Cool Cat is a "hep" tiger character who appeared in a series of cartoons in the late 1960s. He was from the Warner Bros.-Seven Arts (or W-7 Arts) era of classic Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies shorts, which arrived in the latter half of that decade. Alex Lovy was his creator and Cool Cat debuted in his eponymous cartoon in 1967, which saw the divergence in the Warner Bros. Cartoons studio's original animation style, replaced with the Hanna-Barbera style (although that may have already occurred at some point earlier in the '60s). F Troop's Larry Storch was Cool Cat's original voice actor.
Cool Cat resembles somewhat both the Pink Panther (whose own cartoons by Depatie-Freleng Enterprises began in the same decade) and Snagglepuss from the Hanna-Barbera studio. In contrast to most of the other Looney Tunes characters, what separated Cool Cat from them was that he was a product of his time. As seen in his shorts, he wore a green scarf and usually a matching beret as well (although in the last two cartoons starring him, he was without his beret), spoke '60s-style beatnik slang, and acted like the typically mellow, '60s adolescent. In the first four shorts, he was initially pitted against a fussy, English-accented game hunter named Colonel Rimfire, who always carried a blunderbuss. The pairing has been considered the new Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. In the last classic-era Looney Tunes short, "Bugged by a Bee", he is a student attending Disco Tech and partaking in sports against the rival college, Hippie University.
The new opening title card used in the sequence preceding his debut was the first to be done for the W-7 Arts series. This last intro title card sequence of the classic era featured a black background, a re-working of the Merry-Go-Round Broke Down theme and stylized lettering, such as the W and 7 being conjoined within a stylized shield (the change may have been done to reflect the change in the animation style of the cartoons as well). He had the distinction of starring in the last Looney Tune (the aforementioned Bugged by a Bee from 1969) and the last Merrie Melody (that same year's Injun Trouble); the studio shut down not long after the latter's release.
In his first appearance since the classic/W-7 Arts epoch, Cool Cat also had various cameos and/or walk-on roles in the '90s Warner production, The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries, in one form or another. For example, in the form of a poster, as a passer-by in street scenes, etc. However, these never went noticed by the main cast, with Tweety even commenting once "We just had to get him into this show". His last appearance was at the end of Tweety's High-Flying Adventure (in which Rimfire too is seen early on), removing a disguise. In these, Cool Cat was voiced by Joe Alaskey and Jim Cummings.
One reason why Cool Cat isn't remembered as well or even as fondly as many of the other Looney Tunes characters is because he was designed to be contemporary. Although they also used antiquated expressions, they still always had much more diversity and depth, while Cool Cat's style of dress, speech and mannerisms became dated.
To date, Cool Cat, Colonel Rimfire, and Spooky are the only W-7 Arts characters to make any other prominent appearances, aside from the classic era shorts, while other characters only got non-speaking cameos.
- Cool Cat (1967)
- Big Game Haunt (1968)
- Hippydrome Tiger (1968)
- 3 Ring Wing-Ding (1968)
- Bugged by a Bee (1969)
- Injun Trouble (1969)