T.H.E. Cat

Created by Harry Julian Fink

A former aerialist and trapeze artist for the circus, and cat burglar, THOMAS HEWITT EDWARD CAT (T.H.E. Cat, get it?) now finds employment as a freelance bodyguard and investigator in San Francisco. He works out of an "office" at the Casa del Gato nightclub, a joint run by his good friend, and sometime cohort, Spanish gypsy Pepe. His police contact is Captain McAllister, he of the one arm and bowler hat.

As a kid, I used to love this show. The plots weren't terribly complex, and you could count on a few good thrills every week just watching Loggia, clad entirely in black, scaling tall buildings to death-defying heights, skulking around in the shadows, armed only with a grappling hook and some rope, sorta like Spider-Man without superpowers. He relied instead on intelligence and agility, although upon occasion he was known to carry both a sleeve knife -- a small dagger which he used to lethal effect on everything from a Gila monster to a man -- and a .32 Walther automatic.

Although not everyone was as impressed as I was. Some wag at Variety (September 21, 1966) had this to say: "T.H.E. Cat, being fairly fast on the action stuff, may not lay an E.G.G. in total, but it certainly needs W.O.R.K."

Well, so what? To an eight-year old, it was pretty cool. And I seem to remember it had a rather gritty, dark mood to it, lots of shadows and some pretty freaky and twisted characters, as opposed to all the California sunshine-bleached P.I. shows of the time, full of shiny happy people.

UNDER OATH

  • "One thing I remember is him having a knife in a contraption up his sleeve. When he needed to, he would swing his arm real fast, and the knife would slide down into his palm -- ready for action. I don't recall him ever actually using it on people, but every episode featured a martial arts type fight with lots of karate stuff, which was the really cool part."

--Richard Garrett

  • "I was a big fan of the CAT. In my Southern California neighborhood we had our own club where we tried to recreate some of the more exciting feats of agility. Our headquarters was high up in a tree."

-- Richard Nickerson

  • "I was around thirteen when the show was running and going to a Catholic grade school. Thomas Hewitt was my hero, so I showed up for school photo day in black slacks and a black turtle neck. I was excluded from the school photo by the head nun. This had the effect of making me feel even cooler! Those were the days..."

-- Mike Breiding, Morgantown, West Virginia)

  • "Thanks. I had a really hard time locating any information about this show. And maybe it wasn't as good as my memory but I can still smell the smoke and burbon and I can hear the music coming out of Casa del Gato as Loggia went in so it definately had its impact. As did the intellect dominating force. Truly a sign of its times."

-- William Schubert

  • "... one of my favorite TV shows. Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat was possibly the coolest customer on TV. Along with Honey West--the coolest babe on t.v.--it was also probably one of the last half hour dramas on t.v. Thankfully, Robert Loggia has always worked and is, in fact, still working, and still cool. Just wanted to say thanks."

-- Bob Randisi

CAR TALK

  • "T.H.E. Cat drove a customized mid-60s Corvette Stingray. AMT made a model kit of this."

-- John Boyle

TELEVISION

  • T.H.E. CAT
    (1966-67, NBC)
    26 30-minute episodes
    Created by Harry Julian Fink
    Writers: Harry Julian Fink, James D. Buchanan, Ronald Austin, Robert Hamner, Herman Miller, John O'Dea, Arthur Rowe, George F. Slavin, Stanley Adams, Jack Turley, Robert E. Thompson, Bernard C. Schoenfeld, Shimon Wincelberg,
    Directors: Boris Sagal, Maurice Vaccarino, Don McDougall, Harvey Hart, Sutton Roley, John Rich, Alan Crosland Jr., Herschel Daugherty, Joseph Pevney, Jacques Tourneur, Paul Baxley
    Produced by Boris Sagal
    Theme by Lalo Schifrin
    Starring Robert Loggia as T.H.E. CAT
    with R.G. Armstrong, Robert Carricart
    Guest stars: Robert Duvall, Ted Knight, James Whitmore, Michael Constantine, Henry Darrow Lloyd Bochner, John Dehner, Joseph Wiseman, Linda Day, Cesar Romero, John Colicos, Sally Kellerman, Victor Buono

  • "To Kill a Priest" (September 16, 1966)
  • "Sandman" (September 23, 1966)
  • "Payment Overdue" (September 30, 1966)
  • "Brotherhood" (October 7, 1966)
  • "Little Arnie From Long Ago" (October 14, 1966)
  • "None to Weep, None to Mourn" (October 21, 1966)
  • "Moment of Truth" (October 28, 1966)
  • "Marked For Death" (November 4, 1966)
  • "Crossing at Destino Bay" (November 18, 1966)
  • "To Bell T.H.E. Cat" (November 25, 1966)
  • "Curtains For Miss Winslow" (December 2, 1966)
  • "King of Limpets" (December 9, 1966)
  • "The System" (December 16, 1966)
  • "The Canary Who Lost His Voice23 December 23, 1966)
  • "Ring of Anasis" (December 30, 1966)
  • "Queen of Diamonds, Knave of Hearts" (January 6, 1967)
  • "A Hot Place to Die" (January 13, 1967)
  • "A Slight Family Trait" (January 20, 1967)
  • "If Once You Fail" (January 27, 1967)
  • "Design for Death" (February 3, 1967)
  • "Matter Over Mind" (February 10, 1967)
  • "Blood Red Night" (February 17, 1967)
  • "Ninety Per Cent Blue" (February 24, 1967)
  • "The Long Chase" (March 10, 1967)
  • "Twenty-One and Out" (March 24, 1967)
  • "Lisa" (March 31, 1967)

COMICS

  • T.H.E. CAT
    (1967, Dell)
    4 issues,TV tie-ins, with photo covers

NOVELS

  • A Girl and Her Cat (2014; Win Scott Eckert & Matthew Baugh)., Buy this book

A pastiche from Moonstone Comics that teams up Thomas with G.G. Fickling's HoneyWest.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Mattieu Horak for the extra info.


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