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
|Distributor||Turner Entertainment Co.
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
|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 Ulysses 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 that Feral caused.
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 other vehicles such as the Cyclotron (a motorcycle built into the jet), the Turbo Mole (a subterranean vehicle used to drill underground), the Hoverkat (a militarized hovercraft), and the Thunder Truck (a militarized Jeep modified from their tow truck). All these vehicles were stored, along with a training area and other equipment, in a secret hangar below the yard.
T-Bone and Razor now patrol Megakat City as the SWAT Kats, defending it against any kind of menace that threatens the city. Their enemies include the criminal mastermind Dark Kat, the undead sorcerer Pastmaster, the mutant evil genius Doctor Viper, and the robotic gangsters the Metallikats. The SWAT Kats also face many villains-of-the-week, such as Madkat and Volcanus.
The SWAT Kats keep their identities secret from everyone, including their closest ally Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs, who is arguably more important than the mayor himself (since she's the one who actually does all the work around City Hall). Their methods do not endear them to Commander Feral, and the three of them often clash throughout the series. In the second season, Feral's niece Felina (who holds a Lieutenant rank in the Enforcers) becomes another ally of the SWAT Kats.
- 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 is revealed in "The Ci-Kat-A" that he has a strong dislike of bugs that he eventually overcame. In "Mutation City," it is revealed that he is unable to swim, though he later 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 flies the Turbokat out of tough situations, often refusing to eject and coaxing his "baby" to perform no matter how desperate the situation.
- 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 and the more measured, and restrained, of the two kats. In "Razor's Edge", he loses his self-confidence in his fighting after hurting two pedestrians, but recovers from this upon discovering that it was a set-up by Dark Kat. Razor loves the late night show with David Litterbin (a pun on David Letterman). His catchphrase is "Bingo!" T-Bone often refers to Razor as "Sureshot" and also says that his ideas are even better than his aim.
- Calico "Callie" Briggs (voiced by Tress MacNeille) - Deputy Mayor of Megakat City and the one who does the real work of City Hall. The SWAT Kats' biggest supporter, she has a radio communicator which enables her to call them directly when danger threatens the city. Although she does not know who they are, Callie usually trusts her life to the SWAT Kats as required. In "The Dark Side of the SWAT Kats," her equivalent in a parallel universe is an evil ally of Dark Kat. In "Bride of the Pastmaster," her ancestor Queen Callista is the leader of the medieval kingdom of "Megalith City." Though T-Bone has a crush on her, she has a crush on Razor (more evident in the fact that even her ancestor seems to favor Razor over T-Bone). Likewise, she also seems to favor Jake and only sees Chance as a friend. Her name is a pun on the Calico cat breed.
- Commander Ulysses Feral (voiced by Gary Owens) - Head of the Enforcers, Feral has a strong and obvious dislike for the SWAT Kats, whom he considers "reckless vigilantes", though likely out of jealousy over how they make him and the Enforcers look very incompetent. He has been known to go as far as to issue an "arrest on sight" on the SWAT Kats when they interfere with his operations, though he does grudgingly appreciate their help when the situation calls for it (such as in "Katastrophe" and "A Bright and Shiny Future"). Despite his ego, he has a strict sense of justice and vows never to make deals with scum, such as when he refused to let the Metallikats reveal the identities of the SWAT Kats to him in exchange for their freedom. Feral 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.
- Lieutenant Felina Feral (voiced by Lori Alan) - Commander Ulysses Feral's niece (being the daughter of Feral's brother), she first appears in Season 2's "Mutation City" as a new female heroine. Being something of a reckless and stubborn hot-head herself (a fact to which T-Bone once remarked, "You are one stubborn she-kat!"), Felina appreciates the help of the SWAT Kats and doesn't hesitate to work openly with them. She is also a very skilled pilot, as seen in "When Strikes Mutilor" and "Cry Turmoil." Feral himself faces something of a dilemma over Felina: trying to keep her out of danger but not show any favorable treatment. Furthermore, he has stated that Felina is too good an officer to eject off the force, and his brother would never speak to him again if he did.
- Mayor Manx (voiced by Jim Cummings) - The Mayor of Megakat City for 10 terms. He spends nearly all of his time working on his golf game (as Callie once stated, "he hasn't done an ounce of paperwork in years!") and usually runs and hides whenever danger appears. He also tries 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 is descended from a famous and brave fighter pilot named the Blue Manx, as revealed in "The Ghost Pilot", and he was able to act bravely and shoot down the ghost of his ancestor's nemesis The Red Lynx in the same episode (though 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 is derived from the Manx cat breed.
- Dark Kat (voiced by Brock Peters) - One of the SWAT Kats' biggest arch-enemies, Dark Kat is a very large, intelligent, and evil mastermind who wants to destroy Megakat City to create a new lawless town called "Dark Kat City". Being highly calculating, Dark Kat often anticipates his foes' actions with great accuracy, and it becomes a recurring theme throughout the series that all of his hideouts are rigged with explosives. In his first appearance, "The Wrath of Dark Kat", it is revealed that Dark Kat's 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 is 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 once worked at Megakat Biochemical Labs alongside his partner Dr. N. Zyme. In a fit of greed, he tried to steal an experimental regenerative formula they were developing, but he became covered in the formula when he fell down the stairs and died from the shock. However, the chemicals revived him from death, mutating Purvis into a part kat, part iguana, part snake creature. With expertise in the fields of biology, genetics, and robotics, Dr. Viper now seeks to turn Megakat City into "Mutation City" and transform the residents into mutants like himself.
- The Metallikats (voiced by Neil Ross and April Winchell) - A husband-and-wife criminal team similar to Bonnie and Clyde, Mac and Molly Mange ran the most notorious mob syndicate in Megakat City until they were arrested and denied parole by Mayor Manx (though it was actually Callie who denied them, as the Mayor was too busy to bother). After escaping Alkatraz Prison, Mac and Molly were killed when their boat was hit by another ship and they drowned in the water. Their bodies later washed ashore on a small island and were found by robots built by a former weapon designer named Professor Hackle, who put Mac and Molly's consciousness into new robot bodies. Specifically, Hackle described to the duo, "I've transferred your memories onto a hard disk." Having given up on making weapons, Hackle had wanted his creations to lead peaceful, productive lives, but Mac and Molly instead took advantage of their new found powers to reclaim their criminal syndicate and seek revenge on Mayor Manx as The Metallikats. Mac is considered the "muscle" of the team, while Molly is considered the "brains." Though they frequently bicker with each other, the Metallikats never hesitate to come to each other's aid when one is in trouble.
- The Pastmaster (voiced by Keene Curtis) - An undead sorcerer from the Dark Ages who was reawakened in the modern-day Megakat City, the Pastmaster despises all forms of modern technology and is constantly trying to rid the world of it and return things to the former "glory" of his beloved Dark Ages. His main weapon is his magical mechanical pocket watch, with which he can control time and, when combined with his magical spell book "The Tome of Time", can summon extinct or mythical creatures such as dinosaurs and dragons. He is occasionally shown to lust after Callie Briggs (as she resembles her ancestor Queen Callista, whom the Pastmaster had an unrequited crush on back in the Dark Ages).
- 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 generally works alone, but has been known to work with other villains like Dark Kat.
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 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.
Remco produced a line of action figures in 1994 which included T-Bone, Razor, Dr. Viper and Dark Kat. Both White Castle and Carl's Jr. have offered SWAT Kats toys in their kids' meals in the 1990s.
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.
- 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 Toys at Virtual Toychest". Virtualtoychest.com. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
- 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