Welcome back to Batman Parody Month, and I know you’re gonna love today’s cartoon. If there’s one thing the internet loves, it’s cats, and if there’s two things it loves, it’s cats and Batman. And guess what; this cartoon has both! It may have been made in 1975, but it has two of the biggest things internet people like to talk about. It’s Shortpacked without the feminism.
Do any of you remember Fraidy Cat? Well, Filmation made another cartoon about cats, The Adventures of Waldo Kitty. It was a parody of James Thurber’s story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (in fact, it ran into legal trouble; that’s why the name changed from the original Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty to Adventures of). This was a little more light-hearted than Fraidy Cat; a live-action cat would be constantly bullied by a bulldog, so the cat would daydream cartoon scenarios where he’s the hero and the dog is the villain, all based on pop culture. So Family Guy if the flashbacks were longer. We are in for a treat.
And wouldn’t you know it, three of these episodes are based on Batman. We’re just looking at one; “Catman Meets the Poochquin”.
The episode begins with AAAAAAWWWWWWW.
Sorry about that. Anyway, live-action Waldo and his girlfriend Felicia are playing with a top hat, along with a sparrow called, well, Sparrow. Then Official Big Meanie Tyrone the bulldog appears and spoils their fun by stealing the top hat. With it on his head, he is the “Poochquin” apparently. In the live-action segments, Waldo and co. communicate the same way Lucky did: voiceovers. When they “speak”, the camera fixes on a close-up on their faces with a voiceover, as if they’re telepathically communicating with each other. Well, I always knew cats had weird pow-yes, Mr. Tibbles, I will annihilate them all.
When Felicia is cornered by Tyrone, Waldo acts like a little pussy (no pun intended) and just sits around daydreaming instead. He imagines a cartoon world where Tyrone is the Poochquin, this cartoon’s answer to Batman’s Penguin. In the other Batman parodies, I think he played the Joker and the Riddler too. Crap, now I just got a mental image of Tyrone as Poison Ivy.
Anyway, despite live-action Tyrone having a generic grunty thug voice, Poochquin is elegant and sophisticated, introducing himself as an “aficionado of felonies” and a “titan of treachery”. Thing is, he seems to be introducing himself to his own henchmen, who I’m pretty sure know who he is, given they’re talking about “his latest rotten scheme”. Poochquin has captured cartoon Felicia, and has imprisoned her in, I kid you not, a cage shaped like a top hat. I like Poochquin better than real Penguin already. I mean, his voice is more mellifluous than the usual quacky voice or the Cockney accent he had in Arkham City. Poochquin’s voice is sophistication incarnate; what you would sound like if you drank nothing but wine mixed with Stephen Fry’s saliva.
Newspapers report Felicia’s capture, and there’s a mildly funny joke where the newspaper headline spells it ‘Pelicia’ just so it could use alliteration: ‘Poochquin Pilfers Police Commissioner’s Pelicia.’ Oh yeah, Felicia is the Police Commissioner’s niece, so does that make her the Waldo-verse version of Barbara Gordon, maybe? The Police Commissioner, who is just called Police Commissioner, is a dog though, and they actually point that out:
POLICE CHIEF: But she’s a cat!
COMMISH: That’s right!
POLICE CHIEF: But you’re a dog!
COMMISH: So’s my wife, what’s it to you?
Okay, that’s better than most ass-covering excuses disguised as jokes I’ve seen in shows like this, but still not worthy of the uproarious laugh track. Oh fucking hell, the laugh track. Pretty much every. Single. Line in this show has canned laughter following it, so much so that it feels like the cartoon is laughing at me. Anyway, Commish decides to give the eponymous Catman a call.
So at “Stately Kitty Manor” or what looks like Charlie Manson’s Funhouse, we see the cartoon equivalents of Waldo and Sparrow. Waldo is Bruce Kitty, secret identity of Catman, who is called on by the Commissioner. The Commissioner is impressed that Catman already knows what’s up even though Felicia’s capture had been reported by the news so of course he should know it. In fact, he should have gone out onto the streets sooner. Even in his fantasies, Waldo’s a lazy sod.
