5 unanswered questions everyone who loves Disney’s “Oliver & Company” still has
I love Oliver & Company for three big reasons:
1. The main human character’s name is Jenny, which is my name.
2. Oliver is a cat, and cats – especially Disney cats – are my favorite.
3. Billy Joel, Bette Midler, and Cheech Marin. Which is actually three reasons in one, but it’s fine.
This 1988 film is pretty underrated as far as Disney animated classics go, and like many ’80s Disney movies, it’s not as fondly remembered as the films of the next 10 years would end up to be. But it’s still amazing for all the reasons stated above and more – even considering a few questions I still have almost 30 years after its release.
How did Oliver not get adopted from that box first, let alone at all?
When we first meet Oliver (voiced by Joey Lawrence – yes, seriously), he is in a box with some other kittens to whom he may or may not be related, and they’re kind of fighting for attention in the hopes that someone will adopt them.
Now, I’m not one to make snap judgments, especially when it comes to cats, but Oliver stands out both in attitude and even the color of his coat! He is obviously just as good as — if not better than — the other kittens and HE JUST GETS LEFT ALONE IN THE RAIN AND WHY COULDN’T SOMEONE JUST ADOPT THEM ALL AT THE SAME TIME!?!!!
There’s also a whole scene where Oliver is wandering around by himself and he is trying to hang out with humans and no one cares and — I can’t even keep typing. I have a lot of feelings about cats.
How did the “Company” meet?
You know how people (including myself) have been clamoring for a Harry Potter marauders prequel novel forever? I would be content with a prequel to Oliver & Company that chronicles how Dodger, Tito, Rita, Einstein, and the amazing Francis all met. Were some of them initially pets, or did they all grow up on the streets? What brought them together in a group specifically, considering how many dogs roam the streets of NYC?
I’d especially be interested in an origin story about Francis the bulldog. He’s very well-spoken, and I need to know what happened that made him choose roughing it over staying wherever he came from.
Was “Look Who’s Talking Now” inspired by this movie at all?
This is extremely random, but hear me out. Georgette the poodle (voiced by Bette Midler – who, this same year, starred in one of my favorite ugly-cry-inducing movies of all time, Beaches) falling for a rough-and-tumble dog like Tito (Cheech Marin) is reminiscent of the two dogs from opposite sides of the tracks in 1993’s Look Who’s Talking Now. You know, the film that made this beautiful GIF a thing.
Anyway, in the beginning of LWTN, Daphne and Rocks are basically enemies – the former being a pampered pet and the latter being a proud dog of ~the streets~. By the end of the film, the two dogs end up having kind of a mutual affection for each other. I always wondered if this LWTN storyline was inspired by Georgette and Tito who, honestly, need their own spin-off movie.
Did Oliver actually stay in touch with the gang?
We are all guilty of this at some point in our lives:
“Hey it was so nice to meet you! We’ll grab lunch sometime, OK?”
And then it never happens. At the end of Oliver & Company, Oliver is like, “I’ll keep in touch, promise!” But then the dogs head back into the bustling city while Oliver is shacked up at 1125 5th Ave. Honestly, I don’t know if I’d visit – especially if I was a cat and there was no such thing as social media yet. At least they’ll always have the memories. And maybe a reunion at Georgette and Tito’s wedding.
Why doesn’t Billy Joel ever play “Why Should I Worry” live?
OK, so Billy Joel obviously has an extremely impressive discography and doesn’t particularly need obscure Disney songs to get by. I get it. But when I saw him live at Bonnaroo last year, I was only in the audience for one reason (well, I guess two if you count “Piano Man” but that’s not fair) — to hear him play the iconic “Why Should I Worry?” That perfect tune is his song from the Oliver & Company soundtrack (he voices the gang’s canine leader, Dodger).
Not only did I NOT get my song, but I searched recent set lists, and apparently, he doesn’t really ever play “Why Should I Worry?” But that’s so sad because it’s such a feel-good song! It’s like “Hakuna Matata,” but on a grimy street instead of a savanna. Speaking of which — Billy, Billy, Billy… if Elton John can still grace his concert audiences with The Lion King goodness, then you can definitely give the world a little bit of Oliver & Company.