Sylvester J. Pussycat, Sr., also known as Puddy Tat (as in "I tawt I taw a puddy tat" and "bad ol' puddy tat", two sentences often repeated by his arch-nemesis Tweety Bird), gringo pussy-gato/Señor Pussycat (a sobriquet attached by another antagonist, Speedy Gonzales), Sylvester the Cat or simply Sylvester, is a fictional character, a three-time Academy Award-winning anthropomorphic Tuxedo cat in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies repertory, often chasing Tweety Bird, Speedy Gonzales, or Hippety Hopper. The name "Sylvester" is a play on felis silvestris, the scientific name for the wild cat species (domestic cats like Sylvester, though, are actually felis catus). The character debuted in Friz Freleng's Life With Feathers (1945). Freleng's 1947 cartoon Tweetie Pie was the first pairing of Tweety with Sylvester, and the Bob Clampett-directed Kitty Kornered (1946) was Sylvester's first pairing with Porky Pig. Sylvester appeared in 96 cartoons in the golden age.
Sylvester was #33 on TV Guide's list of top 50 best cartoon characters, together with Tweety. [http://archives.cnn.com/2002/SHOWBIZ/TV/07/30/cartoon.characters.list/index.html]
Sylvester's trademark is his sloppy and yet stridulating lisp. In his autobiography, That's Not All Folks!, voice actor Mel Blanc stated that Sylvester's voice is based on that of Daffy Duck, plus the even-more-slobbery lisp, and minus the post-production speed-up that was done with Daffy's. Conventional wisdom is that Daffy's lisp, and hence also Sylvester's, were based on the lisp of producer Leon Schlesinger. However, Blanc made no such claim. He said that Daffy's lisp was based on him having a long beak, and that he borrowed the voice for Sylvester. He also pointed out that, minus the lisp, Sylvester's voice was fairly close to his own (a claim that his son Noel Blanc has confirmed). In addition, director Bob Clampett, in a 1970 Funnyworld interview, agreed with Blanc's account concerning Schlesinger.
To emphasize the lisp, as with Daffy's catchphrase "You're desthpicable", Sylvester's trademark exclamation is "Sufferin' succotash!", which is said to be a minced oath of "Suffering Savior". (Daffy also says "Sufferin' succotash!" from time to time.)
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