DISCOVER--the best of the Tweety and Sylvester cartoons

Rather like Stan and Ollie of Laurel and Hardy fame, who appeared solo to little avail until finding each other, Tweety and Sylvester both appeared in individual solo cartoons (three each) before being teamed for the first time in 1947's "Tweetie Pie", a true classic overseen by Friz Freleng, who directed the vast majority of team-ups to follow. Tweety premiered in 1942's "A Tale of Two Kitties", followed by "Birdy and the Beast" and "A Gruesome Twosome", and Sylvester in 1945's "Life With Feathers" and then "Peck Up Your Troubles" and "Kitty Kornered". This latter title was a Porky Pig cartoon followed by the equally inspired "Back Alley Oproar", which has the most amazing and eclectic musical soundtrack of any cartoon ever.

Once Tweety had teamed with Sylvester, he continued to appear only with his new tormentor/tormentee, but Sylvester continued to appear in other formats by other Warners animators, occasionally with his whiny, embarrassed son Sylvester Jnr. and interminably with a kangaroo mistaken for a giant mouse, and eventually tiresomely with the one-joke Speedy Gonzales. While these tended to overuse the character, Chuck Jones did turn out a series of three inspired horror spoofs with Porky Pig ("Scaredy Cat", "Claws for Alarm", and the sci-fi "Jumpin' Jupiter") in which Sylvester was necessarily mute! In these, Porky is oblivious to the fantastic and scary events around him, while Sylvester desperately tries to clue him in with frantic mimes! What was interesting here is that Warners placed no restrictions or restraints on how a character was used or interpreted in those days, giving animators complete artistic freedom in how they chose to employ or portray even major faces. However, all of these traded on the goodwill generated by Freleng's Sylvester and his amazing sense of timing and attention to detail. I think it's the appalling few micro-seconds of resignation, horror, confusion, or despair on Sylvester's face before he pays the painful price for his evil intent that makes these cartoons so agonisingly funny.

Sylvester also appeared in a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon (1947's "Crowing Pains"), in Daffy Duck's legendary "Scarlet Pumpernickel" in 1950, and alongside Wile E. Coyote (in 1965's awful "The Wild Chase").

However, it is with the malicious and vindictive and far from cute and innocent Tweety that Freleng's lisping alley cat truly shone, in a series of just over forty almost heartbreakingly violent encounters with his malevolent meal. The Tweety and Sylvester cartoons rival Tom and Jerry for sheer laugh-out-loud entertainment, replacing their cosy rough and tumble with brutal, sheer wanton cruelty. Those expressions of despair, resignation, and misery on the poor creature's face say it all...
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1.
Tweetie Pie (1947 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Thomas the cat finds Tweety in the snow, warming himself by a cigar butt. Thomas's mistress rescues the little yellow bird before her cat can devour him, but Thomas doesn't give up. (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
2.
I Taw a Putty Tat (1948 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Woman wonders why her little pet birds keep disappearing. Sylvester the cat knows, but other than burping feathers... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
“ Why is there a picture of Dowwis Day here? ” - jonabbott56
 
3.
Bad Ol' Putty Tat (1949 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Sylvester the Cat makes every attempt to snatch or lure Tweety from his birdhouse. (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
Stars: Mel Blanc
 
4.
Home, Tweet Home (1950 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Tweety Bird is washing in a bird bath in a city park when Sylvester Cat interrupts him. Sylvester chases Tweety... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
5.
All a Bir-r-r-d (1950 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Sylvester Cat, Tweety Bird, and a bulldog are passengers on a train. Sylvester's attempts to catch Tweety... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
6.
Canary Row (1950 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Sylvester Cat spots Tweety Bird in a San Fransisco apartment and tries to gain access but cannot make it past Granny or the cat-hating desk clerk. (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
7.
Putty Tat Trouble (1951 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Tweety Bird is shoveling out his nest atop a city pole after a snowstorm and is spotted by Sylvester Cat and a one-eyed orange tabby... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
8.
Room and Bird (1951 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Sylvester Cat and Tweety Bird are pets of tenants in the Spinsters Arms Hotel, where pets aren't allowed... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
9.
Tweety's S.O.S. (1951 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Sylvester Cat stows away aboard a seagoing passenger liner to try and catch Tweety Bird, who is guarded by his mistress... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
10.
Tweet Tweet Tweety (1951 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Sylvester Cat leaves a trailer in a National Forest Camping Ground to go bird hunting and discovers an egg in a nest... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
Stars: Mel Blanc
 
11.
Gift Wrapped (1952 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Sylvester gets a rubber mouse for Christmas, but he much prefers Granny's gift: a new Tweety Bird. (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
12.
Ain't She Tweet (1952 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Sylvester Cat discovers Tweety Bird in a pet store window. Tweety is taken to be delivered by truck to a new owner - Granny... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
13.
A Bird in a Guilty Cage (1952 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Sylvester Cat spots Tweety Bird in a display window of an after-hours department store and sneaks inside through a mail server chute... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
Stars: Mel Blanc
 
14.
Snow Business (1953 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Sylvester Cat and Tweety Bird are snowbound in a mountain cabin, and though Tweety has lots of bird seed... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
15.
Fowl Weather (1953 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Granny is Tweety Bird's mistress on a farm. She assigns a bulldog named Hector to take care of Tweety while she's away... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
16.
Tom Tom Tomcat (1953 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Tweety Bird is being taken by his mistress, Granny, on a trip across a prairie in a horse-drawn wagon when they are attacked by a tribe of Indian cats... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
17.
A Street Cat Named Sylvester (1953 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The title of this cartoon is a misnomer, because it is in fact Tweety Bird who is the homeless one here... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
18.
Catty Cornered (1953 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Rocky the gangster kidnaps Tweety Bird for a million dollar ransom and holes up in an abandoned city building... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
Stars: Mel Blanc
 
