Josie and The Pussy Cats!
Long tails and ears for hats!
What a catchy theme song to such an infectiously iconic cartoon!
It may be hard to believe that only 16 episodes were produced of the original Josie and The Pussy Cats series between 1970 and 1971. The first installment may have been relatively short-lived, but its influence was undeniable and long-lasting. 1972 saw a spin-off show called Josie and The Pussycats in Outerspace. The Pussycats went on to see massively popular merchandising over the years and in 2001, the trifecta of teenage musicians even scored their own critically acclaimed live-action film.
Josie and The Pussycats was an American animated TV series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and based upon the comic book series of the same name created by Dand DeClaro. Even though in some ways, Josie and The Pussycats were riding on the coattails of popularity of the Archie comic book series, it was uniquely its own thing.
Each episode consists of the three-piece band solving mysteries and taking down hapless villainous scum hellbent on causing havoc and throwing a kink in the Pussycat’s gears.
You got Josephine, the ginger lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist of the band. Then you got Valerie. Not only is she a person of color and the band’s bassist but she is also the brainy voice of reason that steers the group into sound waters and helps crack many of the cases that are shrouded in mystery. Last but not least, there is Melody. She may be your stereotypical air-head dumb blonde but she has a heart of gold. Not only do her ears wiggle whenever there is danger afoot, but she is also one heck of a drummer.
Josie and The Pussycats are crossing an important milestone. The Hanna-Barbera classic turns 50 this year so let’s pay the show that started it all a little respect by looking at 8 little known facts about the series that all but die-hard fans might know.
Facts Verse Presents: 8 Facts About the Josie and the Pussycats Cast
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Stick around for the whole video to learn how Janet Waldo – the voice of Josie – got the short end of the stick when the credits began to roll. You won’t believe how the studio did her wrong.
Melody’s Singing Vocals Were Provided By Cheryl Ladd
Remember Cheryl Ladd from Charlie’s Angels? Well to be fair, how could you forget her? She virtually replaced Farrah Fawcett’s character in the show’s second season as Kris Monroe – Jill’s sister. Not only did she replace a legend like Farrah, but she finished up the 7 seasons but probably also did a better job than her predecessor.
Ladd is an exceptionally talented actress but back in the day, she was fairly unknown. Producers of Charlie’s Angels were taking a bit of a gamble when they called her in. She had only had small roles up until that point on shows like Police Story and Harry O.
Seven years before she landed the gig with Charlie’s Angels, she had one pretty notable credit to her name that is sometimes overlooked. She provided the singing vocals of Melody in Josie and the Pussycats. At the time she was going by the name Cherie Moor – a name she wouldn’t drop for a few more years.
She originally came to Hollywood in hopes of being a singer. She never expected to start landing acting gigs. But nothing ever goes according to plan and it sounds like she lucked out when it came to finding her place in show business.
A Mayberry Resident Was Melody’s Speaking Voice
So we just clarified who did Melody’s singing voice and you might be wondering who did her regular talking voice. If you’re a fan of The Andy Griffith Show you might recognize her voice, but you may not be able to know exactly who she was.
Melody was voice acted by Jackie Joseph. She played the lovely lady Ramona in the episode ‘My Fair Ernest T. Bass’. In that episode, Andy And Barney make an attempt at cleaning Ernest up and teaching him some manners so he might find himself a girl. They dress him up all fancy and take them to a dinner party and try to pass him off as Andy’s cousin from Raleigh. Ramona however dances around and flirts with Ernest who is now supposedly ‘tamed’. The rest is comedic brilliance. Spoiler Alert: Ernest slips up.
Jackie would go on to return to Mayberry yet again as the wife of Ken Berry in Mayberry R. F.D. And in 4 episodes of Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.
Valerie Was The First Black Female Character To Appear On Saturday Morning Cartoons
The Hardy Boys cartoon may have sported the first recurring black character for a cartoon series but the voice of Pete Jones was provided by Dallas McKennon – a white man who is well-known for providing the voice of Archie and Cincinnatus in Daniel Boone.
Valerie on the other hand was given her voice by Barbara Parlot and Patrice Holloway. Both of who are black women.
