Robert Loggia in T.H.E. Cat
|Created by||Harry Julian Fink|
|Written by||Ronald Austin
James D. Buchanan
Harry Julian Fink
Bernard C. Schoenfeld
|Directed by||Alan Crosland, Jr.
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Running time||30 mins.|
|Production company(s)||NBC Productions|
|Distributor||NBC Universal Television Distribution|
|Original release||September 16, 1966 – March 31, 1967|
Robert Loggia starred as the title character, Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat. T.H.E. Cat is a forerunner of television characters such as The Equalizer, who skirt the edges of the law and bring skills from earlier careers on behalf of those needing more help than the police can offer.
The series preceded the 1968–1970 ABC television series It Takes a Thief, which was also about a cat burglar who used his skills for good.
Out of the night comes a man who saves lives at the risk of his own. Once a circus performer, an aerialist who refused the net. Once a cat burglar, a master among jewel thieves. Now a professional bodyguard. Primitive... savage... in love with danger. The Cat!
This was the intro to a series that was, for a variety of reasons, truly ahead of its time. It had a hero who was a reformed thief, having spent an unspecified term in prison, and of Gypsy heritage. In the mold of famed private eye Peter Gunn and the waterfront bar Mother's, Cat operated out of the Casa Del Gato (House of the Cat) in San Francisco, of which he was part owner.
The show was dark and moody, fitting the character, and was one of the first to use martial arts in a realistic way. (The others were The Green Hornet, which premiered on ABC the same year, and the earlier 1960 syndicated series The Case of the Dangerous Robin starring Rick Jason.) This was unknown on TV at that time and rarely seen even in films (an exception was The Manchurian Candidate, the first Hollywood movie to show martial arts in realistic fashion instead of the "judo chops" usually depicted). The series also featured a number of highly gifted guest stars and relied heavily on the film noir school to set the tone of the series.
Despite rumors to the contrary, Cat was not an assassin. Nor did he work for San Francisco P.D., although he was brought in on certain operations (such as the pilot episode) where a specialist was called for (his SFPD contact was Captain McAllister, played by R.G. Armstrong). In the October 7 episode, "Brotherhood", Cat performed sniper duty during a hostage situation; this was after S.W.A.T. teams were initially created, but before their nationwide and now ubiquitous use. Cat carried a .32 caliber Walther PP automatic and a balanced throwing knife strapped to his left forearm. He was lethal with both.
Series star Robert Loggia had previously played a character known as "the cat" in the 1958–60 Walt Disney television miniseries The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca, in which Loggia played Baca, an Old West Mexican-American lawman whose nickname was "the cat", a fact viewers were reminded of each week in the series' theme song. The series ran for 26 episodes and was recut into a feature movie.
After T.H.E. Cat, Loggia, an actor with a long history of film and television credits, went on to star in a number of high-profile hit Hollywood films, including the Tom Hanks hit film Big, the sci-fi film Independence Day, An Officer and a Gentleman, Scarface, and Sylvester Stallone's Over the Top. In 1985, Loggia was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of crusty private detective Sam Ransom in the thriller Jagged Edge and had the starring role in another NBC series, Mancuso, FBI, for which he was nominated for an Emmy in 1989.
As of early 2018, there has been no official release of T.H.E. CAT on DVD.
- "To Kill a Priest", written by Harry Julian Fink, directed by Boris Sagal
- "Sandman", written by J.D. Buchanan, directed by Boris Sagal
- "Payment Overdue", written by Robert Hamner, directed by Boris Sagal
- "Brotherhood", written by Harry Julian Fink, directed by Maurice Vaccarino
- "Little Arnie From Long Ago", written by Ronald Austin and James D. Buchanan, directed by Don McDougall
- "None to Weep, None to Mourn", written by Herman Miller, directed by Harvey Hart
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- "Marked For Death", written by S. Adams, directed by Alan Crosland
- "Crossing at Destino Bay", written by R.E. Thompson, directed by Boris Sagal
- "To Bell T.H.E. Cat", written by Bernard C. Schoenfeld, directed by Sutton Roley
- "Curtains for Miss Winslow", written by Bernard C. Schoenfeld, directed by Herschel Daugherty
- "King of Limpets", written by Herman Miller, directed by Boris Sagal
- "The System", written by Robert Hamner, directed by Don Mc Dougall
- "The Canary Who Lost His Voice", written by Shimon Wincelberg, directed by Joseph Pevney
- "The Ring of Anasis", written by Herman Miller, directed by Jacques Tourneur
- "Queen of Diamonds", Knave of Hearts, written by Jack Turley, directed by Boris Sagal
- "A Hot Place to Die", written by Jack Turley, directed by Paul Baxley
- "A Slight Family Trait", written by Jack Turley, directed by Boris Sagal
- "If Once You Fail", written by Harry Julian Fink, directed by Maurice Vaccarino
- "Design for Death", written by Jack Turley, directed by Alan Crosland
- "Matter Over Mind", written by Ronald Austin and James D. Buchanan, directed by Boris Sagal
- "The Blood-Red Night", written by Bernard C. Schoenfeld, directed by Bert Freed
- "The Ninety Percent Blues", written by Robert Hamner, directed by Harry Harris
- "The Long Chase", written by Robert Hamner, directed by Paul Baxley
- "Twenty-One and Out", written by Preston Wood, directed by Paul Stanley
- "Lisa", written by Ronald Austin and James D. Buchanan, directed by Jud Taylor
- Robert Loggia as Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat
- R. G. Armstrong as Captain McAllister
- Robert Carricart as Pepe Cordoza
Several times he drove a Chevrolet Corvette. It was a mid-'60s convertible Stingray. It was customized with a bar that extended up and over the back of the driver. It was not, however, a roll bar—there were two flaps on the top portion. When the headlights were rolled to the "on" position, there were accents by each light that mimicked a cat's eye shape. Its body was painted black.
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- Gowran, Clay (October 31, 1966). "Plan More Kisses for Bone Busting Cat". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
- "Elfago Baca". Legends: Outlaws & Lawmen. Boulder, Colorado USA: Active Interest Media, Inc. June 2013. Special edition of American Cowboy magazine. Page 28: "Walt Disney, the only producer of 1950s TV Westerns to focus on minority issues, powerfully told the full story of Baca's career in a ten-episode mini-series for ABC between 1958–1960, starring Robert Loggia. The title The Nine Lives of Elfago Baca, played off the hero's nickname "El Gato", "the cat".