the grounds that he would not be re-elected if he did not fight back. His name was derived from the Manx cat breed.
- Dark Kat (voiced by Brock Peters) - Dark Kat was the main arch-enemy of the SWAT Kats. He is very large, intelligent and evil with a black and red hooded coat and purple skin; Dark Kat wanted to destroy Megakat City to create a new lawless town called "Dark Kat City". Being highly intelligent and calculating, Dark Kat often anticipated his foes' actions with great accuracy, and it was a recurring theme throughout the series that all of his hideouts are rigged with explosives. He first appeared in "The Wrath of Dark Kat." His attempt to bomb the Enforcer headquarters indirectly led to Chance and Jake's fallout with the Enforcers and the birth of the SWAT Kats. He was the only main villain who never got an origin story of his own in the series.
- Dr. Viper (voiced by Frank Welker) - Dr. Elrod Purvis worked at Megakat Biochemical Labs. He tried to steal an experimental regenerative formula he and Dr. N. Zyme were developing. He became covered in the formula when he fell down the stairs and the shock ultimately killed him. The chemicals revived him from death, mutating Purvis into a half-kat, half-serpent creature. With expertise in the fields of biology, genetics and robotics, he sought to turn Megakat City into "Mutation City" and transform the residents into mutants like himself. He first appeared in "The Giant Bacteria." He was able to turn people like Morbulus into monsters. Dr. Viper was by far the deadliest enemy of the SWAT Kats, and he and his creatures murdered a number of innocent people (including his former colleague Dr. N. Zyme) in the series. The only weapon he has on hand is his tail, which he uses to smack his enemies away. He made a final appearance in "Mutation City", where he floods Megakat City with a slimy orange ooze with mutated monsters created from the experimental formula Katalyst X-63. He even douses himself with the formula and turns into a giant Godzilla-like monster and rampages through the city. In this state, he attempted to stop Razor from using the anti-mutagen but ultimately failed and was caught by the anti-mutagen's explosion which turned the creatures and the city to its normal state. Since then, he disappeared without a trace. He was similar to the Spider-Man villain The Lizard.
- Mac and Molly Mange (voiced by Neil Ross and April Winchell) - The husband-and-wife criminal team and Dr. Kenrousch's henchmen rather like Bonnie and Clyde, the Metallikats whom both used to head the most notorious mob syndicate in Megakat City. They drowned when the boat they were in was hit by a larger boat while attempting to escape from Alkatraz prison. Their bodies were found by Professor Hackle's robot servants and their minds were placed in the brains of robots. Mac was supposed to be a robot-chauffeur (though ironically, he was a poor driver) and Molly was to be a robot-maid, but instead remained criminals. They first appeared in "The Metallikats" where they kill Katscratch, a rival mob boss who took over their territory, and injure the rest of his gang. They had a vendetta against Mayor Manx for denying their parole request, though it turned out that Callie had done it as the mayor was too busy to handle it. Mac and Molly often bickered with each other, but do love each other and would come to each other's aid when one was in trouble. Mac was considered the "muscle" of the team, while Molly was considered the "brains." In "Metal Urgency," they both discovered the secret identities of the SWAT Kats. However, this knowledge was erased when Commander Feral deactivated them in the same episode as Commander Feral quotes "I don't deal with scum" when they offered to reveal the SWAT Kats' identities to him. In "Katastrophe," their remains were salvaged by the Creeplings when Dark Kat collaborated with Dr. Viper in a plot to eliminate the SWAT Kats. Dark Kat had special collars placed on the Metallikats' necks which give them a shock when they don't do what Dark Kat says. They were sent to capture Mayor Manx and Callie Briggs which was a success. This ended up drawing the SWAT Kats and Commander Feral to the villains' hideout at an abandoned offshore cannery. When the Metallikats turned against Dark Kat, he discovered that Dr. Viper deactivated the collars. In a battle between the villains, Commander Feral, and the SWAT Kats, the villains were defeated and were thought to have been destroyed. In "A Bright and Shiny Future," the SWAT Kats follow Pastmaster into a future where Pastmaster had reassembled the Metallikats and had taken over the robots. The Metallikats turn on Pastmaster and steal his watch. With help from Commander Feral, Felina Feral, Professor Hackle, and the Pastmaster, the SWAT Kats defeated the Metallikats as Pastmaster reclaims his watch. In some ways, they are quite similar to the Superman villain Metallo.
- The Pastmaster (voiced by Keene Curtis) - An undead sorcerer from the Dark Ages who tried to conquer his home city. He traveled through time using his magical mechanical pocket watch, and with his magical spell book "The Tome of Time", he was able to summon extinct or mythical creatures such as dinosaurs and dragons. He despised all forms of modern technology and was constantly trying to rid the world of it and return things to the former "glory" of his beloved Dark Ages. He first appeared in "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice." In "A Bright and Shiny Future" the SWAT Kats were drawn into a future where the Metallikats together with the Pastmaster had created a Terminator-inspired future where machines ruled over katkind. All the Pastmaster really wanted was to go back home to his own time. He was occasionally shown to lust after Callie Briggs (the "spitting," or spirit-and-, image of her ancestor Queen Callista (As seen in "Bride of the Pastmaster" when the SWAT Kats travel back into the Dark Ages), who is the Pastmaster's ancient crush). He repeatedly captured her and "asked" her to marry him, but Callie would have none of it. He apparently met his demise in "The Deadly Pyramid" where during the collapse of the pyramid, he was seen falling towards a pit of molten lava.
