Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pleasing Siamese Cats in Film TV Books

Siamese Cats in the Media :
Talking on TV, Meowing in Movies and more

That Darn Cat
Hayley Mills, Dean Jones
10X9 1/2 colored photo
Cats are popular pets in the US. They're popular characters in stories and aren't always portrayed too nicely or accurately. One breed that could be described as misunderstood is the Siamese cat.

Here are some appearances of fictional Siamese cats on radio and TV, in films and books. Hope you enjoy them and will let me know of more. Though they're not always portrayed that well, this is one of my favorite breeds. Some of these shows are scary and suspenseful.

Old Time Radio:
Many of these OTR shows are available for purchase and download in MP3 format. You can listen to some online. The series are as spooky, fun and fresh now as they were then.

The CBS Radio Workshop:  November 25, 1956
The King of the Cats
"The world is divided into of two kinds of people Ailurophobes and Ailurophiles..."

The Mysterious Traveler: July 2, 1944
Queen of the Cats

James Mason on Burns & Allen; George Collects Cats

Check out this Cat Collection of Old Time Radio shows
Dramas, Comedies, Suspense, kids' shows and more.
We have this set and it's great.

Dragnet, August 30, 1951 
The Big Crazy  
A woman's twin sister is missing, suspicion falls on her mentally disturbed husband. He ultimately must admit to having killed his wife and her cat.
"A pet cat she had, Siamese. He always hated the cat."   

Another episode called The Big Threat features a Siamese cat named Pepper. This cat fares much better. 

The House of Mystery August 3, 1947 (not the center of the story but part of it)
A Gift from the Dead

Lights Out April 6, 1938 [Not Siamese but interesting idea of wives and cats]
Cat Wife, Boris Karloff

Mr and Mrs North, Season 1, Episode 3; October 17, 1952
A Good Buy  
The very last scene Siamese cats appear where they're very unexpected.

Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat
An animated PBS Kids series. The character of Sagwa is taken from the book, The Chinese Siamese Cat by Amy Tan

A favorite of kids, parents and caretakers, many sets, single shows and specials are available. Sagwa: Cat Tales and Celebrations

Screen Directors Playhouse: Season 1, Episode 24; 25 April 25, 1956
Claire, George Montgomery, Angela Lansbury, Jean Willes
A doctor's second wife is tormented by the presence of his pet cat, which reminds her of the fact that she was involved in her husband's first wife's drowning.

Mr. Ed Season 6, Episode 8 1965
Mr. Ed and the Pussycat
Ed is jealous when Wilbur gets Felicia, a Siamese Cat
When Wilbur goes to the butcher to get Felicia liver, the butcher says he has a Siamese cat and he only feeds his cat filet Mignon. A woman at the butcher shop wants ground beef in the shape of a heart for her dog's birthday.

Perry Mason: Season 8, Episode 24; March 25, 1965
The Case of the Careless Kitten 
Matilda soon finds herself in the hospital having been poisoned. She recovers but Perry is far more interested in the fact that Helen's Siamese cat had also recently been poisoned.

In a season 7, 2009 episode of Monk, Mr. Monk Makes the Playoffs, Bob Costas is a guest star. There's a scene where he is telling a story about cats to Capt. Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine). In the story he mentions a manic depressive Siamese cat. 


Hayley Mills That Darn Cat
Orig Magazine Clipping
That Darn Cat 1965 Walt Disney production
Hayley Mills, Dean Jones

Some bank robbers, a kidnapped woman, the FBI and Darn Cat or DC, "a wily, adventurous Siamese tomcat."

The film was remade in 1997 with Christina Ricci, Doug E. Doug and a Tabby cat. From a story by Gordon Gordon and Mildred Gordon.

That Darn Cat film collectibles
Interesting to note the Traditional style applehead Siamese in the movie compared to the more Contemporary wedge-head Siamese that we also see today.

The Wizard of Oz 1939
Toward the end of the film the Wizard is about to exit in a hot air balloon, accompanied by
The Siamese Cat of Oz
Dorothy and Toto. They're going to return to Dorothy's home in Kansas. A spectator in the crowd has brought her Siamese cat who has something to say and that spooks little Toto who runs out of the balloon.

Dorothy chases him. The balloon rises with the Wizard alone. Well, you know the rest. Click your heels and say, "There's no place like home."

Bucket of Blood 1959
Walter Paisley's (Dick Miller) landlady's cat is in the wall of his apartment. He accidentally kills the and covers the body in clay and plaster. His bohemian friends take this to be a wonderful work of sculpture, very life like. This is the beginning of a bad pattern for Walter.
Running down a back alley, a Siamese cat howls at him.

