In the 26th century, nature has spun wildly out of control. Cities have crumbled and the dinosaurs have returned to rule the earth. Jack Tenrac, one of the last of the "old blood" mechanics, along with his friends Hannah Dundee and Mustapha, defend humanity from the greedy governor Scharnhorst, freelance poachers, and other evil influences. Written by
[opening title narration]
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 Tenrac, defending humanity in a world gone mad. A world where only the strong survive; a world of... Cadillacs and Dinosaurs!
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Cadillacs and Dinosaurs was the brainchild of black-and-white comics artist Mark Shultz. A longtime illustrator--and automobile enthusiast--Shultz hit upon unique idea: why not create a world in which humans inhabit a world side-by-side with dinosaurs?
Cadillacs and Dinosaurs was the result, and it was an immediate hit. The comic book series spawned trade paperback collections (published by the now-defunct Kitchen Sink Press) and a season of animated cartoons. All of the stories explored the new world through the eyes of Jack Tenrec, a garage mechanic and espouser of an obscure philosophy called Machinato Vitae (Machinery of Life). His constant companion is Hannah Dundee, a very capable woman who thinks Jack is a savage. His foil is an ogre of a woman named Scharnhorst, who wants to push human civilization forward at whatever the cost.
The stories worked because the people were realistic, but largely ignorant of their past. Only in the comic books did you get a hint of how this world came about (clue: think Jurassic Park on a global scale!), and even then it was never said outright, which gave the whole series an air of mystery.
So why didn't the series work? Probably because the series was too unique. Animated shows typically fall into one of three categories: slapstick (Loony Tunes), satire (The Simpsons), or adventure (X-Men). Cadillacs and Dinosaurs really didn't fit into any of these molds, and its underlying environmental message undoubtedly confused the cable and TV executives into thinking it was an "Educational Show" which to media moguls says, "No profit margin". Rather than try something new, the powers-that-be elected to scuttle the show.
As a final note, it's unknown what happened to the series' creator. Mark Shultz has literally dropped from sight, leaving the Cadillacs and Dinosaurs saga hanging on a precipice. In the final story, Hannah and friends have faked Tenrec's death in order to throw Scharnhorst (who has seized power in a coup) off his trail. To this day, there has been no word as to how this extraordinary tale will end! That is perhaps the biggest tragedy of all.
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