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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
The Therapeutic Cat
Plot:
A desperately lonely aged man adopts a cat to keep him company who proves to be extraordinarily companionable. But her qualities might have other intrinsic sources than simple feline nature as she is revealed to be a witch.
Episode:
0736
Air Dates:
First Run - November 7, 1977
Repeat - April 5, 1978
Writer:
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Rating:
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8 Responses to Episode 0736


Any of ya'll ever used to read the "Peanuts" comic strip back around the late 60s - early 70s? Remember the little girl named "Frieda" who was quite proud of her "naturally curly hair"? Remember her cat named "Faron" (the cartoonist Charles Schulz said he named the cat after country & western singer Faron Young) that was, say, quite "flexible", and that she used to carry (or rather, wear) around her neck like a mink stole? Well, in this (IMO delightful) episode, Fred Gwynne plays a wealthy retired widower who's quite lonely, but not looking for feminine companionship at this time. His son, played by Paul Hecht, seems to underestimate how lonely his father is, but recommends to his father that he get a cat to keep him company. He tells his Dad that studying the cat will show him how to relax. Gwynne's character scoffs at the notion at first, but as he finds himself ever more isolated finally gives in and gets a cat from his housekeeper's daughter, who picks up abandoned cats. So he relents and gives in, getting a piebald cat like the one above. Within a week after getting the cat he starts studying its every move, getting ever more comfortable to having it in his life. In fact, he gets so comfortable that his son is unnerved in a subsequent visit when he sees his Dad walking around with the cat draped over his shoulders, "Frieda-style". BTW, there's more to that cat than meets the eye...

I really enjoyed this one! I was very surprised to find that the cat was in fact, a Witch. It was a great example of a seducing Witch out for financial gain, becoming seduced her self by the seducee. I think the mother ( the White Witch) should have known that getting a cat from the Black Witch daughter, would spell trouble in her efforts to become a possible new wife to her Boss, Mr. Joyce. I think that Mr. Henry Joyce might want to reconsider getting another cat. It was not the the cat he was in love with, but really the Witch. Anyway, this was in my opinion, one of the" Great Ones."

I hadn't listened to this one in over a year...then when I recently revisited it I was surprised to find out how much I enjoyed it. A few thoughts: 1. From a moral standpoint, I don't like witches, or the thought of a "white witch" (they exist in fairy tales but not necessarily in real life) wanting to become a "gray witch". (Reminds me of the supposedly pure Olivia Newton-John character becoming a leather-clad slut at the end of "Grease" to attract her John Travolta...speaking of the RMT era.) But it makes for an interesting story. 2. I LOOOOVE the jazzy outro (used in several RMTs like "Return of the Moresbys" and "Transmutations, Inc.") at the end of the first act, when Gwynne's character finally decides to get a cat. 3. One of my favorite all-time Fred Gwynne performances. May be my favorite in the RMT. 4. Speaking of black and white...the cat Gwynne got in "The therapeutic cat" was a piebald, like "Sadie" pictured below:

I also forgot to say this is an Elspeth Eric play...I add it to "A horror story" and "Star Sapphire" for my favorite works of hers.

This was an episode that I'd listened to a long while ago. I wasn't a fan of it then, and admittedly, I'm still not a fan of this one. While I find it to be one of Fred Gwynne's finer performances, the story itself just never grabbed me. I think it is in part the RMT's fault... whenever they decide to feature a cat in an episode, the cat always sounds silly. Maybe unnatural is a better word. That could work, I suppose, but I find it grating. Kind of like Mercedes McCambridge in Stephanie's Room when she puts on a "little girl" voice... her voice was just not convincing; the cat in this episode was distacting for me. Also, the idea that two witches would fight over a man is just a bit odd. I mean, women who are serious in the art in the craft are typically quite independent as well as self-sufficient, and do not regard men as terribly necessary. So, for them to "fight" over a man seemed a bit of a stretch. I should add that I'm highly allergic to cats, so as soon as I began listening, my eyes got red and I began sneezing. inkietoo: Not a bad show, but just not one of my personal favorites. I gave it a 4.0, as it was well performed (except that cat!) and produced. A good choice for show! Thank you!!!!

we've talked about RMT "cats" here before. (You'd think that since it was their logo, they'd have gone out of their way to impersonate a good one.) The best cat I've heard on this program was in one of the very first episodes: "The return of the Moresbys". Reason being? They apparently used the sound effect of a real one. (Good thing they did, as I'm sure those of you who've heard the episode would agree. And it was only used once, but most effectively.)

I agree, Ang... Gwynne's technique of delivery is unique and not heard often, especially today. I studied voice-over for a while, and my favorite teacher, Will LeBow, most popular for a character on the cable show Dr. Katz, taught us the same technique. He called it "believable stumbling" or something to that effect, and it is normal to speak this way... so much so, that the listener often identifies more with the character without being aware. Another thing he taught us was to use our arms and hands when we speak. The vocal delivery can be climaxed, balanced, and completely controlled by using one's body to push the presence of the voice. Point is, I can just imagine the studio full of RMT players all waving their arms and hands about while performing some of these roles. They must have had an absolute BLAST!

This one interested me at the beginning because I have the winter blahs, or "something" (as Henry puts it). Well, I don't have a cat, but my dog is pretty theraputic. I liked the little string/harp music with the cat observations and I am enjoying the Fred Gwynne 'marathon'. A little trivia I saw on one website: he appeared in 79 episodes of RMT. He has such a familiar and interesting voice. I like the way he stutters and pauses...so much character. He is one of my favorites! I was surprised that mother Bingham didn't catch on to the cat - her being a witch and Denise being her daughter?? I also don't care for the cat sound effects (in any episodes - there have been worse). I can do a much better one...drives my dog nutty!

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