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A Tale of Two Kitties is a 1942 Merrie Melodies short directed by Bob Clampett.

Title

The title is an obvious pun on the Charles Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities, but there is no other connection between the two "Tales".

Plot

Catstello hesitates to catch and eat Tweety so that he and Babbit could eat, largely because Catstello is afraid of heights, as well as getting attacked by birds, but Babbit convinces him to do so, since Tweety is only "a tiny little bird", though unknown to them, Tweety is dangerous.

Catstello gets height-phobic and falls off the ladder. When the straightforward approach fails, Babbit then subjects Catstello into doing the following attempts to catch Tweety for food, all in vain:

  1. Jack-in the box springs: Babbit stuffs in Catstello, who is equipped with springs, into a box, causing Catstello to constantly scream "HEY BABBIT!" And when Babbit let's him out of the box, Catstello successfully reaches the top of the tree where Tweety lives. Upon encountering Catstello, Tweety starts getting really aggressive, with knocks to the head and a dynamite stick (a more tame version of this gag would later be re-used in "Bad Ol' Putty Tat")
  2. Next, Babbit plants a bomb right under a demotivated Catstello, whom is eating an apple. As Catstello blasts off into the air, Tweety snatches away his apple, eats the worm in it, and tosses the apple away. Catstello falls mid-air, but lands on a wire, which Tweety plays "This little piggy" with Catstello's fingers, without even caring when Catstello constantly yells "BABBIT!" causing him to fall. Tweety "saves" him by giving Catstello a rope, which is tied to an anvil, which sends the cat crashing really hard into the ground, so hard that it sucks up everything in sight!
  3. Finally, Babbit transforms Catstello into a anti-aircraft plane, and launches him into the air, which Catstello calls himself a spitfire. "Hey, Babbitt! I'm a Spitfire!" Tweety, mistaking Catstello for a UFO, calls the air-raid warden, causing Catstello to get shot by air-raid warden tanks, and fall to the ground, landing flat on Babbit.

Tweety tells the air-raid warden "Lights out," and passes by both Babbit and Catstello. Babbit and Catstello see Tweety on the ground. "Hey, now's our chance. Come on!" They creep up on him. They approach him, eyes bulging, claws drawn, big teeth exposed. Tweety turns over and yells in a very loud and un-Tweety-like voice, to "TURN OUT THOSE LIGHTS!" The cats' eyes, the street light, and the moon all blink out.

Caricatures

Availability

Streaming

Censorship

When this short aired on The WB, Catstello's line "If the Hays Office would only let me, I'd give 'im the bird alright!" after Babbit says, "Gimme the bird! Gimme the bird!" was cut, as "the bird" Catstello is referring to is a slang term for showing someone the middle finger, which is considered a rude gesture in most cultures and a taboo by the Hays Office.[2] Cartoon Network, Boomerang, TBS and TNT, however, left this scene uncut.

Notes

  • It is notable for introducing the character Tweety.
  • It is the first appearance of Babbit and Catstello, based on the popular comedy duo Abbott and Costello.
  • The "this wittle piddy" gag would later be re-used in "Tweety's S.O.S.", "China Jones" and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
  • The cartoon is replete with topical references, many having to do with World War II. One gag has the "Babbit" cat hoeing his "Victory garden". Another has the "Catstello" cat gliding through the air on artificial wings like a warplane and shouting, "Hey, Babbitt! I'm a Spitfire!", followed by a few juicy expectorations. The climax has Tweety admonishing the cats, in a very loud and un-Tweety-like voice, to "TURN OUT THOSE LIGHTS!" during an air raid drill; the cats' eyes—the street light—and the moon all blink out.
  • Tweety reveals early on that his cute appearance masks a willingness to be merciless, even sadistic, towards anyone who threatens him. After slipping one of the cats a bomb which explodes (offscreen), the bird remarks, "Aw, da poor putty tat - he cwushed his widdow head!" Followed by a big grin. This line was patterned after a catchphrase from a Red Skelton character, and would be used in other Warner cartoons, such as "Easter Yeggs".
  • This cartoon pokes fun at the Hays Office not allowing the use of profanity, regardless in the form of mentioning or via sign language in films at the time. This is when Babbit demands Catstello to "give him the bird", and Catstello remarks "If the Hays Office would only let me, I'd give 'im the bird alright!" The "bird" which Catstello is referring to, is a slang term for giving someone the middle finger, which is considered a rude gesture in most cultures and a taboo by the Hays Office back in the day. A similar censorship gag regarding about "the bird" not allowed to be used is also satirized in an Animaniacs episode "Turkey Jerky" fifty years later, when Myles Standish demand the Warner siblings give him the bird, only for Yakko to remark "We'd love to, really, but the Fox censors won't allow it!"
  • This cartoon entered the Public Domain in 1970.
  • While the original titles are lost, a pencil sketch of them have turned up in 2021.

Gallery

References

← N/A Tweety Cartoons Birdy and the Beast →
Tweety Cartoons
1942 A Tale of Two Kitties
1944 Birdy and the Beast
1945 A Gruesome Twosome
1947 Tweetie Pie
1948 I Taw a Putty Tat
1949 Bad Ol' Putty Tat
1950 Home, Tweet HomeAll a Bir-r-r-dCanary Row
1951 Putty Tat TroubleRoom and BirdTweety's S.O.S.Tweet Tweet Tweety
1952 Gift WrappedAin't She TweetA Bird in a Guilty Cage
1953 Snow BusinessFowl WeatherTom Tom TomcatA Street Cat Named SylvesterCatty Cornered
1954 Dog PoundedMuzzle ToughSatan's Waitin'
1955 Sandy ClawsTweety's CircusRed Riding HoodwinkedHeir-Conditioned
1956 Tweet and SourTree Cornered TweetyTugboat Granny
1957 Tweet ZooTweety and the BeanstalkBirds AnonymousGreedy for Tweety
1958 A Pizza Tweety-PieA Bird in a Bonnet
1959 Trick or TweetTweet and LovelyTweet Dreams
1960 Hyde and Go TweetTrip for Tat
1961 The Rebel Without ClawsThe Last Hungry Cat
1962 The Jet Cage
1964 Hawaiian Aye Aye
2011 I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat
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