The Catillac Cats

The Catillac Cats are the name of a group of characters that starred in the secondary segment (officially billed Cats & Co. on the end credits) of the 1984 animated series of Heathcliff.[1] Most episodes revolve around Riff-Raff's get-rich-quick schemes or searches for food.[2]

Wordsworth

Main charactersEdit

The GangEdit

The segment stars a group of cats who lived in a junkyard, lead by Riff-Raff.

Riff-RaffEdit

The group is headed by Riff-Raff, an orange, short, tough, streetwise alley cat whose main residence is one half of an old transport plane which stands precariously at the top of a pile of junk overlooking the yard. Riff-Raff is a tough, but suave cat who fancies himself incredibly debonair even though he is an alley cat. He often has get-famous and/or get rich schemes, which form the basis of many of the episodes. He is shown always dressed with a blue scarf which he wears like a cravat and table leg which he uses as a cane, as well as a sideways cap.

The other cats in the group are Hector, Wordsworth, and Mungo.

HectorEdit

Hector, a brown and beige cat who speaks with a New Jersey accent, is sometimes depicted as feeling that he should be the head of the group, and becomes so on some occasions, such as the episode "Hector's Takeover". Riff-Raff and Hector's conflicts form the basis of a number of episodes. He is also second in command.

WordsworthEdit

Wordsworth, named after poet William Wordsworth, is a light-gray cat who wears roller skates, yellow headphones, sunglasses, and speaks in rhyme. In the episode "The Big Swipe", his full name is revealed as Wordsworth W. Wordsworth.

MungoEdit

Mungo is a large, dim-witted, purple cat who acts as a lackey for Riff-Raff. Mungo is often seen wearing a red shirt with a red winter hat. Though dimwitted, Mungo has the skills of an idiot savant in cooking, and has astounding strength and fighting prowess. Mungo is a "gentle giant" and lighthearted in personality.

CleoEdit

 
Riff-Raff and his girlfriend Cleo

Cleo is Riff-Raff's girlfriend, who lives in a music store. She is a cream-colored cat with long blonde hair. Her fur resembles a leotard and she wears a pair of pink legwarmers. The music store is constantly guarded by a sheepdog named Bush who has long hair and cannot see where he is 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). In the flashback episode "Christmas Memories", it is revealed that Cleo is, in fact, one of the Catillac Cats herself, even going as far as to indicate that she coined the name.[3] On more than one occasion, Riff-Raff ends up "two-timing" Cleo with another female cat (accidentally or otherwise). In fact, Riff-Raff agrees in one episode, "Kitten Around", to "go steady" with Cleo, but immediately falls for another cat named Roxy. As expected, Cleo is furious and soon gets payback.[4] They both end up together again in the next episode. Sometimes Cleo is seen with another tomcat that Riff-Raff has to face off against.

LeroyEdit

Another character, who also lives in the junkyard, is Leroy, a reddish-brown docked-tail hound dog with dark brown ears and a large spot over his right eye that resembles a black eye. He wears a nautical captain's hat. Leroy and the Catillac Cats have a love-hate relationship: Leroy often tries to chase them out, to no avail, though other times he is an ally, helping them chase out other outsiders. In the Christmas episode, it is revealed that Leroy is part of a gang put in charge of guarding the junkyard.

The red and white CadillacEdit

The group named itself the Catillac Cats after the red and white Cadillac that features prominently in their adventures. Hector, Mungo, and Wordsworth are shown to live in the car in the junkyard, while Riff-Raff has a more palatial home made out of a portion of a jet plane. The Cadillac itself has the ability to transform into an airboat and a camper. 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 oddities of its transformation. In one episode, its car form is modified into a submarine. Despite usually being depicted with no tires, the Cadillac is also shown to be very fast. Its hood ornament is a silver trophy cup, and a blue and white striped wind-sock dangles from its radio antenna. Like all of the characters, the Cadillac is also featured in the credits (shifting from camper to car to boat). In many episodes, the car is used to drive around town.

Association with HeathcliffEdit

Although both Heathcliff and The Catillac Cats are set in the city of Westfinster, only Hector, Wordsworth and Mungo appear in both segments. When the trio appears in Heathcliff episodes, Hector is depicted as the leader of the group. Riff-Raff and Cleo never appeared in a Heathcliff episode (though Riff-Raff is present in a crowd scene cheering for Heathcliff as he fights a dog, and is mentioned a couple of times), 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 the series. 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 Heathcliff and Riff-Raff appear on-screen together is in the end credits, when Riff-Raff snatches his hat back from Heathcliff. [5] Hector, Wordsworth and Mungo never appear in any Season 2 episode of Heathcliff.

Appearances in the Heathcliff comicsEdit

The Catillac Cats (minus Wordsworth) appeared in a Heathcliff comic on July 20, 2016, which shows Heathcliff walking with them to the junkyard.[6] The Catillac Cats (including Wordsworth) reappeared once again in the Heathcliff comic on February 20, 2018, in which the garbage men witness Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats sharing wild stories about the 80s.[7]

Alternate titleEdit

In the end credits and on home videos, the Catillac Cats series is commonly referred to as Cats & Company as seen in the end credits, or Cats & Co. 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".

Main voice actorsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats". Pop Matters. Retrieved 2010-08-26. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 398–400. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  3. ^ "Christmas Memories YouTube url". Retrieved 2007-09-25. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Kitten Around YouTube url". Retrieved 2007-12-02. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Heathcliff Ending (1984). YouTube. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Heathcliff by George Gately for Jul 20, 2016. GoComics. 20 July 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Heathcliff by George Gately for Feb 20, 2018. GoComics. 20 February 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit