"How The Pussy Learned To Sing"

    [Tom McFaul, composer of the "Meow Mix" jingle was kind enough
     to share with us the story of how this jingle was conceived,
     and answered the question if anyone was credited with having
     written "the lyrics?" -- Meow, meow, meow, meow...etc.]

The idea for the Meow Mix singing cat came from Ron Travisano. Ron was an art director/partner at Della Femina/Travisano & Partners, the agency that had the Ralston Purina account in those days. Ron had a few feet of film--outakes of the "talking head" cat. He looped the footage, front to back, back to front, middle to front, middle to back, etc., with his editor, Jay Gold, to get 30 seconds out of it. Then he called and asked me to come over and look at the footage.

He asked if I could make the cat sing. I said, sure. Took the film back over to my place. Racked it up on the movieola (it was that long ago). and made a special click track to follow the "tempo" of the cat's mouth movements. A regular click track wouldn't work because of irregularities in the cats mouth movements, so I made a special click by banging a pencil on the movieola in time with the cat.

When I got the synch right, I wrote the little tune to fit the cat. Ron then got the idea to put the "lyrics" under the talking head, and then added the bouncing ball. So I guess you ought to credit Ron Travisano as "lyricist."

Tom McFaul (in correspondence 4/1/2002)

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