Animato! article..part 2

From: chance <>
Date: Mon, 2 Oct 1995 06:11:48 -0700

Here's the next part -- sorry for the delay.

...why take the time and trouble to write an article about it? Here are
the reasons:


When the Tremblay brothers sold SWAT Kats to Hanna-Barbera, they
weren't just sent on their way. They stayed on as major creative partners.
As a result, SWAT Kats has a distinctive look, just like critically
acclaimed series such as Batman, Ren&Stimpy, and the Simpsons.


Many animated series' feature funny animals in humorous adventures
(Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Biker Mice from Mars, the various
Disney Afternoon offerings, etc.) but SWAT Kats is different. The
Tremblay brothers and Hanna-Barbera realized that animal characters
and serious action/adventure stories are two great tastes that taste great
together, and this gave SWAT Kats a different tone than most of its
competition. (The only two vaguely comparable shows are ABC's
"Sonic the Hedgehog" with it's "Star Wars" theme of rebels vs. tyrants,
and the "grim and gritty" current version of "Ninja Turtles".)


The producers of SWAT Kats assembled a virtual Who's Who of the
best voice actors in American TV animation. If you don't recognize
at least half the names of the cast, you probably shouldn't be reading
"ANIMATO!" in the first place.


Hanho Heung-Up (whose credits include "Tale Spin") did nine episodes
of SWAT Kats, and they look pretty good. Mook (who have done
several features in Japan) did 14 episodes, and they look great. Suddenly,
Hanna-Barbera, the home of limited movement, was producing a show
whose animation frequently approached feature film quality. ("The Deadly
Pyramid" and "Unlikely Alloys" are especially impressive.)


The people who made SWAT Kats weren't just cynically marking time
while they waited for jobs on a better show. They cared, and their devotion
shows in the finished product. This, more than anything else, is what has
attracted animation fans to SWAT Kats.

And now, let's get down to specifics, beginning with our cast of characters.


T-Bone, AKA Chance Furlong (Charlie Adler): The SWAT Kats' fearless
air ace, the best -- and toughest -- pilot in the sky. T-Bone's flying and
fighting skills make him a "criminal's worst nightmare" in the air or on the
ground. In his spare time, he enjoys watching "Scaredykat" cartoons and
reading "Kat Kommandoes" comic books (I wonder if he reads ANIMATO!?)

Razor, AKA Jake Clawson (Barry Gordon): The SWAT Kats' "high tech
edge", an inventor who designs the team's vehicles and weapons. An
effective fighter, Razor is also a "sure shot" who can nail the most elusive
criminal with the Turbo Kat's missiles, which contain such gimmicks as
circular saws, drill bits and capture nets. Razor's catch phrase is "Bingo!",
which he often shouts when the missiles connect.

Mayor Manx (Jim Cummings): The titular leader of Megakat City, an
old-fashioned politician who sounds like W.C. Fields with an Irish accent.
He's cowardly and slightly corrupt, he wears an unconvincing toupee, and he
puts at least as much effort into his golf game as running the city, but he's
basically a likable comic relief character.

Commander Feral (Gary Owens): The leader of the Enforcers, Feral is
courageous and honest, but he's also arrogant, ill-tempered, narrow-minded,
stubborn and rude. Worst of all, he regards the SWAT Kats as reckless
vigilantes who are as dangerous as the villains they fight. Feral is indirectly
responsible for the formation of the SWAT Kats; as shown in the "Wrath
of Dark Kat", he fired Clawson and Furlong from the Enforcers when they
supposedly let the supervillain Dark Kat escape (an incident that was
actually Feral's own fault).

