- 1996) producers:
Cosgrove Hall Films animation: 2D animation episodes: 26 x 22mins
year was 1699. High in Castle Fantom, two sworn
enemies engaged in mortal combat. But
for one valiant
hero, the fight would end in a cruel
twist of fate..."
In 1699 whilst doing battle with the evil
Baron Von Skelter, the Duke de Fantom
was magically imprisoned in a painting hanging
in Fantom Castle. Three hundred
years later a thriving metropolis - Metro City
- has sprung up around the ruined
castle. And on the dawn of this new millenium we join
a feisty feline detective,
Tabitha Wildcat, and her associates MacDuff mouse
and Lindbergh pigeon who
are on the trail of Metro City's meanest gangster,
an arachnid called Marmagora described as "a black widow spider
many manytimes over!" Tabs and her friends
take a wrong turn into the castle and inadvertently
release The Duke de Fantom
from captivity. This strange masked hero is a fish-out-of-water, a
courtesan with a penchant for the ladies and a
deft hand with a blade, though
as we soon learn, he holds no knowledge of
such modern jiggery-pokery
as microwaves and television sets...
When pressed by the three detectives, The
Duke reveals his past in more detail: "I
was the last of my family. He was Baron Hugo Von Skelter,
madman, twisted by devilish experiments
in alchemy, set upon
the path of evil, determined to rule
the world. Victory for him
would mean that the last person to
oppose him had gone!..."
So what devilish device did Von Skelter use
to imprison The Duke? "The
Crystal Of Malevolance, a stone so powerful that it could
Right you are, then. But the burning question
is what was he after?
"Von Skelter wanted from
me the Ring Of The Phantoms, a
ring one thousand years
old whose powers had helped my
family oppose evil down the ages..."
Cheeky MacDuff sums up his past in one line: "You
were frozen in there like Han Solo in Star Wars!"
Free once more, The Duke joins our modern
trio in their battle against Marmagora
and her cronies who have used the very same
crystal of malevolance to bring
Von Skelter forward in time and finish the
fight. By the end of the first episode
our Duke has finally defeated the Baron
and retrieved not only his magic ring,
but also his sword called Touche which flies
to his hand when called, and has
been with him all of his nine lives. And when The
Duke reveals his full perfumed
name to be 'Phillipe L'Entrique Elan de Chanel,
Count Givenchy Duke of Fantom'
MacDuff rechristens him Fantomcat, or FC for
short. Although the Baron may
have been felled, Marmagora is still hanging around
and the battle will continue
another day - or indeed, for 26 episodes...
Fantomcat is, of course, a take on those beloved
saturday morning serials
with our titular star combining elements of
Errol Flynn, Zorro and even French
anti-hero Fantomas. The animation for the
show was actually produced on the
continent by Alfonso Productions of Spain.
There's some welcome wit and
repartee here, but the production is perhaps not
quite as nimble, nor as sharp
as it might have been. Still, it tickles your
toon buds at times...
Fantomcat's cloak is also magic and can render him invisible
McDuff speaks with
a broad scouse accent. His real name is Claude and
and he once had a girlfriend
called Leandra. Apparently he doesn't like holes,
because they give him the
speaks only in a manic gobbledigook of Pidgin English,
similiar indeed to Clunk
in those Hannah Barbera Dick Dastardly toons.
Lindbergh supposedly can't
stand heights and hates flying...
assistant bug is a fauning over-eager fly called Vile...
two Marmagora hires The Monk, a praying mantis who can
disguise himself like a
plant and is said to be the world's most patient hitman....
And in that
same episode we see MacDuff on a research mission, leafing
through a tome entitled
The World's Hitmen, Volume 1 in which we see
caricature photos of Jeremy
'The Axeman' Paxman and a bulldog called
Jolly Jack Prescott - the former
being a spoof of the famous BBC presenter,
and the latter of course referring
to the infamous Labour MP John Prescott...
a Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall film
produced and directed by Ben Turner
Stennett, Jimmy Hibbert, Keith Smith music: Phil
Bush design: Andy
Roper, John Doyle, Mike Whaite,
Riley, Michael Rose, Leslie Eaves,
Millington, Mike Whaite storyboard: Keith
Scoble col design: Joan
Jones anim director: Carlos Alfonso
(Alfonso Productions) prod man: Julio
Diez (Alfonso Productions) prod co-ord: Julia
Cosgrove prod asst: Amanda
Hussain anim co-ord: Roy Huckerby digital
sound ed: Simon
Hall, Darren Cox dub mixer: John
Wood editing: FLIX
King (Tabs / Marmagora)