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Sylvester the Cat
Sylvester
Background information
Species: Tuxedo cat
Gender: Male
Debut appearance: Naughty but Mice
(Prototype)
Life with Feathers
(as Sylvester the Cat)
Created by: Friz Freleng
Portrayed by: Mel Blanc (1943–1989)
Joe Alaskey (1990–2016)
Bill Farmer (1996)
Terry Klassen (2001–2006)
Jeff Bergman (2003-present)

Sylvester James Pussycat, Sr. or Sylvester the Cat is a Tuxedo cat who appears in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons, often chasing Tweety Bird, Speedy Gonzales, or Hippety Hopper. When depicted with an owner, he is mainly with Granny; but very early on he would be with Porky Pig. Sylvester, in main roles and cameos, has appeared in 103 Warner Bros. shorts between 1945 and 1966, making him fourth most frequent character, after Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and Daffy Duck, respectively.

Personality

Prototype-Sylvester

Proto-Sylvester

Sylvester shows much pride and he also never gives up. Despite his pride and persistence, Sylvester was definitely on the "loser" side of the Looney Tunes winner / loser hierarchy. His character is that of Wile E. Coyote, except that ironically Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote as well as Sylvester/Tweety are parodies of Tom and Jerry.

In The Wild Chase, Sylvester is pared with Wile E. Coyote while they both try to catch Speedy Gonzales and Road Runner. As usual they both fail. He shows a different character when paired with Porky Pig in explorations of spooky places, in which he doesn't speak, as a scaredy cat. (In these cartoons, he basically plays the terrified Costello to Porky's oblivious Abbott.)

Sylvester's most developed role is as a hapless mouse-catching instructor to his dubious son, Sylvester Junior, in which the "mouse" is a powerful baby kangaroo named "Hippety Hopper". His alternately confident and bewildered episodes bring his son to shame, while Sylvester himself is reduced to nervous breakdowns. He is often referred to as a putty tat by Tweety and Senor Gringo Pussygato by Speedy Gonzales. His famous catchphrase is "Sufferin' Succotash" which is said to be a minced saying for "Suffering Misses" (Daffy also says it from time to time).

Sylvester's trademark is his sloppy, yet stridulating lisp. In his autobiography, That's Not All Folks!, voice actor Mel Blanc stated that Sylvester's voice is based on that of Daffy Duck, plus the even more slobbery lispit gets and minus the post-production speed-up that was done with Daffy's [citation needed]

. Daffy's lisp, as well as Sylvester's, were based on the lisp of producer Leon Schlesinger[citation needed]

. However, Blanc made no such claim. He said that Daffy's lisp was based on him having a long beak, and that he borrowed the voice for Sylvester[citation needed]

 . He also pointed out that, minus the lisp, Sylvester's voice was fairly close to his own (a claim that his son Noel Blanc has confirmed). In addition, director Bob Clampett, in a 1970 Funnyworld interview, agreed with Blanc's account concerning Schlesinger[citation needed]

.

To emphasize the lisp, as with Daffy's catchphrase "You're desthpicable", Sylvester's trademark exclamation is "Sufferin' succotash!", which is said to be a minced oath of "Suffering Savior". (Daffy also says "Sufferin' succotash!" from time to time.)

Friz Freleng's Sylvester

Sylvester first appeared (in his form today) in the 1945 short "Life with Feathers", which was directed by Friz Freleng. Although this was his first official appearance, there was a claim that in "Notes to You", there was a prototypical version of him.[citation needed]


Sylvester's first official appearance with Tweety was in the 1947 short "Tweetie Pie" where he tries to eat Tweety but gets punished. In the film-shorts, he usually gets clobbered by Granny or Hector the Bulldog whenever he tries to eat Tweety. Other than Tweety, he also chases Speedy Gonzales, but Speedy would cause a pain for him. He also appears with Elmer J. Fudd in some cartoons. The pair's cartoons lasted from 1947 to 1954, shortly before the closure of the Warner Bros. studio. Sylvester and Tweety became one of the most well-known pairings in Looney Tunes, next to Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Some of their episodes have won or were nominated for Academy Awards.

