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British TV series

     
Henry's Cat
 
   




   
   Henry's
   Cat
              
(1983 -1985)
   
     producers:
Bob Godfrey Films Ltd
     animation: 
2D animation
       episodes:
5min + 15min episodes

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    "He knows everything about nothing,
     and not too much about that..."


    "MII-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-W!"

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     Henry's Cat was a mellow yellow feline with a penchant for cakes and party
     food and forty winks. He seemed to spend an awful lot of time thinking, and
     too little time actually doing. But you know, pondering the world can be
     very hard work...

     If Henry was the thinker, his best friend Chris Rabbit was the doer. Chris was
     a bouncing blue bunny who was full of beans and ever-keen to fulfill Henry's
     potential. Which was just as well really, because Chris' own potential appeared
     to have been misplaced somewhere - probably on Farner Giles' farm, from
     whence the rest of Henry's friends had arrived. Amongst the troupe were
     Pansy Pig, Denise Duck, Mosey Mouse, Douglas Dog, Ted Tortoise, Phillipe
     Frog, and Myrtle the Cow. Then there was mean old Constable Bulldog,
     who appeared keen to clobber what little sense the gang had out of their
     heads and away over the duck pond...
    
     For the record, our titular star belonged to someone called Henry, but
     we never actually saw the mystey owner in these films...   

     Henry's Cat was the third and, in Toonhound's humble opinion, the best of
     Bob Godfrey's three key tea-time series (number four, by the way, was the
     Bunbury Tales produced in 1987). Yes that flies in the face of critics and
     pundits, who indeed often place Henry third on their 'nostalgia' lists, but that
     is arguably because they've been focusing so heavily on their own childhood
     recollections from the 70s, whilst Henry was an 80s creation who arrived on
     our screens when many of those pundits had presumably given up on
     tea-time tv in favour of school discos and extracarricular beer and cigarettes.
     As created by Stan Hayward, Henry manages to be droll, astute and cute
     at the same time. His physical construction is also brilliant. Look down the
     features of his face, from his ears to his mouth. It spells 'M-I-O-W'. If you don't
     believe me, check out the first Henry's Cat DVD (more of that below...)


       Constable Bulldog  Chris Rabbit and Pansy Pig

     Know your Henry's

     Henry's Cat evolved considerably through production of its three series.
     Series one and two were composed mainly of 5 minute episodes animated
     using felt pens on white backgrounds, much like Roobarb. There was a theme
     change between the two series, with Peter Shades' 'miowing' music
     being replaced by a new 'miow' based track from John Hyde. The opening
     to season two episodes now featured an animated Bob Godfrey Films
     logo with Henry 'miowing' like Clarence The Lion in those classic MGM idents.
     The end titles were redesigned too. In series one, Henry climbs down a
     ladder, closely followed by his falling rainbow paint pot. In series two, we
     see him resting casually against a picnic table with a pot of tea and a scrummy
     blancmange waiting for him, only he upends the table and its contents upon
     himself.

     By the end of that second series, episode lengths had been extended to
     15 minutes and, more importantly, Henry and the gang had shifted from felt
     pens to cel-based animation. A wholly sensible move, given the amount of
     marker pen it would have needed if the team had stuck with paper!...

     The third series ushered in a whole new production style, presumably to
     break the American market. There was a brand new 'americanised' theme
     song from Jonathan P. Hodge and the focus of attention shifted from Henry
     and friends, to that of Henry and his best friend Chris Rabbit whose adventures
     and shenanigans regularly took them to the US of A to run for President, or
     rescue Santa Claus or something else just as ludicrous. Even Bob Godfrey
     himself got in on the act, adopting an american 'twang' for his narration
     - quite a feat, considering his voice is so distinctly london-via-australia, and
     adding an extra dollop of wit to proceedings.

     This third series is an extraordinary melting pot of wit and technique. The
     Godfrey crew expanded to incorporate a bigger writing team and a trace
     and paint department. Each episode is now stuffed-to-bursting with storyline,
     which moves at a lightning pace, just like the very-best of Godfrey's short film
     work. The plain white backgrounds are regularly replaced with b/w photocopy
     montages, colour photographs and cut-outs. Godfrey himself even features in
     'The New President', where he's shown boxing an animated kangaroo! There are
     songs, much sarcasm, tongue-twisters and one-liners a-plenty, and if you blink
     you'll probably miss half a dozen, like this one:

    The Sun smiles on this series!


