ThunderCat Interviews: WilyKit and WilyKat
By Bill Taylor
Entertainment Tonight's Untold stories of the Thundercats: Wilykit and Wilykat
Date of birth: September 10, 1976
Place of birth: Mill Valley, California
Weight: 145 pounds
Fur: Beige with red hair
Wilykit: People sometimes ask me if I'm Lion-o's daughter because they think
I looked like him a little bit. I don't quite see the resemblance between us
and for anyone who wondered, I'm not related to him. I remember he was nervous
when we started. More than anyone else, he was worried that this thing would
not fly and that people would reject us. He wasn't even sure that he was right
for the part. Everyone was telling him to relax and that it would be fine, even
me and Wilykat. After the first few shows were taped, he started to relax and
he started toenjoy his work more. He was in fabulous shape for this thing. I
mean he looked fabulous, wonderful shape. It amazed me that he could move
with all those muscles. I thought he was cute.
But so was Tygra, and Bengali. I liked everyone there. They were all cool to be
around. Panthro was big on jokes and ad-libbing. Most of those jokes were his ideas.
He could be so silly sometimes.
On the show, me and Wilykat were supposed to be about 12, but were actually only 9.
The producers didn't want us to get too old too fast, and they spent a lot of
money on make up to make us look younger than we really were. It was fun pretending
to be a year older than we really were. I had no idea that Tygra had a drug
problem or that Cheetara was an alcoholic. I was a kid, I didn't know about
any of thatstuff. Hell, I didn't even know what an alcoholic was till I did
the show. I also didn't know that Lion-o was dating Pumyra, or that Bengali
was going out with Mandora.
The one thing I don't remember too fondly are my parents. They hated Ted Wolf,
and they hated just about everyone on the set for no apparent reason. They
always wanted more money, and they wanted to get on the show as well.
They made us do child acting because they were low on cash and needed
something to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. When we
did the show, Mom and Dad thought they had found a golden goose, and they
were gonna get as much gold out of the goose as they could. I didn't much
appreciate that. It disgusts me sometimes the way they acted. They would
argue and yell at the producers when they asked us to do things that our
folks didn't like, and then they would have the nerve to ask for more
money. That really sucked the fun out of things. They were very much behind
year four, because another year meant more money, and you can never have
enough money. Or at least that's what they thought. I thought year
four was kind of dull. So did e! ! ! veryone else.
Still, I really liked being there, and I really felt sad when the final show
was finished and someone said "That's a wrap!". It was sort of like leaving
a school you really liked, but deeper. I'm sure someone else said this,
but it was like the end of an era.
Date of birth: September 10, 1976
Place of birth: Mill Valley, California
Weight: 200 pounds
Fur: Beige with orange hair
Wilykat: My least favorite memory of THUNDERCATS was doing the nudity in
the first show. I really felt violated that they made us do that. Mom and
Dad freaked out too. There were a few other things that made them freak out,
namely, my dressing up as a clown in "CIRCUS TRAIN". They complained and
bitched that they were stripping me of my dignity and valor. Then they asked
for more money. I didn't really want to be a performer, it was just them
wanting to get rich quick and be financially secure. They pushed me into it.
I hated them for that, but I'm over it now.
Remember "THE TRANSFER" episode? Remember the climax where Panthro caught
the bowling ball reactor, rolled down the pyramid, and flashed it at
Mumm-ra? Originally, that was my stunt. Yep, that should've been me. In
the story boards, I was supposed to work my way around Mumm-ra, then catch
the reactor when he dropped it, roll down the pyramid (with him behind me),
then jump down when I got to about ten feet above the sands and jump. Mumm-ra
would come at me, and I would flash the reactor in his face after seeing my
own reflection in it, and after he was gone, I would say "I guess I showed
him," or something like that. But my mom protested that the stunt was too
dangerous for me to do. I argued with her that I could do it, even though
I was a little scared by the idea of having a 10 foot giant like Mumm-ra
rolling on top of me, but she would not listen. The producers and writers
tried to convince her that it would be okay, that they would take every
possible step to make sure I would be alright, but she still wouldn't let
me do it (which is weird, seeing as how she had no problem with me doing
the hover board scenes). The producers asked Lion-o to talk to her, and
she got up in his face, bitched, and said "Why don't you do it, Mr. Big, Hot
Shot, tough guy star!" or something like that, and he calmly replied "Okay."
Lion-o did the stunt, but there was a little accident. While Lion-o was
rolling, he forgot to shift his weight at some point and make a jump, so he
just kept rolling down the pyramid till he hit the sands (and almost got
landed on by Mumm-ra, who was still over top of him). When he landed, he
a had a bad injury, aside from the cuts, bruises, scrapes, and scratches
that were expected. Lion-o had gotten sand in his eye, and the sand scratched up
his cornea. Panthro and Tygra had to lead him off the set 'cause he couldn't
see. Lion-o was temporarily half blinded, couldn't see anything out of one
eye, so he had to stay at home with a doctor. He was about for about a week
and a half, so we just went ahead and filmed scenes for the next show which
did not require him and we did a few shots for "THE TRANSFER" that did require
him, but we just did for the sake of practice. While he was out, Panthro
stepped in and said he'd do it, and even added in the idea of having his
spikes shoot out into the pyramid to lower himself down when he jumped.
To me, that sounded even more dangerous than just jumping, but the producers
agreed to do it anyway. An entirely different suit thing had to built for it.
The first time they did it, the spikes broke and Panthro landed on his butt,
but at least he wasn't seriously hurt. It took about a week to build another
one, and eventually they got it to work. To this day, I still don't know if mom
tried to stop me because she was genuinely afraid I would get hurt or because
she didn't want one of her golden geese to get written out and cut her half
the cash. I hope it was the former. I remember after Lion-o got his cornea
scratched, mom said to me "See? That could have been you."
The tabloids used to write stories that we behaved like brats off camera;
that's not true. We behaved fairly well for 9 year old siblings. We did
get into fights and name calling contests, but that's it. About the biggest
thing was that occasionally we asked Panthro to help us play a joke on the
other one. He worked for both of us, when it suited him, since he was a big
time joker and everything. The man was a genius.
One of the strangest things fans ask me is if I'm Tygra's son because they
think I look like him. Wilykit get's the same thing with Lion-o. I don't think
I look like Tygra; I guess it was the haircuts.
It took Lion-o a little while to get going, but after a while, he really
started to like what he was doing, God rest his soul. I seem to recall
Lion-o talking to the writers about getting some guest stars for year
four. Not guys who would show up as dopey villains and then disappear, which
is mostly what happened, I mean real guest stars. Stars like He-Man or the
Transformers, those kinds of stars. I guess he was looking for a way to inject
some life into a dull as dishwater season that should have been shelved. I
wonder what a show like that might have been like some times.
I think we all pretty much miss each other. Some mornings I wake up and I
feel like I should be going down to set, expect to see Lion-o and the gang.
For a guy who never liked performing, I really liked doing the show, even
if they did portray me as a little idiot.
FACTS: The 9 year old twins were one of many who showed up at the auditions
for the youngsters who marvel at and are lectured by the older Thundercats.
Coming from a poor home in California, their parents were looking for a way
to make some fast cash, so they got their children to go to acting schools
for children. Although the they did not develop the financial empire of Mary-Kate
and Ashley Olsen, they made a healthy amount of money and have used it to retire
and escape the public eye. Both grown up now, Wilykit teaches Kindergarten in
her home state of California, while Wilykat joined the Democratic party and is
now an aspiring politician. They also comment that they have patched things up
with their parents. Wilykit is married with one daughter, while Wilykat is
expecting his first child.
Next: Grumpy old Thundercats (Jaga and Lynx-o).
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