Banjo the Woodpile Cat is a 1979 Classicaly Animated 27-Minute Short Film directed by Don Bluth and the short film itself follows the story of Banjo, an overly curious and rebellious kitten who, after getting into trouble for falling from a chicken coop to see if he could land on his feet, runs away from his woodpile home in his owners' farm in Payson, Utah by hitching a ride on the Chipman feed truck to Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Short Film took four years (from 1975 to 1979) to produce inside a backyard garage at Don Bluth's former home in Ventura, California (before Don currently runs "Don Bluth Films" and lives at his current home in Scottsdale, Arizona) and it was Sullivan Bluth Studios's debut film. It had a short theatrical run in November 1979 (Appearing as a short in front of "The Muppet Movie" (Currently Owned by Walt Disney Pictures after Jim Henson signed Disney's Contract to have his self-named company owned by The Walt Disney Company since 1988) theaters showing the film for a holiday re-release in the Los Angeles area.), tested in 1980 as a TV short on Home Box Office then reached network television on Several "ABC-TV" Stations across The United States of America in 1982. (Same Year when Don Bluth's 1st Animated Independent Feature Film after leaving Walt Disney Productions in September 1978, titled "The Secret of NIMH", with distribution gauranteed by MGM/UA Communications Inc.)
In a woodpile in Payson, Utah, A kitten named Banjo decides to chase chickens around. His sisters, Emily and Jean, tell their parents and Banjo's father soon stops him and makes him promise not to do it again. But Banjo continues to be mischievous in many ways. After getting in trouble for jumping off the roof of a chicken coop, Banjo decides to run away from home and hitches a ride on a feed truck to Salt Lake City.
In the city, Banjo finds plenty of excitement, followed by a series of danger. When it begins to rain, he finds shelter in a small can in an alley while thinking about his family and how he misses them. Later, a cat named Crazy Legs discovers the lost kitten in the can. They strike up a friendship when Crazy tells Banjo that he can go back the same way he got here. During their search, Crazy and Banjo come to a night club that Crazy is familiar with. Inside, the leader of a singing cat trio, Zazu comes over to Crazy and meets Banjo. When asked if he misses his family, the kitten becomes depressed again. To cheer him up, Crazy and the girls break into a musical number and Banjo joins in. Afterwards, Crazy asks all the cats to look for the truck. Later that night, while searching for the truck, Banjo and Crazy run into a group of dogs who end up chasing them. After a lengthy chase, the pair escape and drive the dogs away by climbing up a series of boxes. The pair arrives at the singing cats' home and get some rest.
The next morning, Banjo wakes up and hears the driver of the truck out in the street. After some rejoice and many goodbyes, Banjo is sad to leave his new found friends. However, Crazy manages to get Banjo on board, before it leaves without him and he gives his final farewell. When the truck arrives home, Banjo leaps off it and reunites with his family.
This film was started as a side project, while Don Bluth was still working at Disney. He invited several other young animators to his house on nights and weekends to discover secrets of animation that he felt had been lost at Disney. Eventually he resigned from Disney, along with 17 other animators, to finish this film and begin The Secret of NIMH. That bold walk-out caused a delay in the release of Disney's The Fox and the Hound that was in mid-production at the time.
- SPARKY MARCUS as Banjo the Woodpile Cat
- KEN SAMSON as Papa Cat (Banjo's Father)
- SCATMAN CROTHERS as Crazy Legs
- BEAH RICHARDS as Zazu (The Leader of The Cat Sisters (Her 2 Sisters are Cleo and Marina))
- Director: DON BLUTH
- Producers: DON BLUTH with JOHN POMEROY and GARY GOLDMAN
- Writers: DON and TOBY BLUTH (Both Uncredited)
- Assitant Director: JEFFREY C. PATCH (Uncredited)
- Character Animation: DON BLUTH (Credited) and JOHN POMEROY (Credited) and GARY GOLDMAN (Credited), PHIL NIBBELINK (Uncredited) and SKIP JONES (Credited as an Assistant Animator)
- Additional Animators and Assistant Animators: LORNA COOK-POMEROY and HEIDI GUEDEL, LINDA MILLER and EMILY JUILIANO, DAVE SPAFFORD and SALLY VOORHEIS, DIANN LANDAU and VERA PACHECO (Credited as VERA LAW)
- Xerographic Process Operator: JOHN EDDINGS (Uncredited)
- Xerox Checker and Cel Inker: DARYL CARTENSEN (Uncredited)
- Assistant Xerox Checker and Assistant Cel Inker: JOHN POMEROY (Uncredited)
- Cel Painter: TINA PRICE (Uncredited) - NOTE: The Other Cel Painters are Listed in the "Special Thanks To..." Section of the Credits)
- Animation Camera Operator: ROB MAINE (Uncredited)
- Packaging Agent: STEPHEN L. PINKS (Uncredited)
- Music Conductor and Arrangement: ROBERT F. BRUNNER
- Orchestra Manager: MICHAEL DVORAK
- Additional Orchestrator: ROBERT HAMMACK (Credited as BOBBY HAMMACK)
- Film Editing: SAM HORTA
- Sound: RYDER SOUND SERVICES
- Special Thanks To: DAN MOLINA and NANCY BARNES, JOAN BARNES and DAVID MOLINA, (Credited as DAVE MOLINA) JANET BRUCE and WILL FINN, JOE JUILIANO, DAN KUENSTER and CINDY FINN, (Credited as CINDY CHILKO) SUE EVANS and JEFFRY C. PATCH, (Credited as JEFFRY PATCH) DAVE SMITH and JULIE SPAFFORD, SHIRLEY SPAFFORD and DAVID PETTIJOHN, (Credited as DAVE PETTIJOHN) CHARLES G. WILSON and ANN NEALE, (Credited as ANNE NEALE) OLGA TARIN-CRAIG (Credited as OLGA CRAIG) and JAMES MacDONALD, CHUCK WARREN and EDNA HARTLING, SARAH-JANE KING (Credited as SARAH KING) and MEL GRIFFIN, MARY BURNEY and CARMEN OLIVER, MIRIAM C. McKINNEY and CAROLINE PFOUTS, CARALYN WARREN and ELLEN DAVIS, CATHY DREYFUS and JERI VAN OSTEN
- Animation Camera Stand Engineering: FAX-RICHARDSON ANIMATION COMPANY INC. (Uncredited)
- Classical Animation Equipment Suppliers: FAX-RICHARDSON ANIMATION COMPANY INC., (Uncredited) CARTOON COLOUR COMPANY INC. (Uncredited) and ART COLOR PRODUCTS (Uncredited)
- Film Editing Equipment Suppliers: MOVIOLA INC. (Uncredited)
- Produced by DON BLUTH PRODUCTIONS INC.
- Color by TECHNICOLOR
- Prints by DE LUXE (Uncredited)
- Produced on EASTMAN KODAK MOTION PICTURE FILM (Uncredited)
- Main article: Tom and Jerry: Banjo the Woodpile Cat
Tom and Jerry: Banjo the Woodpile Cat is a 80-minute remake of a short film.