Barbara is best known for her work on Simon & Simon and Days Of Our Lives. Patrice was a notable soul singer that was best known for her work on Josie and the Pussycats, but she had a few notable covers and singles in her solo career. She once had a song that she co-wrote make it to number 3 on Billboards Hot 100 with the track ‘You’ve made me so very happy’ when Blood Sweat & Tears covered it. We’ll come back to Patrice in a minute —
One Of The Mouseketeers Voiced One of The Main Characters
Other than the three bandmates, a whole slew of other characters also gave the show it’s personality. One notable addition was that of Alexandra Cabot. She was the twin sister of Alexander, the group band manager that accompanied the girls on their journey.
Along with her matching pet cat Sebastian, this skunk-stripe haired character was the only girl to take a primary recurring role that wasn’t a member of the band. She was very intelligent but that was outshone by her selfishness and mean spirited personality. Most of the show she just stood in bitter, jealous defiance of the girls in the band, believing that she was the real star of the show.
She makes many failed attempts to steal the glory of the trio’s exploits and victories. Despite her immense jealousy, she still stands in solidarity with the Pussycat’s most of the time, continuing to fight against the nefarious villains that are always plotting to take them down.
Baby Boomers might recognize her voice as a member of the Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950s. Young Sherry Alberoni was only 9 – and the youngest Mousketeer to be a member of the club.
As Alexandra, she provided the perfectly snide, bitter, confrontational voice that defined the characters’ persona.
Sherry went on to be the voice of Wendy in season 1 of Super Friends then Laurie Partridge in Partridge Family 2200 A.D. Her last notable credit was in 1984’s Mighty Orbits as the voice of Bo.
The Show Was A Rival To Archie
All the characters from Josie and the Pussycats can trace their origins back to the pages of the Archie Comics and in the pages of that series Archie and the gang consistently interacted with Josie and company quite amicably but when it came to the television series, the Archie Show and Josie provided each other with direct competition for ratings and viewership.
There is a good reason why you never see Veronica or Jughead coming together in either cartoon series.
Filmation had seized the rights to The Archies while Hanna-Barbera sought to create a musical crime-solving clan of its own to compete with the successful cartoon. They were initially going to create something called the Mysteries 5 but that just evolved into Scooby-Doo. So they made a quick move to swoop up the rights to Josie and the Pussycats and the rest is history.
Patrice Holloway Was The Real Lead Singer
Sorry Josie, but you aren’t the real star of the band. We already touched on Patricia Holloway’s contribution as the singing voice for Valerie, the bassists of the band, but Patricia did most of the lead vocals on all of the Pussycat’s songs, including the opening theme. She really was the star of the show and off-screen, she flourished as a successful singer on her own merit.
She was the sister of Brenda Holloway, who found success in the Motown scene and her career took her all over the place, landing her on shows like Soul Train and in groups like the Four J’s. On Joe Cocker’s cover of the Beatles classic “With a Little Help From My Friends” you can hear her singing back up vocals. She may not have been a superstar but she certainly found a modicum of success in her musical career worth taking note of.
The Writers Of Their Songs Where People You Probably Are Familiar With
They might be credited as Denby Williams and Joseph Roland on the 45 single of the show’s theme song Josie, but those two obscure names were actually just pseudonyms for much more familiar names that we’re sure you are acquainted with.
William Hanna and Joseph Barbera are the true brains behind that infectious tune.
Judy Waite Was Incorrectly Credited As Josie
Hanna-Barbera’s very own Janet Waldo – famed for being the voice of Judy Jetson – was the voice actress behind Josie but many versions of the show’s credits snub her by listing Judy Waite as the actress behind the band’s frontwoman. The reason being was Judy Waite was indeed hired for the role when the show was still in pre-production but she was fired before the show ever made it to the airwaves.
Lazy production team members failed to update the credits and thus never gave Janet Waldo the full credit she was due for her work. We bet her agent certainly had some choice words to say to the network execs and studio about this matter.
We’ve come to the end of our little stroll down memory lane. We want to wish Josie and the Pussycats a very warm happy 50th anniversary. We also really want to hear from you – our beloved viewing audience. Which Pussycat do you think was the star of the show? Josie, Valerie, or Melody? Let us know what you think in the comments section.
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