"He had had the American Dream,
 but sadly, he'd forgotten to wake up..."
     The breadth and scope of these series is just superb. Season three, in particular,
     is a revelation.Yes Roobarb is still wobbly, breathless and brilliant. Certainly
     Noah & Nelly are nutty, niggling, jiggling and joyous. But Henry's Cat offers us
     a veritable banquet of sweet delights to feast upon and fall asleep contented,
     knowing that tea-time toons really don't get better than this!...

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    Awards

    1983 - BAFTA - Best Animated Short


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Series one
The Whale
The Hypnotist

The Fortune Teller
The Holiday
The Competition
The Hobby
The Treasure

The Ill Wind

The Circus

The Diet

The Moon Trip
The Explorer
The Invention
The Race
The Dream
The Artist
The Robbery
The Christmas Dinner
The Film
The Disco Dance


Series two
The Magic Tummy Button
The Secret Weapon
The New Year's Resolution
The Good News Day
The Cat's Eye Kid
The Hot Day
The Merry Men And Women
The Actor
The Weatherman
The Invitation

The Ventriloquist
The Clever Trick
The Hero
Caveman Cat
The Abominable Snowman
Series three
The Treasure Hunt
The Day Of The Terrible Jokes
The Case Of The Pilfered Pearls
The Lost World
The Computer
The Correspondence Course

Series four

Out For The Count
The Birthday Caper
The Funny Feeling
Once Upon A Time
The Jingle
The Great Adventure

Series five

The Mystery Of The Missing Santa
When Time Went Wrong
Valentine's Day
The New President




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     UK DVD
  Henry's Cat on DVD

     Complete Series 1

     20 episodes / 95mins / R2 / Delta Music / March 2004

     Complete Series 2

     15 episodes / 75mins / R2 / Delta Music / April 2004

     Complete Series 3

     6 episodes / 90mins / R2 / Delta Music / May 2004

     Complete Series 4

     6 episodes / 90mins / R2 / Delta Music / June 2004

     Complete Series 5
     4 episodes / 50mins / R2 / Delta Music / June 2004

    The Complete Collection
     All 50 episodes September 2004

 

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      First series credits

          produced, directed and narrated by Bob Godfrey


          script:             Stan Hayward
          production:     
Mike Hayes
          animation:      Bob Godfrey, Paul Stone, Kevin Baldwin
          camera &
          editing:           
Derek Phillips
          music &
          sound:            
Peter Shade



     Second series credits

          created by Stan Hayward
          produced, directed and narrated by Bob Godfrey

          script:             
Stan Hayward
          production:     
Mike Hayes
          animation:     
Kevin Baldwin, Bob Godfrey, Malcolm Hartley,
                                Drew Mandingo, Paul Stone, Mark Oz
          trace
          & paint:
          Tancy Baran, Beryl Godfrey, Louise Unwin
          music:            John Hyde / deWolfe Ltd
          dubbing:        John Wood Studios
          camera:          Derek Phillips
          editing:          Sean Lenihan, John Daniels



      Third series credits

          created by Stan Hayward
          produced, directed and narrated by Bob Godfrey

          script:            Stan Hayward, Kevin Baldwin, Mike Knowles, Bob Godfrey
          production:    Mike Hayes
          storyboard
          layout
          animation:
     Kevin Baldwin         
          additional
          animation: 
    Jeff Goldner, Neil Salmon, Bob Godfrey
          trace
          & paint:   
      Denise Hambry, Lisa Smith, Jazvinda Phull,
                               Beryl Godfrey, Ricky Arnold
          music:           Rowland Lee
          title music:   Jonathan P Hodge
          camera:        Heather Reader
          b'grounds:     Bob Godfrey
          editing:         Picturehead


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      On the web



      Henry's Cat
      Here's Bob Godfrey and Stan Hayward's official Henry site which
      includes a new story and the very latest info about our yellow fellow.
      Plus there's a link through to Stan Hayward's very own online animation
      masterclass....


      Henry's Cat
      A very smart 'Henry's Cat' guide, the oldest and best, like it says
      on the front page. A cute interface, plenty  of images, themes, series
      notes. It's a quick-loader too - A top site!



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© Bob Godfrey Films Ltd and Stan Hayward / F2012