That Darn Cat! (1965)

That Darn Cat DVD

Walt Disney Productions
 Hayley Mills, Dean Jones, Dorothy Provine, Roddy McDowell
Also Starring: Syn
Directed by: Robert Stevenson

Synopsis: A bank teller (Grayson Hall) is kidnapped after a robbery and held hostage by the crooks (Neville Brand and Frank Gorshin.)  She manages to slip her watch on the neck of D.C., a wandering neighborhood feline.  When the cat’s owner, teenager Patti Randall (Hayley Mills) discovers the watch she immediately deduces that it belongs to the kidnapped woman and contacts FBI man Zeke Kelso (Dean Jones) and tries to convince him that her theory is correct.

Cinema Cat: D.C. (which stands for Darn Cat, although Patti explains her father used harsher terms) is a Siamese with an attitude and a propensity to roam.

That Darn Cat DC Syn

The film focuses on his escapades, or rather everyone’s attempts to keep up with his wanderings and adventures.  D.C. has a tendency to get into anything and everything; taunting a neighbor’s dog, flirting with another neighbor’s beautiful long-haired cat, stealing chickens, etc.  The character of Kelso has his troubles with D.C. which are only exacerbated by the fact he happens to be allergic to cats.

That Darn Cat DC hiss

D.C. was played by cat actor Syn along with a number of backup cat actors, which is customary for cat roles.  Syn had previously starred in the Disney film The Incredible Journey as Tao.  As trainer Bill Koehler explained in a press interview for the film, Syn Cat was born in Ontario, California and sadly dumped in a pound at the age of two by owners who did not care for his standoffishness.  Koehler picked him up for five dollars and trained him to act.  Syn reportedly took to acting quickly, and his keen hearing proved to be an asset as he would react to a bell tone up to 500 feet away, especially when a tidbit was offered.

That Darn Cat DC Syn meow

Syn won the role in Journey and instead of taking TV and commercial roles he held out for another starring Disney role.  When he wasn’t acting, Syn’s hobbies reportedly included closed-claw horseback riding, perpendicular tree trunk walking, refrigerator and back porch poaching, fence hopping, garbage inspection, hide-and-seek, alley ball and neighborhood touring.  Apparently his role in this film was purr-fect casting!

That Darn Cat DC Syn on bed

Final Mewsings: You don’t follow cats . . . cats follow you!

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