[Meet the cat about 5:07 into the clip]

Cat People 1942
Simone Simon as Irena Dubrovna,  Kent Smith as Oliver Reed 
First he gives her a Siamese kitten as a gift while they're courting. The kitten hates her. They exchange it for a bird which she later kills.
Irena Dubrovna: Oh, it's alright. It's just that cats don't seem to like me. 

Woman at pet shop: "You can fool everybody, but laudie dearie me, you can't fool a cat. They seem to know who's not right."

Footlight Parade 1933
James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler...
In this delightful pre-code movie, there are production numbers with men and women dressed as cats. Watch it if you get the chance. There's at least one real cat who thinks he is the star of the film of course.

BELL BOOK AND CANDLE 1954 Original Italian Due Movie Poster

Bell Book and Candle (play by John van Druten)
Pyewacket, the cat in this movie, is the name of a witch's familiar, a spirit in the form of a cat
You'll see this idea again and again in other films where spirits,spirits of the dead come back in the form of cats.
1958 film stars Kim Novak, James Stewart, Jack Lemmon, Hermione Gingold, Ernie Kovacs

One addition I've had: Deception, a 1946 film with Bette Davis & Claude Rains playing composer Alexander Hollenius. Hollenius has a Siamese cat.

Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 animated Disney film
Singer Peggy Lee provided the voices of Siamese cats, Si and Am as well as those for characters, Peg and Darling
The famous Siamese Cat Song is from this movie as is a very romantic idea for eating spaghetti with your sweetheart


Skippyjohn Jones is a current favorite book series for the kids in our neighborhood. 

Our Siamese (and our Tonkinese) are loved partly because the kids are familiar with this book, and with Sagwa. 

"This frisky cat dons a mask and cape and takes on a bad bumble-beeto to save the day"  

A classic is The Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot (Edward Gorey illustrations). The musical Cats is based on this book.

Siamese cats are best remembered in Growltiger's Last Stand.

"But most to Cats of foreign race his hatred had been vowed;
To Cats of foreign name and race no quarter was allowed.
The Persian and the Siamese regarded him with fear -
Because it was a Siamese had mauled his missing ear. …"

The Cat Who.... Mystery series by Lilian Jackson Braun
The main characters who inhabit all of the books consist of one human being and two Siamese cats. The cats help solve mysteries.
James Mackintosh Qwilleran, (Qwill to his friends) and his two Siamese Cats.
"Kao K’o-Kung" is the full name of the Siamese cat who is almost always referred to as "Koko". He is named after a 13th-century Chinese artist of the same name, also known as Gao Kegong.

Yum Yum: Qwilleran adopted her partially because he could not stand her circumstances (explained in The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern) and partially because, after consulting an expert, Qwilleran realized Koko needed someone to keep him company. Yum-Yum is named after a character in the opera The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan who is also the ward of a man named Ko-Ko.
-- information and short excerpts from Wikipedia

In the book Harpo Speaks! (a very good 1961 memoir by Harpo Marx, written with Rowland Barber), Marx chronicles his life. In his adult years, he mentions the animals he has at his home.

One family photo has the caption: "El Rancho Harpo 1960. The Marxes (From Jimmy left, to Alex, right) and their livestock: three head of horses,two head of dogs, one head of Siamese cat.and the world is mine."

Later in the book he says he has Siamese Cats, plural. You can't stop at just one.

Harpo lists the house rules he had for his children. The final line, "Anybody who mistreats a pet or breaks a pool cue is docked a month's pay."

Siamese Cats in the White House:
While not the only type of cats to be pets of first families, there have been more Siamese Cats living at the White House than any other breed.

President Rutherford B. Hayes is said to have had the first Siamese Cat in the United States, named Siam. He had another Siamese cat, Miss Pussy. Hayes was president 1877-1881. In 1878, the president Siam as a gift from the American Consul in Bangkok.

Susan Ford, daughter of President Gerald Ford, had a Siamese cat named Shan.

Jimmy Carter's daughter, Amy had a Siamese, Misty Malarky Ying Yang.

Siamese cats appear in the Psycho Kitties series of short films 

Related Pages of Interest:

Sapphires, Gem Symbolism Old Hollywood Carole Lombard Joan Crawford Mae West

James Mason, Gracie Allen, The Cats, a chair and a whip: Did you see The Seventh Veil?

13 Stars with 13 Black Cats: Black Cats Brought Celebrities Good Luck

What other Siamese cats have you seen on TV or in movies, etc??

Thanks to Wikipedia and the above mentioned books for some information

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