19.
Dog Pounded (1954 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Sylvester Cat tries to catch Tweety Bird, who is up in a tree in the middle of the city dog pound. (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
Stars: Mel Blanc
 
20.
Muzzle Tough (1954 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Tweety Bird moves into a city brownstone with his mistress, Granny. A stray Sylvester Cat watches them move in and delights on seeing Tweety... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
21.
Satan's Waitin' (1954 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Sylvester's carnivorious pursuit of Tweety Bird continues, chasing the canary onto the ledge of a tall building... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
Stars: Mel Blanc
 
22.
Sandy Claws (1954 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Tweety Bird is taken by his mistress, Granny, to a beach, where Sylvester Cat spots him and tries to reach his cage... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
23.
Tweety's Circus (1955 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Sylvester Cat pays a visit to a closed-to-business circus and finds Tweety Bird in one of the cages... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
Stars: Mel Blanc
 
24.
Red Riding Hoodwinked (1955 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Red Riding Hood is on her way from the city to the country and to her grandmother's house, and along the way she meets the Big Bad Wolf... (7 mins.)
Director: I. Freleng
 
25.
Tweet and Sour (1956 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Sylvester Cat tries to catch Tweety Bird in Granny's farm house, but Granny catches Sylvester and warns him if anything ever happens to Tweety... (7 mins.)
Director: Friz Freleng
 
26.
Tree Cornered Tweety (1956 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Sylvester Cat chases Tweety Bird while Tweety narrates. The chase takes them out of the city to the country... (7 mins.)
Director: Friz Freleng
Stars: Mel Blanc
 
27.
Tugboat Granny (1956 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Tweety Bird and his mistress, Granny, are at the controls of a tugboat that Sylvester tries unsuccessfully to board. (7 mins.)
Director: Friz Freleng
 
28.
Tweet Zoo (1957 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Sylvester Cat joins a tour group through the City Zoo and finds Tweety Bird among the exhibits. Sylvester chases Tweety and ends up in a bear's den... (7 mins.)
Director: Friz Freleng
Stars: Mel Blanc
 
29.
Tweety and the Beanstalk (1957 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Jack's mother throws Jack's magic beans outside under Sylvester Cat's sleeping box, and the cat is whisked to the world above... (6 mins.)
Director: Friz Freleng
 
30.
Birds Anonymous (1957 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In this spoof of Alcoholics Anonymous, pussy cats are cast as bird-eating addicts and go through the 12-step process to deal with their addiction... (7 mins.)
Director: Friz Freleng
Stars: Mel Blanc
 
31.
Greedy for Tweety (1957 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The chase between Sylvester and Tweety continues into a busy city street, where the puddy tat himself gets chased by Hector the bulldog... (6 mins.)
Director: Friz Freleng
 
32.
A Pizza Tweety-Pie (1958 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Another wet and wild Sylvester Cat-Tweety Bird chase, this time in the flooded areas of Venice, Italy, where Granny has taken Tweety on vacation. (6 mins.)
Director: Friz Freleng
 
33.
A Bird in a Bonnet (1958 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
The chase continues between Tweety Bird and that persistant puddy tat, Sylvester. Tweety hides in a... (6 mins.)
Director: Friz Freleng
 
34.
Trick or Tweet (1959 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Sylvester Cat and a goony orange cat pretend not to let their rivalry over trying to catch Tweety Bird interfere with their friendship... (7 mins.)
Director: Friz Freleng
 
35.
Tweet and Lovely (1959 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Sylvester Cat's new hang-out is an inventor's lab, which is near Tweety Bird's house atop a pole. Guarding Tweety's house is a bulldog named Spike... (6 mins.)
Director: Friz Freleng
Stars: Mel Blanc
 
36.
Hyde and Go Tweet (1960 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Sylvester alternates chasing the normal Tweety and fleeing a monster version of Tweety. (6 mins.)
Director: Friz Freleng
Stars: Mel Blanc
“ Freleng had first spoofed Jekyll and Hyde in 1954's "Dr. Jerkyl's Hide" in a solo Sylvester outing with the Warner bulldog, but this one brings Tweety into the mix. It's also the last Tweety and Sylvester cartoon that really works (the monstrous giant Tweety with glaring eyes and heaving chest is magnificent). Five more entries in the series would follow in the 1960s, the last without Freleng, and all uninspired, repetitive, and threadbare--"Trip for Tat", "The Rebel Without Claws", the creepy "The Last Hungry Cat", "The Jet Cage", and the absurd and unfunny "Hawaiian Aye Aye". In terms of quality, the already declining series would end with the 1950s, although immortality on television now beckoned...


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Obsessed with the popular culture of the 1960s and surrounding decades, Jon Abbott has been writing about film and TV for over thirty years in around two dozen different publications, trade, populist, and specialist. He is the author of several books, including

Irwin Allen Television Productions 1964-1970,
Stephen J. Cannell Television Productions: A History of All Series and Pilots,
The Elvis Films,
Cool TV of the 1960s: Three Shows That Changed the World,
and Strange New World: Sex Films of the 1970s.

See his Amazon author's page, and his other lists on the IMDB, all under the pre-fix DISCOVER. ” - jonabbott56