Original Air Date: September 18, 1992
Starring: Bob Newhart, Carlene Watkins, John Cygan
Directed by: Andrew D. Weyman
Cat Out of the Bag Alert! This review contains spoilers for this episode!
Synopsis: The pilot episode of this series finds artist Bob McKay (Newhart) being asked to revive his comic book character Mad Dog but with some drastic changes he just can’t accept.
Featured Feline: The McKay’s own a cat named Otto who is featured throughout the series. In this first episode, Otto is seen sitting on the couch in the background as Bob is working at his drawing board.
The man who wanted to make so many drastic changes to Mad Dog, Harlan Stone (John Cygan) shows up to try to talk Bob into bringing Mad Dog back. Harlan talks about how no one likes him because he is insensitive as he sits on the couch. “You’re sitting on our cat,” Bob points out.
Harlan goes on to plead for Mad Dog’s return, petting Otto as he talks.
After getting up and walking around, telling the story of how Mad Dog influenced his life, Harlan sits back down on the couch, dejected. “Nothing really matters,” he sighs. “Nothing.” He looks down at Otto, who is looking at him, and repeats, “Nothing!” Otto looks straight ahead as the audience laughs at the cat’s perfect reaction.
Harlan continues to sit on the couch petting Otto until Bob agrees to revive Mad Dog.
In the closing credits of the show, Otto is seen running across Bob’s drawing desk, leaving smeared paw prints in paint behind.
The cat playing Otto was not credited in the series, however in an Amazon review of the DVD a fan of the show named George shared some information he obtained while participating in a bulletin board for the series while it aired. Having befriended Bob Newhart, who also followed the boards, George mentioned that Bob noticed how much everyone was talking about the cat named Otto on the series. George thought the cat actor’s name may have been Samantha. The fan comments encouraged those working on the series to include more interactions with the cat. Bob said that no matter what they came up with for the cat actor to do, Samantha would do it.
Final Mewsings: Television cartoonists always seem to own cats.
Many thanks to Stevie Holcomb for letting us know about Otto in this series!