The Hep Cat

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The Hep Cat
Looney Tunes series
TheHepCatBRReissueTitle.gif
The November 12, 1949 Blue Ribbon reissue title card of The Hep Cat.
Directed by Robert Clampett
Produced by Leon Schlesinger
Story by Warren Foster
Voices by Mel Blanc
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Bob McKimson
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) October 3, 1942 (1942-10-03) (USA premiere)
Color process Technicolor

The Hep Cat is a 1942 Warner Bros. cartoon directed by Bob Clampett, written by Warren Foster, animated primarily by Robert McKimson, and set to a musical score composed by Carl Stalling. This cartoon is notable as the first color Looney Tunes short, but was re-released in the "Blue Ribbon Classics" series on November 12, 1949 as a Merrie Melodie. The end card also labels the short as a Merrie Melodies short subject. Because the original Looney Tunes titles are lost, the DVD bearing this cartoon features the "Blue Ribbon" titles.

Synopsis[edit]

The Hep Cat opens with a cat (who resembles the one from Notes to You) strolling through an abandoned lot. Unfortunately, he stumbles across a dog named "Rosebud"—otherwise known by fans as Willoughby the Dog—who, upon noticing the cat, gives chase. The cat, after a successful escape, begins singing "Java Jive." Later, the cat encounters an attractive female cat, and attempts to woo her, failing utterly. Suddenly, Rosebud the dog reappears and the chase resumes. After a series of zany, Clampett-esque sight gags, the cat once again evades the dog. As the cartoon closes, the cat can be seen kissing his dream girl—a puppet.

Title alterations[edit]

When Cartoon Network aired this short on The Bob Clampett Show, the titles were replaced with title cards of a colorized Porky Pig Looney Tune, with The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down as the opening music. The Looney Tunes title card cuts to the Blue Ribbon title card with "Merrily We Roll Along" as title music. The Looney Tunes drum with Porky Pig saying That's All Folks!, also closes the cartoon. This was done to identify the short as a Looney Tune, since the Blue Ribbon titles miscredited the short as a Merrie Melody.

The opening title cards are not correct, since the 1942-43 season was the first in which Looney Tunes cartoons opened with the "bulls-eye" titles, usually with thicker rings.

Cultural references[edit]

When the cat claims to be a "gorgeous hunk of man" his face turns into a caricature of Victor Mature. As the cat feels Willoughby's hand beside the puppet he's kissing he exclaims: "Well, something new has been added!". At the end of the cartoon the cat says: "Well, I can dream, can't I?" Both quotes were used often in Looney Tunes cartoons of this era (like for instance Plane Daffy, Red Hot Riding Hood,...) and are both catch phrases by Jerry Colonna. "Ah, something new has been added" was a slogan for Old Gold (cigarette).