|Tweety in the Friz Freleng design. This is also his current appearance.|
|First appearance||A Tale of Two Kitties (November 21, 1942)|
|Created by||Robert Clampett (original)
Friz Freleng (final redesign)
|Voiced by||Mel Blanc (1942-1989)
Jeff Bergman (Tiny Toon Adventures)
Bob Bergen (Carrotblanca (1995) - present)
Joe Alaskey (The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries (1995) - present)
Eric Goldberg (Looney Tunes: Back in Action)
Billy West (Museum Scream)
Samuel Vincent (Baby Looney Tunes)
Tweety (also known as Tweety Bird and Tweety Pie) is a fictional Yellow Canary in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of animated cartoons. Tweety's popularity, like that of The Tasmanian Devil, actually grew in the years following the dissolution of the Looney Tunes cartoons. The name "Tweety" is a play on words, as it originally meant "sweetie", along with "tweet" being a typical English onomatopoeia for the sounds of birds. Tweety appeared in 48 cartoons in the Golden Age.
Despite the widespread speculation that Tweety is female, he is and has always been a male character; something that the character himself has often confirmed in The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries TV series, as well as in many comic books created by Warner staffers. On the other hand, his species is ambiguous; although originally and often portrayed as a young canary, he is also frequently called a rare and valuable "tweety bird" as a plot device, and once called "the only living specimen". Nevertheless, the title song directly states that the bird is a canary. His shape more closely suggests that of a baby bird, which in fact is what he was during his early appearances. The yellow feathers were added but otherwise he retained the baby-bird shape.
Tweety is, for the most part, a good-natured character happily spending life in his cage or a nest. However, when a cat or other adversary threatens him, he can become downright malicious and devious, even kicking his enemy when he's down. In many of Tweety's appearances the bird is shown accompanying his owner, Granny.
Bob Clampett created the character that would become Tweety in the 1942 short A Tale of Two Kitties, pitting him against two hungry cats named Babbit and Catstello (based on the famous comedians Abbott and Costello). On the original model sheet, Tweety was named Orson (which was also the name of a bird character from an earlier Clampett cartoon Wacky Blackouts).
Tweety was originally not a domestic canary, but simply a generic (and wild) baby bird in an outdoors nest - naked (pink), jowly, and also far more aggressive and saucy, as opposed to the later, more well-known version of him as a less hot-tempered (but still somewhat ornery) yellow canary. In the documentary Bugs Bunny: Superstar, animator Clampett stated, in a sotto voce "aside" to the audience, that Tweety had been based "on my own naked baby picture". Clampett did two more shorts with the "naked genius", as a Jimmy Durante-ish cat once called him in A Gruesome Twosome. The second Tweety short, Birdy and the Beast, finally bestowed the baby bird with his name.
Many of Mel Blanc's characters are known for speech impediments. One of Tweety's most noticeable is that /s/, /k/, and /g/ are changed to /t/, /d/, or (final s) /θ/; for example, "pussy cat" comes out as "putty tat", later rendered "puddy tat", and "sweetie pie" comes out as "tweetie pie", hence his name. He also has trouble with liquid sounds; as with Elmer Fudd, /l/ and /r/ tend to come out as /w/. In Putty Tat Trouble, he begins the cartoon singing a song about himself, "I'm a tweet wittow biwd in a diwded cage; Tweety'th my name but I don't know my age..." (Translation: "I'm a sweet little bird in a gilded cage...") Aside from this speech challenge, Tweety's voice (and a fair amount of his attitude) is similar to that of Bugs Bunny, rendered as a child (in The Old Grey Hare, Bugs' infant voice was very similar to Tweety's normal voice), which was achieved by speeding up Mel Blanc's voice recordings of Tweety.
Another noticeable thing about Tweety is his occasional and rare habit of transforming into a giant Hyde version of himself, by accidentally consuming Hyde Formula. This was first seen in Hyde and Go Tweet, and happened again in the "London Broiled" episode of The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries. Since then, this habit was also used in certain idents of the UK Boomerang channel.