- Hard Drive (voiced by Rob Paulsen) - Hard Drive is a technological thief who generally dons his "Surge Coat" when working. This coat gives him a number of abilities focused around electricity and electronics, as the name suggests. Primarily seen is his ability to transform himself into electrical energy, thus allowing him to travel through power, telephone, and computer lines. Besides this, he appears to be able to manipulate electronic devices with a simple jolt of electricity from his fingertip and download and delete data quickly with a "plug" on his coat. He works for whoever pays him the most. His first appearance was in "Night of the Dark Kat" where he breaks into a top secret military research center and stolen defense secrets. The SWAT Kats track his surge signal and subdue him in a special insulated missile. After being taken to a jail cell, Hard Drive is broken out by Dark Kat (who frees Hard Drive from his insulated missile trap) and his Creeplings. Dark Kat forces Hard Drive to team up with him to help capture, discredit and destroy the SWAT Kats using the Turbokat to hold the city hostage. In "Metal Urgency," Hard Drive had hijacked a heavily-armed tank from Pumadyne and its forcefield prevented the Enforcers' attacks from getting through. The SWAT Kats managed to disable Hard Drive with a Scrambler Missile. In "SWAT Kats Unplugged," Hard Drive steals an anti-weapons scrambler from Pumadyne scientist Dr. Ohm in a plot to steal the gold being transferred to Megakat Mint. Hard Drive was similar to the Spider-Man villain Electro.
Reception and cancellation
SWAT Kats became the number one syndicated animated show of 1994, according to Nielsen Television Index (NTI) and Nielsen Syndication Service (NSS). Hanna Barbera Productions also stated this in a SWAT Kats Poster ad that they were going to release new episodes, posters, and other works in 1995. Toon Magazine also published a section about the success of SWAT Kats in Fall 1994 issue. Modelsheets of characters were also released in the same issue. The show was canceled with three unfinished episodes. Hanna-Barbera ended their syndication block The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera to focus mostly on producing original content for Cartoon Network.
Home Video releases
In July of 1995, Hanna-Barbera released three VHS collections with two select episodes on each. These releases also included some of the "Secret Files of SWAT Kats" clips that ended each episode in original airings. The VHS releases were titled:
"Deadly Dr. Viper" - featuring "Destructive Nature" and "Katastrophe".
"Strike of Dark Kat" - featuring "The Wrath of Dark Kat" and "Night of Dark Kat".
"Metallikats Attack" - featuring "The Metallikats" and "Metal Urgency".
On December 14, 2010, Warner Archive released Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron- The Complete Series Collection on DVD in region 1, as part of their Hanna–Barbera Classics Collection. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Warner's online store and Amazon.com.. It should be noted though, that the episodes themselves aren't remastered, but are from the best quality master tapes available and contain no extras or bonus features aside from the episodes themselves. Three scenes that were originally cut from the show were released on DVD. They are the title card of the episode "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice", the Farmer Scene from the episode "The Giant Bacteria" and the Guidance System scene from the episode "Chaos in Crystal." But the "Today on SWAT Kats" and the "Secret Files of SWAT Kats" segments are not available on the DVD set.
Most episodes of the series were originally preceded by a short prologue in which Razor would say, "Today on Swat Kats...," with a brief action scene from the episode. After most episodes, there was a small clip called "Secret Files of SWAT Kats" which gave information about the Heroes and Villains from the show and Warner Bros didn't release any information about the 6 unfinished episodes of the show. Another issue with the DVD was the end credits of the show. Warner Bros put the end credits for the episodes in the wrong order, meaning voice actors either aren’t credited for episodes they were in, or are credited for ones they weren’t. Only a few episodes had their proper end credits in tact.
On March 3, 2011, Warner Bros removed Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron from its DVD page, most likely to remove the current set, this is because on January 19, 2012, Warner Archive re-released the Swat Kats set with the end credits corrected, but still without the "Today on SWAT Kats" or the "Secret Files of SWAT Kats" segments.
The game SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron developed by AIM was released by Hudson Soft in August 1995 for the SNES. It is a 2-D Action Platformer with RPG elements in which you can play as either T-Bone or Razor. It features a password system and third-person flying sequences in the Turbokat Fighter. It is based on various episodes of the show and features a different boss for each world, with Dark Kat as the final boss. All worlds contain an urgent message from Mayor Manx prior to the start of each world.
- "Swat Kats: The Complete Series : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- "About SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron". Retrieved 2008-06-18.
- "SWAT Kats Toys at Virtual Toychest". Virtualtoychest.com. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
- "Swat Kats". Virtualtoychest.com. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Episode 5, "The Metallikats"
- Episode 23, "Unlikely Alloys"
- "Mutation City". Retrieved 2008-06-18.
- Animation Magazine (October/November). 1994.
- Swanigan, Michael (1994). "Hanna-Barbera's SWAT Kats: The Best New Action- Adventure Series To Come From Hanna-Barbera In Years!". Toon Magazine 1 (5).
- "Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron - 'The Complete Series Collection' DVDs are Available Once More! ***UPDATED***". Tvshowsondvd.com. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Swat Kats - Cartoon Network Department of Cartoons (Archive)
- SWAT Kats Schedule
- Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron at the Internet Movie Database
- Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron (1993) at TV.com
- SWAT Kats.us
- The SWAT Kats Encyclopedia
- swatkats.info, (Photo # 4)
- A revival project for the show