The Catillac Cats

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Wordsworth

The Catillac Cats (also called Cats & Company) is 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.[1] Most episodes revolved around Riff-Raff's get-rich-quick schemes or searches for food.

Main characters[edit]

The Gang[edit]

The segment starred a group of cats who lived in a junkyard.

Riff-Raff[edit]

The group was headed by Riff-Raff, an orange, 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. Riff-Raff was a tough, but suave cat who fancied himself incredibly debonair even though he was an alley cat. He often had get famous and/or get rich schemes which formed 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 were Hector, Wordsworth, and Mungo.

Hector[edit]

Hector, a brown and beige cat who speaks with a New Jersey accent, was 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 formed the basis of a number of episodes. He is also second in command.

Wordsworth[edit]

Wordsworth, named after poet William Wordsworth, is a white cat who wears roller skates, yellow headphones, sunglasses, and speaks in rhyme. In the episode "The Big Swipe", his full name was revealed as Wordsworth W. Wordsworth the 3rd.

Mungo[edit]

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.

Cleo[edit]

Riff-Raff and his girlfriend Cleo

Riff-Raff has a girlfriend named Cleo who lives in a music store. Cleo is a cream-colored cat with long blonde hair, and she looks as though she is wearing a leotard and 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.[2] 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.[3] 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.

Leroy[edit]

Another character, who also lives in the junkyard, is Leroy, a reddish-brown docked-tail hound 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 Cadillac[edit]

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 jet plane. The Cadillac itself had 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 was modified into a submarine. Despite usually being depicted with no tires, the Cadillac was also shown to be very fast. 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). In many episodes the car was used to drive around town.

Association with Heathcliff[edit]

Although both Heathcliff and The Catillac Cats were set in the city of Westfinster, only Hector, Wordsworth and Mungo appeared in both segments. When the trio appeared in Heathcliff episodes, Hector was 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 fought 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. [4] Hector, Wordsworth and Mungo never appeared in a Season 2 episode of Heathcliff.

Appearances in the Heathcliff comics[edit]

The Catillac Cats (minus Wordsworth) appeared in a Heathcliff comic on July 20, 2016, which shows Heathcliff walking with them to the junkyard.[5] 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.[6]

Alternate title[edit]

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 actors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats". Pop Matters. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  2. ^ "Christmas Memories YouTube url". Retrieved 2007-09-25. 
  3. ^ "Kitten Around YouTube url". Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  4. ^ Heathcliff Ending (1984). YouTube. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Heathcliff by George Gately for Jul 20, 2016. GoComics. 20 July 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  6. ^ Heathcliff by George Gately for Feb 20, 2018. GoComics. 20 February 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018. 

External links[edit]