Sunday, November 23, 2008

Josie and the Pussycats

There's nothing like sitting down to relax on a chilly afternoon with a cup of tea and some Milano cookies, turning on the television, flipping through channels, and discovering more of your childhood dance across the screen. I was giggling aloud for an hour watching episodes of another one of my favorite childhood shows, Josie and the Pussycats. I admit it's ridiculously hokey and the animation was not the best. They would duplicate scenes and inadvertently put the wrong character to a voice every once and a while. Their adventures make no sense, and they always encounter some of the stupidest villains you'll ever see in animation. The second incarnation of the show, The Pussycats in Outerspace, was even worse. But how could you not love a group of guys and gals who are rock stars in pussycat outfits? And every episode has a musical number to coincide with a chase scene! It was loads of fun back in the early 1970s and in the years afterwards when they showed the episodes in repeats. The show was based on a comic book series, and the characters do look like a conscious combination of people from Scooby Doo and Archie. But I remember loving that they always went to foreign locations, like Paris and Amsterdam, places I dreamed I would visit one day. They were always there to perform, but of course along the way they would always get caught up in some crazy scheme involving a villain's secret plot to do something to the world, whether it was control the weather or make everyone old. There was the leader of the band, red-haired Josie, and her strapping blond boyfriend Alan. There was Melody the ditsy blond drummer, Alexander the scaredy-cat manager and his ever-jealous-of-Josie sister Alexandra with her skunk-striped hair and black cat Sebastian. And then there was one of my favorites, Valerie the tambourine player, who was undoubtedly the smartest one of them all, startling when you consider the times and that she was black. Valerie was a mechanical genius who could create the world's most powerful vacuum out of computer parts or rewire a telephone control system. I remember one episode where she managed to get them out of a locked room by using a compact, mirror, pencil, and paper clips. She was MacGuyver before there was a MacGuyver. There was a 2001 film version with real people that I haven't seen yet, and I'm not sure I ever will, as it may ruin the experience for me. Here's more on the history of the cartoon and show from Wikipedia, and for your entertainment pleasure, here are two YouTube clips. The first is the opening theme song, and the second is one of their musical numbers called "Stop, Look and Listen." They just don't make cartoons like this anymore. Enjoy!

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