Starring Mel Blanc, Henry Corden, Stan Jones, Danny Mann, Derek McGrath
Written By: Jeff Holder
Directed By: Bruno Bianchi
Studio: Shout Factory
Buy on Amazon.com link
I used to watch Heathcliff all the time growing up. Dennis the Menace was another cartoon I always watched after school as well. I never really read the comic strip for Heathcliff before but the one thing I remember most is the cartoon itself. Now it’s available on DVD for 80’s cartoon fans to enjoy!
Heathcliff is about a orange, chubby cat who has an attitude and likes to get into fights with other cats, and even some dogs. Heathcliff is voiced by the late and brilliant voice-actor Mel Blanc. The man was a genius I tell ya! But back to Heathcliff, the cat likes to get into trouble and knock down garbage cans, and cause all types of raucous. He lives with the Nutmeg family (what a name right?) and they love Heathcliff, even though he’s troublesome. Heathcliff also has a girlfriend named Sonia but he has a hard time keeping her. She’s always going after other cats who are celebrities, and Heathcliff usually beats them up. Or he might discover their true selves and shows Sonia who they really are. Heathcliff should dump her because she seems like a tramp. The second half of each episode is about the Catillac Cats, Riff Raff, (voiced by Stan Jones) his girlfriend Cleo and his three sidekicks, Hector, Mungo and Wordsworth. Wordsworth speaks in ryhmes and I always hoped he rolled himself in front of a bus. The junkyard cats find themselves in a bunch of scenarios like sneaking in a circus, or visiting the country to see Cleo’s cousin, or just Riff Raff trying to impress his girlfriend with things.
I always liked the Heathcliff episodes more than the Catillac cats episodes. Heathcliff was just fun to watch and a far better character than Riff Raff. I never liked Riff Raff but I liked his sidekick trio of Hector, Mungo and Wordsworth. Though Cleo was hot! Jesus what am I saying?! It’s just a cartoon cat. Well she’s no Jessica Rabbit that’s for sure! But anyway, Mungo was my favorite because he’s just a big dumb loaf and he’s funny. Wordsworth was annoying as hell though but I liked Hector. He looked punk rock with the tie. Riff Raff reminded me of a sleazy car salesman, plus I can’t stand his voice or accent! Heathcliff’s voice was great because it was done by Mel Blanc, and I loved that signature laugh he gave. I think every kid liked the Catallic Cat’s house and car. The house was a makeshift home in the junkyard, made out of an old airplane. The car was a Cadillac that turned into a boat and other things. As a kid that stuff was pretty damn cool! Too bad Riff Raff & Wordsworth were annoying. I also remember the theme song a lot and actually still know all the words to it. But I’ll save you the space of me actually singing them to you. As I was watching the episodes, I totally forgot the intros between the commercial breaks, and then the little PSA thing at the end of each episode. All that’s included on the DVD and i’m happy for that! Another thing I realized how much the animation was very similar to anime in some cases. Well one, the dubbing seems way off, but the look of the cartoon looks very 80’s anime to me. Not sure if it was originally like that or not, with the voice-overs off or if it’s just on the DVD. Maybe i’m just used to how animated shows are now with mouth movement and voice-over work.
There are three extras on the DVD set. On the first disc, cartoonist Peter Gallagher talks about the history of Heathcliff and how he came to be a cartoonist for him. His Uncle was one of the creators of the orange cat, so he just learned the trade after college. He showed in the interview, original sketches and comic strips of Heathcliff and I found that interesting so I’m a wanna-be cartoonist myself. The interview seemed a little staged so it was kind of awkward to watch to be honest with you. The other extras on the set are original promos which were nostalgic and a comic strip gallery.
I honestly don’t know if I would watch Heathcliff if it premiered now and if I was still a kid. I’m sure it would have been done differently and wouldn’t look the way it looked back in the 80’s. But as a kid growing up in the 80’s and watching this before my daily naps after school, I’m really happy to see the first volume available on DVD. The cartoon doesn’t look that great on DVD but where else are you going to be able to see all the episodes together!
Interview with Heathcliff’s Cartoonist, Peter Gallagher
Heathcliff was born in 1973 when cartoonist George Gately began drawing him as a newspaper cartoon panel. Now drawn by his nephew, Peter Gallagher, Heathcliff is enjoyed by millions of newspaper readers everyday.
Heathcliff Through The Years
A click-thru gallery of Heathcliff cartoon panels from every year since his first appearance in 1973.
Original Series Promo
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
Standard 1.33:1 Color
Favorite Scenes: Chauncey’s Great Escape, Spike’s Cousin, Teed Off, Farming life ain’t for me, Swamp Fever, going Shopping
Running Time: 540 minutes