Today In History 11/21

1942: “Tweety Bird” debuted.

The Friz Freleng "Tweety."

The Friz Freleng “Tweety.”

Ransacking the Wikipedia I learned that Tweety was a creation of Bob Clampett. In Tweety’s first appearance he (or she? there’s evidence both ways) was merely a baby bird in an outdoors nest, naked and featherless. (In the documentary Bugs Bunny: Superstar, animator Clampett tells the audience Tweety was based “on my own naked baby picture.”) When Friz Freleng took the character over in 1945, feathers were added to allay the censors. Freleng not only transformed Tweety’s appearance, he made changes in tone and story that turned Tweety into the character we’re familiar with today.

Speaking of purity monitors, for all those concerned that every File 770 post have a connection to science fiction, let the record show that Tweety appeared in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, winner of the 1989 Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo — “accidentally” causing Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) to fall from a pole by playing “This Wittwe Piddy” with Valiant’s fingers and releasing his grip. Which parallels a similar gag in the very first Tweety cartoon, A Tale of Two Kitties. Tweety also had a small role in Space Jam, which definitely wasn’t nominated for a Hugo.

17 thoughts on “Today In History 11/21

  1. I am amused that when I was watching some of the Tweety toons with subtitles, they correct all the futsy dialog with PC translations. This is done with all of them I later found.

    The pink little Tweety made censors think of {CENSORED}, and probably caused some giggles in the theater….

  2. When TIME, or NEWSWEEK did a cover story on Goldie Hawn, around 1980, there was a section of photos suggesting some of her cinematic antecedents, and they included Tweety! It had never occured to my teenaged mind at that point, I believe, that Tweety could be a girl!

  3. I forgot to add that the subtitles are added (in Spanish, too) to the Road Runner Cartoons.

    Humans talk. Not science fictional. Humans speak same language, can’t communicate. Is this Weird Fantasy, but not Science Fiction?

  4. In the late ’70s, I had the pleasure of meeting the great Mel Blanc, when he was giving a lecture over at Hofatra University, in Long Island. Blanc had a terrific show, which he must have presented all over the country, in which he talked abiut his magnificent career, and showed a few cartoons!

    (This was in the same era when Warners had had success releasing a feature film compilation of several Looney Tunes. I can remember going with my Dad to Long Island’s famed, erstwhile Mini Cinema (not far from the Hempstead university, in fact, in Uniondale), to see one of the movies (BUGS BUNNY SUPERSTAR?) and the theatre had someone in a rabbit costume outside, handing out carrots to the patrons!)

    My interview cassette with Blanc, sadly, recently lost… But I can remember him mentioning during the talk all the uproar over Tweety’s nudity!

    But, he pointed out, no one ever realized that Porky Pig, was wearing no pants…

    James H. Burns


  5. Donald Duck never wore pants, either.
    Both he and Porky wore bowties, which may have made up for the pants.

  6. Apparently Donald Duck and Freleng’s Tweety were in the clear because both have feathers. Porky doesn’t even have a figleaf.

  7. Porky also, like Barbie’s boyfriend Ken, doesn’t have anything to cover up with the figleaf. Donald is odd, like Porky, in that even though neither one wears pants, they both wear jackets. Or shirts. Or whatever those garments with sleeves are. Tweety, like Sylvester, Tom & Jerry, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, etc., never wore anything, so the lack of pants is not remarkable. It’s the upper-body garment that makes the lack of lower-body coverage noticeable.
    Huckleberry Hound, Tennessee Tuxedo, Chumley, Yogi Bear, and Boo Boo are more of the Donald/Porky group whose lack of pants is apparently made okay by wearing neckties (and hats!).
    And then there’s Yogi’s girlfriend, Cindy Bear, whose microskirt ought to draw attention to the fact that she’s topless, but like Porky’s pants, nobody seems to care.

  8. Ken really isn’t a good analogy because he’s accessorized with his own clothing. He’s supposed to wear pants. And I’ve never heard of his character appearing in a show without them.

  9. >And then there’s Yogi’s girlfriend, Cindy Bear,
    > whose microskirt ought to draw attention to the fact that she’s topless…
    Well, the microskirt does keep her from being bear-assed.

  10. This sadistic, hydrocephalic, yellow, midget raptor was pretty much my least favourite Warner Brothers character.

  11. Taral: what was good was the early evil Tweety. Once Grannie entered the picture, the writers and animators stuck to a formula and milked it until it mooed in pain.

    The pantlessness of Winnie is the same sort of nonsense brought against Donald Duck. Someone with a dirty mind trying to protect children who either don’t care and/or realize it is fantasy.

    Who recalls the few episodes of Petunia Pig?

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