Bob McKimson's Sylvester

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Evolution

Prior to Sylvester's appearance in the cartoons, Blanc voiced a character of the same name on The Judy Canova Show using the voice that would eventually become associated with the cat.

In his early appearances he was unnamed but until then his original name was Thomas in "Tweetie Pie", most likely as a reference to Tom and Jerry, with Tom's full name being Thomas.

In The Looney Tunes Show, Sylvester's appearance has changed in the series. His body is more shorter and slender and his canine teeth are more sharp and prominent making him look more like a housecat.

Trivia

Quotes

  • "Sufferin' succotash. What a perfect time for me to go on a diet.
  • "I need to take 'birds' off of my diet litht; that onewent right through me." ~ "A Bird in a Guilty Cage"
  • Junior: "Did you give him his jutht desserts, Father?" Sylvester: "No, he doesn't like desserts." ~ Cats A-weigh!
  • Tweety: "I wonder where that puddy tat went to?" Sylvester [swinging on wooden swing, flattened by rock-crusher]: "Does thith anthwer your question?"
  • "Ahhh, shut up!" [hits his enemy with something]
  • "He may be the fastest mouse in all Mexico, but it never comes with meeting the brainiest feline in all Mexico." - Cats and Bruises
  • "Eep."  
  • "Help! Pussycat overboard!" ~ Tweety's High Flying Adventure  

Other Media

  • In the Adventure Time episode "Ignition Point," in the scene where Jake and Finn are face-to-face with the cook, Jake says, "Sufferin' succotash," Sylvester's famous line.
  • Stc

    Sylvester's cameo appearance in Drawn Together

    In Drawn Together, Sylvester has Appeared in "Clum Babies" as one of the clients whom were seeking for a cure, depicted in a wheel chair.
  • In Family Guy, in Padre de Familia, he appared Chasing Peter Griffin's made character, Rapid Dave, who was an equivalent to Speedy Gonzales.
    Rapid Dave

    Rapid Dave

Voice Actors

Gallery

Main article: Sylvester/Gallery

References

Characters
Major Characters
Barnyard DawgBeaky BuzzardBugs BunnyCecil TurtleCharlie DogClaude CatDaffy DuckElmer FuddFoghorn LeghornGossamerGrannyHector the BulldogHenery HawkHippety HopperHubie and BertieLola BunnyGoofy GophersMarc Anthony and PussyfootMarvin the MartianMichigan J. FrogMiss PrissyPenelope PussycatPepé Le PewPete PumaPorky PigRalph WolfRoad RunnerSam SheepdogSniffles . Speedy GonzalesSylvesterSylvester Jr.TazTweety BirdWile E. CoyoteWitch HazelYosemite Sam
Secondary Characters
Blacque Jacque ShellacqueBoskoThe CrusherGiovanni JonesYoyo DodoTasmanian She-DevilMelissa DuckHugo the Abominable SnowmanSpike and ChesterNasty CanastaThe GremlinPrivate SnafuPetunia PigPlayboy PenguinShropshire SlasherCount BloodcountMama BuzzardColonel ShuffleEgghead Jr.Owl JolsonToro the BullRocky and MugsyMinah BirdInkiBeansLittle KittyHam And ExOliver OwlPiggyGabby GoatBuddyHoneySlowpoke RodriguezThe Three BearsFoxyK-9A. FleaConstruction WorkerFrisky PuppyRalph MouseHoney BunnyRoxyThe Martin BrothersRalph PhillipsClyde BunnyFauntleroy FlipDr. I.Q. HiGruesome GorillaSloppy MoeHatta MariBusinessmanThe WeaselWiloughbyThe Two Curious PuppiesCool CatBabbit and CatstelloInstant MartiansBobo the ElephantColonel RimfireSmokey the GenieJose and ManuelMerlin the Magic MouseConrad the CatAngus MacRoryBanty RoosterThree Little PigsTom TurkeyGoopy GeerNelly the GiraffeAla BahmaDr. LorreCottontail SmithBunny and ClaudeClaude HopperThe Hep CatThe Drunk Stork

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