Sylvester is a fictional
cat who appears in several Looney Tunes cartoons,
often chasing Tweety
, Speedy Gonzales, or Hippety Hopper. The
name "Sylvester" is a play on silvestris,
the scientific name for the cat species. The character's
prototype appeared in Bob Clampett's 1941 cartoon
The Hep Cat who had not name, but resembled Sylvester
(although without the lisp). The character got his
permanent look in the 1945 short film Life With Feathers.
In the 1946 cartoon Tweetie Pie (which was the both
the first pairing of Tweety with Sylvester as well
as the first Warner Bros. cartoon to win an Academy
Award), Sylvester was called Thomas.
Sylvester's trademark was his sloppy, stridulating
lisp (which, like Daffy
's, was based on producer Leon Schlesinger's).
His sloppy voice was provided by voice acting legend
Mel Blanc. Blanc reveals in his autobiography that
Sylvester's voice and Daffy's were identical, but
Daffy's was sped up in post-production. Sylvester's
trademark exclamation is "Suffering succotash!"
Sylvester is an adorable cat who shows much pride
in himself, and he never gives up. Despite (or perhaps
because of) his pride and persistence, Sylvester was
definitely on the "loser" side of the Looney
Tunes winner/loser hierarchy. His character was basically
that of Wile
while he was chasing mice or birds.
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 hapless mouse-catching instructor to his dubious
son, Sylvester Junior, in which the "mouse"
is a powerful baby kangaroo. His alternately confident
and bewildered episodes bring his son to shame, while
Sylvester himself is reduced to nervous breakdowns.
Learn more about Sylvester
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