The Catillac Cats

The Catillac Cats

"The Catillac Cats" (also called "Cats & Company") was the name of an animated series made in 1984 by DiC. The Catillac Cats formed the second half of each episode of the animated series "Heathcliff".

Main characters

The Gang

The segment starred a group of cats who lived in a junkyard. The group was headed by Riff-Raff, a short, tough, streetwise alley cat whose main residence was one-half of an old transport plane which stood precariously at the top of a pile of junk overlooking the yard.

The other cats in the group were Hector, Wordsworth, and Mungo. Hector, a brown Himalayan cat, was sometimes depicted as feeling that he should be the head of the group, and did become so on some occasions, such as the episode "Hector's Takeover". Riff-Raff and Hector's conflicts formed the basis of a number of episodes.

Wordsworth, named after poet William Wordsworth, was a white cat who wore roller skates, headphones, and goggles, and mostly spoke in rhyme. Within the show, his full name is given as Wordsworth W. Wordsworth III.

Mungo was a big, dim-witted and strong purple cat.

Most episodes revolved around Riff-Raff's "get rich quick" schemes or searches for food.

Cleo

Riff-Raff had a girlfriend named Cleo who did not live in the junkyard, but in a music store. The music store was constantly guarded by a sheepdog named Bush who had long hair and could not see where he was going. A running gag involved Riff-Raff entering the store, then Bush attempting to chase Riff-Raff out and breaking a musical instrument in the process (although in some cases, Riff-Raff causes the damage). In the flashback episode "Christmas Memories", it was revealed that Cleo is in fact one of the Catillac Cats herself, even coining the name, and not simply a household pet who happens to be Riff-Raff's girlfriend. [cite web|url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=WvToQDm-iVs|title="Christmas Memories" YouTube url|accessdate=2007-09-25] On more than one occasion, Riff-Raff ends up 'two-timing' Cleo with another female cat (accidental or otherwise). In fact, Riff-Raff agreed in one episode to 'go steady' with Cleo, but immediately falls for another cat named Roxy. As expected, Cleo was furious and soon gets payback by teaching him a lesson. [cite web|url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbIbsy8LOr4|title="Kitten Around" YouTube url|accessdate=2007-12-02] Strangely enough, they both end up together again in the next episode.

Leroy

Another dog character was Leroy who also lived in the junkyard. He and the Catillac Cats have a (friend/enemy) relationship. Leroy often tried to chase them out, to no avail, though other times he was cast in the light of an ally to them, helping them chase out other outsiders. In the Christmas episode, it was revealed that Leroy is part of a gang who was put in charge of guarding the junkyard.

The red and white Cadillac

The group named itself the Catillac Cats after the red and white Cadillac that featured prominently in their adventures. Hector, Mungo, and Wordsworth were shown to live in the car in the junkyard, while Riff-Raff had a more palatial home made out of a portion of a passenger jumbo jet. The Cadillac itself had the ability to transform into an airboat and a camper. How it gained these abilities is never explained, and it was not seen to transform in the flashback episode in which the Cats acquired it. The camper possesses some additional parts, including a stove chimney and a TV antenna. When the car is shown transforming atop its customary mountain of trash, the extra parts are somewhat consistently shown to be shifted to stationary positions at the top of the junk pile (the chimney is even left attached to a small wood-burning stove always seen in the pile just below the car/camper). When the camper form is mobile, however, the parts simply vanish inside along with the other odtities of its transformation. In one episode, its car form was modified into a submarine. Despite usually being depicted with no tires, the Cadillac was also shown to be very fast (perhaps being the fastest car in the city). Its hood ornament was a silver trophy cup, and a blue and white striped wind-sock dangled from its radio antenna. Like all of the characters, the Cadillac was also featured in the credits (shifting from camper to car to boat).

Heathcliff association

Although both Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats were set in the city of Westfinster, only Hector, Wordsworth and Mungo appeared in both segments. Riff-Raff and Cleo never appeared in a Heathcliff episode (though Riff-Raff is present in a crowd scene), and neither Heathcliff nor any other characters from the Heathcliff series (with the small exception of the fish store owner who did have a brief cameo in one Catillac Cats episode) ever appeared in a Catillac Cats episode. The reason is unclear, but some suspect that the McNaught company who owned Heathcliff did not want any outside characters appearing on Heathcliff. Riff-Raff and Cleo were primarily invented by Jean Chalopin and Bruno Bianchi, while Hector, Wordsworth, and Mungo were created specifically so they could appear in either series. The only time in which Heathcliff and Riff-Raff appear on-screen together is in the end credits, when Riff-Raff snatches his hat back from Heathcliff.

Alternate title

In the end credits and on home videos, the Catillac Cats series is commonly referred to as "Cats & Company", or "Cats & Co." DiC did want the title to be "The Catillac Cats", however the company was unsure if the Cadillac car company would have a problem, so throughout most of the first season, the gang name The Catillac Cats was not used until "Hector's Takeover." In the second season, the gang name was used more, suggesting that any concern that may have existed had been worked out.

Early Heathcliff VHS releases used the spelling "The Cadillac Cats", until DiC put out an all 'Cats & Co' tape, which included the first use of the spelling "The Catillac Cats".

Foreign versions

When broadcast in French, the theme song gave Heathcliff and Riff-Raff equal treatment, highlighting the differences between them: Heathcliff the domesticated animal, Riff-Raff the alley cat, but both equally cunning and troublesome in their own way [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vc7g19oDOMU] — whereas the American version had put the whole emphasis on Heathcliff. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxCInOkn6OU]

Main voice actors

*Riff-Raff - Stanley Jones
*Hector - Danny Mann
*Mungo - Ted Zeigler
*Wordsworth - Stanley Jones
*Cleo - Donna Christie
*Leroy - Ted Zeigler
*Bush - Danny Wells

References

External links

* [http://www.shoutfactory.com/browse/41/heathcliff__and_the_catillac_cats.aspx Heathcliff and The Catillac Cats] from "Shout! Factory"
* [http://johnnorrisbrown.com/classic-nick/heathcliff/index.htm Classic Nick Online profile]
* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0285371/ The Catillac Cats on imdb]


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