Saturday, July 14, 2012

Black-and-white knight rises, yawns, licks own anus

Posted By on Sat, Jul 14, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Puss in reboot: Expect a "darker treatment," especially around the mouth.
  • Puss in reboot: Expect a "darker treatment," especially around the mouth.

Well, now we know what America’s superhero nerds are going to do after their Dark Knight Rises buzz wears off and they have to face the prospect of a couple of years without a Batman movie: get in line for the Courageous Cat movie!

Via Deadline comes the frankly bizarre news that the 1960 TV cartoon, hazily (if at all) remembered as Bob Kane’s critter parody of his far more famous Bats, is following its bipedal progenitor to the big screen. It’s a pretty hilarious idea, given that almost nobody under the age of 40 remembers Courageous Cat, and will cough up a hair ball of disdain when they hear its premise: The titular feline avenger and his youthful sidekick, Minute Mouse, do battle with the forces of evil, sometimes from behind the wheel of their sleek Catmobile. Said evil forces include The Frog, a criminal croaker with the voice of Edward G. Robinson.

Yes, this is what impressed us boomers as boldly original programming when we were kids. Yet the rights holders are making it sound as if there’s been some sort of clamor to remake this forgotten gem

um, “hunk of cubic zirconia.”

“For years, we resisted overtures for the property,” Debbie Litt, the director of licensor Telefatures, tells Deadline.

Yeah, it must have been murder turning down the billions Spielberg and Cameron were offering. I bet it made the bidding war for Hoppity Hooper look like a cakewalk. So what made Litt and crew finally give in? Producer Tony DeRosa-Grund’s “longstanding track record of finding great new takes to reboot classic properties,” says Litt.

As far as I can see, that longstanding track record consists largely of adapting Archie Comics characters into live-action projects like 2001’s Josie and the Pussycats -- which is reasonably well-liked -- and the mid-'90s TV series Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch -- which even my wife didn’t bother with, and she’s a lifelong Riverdale-phile who keeps a Betty and Veronica Double Digest in our freakin’ bathroom.

Other amusing details of the bulletin include the revelation that Courageous Cat is “one of the only two properties originated by

Kane that isn’t owned by DC Comics and Warner Bros." First of all, the idea that known credit-stealer Kane ever “originated” anything is absurd on its face; it’s probably more accurate to say that, with Courageous Cat, he paid somebody under the table to rip off a character he had ripped off from Bill Finger. But instead of revisiting that sad and ethically desolate terrain, l’d rather focus on the tantalizing phrase “one of only two.” That means a deal for the Cool McCool movie may still be up for grabs!

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Maybe I’m just being reflexively sarcastic, and it’s doesn’t matter that Courageous Cat is about as relevant to 21st century audiences as Super President. Some things just burrow their way into the zeitgeist and stay there like sleeper cells, undetected but ready to rise up at any moment. For example, when I saw the first performance of this year’s Fringe Festival show Dog Powered Robot and the Subsequent Adventure, I noted with some delight that one of its most colorful characters was

an amphibian villain with the voice of Edward G. Robinson. As soon as the show was over, I turned to its writer, Joseph Joshua Geoghagan, who happened to be seated right next to me.

“A little Courageous Cat there, huh?” I prodded, gently.

“Who?” he answered, genuinely bewildered.

So there you have it. Into each generation a Frog must fall. Somebody tell Hoppity Hooper to get his warty ass on Twitter.

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