Bruce Kitty decides to become Catman, and he has the weirdest way of opening the door to the Batcave in any Batman-inspired media. He jumps on a seesaw which has a bowl of fruit on it, the fruit lands on a suit of armour’s spear, and that activates a lift that pops up from the floor. You can keep your Shakespeare busts and piano keys, from now on, I want this to be incorporated into every new Batman media. If in Batman v Superman, Bruce doesn’t open the Batcave this way, I will boycott the movie with all my might.
As you can tell, Catman is inspired by Adam West’s Batman, and his attempts to emulate that Batman are more annoying than amusing. West’s Batman was hilarious in his delivery of morals and philosophy, Catman reminding Sparrow to fasten his seatbelts and boasting about his diet is tiresome.
Meanwhile, the Commish and the Police Chief are trying to find the Poochquin’s hideout, but the Poochquin’s henchmen give them a clue in a rather awkward scene. One of the henchmen goes to the police station and jumps from the top floor onto a seesaw which launches a brick with a note through the top floor’s window. Um…funny…I guess? So the Commish decides to go to Chez Poochquin to save his niece. Hey, the Commish is doing shit rather than sit back and let Catman do all the work, that’s a little better than most portrayals of Gordon I’ve seen.
Catman is driving in his Catmobile, which has an utterly terrifying mechanical Cheshire Cat head that makes the robot animals of Five Nights At Freddy’s look tame. They approach a bridge, which rotates 90 degrees. Not to worry though, because the Catmobile has rockets which lift it over the water. Poochquin observes this and is angry at his henchmen, for he’s ‘taught [them] half of everything [he knows]’. A short henchmen who sounds like Peter Lorre (another one?) says ‘Well, half of nothing is still nothing!’ When Poochquin inquires what he said, the henchman says, ‘Leave it to Poochquin, he’ll think of something!’ Oh, forgot to mention that, there’s a running gag throughout this cartoon where the Poochquin’s henchmen insult him and then pretend that they didn’t. Hilarious. Haven’t seen that a million times.
The Commish and the Chief – who I think are the only members of this city’s police force – arrive at the Poochquin’s manor. Huh, they got there quicker than Catman did and Catman has a car with jetpacks. They fall down a trap door into the Poochquin’s basement. Poochquin agrees to release Felicia, but not them. When Felicia is released, she decides to call Bruce Kitty, and a phone in the Catmobile goes off. Wow, Catman tells Sparrow to wear his seatbelt, yet has no problem talking on the phone while driving.
Back at Poochquin’s, we get some okay I guess jokes. The Commish asks ‘What’s your game?’ and Poochquin lists a lot of sports he likes. He also explains he captured the Commissioner so he can be issued a “License to Steal”. Huh, that’s actually so stupid it’s brilliant. Props to you, Waldo. Still, I doubt being able to legally steal would be of much benefit when he could still get arrested for kidnapping.
Catman arrives at Poochquin’s and it seems he and Poochquin have met before, making the ‘Catman Meets the Poochquin’ title a bit of a misnomer. Catman tries to go down a chimney, but can’t because Santa Claus is in there. Sorry, The Young Ones did that joke better. Then Catman and Sparrow look through a window and see the Commish tied to a giant top hat. Wow, is he a parody of the Penguin or the Mad Hatter? Also, the Police Chief is free and is just standing around doing shit. Wow, no wonder these dorks need Catman. Poochquin threatens to tickle the Commish’s feet with feather dusters, and before you ask, fetishists, no, he never gets a chance to actually do it.
Catman leaps through the window and is captured by a giant glove, which takes him to a dark room. Catman gets free by tickling the glove, so I guess there’s that if you like that sort of thing. So it’s all routine from here. Poochquin gets sent to prison, and in the “real” world, Waldo gets Tyrone in trouble with the latter’s owner.
So what’s the verdict? This wasn’t all that great. It wasn’t so much a parody as a lesser version of Batman with lamer jokes. Okay, I did like the Poochquin and his voice a bit, and the live-action bits were cute but there’s nothing to recommend. At least Fraidy Cat had a dark storyline.
Also I made this: