“Thufferin’ Thuccotash!” and “I tawt I taw a puddy tat!” Words spoken by one of the best-known character duos of all time, Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird.
Tweety, or Sweetie Pie, was created by Bob Clampett and was first seen in Warner Brothers’ A Tale of Two Kitties in 1942.
In the early days, Tweety Bird, whose original name was Orson, was drawn as a pink bird. Censors complained that he looked nude, so Tweety’s color was changed to yellow. In the beginning of Tweety’s career, he was a feisty bird that lived outside in a nest. In his appearance, Granny saved Tweety from being eaten by two bad cats named Babbit and Catstello (after Abbott and Costello), and from then on he lived in a gilded cage in Granny’s house.
Sylvester the Cat, created by Friz Freleng, was not seen until 1945 in “Life With Feathers.” According to Wikipedia, his name was originally Thomas and was later changed to Sylvester, a reference to the scientific name for the house cat, Felis Sylvestris Catus. Sylvester looked very much the same as he does now, with his big red nose, and his lisp became a trademark feature.
It was not until 1946 in the cartoon “Tweetie Pie” that Sylvester and Tweety were paired together as main characters. Directed by Freleng, it was the first Warner Brothers short animated cartoon film to win an Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons). In each episode, Sylvester tries to capture Tweety, but usually fails due to the quick thinking of Tweety and the interruptions of Granny or Hector the bulldog.
Both characters have achieved successful careers lasting through the decades. They have starred in more than 40 cartoons and won a second Academy Award for “Birds Anonymous”. They have also been used for advertising products. Tweety Bird was in an early ’80s public service announcement and Sylvester has been used to sell Orange Crush, Miracle Whip and MCI Telephone service.
In the 1990s, The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries premiered on the WB network. The show didn’t last long, but it kept Tweety and Sylvester in the public eye, and was followed by the movie Space Jam, with Michael Jordon, in 1996.
The cartoon short films are timeless, entertaining and have delighted generations of Americans and people around the world. Sylvester and Tweety Bird cartoons can still be seen on cable channels in the present day along with their fellow Looney Tunes characters.
Take a look at A Tale of Two Kitties, featuring Tweety in is original design:
And here’s the first appearance of the two together, in Tweetie Pie:
Do you remember when you first met Tweety and Sylvester. More importantly, who did you root for?