Heathcliff, Heathcliff, No One Should, Give Your Rights to Hollywood

June 1, 2009

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Terrorizing neighborhoods since 1973, Heathcliff, the irreverent, obese, striped, orange cat that isn't Garfield, has thus far been notably, fortunately absent from the cartoon-to-CGI-hybrid-disaster genre that has included mockeries of such childhood favorites as Alvin and the Chipmunks, Underdog, and Scooby Doo. But with adaptations of Tom & Jerry and Heathcliff's once-pound-evading-partner Marmaduke in the works, we should have guessed such relief would be short-lived. From Variety:

Irascible orange housecat Heathcliff will be getting a second life on the screen courtesy of a joint venture between family toon studio Magic Lantern Entertainment and rights holder FitzRoy Media.

The two companies have pacted to develop a range of properties, from direct-to-DVD toons to a potential live-action theatrical feature, around the flabby tabby, updating the popular comicstrip character for the 21st century.

Created by George Gately in 1973, Heathcliff remains in print today, written and drawn by Gately's nephew, Peter Gallagher.

The sarcastic cat previously starred in two, early-'80s animated skeins; FitzRoy and Magic Lantern are re-evaluating Heathcliff's TV potential, though their hope is to create a live-action/CG hybrid similar to "Alvin and the Chipmunks" or "Garfield: The Movie."

Here's hoping the film takes a cue from the DiC-produced Heathcliff series of the '80s and, half-way through, abruptly switches its focus to the story of a squat, congested cat, his unnaturally-hot-for-a-cat girlfriend, and his gang of absurdly-voiced junkyard miscreants.

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