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Ruby-Spears Heathcliff vs. DiC Heathcliff

Discussion in 'Saturday Morning Forever!' started by A.Magik, May 30, 2005.

  1. A.Magik

    A.Magik Active Member

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    This beloved comic strip character had been animated twice. First by Ruby-Spears in the early-1980s, in which he shared spotlight with Marmaduke, Thundarr, Ding Bat and the Creeps, and Plastic Man (well, I do remember one long closing credit that featured most of these groups with their own musical signature). The other was in the mid-1980s by DiC with some massive artistic liberties done on some of the characters, as well as the creation of Rifraff and the Alley Cats (and this version seemed to co-exist in the Inspector Gadget universe). In both versions, Mel Blanc did the voicework. Which animated version of this beloved comic strip character do you prefer?

    I guess I would choose the DiC version, at least before the animation style changed (suddenly, all the character were frowning). I was generally brought up by this version, even though there was a Heathcliff & Dingbat recording on a 1981 tape long since destroyed (sigh...)

    A.Magik
     
  2. Mittenz

    Mittenz Loud.Electronic.Ferocious .

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    The version by DiC! I remember watching that looong ago. It was awesome.
     
  3. Prism

    Prism Member

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    The RubySpears version was good but the DiC version just seemed better. The characters were more memorable and there was some continuity.
     
  4. ThePeterNetwork

    ThePeterNetwork Smurf Life!

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    The Ruby-Spears Heathcliff had the characters being more on-model with the comic strip. In the DIC version, Iggy didn't look like Iggy. Major gaffe. DIC also had more serious stories. R-S was a bit zanier.

    I don't even recall Marmaduke being a toon paired off with Heathcliff except in reruns on syndicated programming.
     
  5. Peter Paltridge

    Peter Paltridge Knows about rock people
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    I didn't even know there was a Heathcliff show before 1984 (it premiered in 84, not 85). I did know that Mel Blanc voiced Heathcliff and he sounded pretty close to Bugs Bunny.

    Explain to me how Heathcliff and Inspector Gadget crossed over. All I remember is Iggy's grampa turning on the TV and seeing I.G. dancing on it; that was the only time I saw him there.

    Does anybody know why Iggy was "remodeled" for that series? My guess is the old "some suits wanted it" reason.
     
  6. Prism

    Prism Member

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    Heathcliff's always been good for animation. I remember the original SatAM airing of Heathcliff and Marmaduke. It was a decent toon, just didn't grab the ratings needed for a secondary season. And while the DiC version wasn't quite as faithful as the Ruby Spears in terms of character designs DiC did a better job of portraying Heathcliff as a rough,tough hooligan,irrepressible cat. But the Ruby Spears song was terrific.
     
  7. A.Magik

    A.Magik Active Member

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    Actually, it was more like Rifraff and the Alley Cats (who co-existed in the Heathcliff world, though the two head cats and their gals never met) in Inspector Gadget (the latter season, with Capeman, the Gadget manor, and a Cree Summer-less Penny who wore jackets). Rifraff appears as a stuffed doll and on TV, but there was one scene where the Gadgetcar ran through the junkyard and freaked out Wardsworth and the headphones cat, who hissed and shriek back (since this show was in the human POV, this meant the cats' words couldn't be heard in English).

    A.Magik
     
  8. STARTOUNZ

    STARTOUNZ Best buds since the Stone Age

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    The R-S Heathcliff series debuted on Saturday mornings in 1980. Heathcliff originally was paired with the secondary cartoon Dingbat and the Creeps. Combined, it went under the title "The Heathcliff and Dingbat Show". Dingbat was a vampire dog with a taste for sweets and his two sidekicks SpareRib, a shapeshifting skeleton, and Nobody, a real life Jack O' Lantern who were in various misadventures in their neverending quest to find the right kind of job that suited their unique talents. Heathcliff continued the following year, but the Creeps were dropped in favor of Marmaduke as the show was changed to "The Heathcliff and Marmaduke Show". The dog got more of the spotlight in this series since at the time all his cartoons were first run and Heathcliff only got one new cartoon per show as the series usually reran one of the previous season's cat cartoons.

    As for the DIC series, there were quite a number of references to Inspector Gadget since the two shows originally aired around the same time in the mid-80's. Most times, there was some sort of clip shown while someone was watching TV. I do remember one episode of the Riff Raff cartoon where his sidekick Hector was dressed like Gadget in hopes he could be a detective. As for the changes from the comics and the R-S Heathcliff, the DIC series had Iggy was a little taller with brown hair instead of blond, his grandparents looked a little different (Grandma more significantly since she had curly hair, if not sort of a perm afro), and Sonja herself was puffy more like a cotton ball, though in the first couple of episodes, she had her original look from the comics and the R-S series.
     
  9. One Radical Dude

    One Radical Dude Whoo-hoo!

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    I've seen bit of the R-S Heathcliff, and I never really followed it. I've grown up watching the DiC version of Heathcliff, and I enjoy it more.
     
