Josie and the Pussycats (formatted as Josie and the Pussy Cats in the opening titles) is an American animated television series, based upon the Archie Comics comic book series of the same name created by Dan DeCarlo. Produced for Saturday morning television by Hanna-Barbera Productions, sixteen episodes of Josie and the Pussycats aired on CBS during the 1970–71 television season, and were rerun during the 1971–72 season. In 1972, the show was re-conceptualized as Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, sixteen episodes of which aired on CBS during the 1972–73 season and were rerun the following season. Reruns of the original series alternated between CBS, ABC, and NBC from 1974 through 1976. This brought its national Saturday morning TV run on three networks to six years.
Josie and the Pussycats featured an all-girl pop music band that toured the world with their entourage, getting mixed up in strange adventures, spy capers, and mysteries. On the small-screen, the group consisted of level-headed lead singer and guitarist Josie, intelligent tambourinist Valerie, and air-headed blonde drummer Melody. Other characters included their cowardly manager Alexander Cabot III, his conniving sister Alexandra, her cat Sebastian, and muscular roadie Alan.
The show, more similar to Hanna-Barbera's successful Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! than the original Josie comic book, is famous for its music, the girls' leopard print leotards (replete with "long tails and ears for hats," as the theme song states), and for featuring Valerie as the first regularly appearing female black character in a Saturday morning cartoon show. Each episode featured a Josie and the Pussycats song played over a chase scene, which, in a similar fashion to The Monkees, featured the group running after and from a selection of haplessly villainous characters.
The series aired on Boomerang from the channel's launch on April 1, 2000 until June 1, 2014.
Every episode of the show would find the Pussycats and crew en route to perform a gig or record a song in some exotic location. Somehow, often due to something Alexandra did, they would accidentally find themselves mixed up in an adventure/mystery. The antagonist was always a diabolical mad scientist, spy, or criminal who wanted to take over the world using some hi-tech device. The Pussycats would usually find themselves in possession of the plans for an invention, an item of interest to the villains, a secret spy message, etc., and the villains would give chase. Eventually, the Pussycats would formulate a plan to destroy the villain's plans and bring them to justice, which result in a final chase sequence set to a Pussycats song.
The Pussycats would succeed in capturing the villain and get back to their gig/recording session/etc. The final gag always centered around one of Alexandra's attempts to interfere with/put an end to The Pussycats' performance and/or steal Alan away from Josie, which would always backfire on her.
The animated version of Josie was an amalgam of plot devices, villain types, settings, moods, and tones from other Hanna-Barbera shows such as Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, and Shazzan.
Like Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, Josie and the Pussycats was originally broadcast with a laugh track. Later home video and DVD releases omit the laugh track. Cartoon Network and Boomerang, however, have aired the original episodes with the laugh track intact.