Deputy Mayor Calico "Callie" Briggs (Tress MacNeille): Mayor Manx may
have the title, but Callie, his attractive young troubleshooter, is the one
who really runs Megakat City. She's also the SWAT Kats' most powerful
ally, although the TV series has never revealed how their friendship started.
Callie has a secret communications link with the SWAT Kats that allows
her to call them into action, and she defends the heroic pilots whenever
Commander Feral criticizes them. Also, Callie copes with danger better than
Manx or Feral, because she's braver than Manx and smarter than either of

Ann Gora (Candi Milo): An intrepid TV reporter for "Kat's Eye News" who
often risks her life to cover the SWAT Kats adventures.

Dr. Abby Sinian (Linda Gary): A historian and archeologist who works for
the Megakat City Museum of History. She occasionally helps the SWAT
Kats and Callie Briggs gather information on supernatural villains.

Mr. Young (Robert Ito): A corporate head who might someday do a big
project in Megakat City -- if those darned supervillains would just stop
getting in the way.

Lt. Felina Feral (Lori Alan): A gung-ho Enforcer who happens to be Commander
Feral's niece. Her uncle tries to keep her out of danger, but this macho warrior
woman insists on storming into the thick of each battle. Like Callie, Felina
realizes that Megakat City needs the SWAT Kats and is willing to work with


Dark Kat (Brock Peters): This criminal mastermind resembles a feline Darth
Vader or Dr. Doom, thanks to his imposing physical presence (especially
the hood and cape) and resonant voice. He specializes in plotting, scheming,
and manipulating others into doing his will. Dark Kat's goal is to destroy
Megakat City and replace it with a "capitol of crime" called Dark Kat City,
"where lawlessness is the law of the land!" (Lance Falk: "Dark Kat doesn't want
to steal money -- he wants to be ON money.") He's assisted by a group of
chattering, batwinged creatures called "Creeplings" (whose noises are made
by Charlie Adler).

Dr. Viper (Frank Welker): A mad scientist who was accidentally mutated into
a half-kat/half-reptile creature -- and likes it that way. As shown in
"Destructive Nature", Viper plans to create "a spectacular new Megakat City!
No more ugly metal and plastic, only beautiful swamp, ruled by me! Dr. Viper's
Megaswamp City -- it will be so beautiful!" To make this twisted dream a
reality, Viper mutates ordinarly plants, reptiles and insects into hideous
kat-eating monsters under his control.

The Metallikats: Also known as the married gangsters "Mac Mange" (Neil Ross)
and "Molly Mange" (April Winchell). These feline felons died while escaping from
prison, but the kindly, naive inventor Professor Hackle (George Hearn), who
had no idea who they were, found them and transferred their minds into
powerful robot bodies. The result: two heavily armed mechanical mobsters with
attitudes. Mac and Molly are unquestionably evil, and they argue and insult each
other constantly, but deep down they really love each other. They're the most
entertaining members of the SWAT Kats' rogues' gallery.

The Pastmaster (Keene Curtis): An 800-year old sorcerer whose magical pocket
watch functions as both a time travel device and a weapon that shoots energy
beams. This medieval miscreant brings monsters from the past (like dinosaurs
and mummies) into the present to do his bidding.

Hard Drive (Rob Paulsen): A cyberpunk "technology pirate" who wears a
"surge coat" that gives him the power to steal secured computer files,
control vehicles, and turn into a pure energy form that can travel through
power lines. The suit ahs one other interesting feature: when Hard Drive
puts it on, his normal hairstyle automatically changes into a mohawk!

Burke (Mark Hamill) and Murray (Charlie Adler): These two aren't supervillains,
but they're almost as annoying. They deliver salvage to Jake & Chance's
Garage, and they always take a moment to pester Clawson & Furlong about their
status as officially disgraced ex-Enforcers.

_______________________NEXT TIME: THE EP GUIDE_______________

  "I'm on the Internet...sometimes every day. I use it to plug in and feel the
   pulse of my audience. I think most producers used to wait for the fan mail
   to roll in. You don't need to do that anymore. There's instant communication
   with your audience. -- The "X-Files" Chris Carter

Received on Mon Oct 02 1995 - 09:28:59 PDT

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