  10. STARTOUNZ

    STARTOUNZ Best buds since the Stone Age

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    I forgot to mention both R-S Heathcliff series are currently on Boomerang's schedule. For those of you who don't know, the episodes air at 1PM Eastern Time. :)
     
  11. Chris Wood

    Chris Wood Desslar

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    I don't know which version is which, so my vote goes for the one with the really catchy theme song.
     
  12. Natey

    Natey blank

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    never seen the show. I dont really want to either. it doesn't go to "my likes" but you never know, i could watch it and it be my favorite show.:eek:
     
  13. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    The first series (Ruby-Spears) aired on ABC from 1980-82. 'Cliff ruled the house, of course. Dingbat & the Creeps, the backup feature, was uneven at best. Oh, by the way, Thundarr & Plastic Man were stand-alone series themselves. Plas was in his 2nd season, with a format change, and Thundarr was also a freshman entry. Marmaduke replaced Dingbat in season 2, bringing with it a theme song performed by Scatman Crothers (Hong Kong Phooey).

    After a year off, Heathcliff returned to the airwaves in 1983, with DIC taking over. Cats & Co. (Riffraff & the Alleycats) was a superior backup feature. Unfortunately, Riffraff & Heathcliff never met, though Hector, Wordsworth, & Mongo were mutual acquaintances of both. DIC missed the boat by never doing a crossover.
     
  14. Doyng

    Doyng Member

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    Heathcliff, Marmaduke, and Dingbat & The Creeps were packaged on The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show for syndication. Taylor Marks played Plastic Man in the live action segments introducing off network RS programs (Plas, Mightyman and Yukk, Fangface, Rickety Rocket, Goldie and Jack, and the previous programs mentioned). The closing credits were clips from those shows, which made it seem pretty long. The opening credits were also clips from those shows.

    My favorite version is (Drumroll,please)................................................ta,da:

    RUBY SPEARS' version because:

    Dean Elliott's excellent main titles and underscores
    The characters were straight from the comic strips
    Heathcliff's co-stars (Dingbat and the Creeps)
    RS' decision to choose Mel Blanc as his voice

    The DIC version was pretty decent. This was the one I grew up on. BTW, does any one remember this ORIGINAL opening title for Heathcliff:

    "Cats and Co. Have fun
    Playing pranks on everyone
    New Adventures Everyday
    The Cats will always get their way."

    This was before we got used to this new main title for Heathcliff:

    "Heathcliff, Heathcliff, no one should
    Terrorize the neighborhood
    But Heathcliff just wont be outdone
    Playing pranks on everyone."
     
  15. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    I think depending on where you lived, the two themes were used concurrently in different parts of the country. I have not seen the DIC series in several years, and I'm trying to remember if you've got the lyrics correct. I've heard both, and thought it might be a little dubious that they'd create a separate theme, since Heathcliff was clearly the star of the show.
     
  16. Dudley

    Dudley Moderator
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    Though the RS series made me laugh on occasion, I enjoyed and grew up on the DiC version.
    Does anyone here enjoyed the cartoons more than the comic strip itself?
     
  17. Mister Intensity

    Mister Intensity Active Member

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    I believe the "Cats and Company" theme was used in the earliest episodes but the "Heathcliff, Heathcliff" theme were used for majority of the series. At least, that's how I remembered it.

    Mister Intensity
     
  18. Lupin the Wolf

    Lupin the Wolf Master Thief

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    If you got the Heathcliff/Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 freebie DVD that came with several General Mills cereals over the past year, you might notice that they include two versions of the show's intro: one with the Cats & Company-centric tune, and the Heathcliff-centric tune.
    Is it possible the show was split into segments and played the theme multiple times per episode to introduce the different character sketches?
     
  19. Mister Intensity

    Mister Intensity Active Member

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    No, there was only one version of the theme song per show. In fact, both segments used the same introductory music on their title cards.

    Mister Intensity
     
  20. Jeff Harris

    Jeff Harris Creator/Webmaster, TXB

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    Fun fact . . . Marmaduke actually met both Heathcliff and Garfield. Aside from sharing the opening credits of Heathcliff and Marmaduke, the lovable pooch also made a cameo in a short on Garfield and Friends with a "can you guess what's wrong?" theme, and he appeared in the final scene of the short taking the place of Odie. Pretty funny short now that I think about it.

    Anywho, there was two version of the Heathcliff theme song. The one everybody knows talks about Heathcliff at the opening and the end of the song. The second theme is the same song, only with the Cats and Company focus at the beginning and end. The middle and bridge are exactly the same.

    But to answer the question, I like Ruby-Spears' version of Heathcliff better than the DiC version, although it would have been nice to see Cats and Company on their own show without Heathcliff. Riff-Raff, Cleo, and the Alley Cats (Hector, Wordsworth, and Mongo) could have stood their own ground without being backup to Heathcliff.

    Plus, and this is a huge plus, the Ruby-Spears' Heathcliff was actually closer to George Gately's original comics designwise. Iggy doesn't look like a Victorian-era throwback with is Alfalfa-esque hair and bowtie outfit.

    Wonder if they ever though about doing a new Heathcliff series, though it would be hard to fill in Mel Blanc's shoes.
     

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