A Tale of Two Kitties

HEY BABBIT!

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Rod Scribner; Musical Direction by Carl W. stalling. Released in 1942

This short was supposed to introduce the world to new characters who would be stars for Warner Bros. But someone else stole the spotlight. The two supposed stars are two kitties. (This is their tale) The taller one is named Babbit (Tedd Pierce) and the stout one is Catstello. (Mel) His name is never mentioned in the short, but come on. He’s a cat and if you have any idea who Abbot and Costello are, then you know who these two are based on and you’ve made the pun yourself. (That and the studio model sheets labeled him as such) It’s time to eat and Babbit tells his comrade to go get a bird out of a nest so they can eat. Catstello is reluctant even after he’s told of how small it is. (I guess they’d each get a mouthful, but I have a feeling Babbit would hog it all) Turns out hes got “Heightrophobia” and it takes a pin to his backside to finally get him up the ladder. Scared as his partner is, Babbit demands that he gives him the bird. (Catstello laments that the Hayes office is what is keeping him from fulfilling that desire. I just didn’t know the term existed in the forties) He makes a swipe at a sleeping bird but misses. This is the birthplace of Tweety. (Inspired by nude baby photos that Clampett’s mother had and he resented.) The ladder breaks and Catstello begs to be rescued. So scared is he that he doesn’t notice Babbit saving him until he is in his arms. For the next attempt, Babbit shoves his pal into a box against said pals protests. He’s also afraid of the dark. Babbit lets him out and the springs on his feet bounce him up to the nest. Here, our little baby Tweety (model sheets had him labled as Orson) utters his first words: “I tawt I taw a putty tat.” Seeing as he did taw a putty tat, Tweety has no choice but to defend himself. And does he ever! Using an arsenal of guns, clubs and even TNT sticks, he continues to beat the crap out of the poor putty tat. Catstello cries over this while unbeknownst to him, he sits on an explosive. When Babbit detonates it he flies up towards the nest again. But he flies past it. (Tweety helps himself to Catstello’s apple. Or rather, the worm that was inside) When gravity kicks in, the cat falls and is able to cling onto a telephone wire. Tweety comes over to play “this ittle piddy.” (I was lucky enough to watch this short before “Roger Rabbit” so I knew where that gag was coming from) Tweety isn’t totally heartless, as he throws the cat a rope. It’s attached to an anvil though. Said anvil crushes the cat into the ground and drags all the surroundings to wards it. This includes Babbit and his victory garden. (I really like how concerned he sounds for his friend. Turns out he really does care.) The final attempt is launching Castello with wooden wings strapped on. Wouldn’t you know it, it works. (Human beings have been trying to fly for years, and it took a simpler mind to figure it out.) Tweety calls the “fourt interceptor tommand” to report the disturbance and the cat is blasted out of the sky. He manages to avoid landing on a pitchfork in favor of his partner. (While they didn’t become the stars, they did appear in a couple more shorts after this. But they were mice. How humiliating.) Tweety is now on the ground and initiates a blackout. Seeing their chance, the two cats stalk their prey with faces that haunted my childhood. (That must be all real-world birds see cats.) Tweety doesn’t freak out though. He yells at the two to turn out the lights like he told them too. Their glowing eyes instantly dim. (As does the moon)