Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Firestar Would Like This Game

Here's an odd sort of game. It was used on the old 1934 Laurel and Hardy movie, "March of the Wooden Soldiers (Babes in Toyland)". Laurel, playing Stannie Dum calls the tapered wood a "peewee" and demonstrates to Hardy, playing Ollie Dee. Of course, Ollie Dee is totally incapable of doing it.

Wonder how the game got its name. Nothing about it looks like a cat. Cats don't behave like this. Maybe, when whoever started it began doing it, they had a cat which would try to chase down the tapered piece of wood and would get all tangled up trying to catch it. Firestar has done that when Son tosses stuffed cat toys across the room. He kind of "tips" in his effort to catch the things while they're still in the air.


Tip cat, also called ONE-A-CAT, is an outdoor game dating back at least to the 17th Century. It was introduced to North America and elsewhere by English colonists. The game was widely popular in 19th-century Great Britain and in early 20th-century North America.

Although there are many varieties of the game, all involve a stick about 3 ft (1 m) long used as a bat, and a piece of wood (the cat) about 4 in. (10 cm) long, 1 to 2 in. (2.5 to 5 cm) thick, and tapered at the ends.

The cat is placed on the ground, struck at one end to propel it upward (tipping the cat), and then slammed with the stick as far as possible. In one version, the batter tries to round the bases, as in baseball, before the fielder retrieves the cat and throws it back to home base.

If a batter misses the cat three times or if a fielder catches it on a fly, the batter is out. Earlier versions of the game are based on guessing the distance that the cat is hit, scoring points according to the number that comes up on a four-sided cat, and running from base to base on a large circle while the cat is being retrieved. Some authorities consider tip-cat a forerunner of baseball and cricket.


Lisa said...

what a terrible sick sounding game, couldn't they have called the wood peg, a peg or any other non animal name!
rather than making meow for comment, it should be 'growl'.

Bevie said...

In the Laurel and Hardy movie it isn't called "Tip Cat". It's called "PeeWees", which makes more sense. The game has nothing to do with cats apart from the name.

I don't understand how it got its name. There doesn't appear to be anything to do with cats at all. That, at least is something. I found some other games which I didn't choose to post because it turns out games using real cats tend to be games I wouldn't want posted here.

It turns out cats had it pretty rough in the 1700 and 1800s.

What a roller coaster ride they've had through history. The Egyptians worshipped them. Medieval Europe associated them with the devil. Now western society is starting to treat them well again. (Not everyone though.)

Firestar said...

Catching things that fly through the air is fun - if it's the cat's idea.

Humans naming silly, purposeless games after cats is just plain wrong. Whoever did it certainly did not have a cat to correct the behavior.

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“Oh, yeah? And isn’t it you, my dear stripy sister Aliera, who keeps pushing the FEED button on the printer and waiting for tuna to come out?”

“That was when I was much younger. Anyway, she’s at the computer—yes, eating tuna casserole—so we can go into the bedroom and see if we can knock the window screen out.”
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“Sethra, have you no sense of adventure? No curiosity? No cattitude? We were meant to live wild and free, to stalk and slay our prey, to be mistresses of the night!”

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“Did I mention she’s got tuna?”

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Firestar is a tough cat. He has to be, living in Minnesota. He takes care of his family: wife, husband and their son. This was recently proven by his daring capture of yet another mouse in the house. Foolish rodents. They never learn. When not engaged in derring do, Firestar naps, looks out the window and sleeps. Firestar was born in April of 2006.