David Bussell - Comedy Proffesional

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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Top Wasp

A lot of people won't remember this, but Top Cat (or Boss Cat as he's known in the U.K.) wasn't always called Top Cat. In fact, the original title for the popular Hanna-Barbera cartoon was... Top Wasp:

According to legend, Hanna-Barbera even went as far as to produce an unaired TV pilot, but when they tested it with a sample audience, the feedback they received was apparently extremely negative. The choice of a wasp in the lead role wasn't at all popular, plus people complained they couldn't hear any dialogue over the sound of the protagonist's incessant buzzing. They also said they found it hard to come to terms with the fact that all of Top Wasp's friends were cats. 

To illustrate, here's a rare picture taken from the front cover of the aborted Top Wasp comic:

Another objection to Top Wasp was the end of the pilot episode when he murdered Officer Dibble by injecting his head full of deadly venom. The general feeling was that it cut short a promising character dynamic, but also that the assassination was incredibly graphic and resulted in a lingering close-up of Dibble frothing at the gums as he lay dying alone in a filthy back-alley upon a carpet of broken hypodermics. 

For over half the show's run time.

Of course Top Wasp wasn't the only pilot to fall foul of the wasp protagonist trap back in those days, as anyone who remembers this show before it was re-tooled will attest...

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