Babbit and Catstello
Looney Tunes character
First appearanceA Tale of Two Kitties (1942)
Created byBob Clampett
Voiced byBabbit:
Tedd Pierce (1942–1946)
Corey Burton (Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries)
Catstello:
Mel Blanc (1942–1946)
Richard Bickenbach (1946)
Frank Welker (Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries)
In-universe information
SpeciesCats (first cartoon)
Mice (second and fourth cartoon)
Dogs (third cartoon)

Babbit and Catstello are fictional characters, based on the comedic duo Abbott and Costello, that appeared in Warner Bros. animated cartoons.[1] The characters appeared in three cartoons between 1942 and 1946.[2]

Overview

Although the short, fat character calls the other one "Babbit", the tall, skinny one never addresses his partner by name; the name "Catstello" for the short, fat character was invented later. In their first three cartoons, Babbit was voiced by Tedd Pierce, and Mel Blanc performed Catstello.

Appearances

A Tale of Two Kitties

Main article: A Tale of Two Kitties

Originally, the pair were cats in pursuit of a small bird for their meal in the 1942 Bob Clampett-directed cartoon A Tale of Two Kitties, a cartoon notable for the first appearance of the bird character, who would eventually become Warner Bros. cartoon icon Tweety. The hapless duo fail in every attempt to capture the bird, establishing the pattern that would be used time and again in future Tweety cartoons.[3]

Tale of Two Mice

Main article: Tale of Two Mice

Three years later, Babbit and Catstello reappeared in the similarly-named A Tale of Two Mice, directed by Frank Tashlin.[4] Though their characterizations were the same, the two were now mice, living in a hole in the wall of a typical cartoon kitchen.

Their goal in this cartoon was the cheese in the kitchen's refrigerator, the only obstacle being the resident house cat. Babbit attempts to coerce Catstello (often by beating him up) into going after the cheese solo, using various methods to get it (which involved Catstello getting hurt). However, in the end, it is Swiss cheese, which Babbit can't stand. Angrily, Catstello beats him up and begins force-feeding the cheese, uttering one of his archetype Lou Costello's famous lines: "Oh — I'm a baaaaad boy!" (At one point in A Tale of Two Kitties, he similarly remarks, "I'm a baaaaad pussycat!")

Hollywood Canine Canteen

Main article: Hollywood Canine Canteen

They make a cameo in 1946's Hollywood Canine Canteen as the pet dogs of the real life Abbott and Costello (Costello's dog even refers to Abbott's dog as "Babbit").[5]

The Mouse-Merized Cat

Main article: The Mouse-Merized Cat

Finally, in 1946, they appeared in Robert McKimson's The Mouse-Merized Cat, wherein Babbit uses a book to hypnotize Catstello.[6] Babbit has Catstello believe he's a dog in order to scare off the cat so they can get to the food in the refrigerator. However, the cat soon studies hypnosis and is able to reverse Babbit's spell. This results in Catstello running back and forth between the two as they continue use hypnosis. Finally, Catstello becomes fed up with Babbit making him the fall guy, and turns the tables on both Babbit and the cat, hypnotizing them into believing they are, respectively, a cowboy and his trusty steed. Catstello tricks Babbit with his Yosemite Sam like voice makes babbit utters a deliberately misworded variation on the Lone Ranger's classic catchphrase — "Hi yo, Sliver, awaaayy!" — before he and the cat gallop away.

The final scene shows Catstello eating cheese and reading a book on living alone, before turning to the audience and once again reciting "Oh — I'm a baaaaad boy!"

Later appearances

The pair have mainly made cameos in modern Warner Bros. animated projects, with their most major appearance being in "Ice Cat-Pades", a segment of the 1995–2000 series The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries.

References

  1. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1991). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals. Prentice Hall Press. p. 15. ISBN 0-13-275561-0. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  2. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 52. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  3. ^ Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. Henry Holt and Co. p. 135. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2.
  4. ^ Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. Henry Holt and Co. p. 161. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2.
  5. ^ Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. Henry Holt and Co. p. 166. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2.
  6. ^ Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. Henry Holt and Co. p. 172. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2.