24 December 1970: The Aristocats

Anna and Ben divert somewhat from the traditional format of the podcast and after comparing The Aristocats to its canine antecedents and pondering feline genetic— and financial! — inheritance, they get lost in the weeds of discussing Disney’s influence on and responsibility to popular culture. So much so that after the quiz on “catnappings”, there was no time left for their five favourite moments!

Sources and References

“The Aristocats” entry in Wikipedia was invaluable in terms of tracking down contemporary reviews. Links to write-ups from the New York Times, Roger Ebert, and the absurdly glowing accolade from Time magazine had all been previous collated there before Ben quoted them in the opening.

Mark Kermode’s declaration that Ice Age 2 was “the death of narrative cinema” is recorded on the wiki devoted to the Kermode and Mayo Film Programme‘s fandom, known as “Wittertainment“.

Articles on cat genetics, specifically with regard to white cat coloration, came from skimming a bevy of sources, most of which Ben probably didn’t understand correctly.

Perspective on the Disney corporation’s reliance on exploitation and built-in marketing came primarily from reading the afterword to Michael Barrier’s 1999 volume Hollywood Cartoons. Much like Wikipedia, searching for newspaper articles in Google Books reprints provided a wealth of details on the technical data on the film that was released as a press notice about the film’s prowess, as well as the comments about the ballooning budgets that Reitherman was able to stay under. Additionally, there were many versions of the canned article that was populated through wire services with varying headlines (most commenting on Walt’s absence with greater or lesser pessimism), as well as reviews from the 1987 re-release and the 1996 video release.

The quiz questions came from the following articles:
+ A 1950 New York Times article about a legal battle over stolen cats and their subsequent kittens.
+ A 1982 Times article about a cat leading police to a robbery suspect.
+ A 2020 Guardian article about cats detracting from domestic harmony featured details about retired Detective Inspector Colin Butcher, and his views on “cat ladies” and pet seductions.
+ The 1968 New York Times article about “the richest cat in Chicago” and his inheritance, the original 1950 details of which just may have been part of the inspiration for the original 1963 screenplay.

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