|In 1986, Mark Schultz created a world that has wowed everyone who ever saw it. It first appeared in the comic book Xenozoic Tales. The setting was a future in which dinosaurs were returned from extinction by some unknown force, and humanity's efforts for survival once again became its primary concern. Central to these efforts was a man by the name of Jack Tenrec, a mechanic with a knack for wilderness survival and dino handling, and his garage crew, and an ambassador from a foreign land named Hannah Dundee, who hired Jack's services from time to time as she tried to bridge the gap between the two lands. It was reprinted a few years later by Marvel Comics, who then attempted to attract further popularity by moving the property to television. Cadillacs and Dinosaurs was the result.
The show maintained most of the aspects that made the comic book the underground hit that it was. Jack's instinctive knowledge of dinosaurs and how humans interact with them, as well as his favored hobbies of refurbishing the shells he and his crew find of early 20th century automobiles (most prominently the titular Cadillacs) and struggling with the Council of Governors with the Mechanics, an ecology-minded group of political activists and freedom fighters. In addition to their political adversaries on the Council, the Mechanics, led by Tenrec, also dealt with the machinations of the would-be despot Wilhelmina Scharnhorst and her henchmen.
This adventure series only lasted one 13-episode season on CBS. C&D was brought to television by Nelvana Studios after the success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (another independantly published comic book), and the failure of the series can be attributed to mistaken marketing: The show was clearly made for an older demographic, but it was run in a block of animation aimed primarily at children.
This was a helluva show. The anachronistic appeal of the 1950s era cars driving around herds of dinosaurs in a post-apocalyptic setting is just one of those things. I can't explain it, I can't describe it, I just like it. If that were all there was to the show, however, I don't think I would have liked it as much. No, there was also the storytelling. Hopefully, if you're reading this site, you know already that assuming all cartoons are for children is a mistake that will cost you collective years of good, solid entertainment. Cadillacs and Dinosaurs counts for six hours of it, and if anyone ever sees the potential for a revival of this great show, perhaps more.