Clampett began work on a short that would pit Tweety against a then-unnamed, lisping black and white cat created by Friz Freleng in 1945. However, Clampett left the studio before going into full production on the short, and Freleng took on the project. Freleng toned Tweety down and cutesied him up, giving him large blue eyes and yellow feathers. Clampett mentions in Bugs Bunny Superstar that the feathers were added to satisfy censors who objected to the naked bird. The first short to team Tweety and the cat, later named Sylvester, was 1947's Tweetie Pie, which won Warner Bros. its first Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons).
Sylvester and Tweety proved to be one of the most notable pairings in animation history. Most of their cartoons followed a standard formula:
In 1951, Mel Blanc (with Billy May's orchestra) had a hit single with "I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat", a song performed in character by Tweety and featuring Sylvester. In the lyrics Sylvester sings "I'd like to get that Sweetie Pie when he leaves his cage", implying that Tweety's name is actually Sweetie Pie, altered in its pronunciation by Tweetie's lisp. Sylvester, who has his own speech issues involving the letters S and P, slobbers the "S" in "Sweetie Pie", just as he would the "S" sounds in his own name.
From 1945 until the original Warner Bros. Cartoons studio closed, Freleng had almost exclusive use of Tweety at the Warner cartoon studio (much like Yosemite Sam), with the exception of a brief cameo in No Barking in 1954, directed by Chuck Jones (that year, Freleng used Pepé Le Pew, a Jones character, for the only time in his career and the only time in a Tweety short, Dog Pounded).
Tweety had a small part in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, "accidentally" causing Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) to fall from a pole by playing "This Little Piddy" with Valiant's fingers and loosening his grip. The scene is essentially a re-creation of a gag from A Tale of Two Kitties, with Valiant replacing Catstello as Tweety's victim.
During the 1990s, Tweety also starred in an animated TV series called The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, in which Granny ran a detective agency with the assistance of Tweety, Sylvester and Hector. Tweety has the starring role and carries the story in the 2000 direct-to-video feature length animated film "Tweety's High-Flying Adventure". In 2002, a younger version of him premiered on Baby Looney Tunes, thus coming full circle from his earliest appearances.
Tweety appeared in an early 1980s public service announcement, warning parents of the dangers of scalding-temperature bath water.
In the 1995 cartoon short Carrotblanca, a parody/homage to Casablanca, Tweety appeared as "Usmarte", a parody of the character Ugarte played by Peter Lorre in the original film. In several sequences, Tweety was speaking and laughing in character like Peter Lorre. This is also notable for being a rare instance where Tweety is playing a villain character.
In the game Taz: Wanted, Tweety assists Taz in destroying "Wanted" posters and gives him hints throughout the game. In the game, he refers to Taz as "Puddy-Taz" and expresses a dislike for him, thinking that he shouldn't be working with amateurs. At the end of the game, Tweety reveals himself to be the mastermind behind Yosemite Sam's evil plan, and fights Taz using a large robot, but is defeated.
In the television show Loonatics Unleashed, Tweety's descendant, known as The Royal Tweetums, rules the planet Blanc in the care of its present ruler, Queen Grannicus (Granny's descendant). Grannicus didn't want to turn her monarchy over to him, so she hired Sylth Vester (Sylvester's descendant), to eliminate him. But with the help of the Loonatics, Tweetums defeats Grannicus and Sylth Vester.
Tweety appears as part of the TuneSquad team in Space Jam. There, he gets picked on and bullied by the Monstars due to his small size, until he retaliates by using ken po moves on them. He also appears in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, although this "Tweety" is really Taz the Tasmanian Devil in disguise.
Western Publications produced a comic book about Tweety and Sylvester entitled Tweety and Sylvester, first in Dell Comics Four Color series #406, 489, and 524, then in their own title from Dell Comics (#4-37, 1954-62), then later from Gold Key Comics (#1-102, 1963-72).
Samuel Vincent (Baby Looney Tunes) Jeff Bergman (Tiny toons advantures) Sylvester and tweety mysteris