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Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Virgil Ross, Arthur Davis, Manuel Perez, and Ken Champin; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released in 1954.
Another one of the 100 greatest! And don’t let the fact that the cartoon says Tweety is the star here. He’s but a means to an end. This is strictly Sylvester’s short. While doing the usual chase thing up on a building, Sylvester skids off the edge. But by using a couple of Tweety’s feathers, he manages to fly his way back up to safety. Tweety thanks him for returning them. Without those, Sylvester plummets. While it is true that cats land on their feet, gravity is still accounted for. With that pulling down on him, Sylvester smashes into the pavement. He’s dead. I’m not joking. His soul actually leaves his body. Two different escalators also appear. Any newly deceased being would choose the one going up, but it’s roped off. Sylvester has no choice but to take the one going down. In Hell, the devil (or one of his minions shaped like a bulldog) welcomes the cat. Looking him up in his book, the devil dog finds Sylvester is indeed supposed to be here. (Why? For trying to eat? Or do all cats go to Hell? In the real world, I’m not complaining. I hate cats. But I love Sylvester! This hardly seems fair.) Seems an eternity of being mauled by satanic dogs awaits him. There’s just one catch: since cats have nine lives, nothing happens until the rest of them show up. So I guess cats just go to hell then. What if his other lives were (whatever the divine powers that be in this short) deem good? Doesn’t matter. Back on Earth, Sylvester the second comes to. He reuses to chase Tweety anymore. (Not that it matters) Satan tempts him into it though, and the chase leads right in front of a steamroller. Sylvester’s second life sits next to his first, flat as the day he died. (Shouldn’t Tweety have died there too?) Sylvester three is told by Satan that having seven lives left means he’s lucky, and he chases the bird into an amusement park and into a haunted house. He is literally scared to death. Life three remains pale as a ghost. (Sadly, this ends the lives all looking different. But I guess that would be too morbid, because…) After coming to again, the fourth reiteration of the cat chases the canary into a shooting gallery. This was a different time, as those guns fire real bullets and lives 4-7 end up wasted. Tweety hops on a roller coaster, with Sylvester waiting with a club. Failing to keep his body in the vehicle at all times is what costs him life #8. Still thinking he has a choice in the matter, Sylvester runs off vowing to give up the chase. He decides to spend the remainder of his days in a bank vault. (I guess he knows by now that he’s screwed, so he might as well make his time last. It might be boring, but at least it’ll be peaceful.) That night, some burglars come into the bank, aiming to blow open the safe with nitroglycerin. If playing Crash Bandicoot has taught me anything, it’s that that stuff is a good way to get yourself killed. Surprise! They get themselves killed. And robbing a bank was enough to seal their fate, and down they go. Unfortunately for him, Sylvester was caught in the crossfire. Whoops.