Friday, February 08, 2008

Cartoons Where Sylvester Wins?

(I think I need a reader-participation subject in an attempt to get the comments section humming -- or at least showing signs of life again. So...)

Someone once told me that Sylvester the Cat is the biggest loser in the cartoon universe, and I couldn't really argue with him. Sylvester appeared in so many different cartoons, including at least three popular series (Tweety, Speedy Gonzales and Hippety Hopper), and not only did he almost always lose, he almost always lost in the most humiliating way possible. And unlike most cartoon villains, who mostly lose when they're asking for it, Sylvester loses even when he's trying to be good. The ending of "A Mouse Divided" has taught generations of children a valuable lesson: don't learn to love those who are different from you, because if you do, you'll be kidnapped by a stork and adopted by mice.

So are there any cartoons where Sylvester actually wins in the end? Maybe "Kitty Kornered," though that cat isn't really fully Sylvester-like except for that one scene where he talks. In general some of the early Sylvester appearances, before his character was fully fleshed out, have him winning: "Catch as Cats Can," where he has the wrong voice but does win out over the Bing Crosby bird, and "Back Alley Oproar" (if you assume he didn't die at the end, which is by no means certain). But from about 1948-9 on, after Sylvester's character was truly established? Hard for me to think of an example. Chuck Jones couldn't even let him win at the end of "Scaredy Cat" without having it all ruined in the very last gag.

So what are some Sylvester victories, however small and fleeting, that come to mind? And is there another cartoon character with a worse track record?


J Lee said...

I can only think of two -- Davis' "Doggone Cats", where the dopey-looking Sylvester and his pal end up getting Wellington's package full of cat food delivered to their home, and McKimson's "A Message from Gracias", where Speedy unties Sylvester and allows him to chase down (and presumably eat) the rebel mice leaders after El Supremo sent Speedy on the mission to deliver what turned out to be a happy birthday message (he also makes out OK -- or equally badly as Speedy -- in "Road to Andalay" and gets to beat up Daffy in a cameo from "A Taste of Catnip").

Sterfish said...

I don't know if it counts as a win, but in "Birds Anonymous," Sylvester is the one who ends up having to keep another cat from giving in by the end. If he "lost," then he and the cat would've been fighting over Tweety.

Nick said...

What about "Life With Feathers", where the suicidal bird loses even more so than Sylvester, having gone back to arguing with his wife and then searching for the cat to eat him again?

Also "Mouse Mazurka", Sylvester doesn't lose or win in that one, as both him and the mouse die and continue chasing each other in heaven.

Thad said...

Friz's "Kit for Cat" is sort of a draw. They all end up on the streets again. So is McKimson's "Bell Hoppy", as he becomes the Grand Pubba, but 'blackballed again!'

And in "Room and Bird" (Friz again), we don't even find out what happened to him!

Mattieshoe said...

He wins in Carrotblanca, but I guess that doesn't really count.

Anonymous said...

Don't know the titles, but what about the couple of "Spike is my Friend, cuz he's so strong" cartoons? Sylvester wins even though it's an escaped panther or some such, that does the fighting.

Anonymous said...

Most Warner Bros. villains loose in every single cartoon, and the fact that you can find even a couple of examples where Sylvester maybe doesn't loose indicates that he was more successful than Wile E Coyote or Yosamite Sam.

Anonymous said...

I remember, even as a kid, I always felt so bad for Sylvester in "Stooge for a Mouse," because of what the mouse does to Sylvester, who really didn't deserve any of it. He broke up a perfectly nice friendship between Sylvester and the bulldog, and it led to Sylvester really getting the crap beaten out of him by the bulldog. Even though the mouse (sort of) gets his in the end, the cartoon still sort of leaves a sour taste in my mouth, because Sylvester did nothing to warrant the treatment he received.

Yeldarb86 said...

There was one cartoon where Sylvester follows Tweety when Granny takes him on a trip around the world, and the cartoon ends with Sylvester happily settling for a plate of spaghetti.

Then there was "Goldimouse", where Sylvester doesn't actually win, but he puts one over on his unusually bratty son.

For the cartoons where he loses, one that often puzzled me was "Rebel without Claws", where Sylvester is a Yankee, and Tweety is a Confederate! As confusing as THAT was, the cartoon ends with Sylvster getting sprayed with bullets instead of Tweety, seemingly for no reason.

Besides Charlie Brown, the only other character I can think of that had so much bad luck was Tom from Tom & Jerry.

Jon Cooke said...

Another "sort of" win for Sylvester was in McKimson's "Unexpected Pest" where the mouse fakes his own suicide because he felt Sylvester needed a happy ending.

ramapith said...

Characters who fared worse than Sylvester? Katnip, of Herman and Katnip comes to mind: he quite often finishes a cartoon dead or at least unconscious, with the mice sometimes using his disheveled body/corpse as a prop for some playful purpose.
Famous tries to suggest that he deserves it by personifying him as a bullying cad, but the sheer extremes of his punishments make him unintentionally sympathetic anyway.

Thad said...


Katnip only got his corpse used for entertainment in "Of Mice and Menace" (which I posted on my blog), "Mice Meeting You" (they decorate his body as a Xmas tree), and "Mousieur Herman" (where they emboss him in a pottery oven to make a still-life). His soul is also forced to wait on the mice for eternity in "Mice-Capades".

He just dies in others.

Tony said...

Another one where Sylvester sort of wins was a Speedy Gonzales one (I don't remember the title) that ends with him saying, "If you can't beat them, join them." and he dances around with the other mice while wearing what looks like a Mouseketeer hat on his head. That was Sylvester, wasn't it?

Anonymous said...

To the guy or girl who said he or she couldn't think of any other character besides Charlie Brown or Tom from T & J having so much bad luck: for your info. Tom doesn't have anywhere near as much bad luck as Sylvester! I'm not sure C. B. does either!

Anonymous said...

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