Heathcliff, For Why? (2)
October 12, 2016
A series of posts, by HiLobrow friend Brandi Brown, puzzling over the Andy Kaufman-like anti-comedy antics of Heathcliff, a cat who has nonplussed newspaper funny pages readers since 1973. These posts were selected from among many others that first appeared at Brandi’s website Heathcliff, For Why?.
First off, I’d like to issue a correction.
I’ve been referring to Heathcliff’s girlfriend as “Cleo.” Heathcliff’s girlfriend’s name is Sonja. Cleo is Riff-Raff’s girlfiend. Riff-Raff is one of the Catillac Cats. Here’s a picture of Riff-Raff and Cleo in a giant hot air balloon shaped like Riff-Raff’s head.
Ladies, if your man picks you up in a balloon shaped like his head, you best lock that man down.
Earlier today, I went to Popeye’s and my grandma gifted me a set of warm pajamas. Then I sat at home and watched television, including the wonderful Kroll Show. I only tell you this because it sets up what an amazing day I was having before what I write next happened.
On tonight’s Kroll Show, Friend-of-the-Blog and actor Peter Gallagher played a gigolo mentor. [The comic strip Heathcliff is drawn by a cartoonist named Peter Gallagher, nephew of the strip’s creator, George Gately in 1973. — ed.]
Before the show aired, I’d heard Gallagher was going to be a guest on the show but had no idea what he’d be doing. I sent him a tweet about my hopes for his appearance and referencing an earlier exchange about Heathcliff. AND HE REPLIED!
I’ve been trying to track down more information about “Non-Actor Peter Gallagher” (that’s what my friends and I call the cartoonist). So far, I’ve located original Heathcliff cartoonist George Gately’s obit. I also spent 2 minutes Googling. Interesting tidbits from the LA Times obit:
Heathcliff, named after the major character in the classic Emily Bronte novel “Wuthering Heights,” was indeed a success. The strip, offering the adventures of the smug fat cat, predated by several years “Garfield,” another strip with a feline star.
Everyone can shut the hell up and eat some lasagna because Heathcliff was first.
“[Heathcliff] had this great idea of himself, his importance,” John Gallagher said. “He would go to get his family tree traced but was also a hellion who had his own bookie.”
Heathcliff is Rob Ford, maybe?
“He would go to cat shows around the country and people would come seeking autographs, not for themselves but for their cats,” [Gately’s brother] John Gallagher said. “So he would sign his name [and] ‘Good Luck, Tabby,’ or ‘Best Wishes, Spike.’ “
Gallagher recalled that one woman asked for a particularly odd inscription.
“Her cat was named Hitler, so somewhere there is an autograph from George Gately reading: ‘Good Luck, Hitler,’ ” Gallagher said.
WHAT IN THE LIVING FUCK?! If someone asks you to sign something for their cat named Hitler, you say “no.” You always say no.
“When you look at the features that have been successful, you notice that they’re usually very simple, and deal with things that people of every circumstance can relate to…. I’m very careful to never make the home in my cartoon look too fancy. I’m as interested in having the poorest person relate to Heathcliff as I am the richest person.”
Poor people don’t get new furniture every day. There is absolutely no consistency in that house. There’s a fridge that moves around the kitchen. Yes, this will be a post. My friend, Pat, gets very upset about the fridge moving around.
Anyway, RIP George Gately.
CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: UNBORED CANON by Josh Glenn | CARPE PHALLUM by Patrick Cates | MS. K by Heather Kasunick | HERE BE MONSTERS by Mister Reusch | DOWNTOWNE by Bradley Peterson | #FX by Michael Lewy | PINNED PANELS by Zack Smith | TANK UP by Tony Leone | OUTBOUND TO MONTEVIDEO by Mimi Lipson | TAKING LIBERTIES by Douglas Wolk | STERANKOISMS by Douglas Wolk | MARVEL vs. MUSEUM by Douglas Wolk | NEVER BEGIN TO SING by Damon Krukowski | WTC WTF by Douglas Wolk | COOLING OFF THE COMMOTION by Chenjerai Kumanyika | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) | ANOTHER 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators