Cartoon Car Spotlight: If You Never Watched ‘Cadillacs and Dinosaurs,’ Your Childhood Sucked
We all had our favorite Saturday morning cartoons growing up, some of them inexplicably weirder than others. It seems like anything could pass as television material back in those days, from mice driving motorcycles to killer tomatoes.
But one of the most bizarre shows was an animated production that was officially endorsed by General Motors. If you’ve never seen Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, you’re in for a trip.
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Back in 1987, Kitchen Sink Press published the first issue of a comic book series entitled Xenozoic Tales, which would run for nearly 10 years. The post-apocalyptic world, created by Mark Schultz, proved to be a lucrative franchising opportunity that spawned an animated series, a side-scrolling beat-’em-up arcade game by Capcom, a Sega CD game, trading cards, action figures, and even a role-playing game.
Many of these productions bore the name Xenozoic Tales has more commonly become known by: Cadillacs and Dinosaurs.
The Cadillacs and Dinosaurs television series was created by prolific screenwriter Steven E. de Souza and ran on CBS in 1993 for 13 episodes. The easiest way to explain the plot is to simply let the opening titles narrator do it:
In the 26th century, mankind faces an epic struggle for survival, the forces of nature have spun wildly out of control. Mighty cities have crumbled, and the dinosaurs have returned to reclaim the Earth. In this savage land, one man stands alone–Jack Tenrec— defending humanity in a world gone mad, a world where the strong survive, a world of…Cadillacs and Dinosaurs!
The heroic main character Jack Tenrec–a mechanic who restores classic cars–drives a classic red convertible Cadillac with the license plate “ZNOZOIC.” As mechanical technology is sparse in this era, the Cadillac is Jack’s method of transportation through the wilderness.
General Motors actually owns the trademark for the phrase “Cadillacs and Dinosaurs.” Since the show’s retirement, it has had DVD and streaming release, as well as reprintings by multiple presses. Now if we could only see a live-action movie adaptation of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs…
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Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a Hyundai Veloster Turbo (which recently replaced his 1995 Saturn SC-2). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.