Banjo the Woodpile Cat (1979)

Banjo the Woodpile Cat poster

Don Bluth Productions
 Scatman Crothers, Beah Richards, Sparky Marcus
Directed by: Don Bluth

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: A mischievous farm kitten named Banjo (voiced by Sparky Marcus) continually gets into trouble at home.  He decides to hitch a ride on a feed truck to the big city but finds he misses his family.  Fortunately he’s found by a street wise cat named Crazy Legs (Scatman Crothers) who promises to help him find his way home.

Cartoon Cats: This short film from director Don Bluth was a labor of love created as a side project when Bluth was still working at Disney.  The original story of Banjo was almost expanded to feature length but remained a short film, eventually airing as a television special.

Banjo the Woodpile Cat - Banjo kitten looking sad

The film follows the adventures of Banjo, a kitten born in a woodpile on a small farm in Utah.  He continually gets into trouble until finally, after coercing his sisters to jump off the roof of the barn with him, his father decides he must be punished.

Banjo the Woodpile Cat - Banjo kitten with sisters on top of barn

Banjo decides to run away and sees a feed truck which is leaving for Salt Lake City.  He sneaks aboard the truck and finds himself in the big city.  At first it’s one big adventure but soon enough city life proves to be scary and difficult.  Banjo wishes he hadn’t left home.

Banjo the Woodpile Cat - Banjo kitten inside can on rainy night

Fortunately Banjo is found by Crazy Legs who takes the young kitten under his wing.

Banjo the Woodpile Cat - Banjo kitten with Crazy Legs cat

Crazy Legs takes Banjo to a club where The Cat Sisters are performing.  He introduces Banjo to the girls, including lead singer Zasu (Beah Richards).

Banjo the Woodpile Cat - Banjo kitten with Zasu cat

Crazy Legs asks the audience to be on the lookout for the feed truck.  And of course there’s time for a musical number!

Banjo the Woodpile Cat - Banjo kitten with Crazy Legs cat in musical number

Later, Crazy Legs and Banjo are searching the city for the truck when they are confronted and chased by a pack of vicious dogs.  They barely escape.

Banjo the Woodpile Cat - Banjo kitten beneath mean dog

When it seems like they’ll never find the truck, it shows up outside their loft the next morning!  Banjo bids a sad farewell to his friends.

Banjo the Woodpile Cat - Banjo kitten saying goodbye to Crazy Legs cat

At last Banjo returns home, much to the relief of his family.

Banjo the Woodpile Cat - Banjo kitten reunites with family

Final Mewsings: Even for cats there’s no place like home.

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