Scaredy Cat

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For the Doctor Who audio drama, see Scaredy Cat (Doctor Who audio).
Scaredy Cat
Merrie Melodies (Sylvester the cat and Porky Pig) series
Scaredy Cat Titles.jpg
The title card of Scaredy Cat
Directed by Charles M. Jones
Produced by Eddie Selzer
Story by Michael Maltese
Voices by Mel Blanc
Music by Carl Stalling
Animation by Lloyd Vaughan
Ken Harris
Phil Monroe
Ben Washam
Layouts by Robert Gribbroek
Backgrounds by Peter Alvarado
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date(s) December 18, 1948 (USA)
June 2, 1956 (USA reissue)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7 minutes
Language English

Scaredy Cat is a 1948 Merrie Melodies cartoon, directed by Chuck Jones and produced and released by Warner Bros. Pictures. It was the first of three Jones cartoons which placed Porky Pig and Sylvester the cat (in a rare non-speaking role as Porky's pet) in a spooky setting where only Sylvester was aware of the danger – the other two films being Claws for Alarm (1954) and Jumpin' Jupiter (1955). This was also the only entry in the trilogy in which Porky Pig does eventually realise the danger they are in.

Plot[edit]

Porky Pig purchases a new home from a real estate agent, which turns out to be a dilapidated old house. His cat Sylvester is frightened of the creepy-looking place, but Porky finds it "quaint" and "peaceful", and looks forward to his first night in the place. Before long, Sylvester learns that the house is overrun with mice; killer mice, in fact (one wearing an executioner's hood and carrying an axe, the rest looking like the Chuck Jones-created characters Hubie and Bertie), who are just in the process of carting off the previous owners' cat to the chopping block.

Throughout the rest of the short, Sylvester is forced to dodge various knives, projectiles, trap doors, and other obstacles intended to kill him and his master. Porky, however, is completely unaware that anything is wrong, and is embarrassed that Sylvester is acting like such a coward. At one point, Porky is interrupted in his sleeping and scolds Sylvester then his cat explains what went on downstairs, but Porky orders him out. Seeing that he cannot get through to Porky, Sylvester tries to shoot himself in the head with a gun, but Porky disarms him and tells him to cut it out. Having no choice, Porky allows Sylvester to sleep with him rather than in the kitchen.

The mice have taken up primary residence inside the kitchen, where Sylvester does not dare to tread. Eventually, the mice are about to drop an anvil on Porky, but Sylvester stops it, resulting in an annoyed Porky who wakes up and sends him back into the kitchen. Porky finds Sylvester unconscious (after Sylvester got hit by a bowling ball which was landing on Porky himself) and leaves him on the basket, but without notice, Sylvester is lowered down into the mice's lair while in the basket and a while later comes up and Porky tells him to take off what Porky thought was make up, but the disguise was actually just Sylvester turning white from the aforementioned experience. Porky, sick and tired of Sylvester's 'foolishness', decides to show Sylvester what a coward he is by going into the kitchen himself. After a few seconds of silence, Sylvester peers into the kitchen. Sure enough, the mice have Porky bound, gagged, and on his way to be decapitated. The gagged Porky holds up a sign as the mice carry him away, which reads "You were right, Sylvester", indicating that he has finally understood Sylvester's warnings.

Out of fear, Sylvester scrambles out of the house. As he rests to catch his breath, his conscience appears and deems him a coward for leaving Porky to die, reminding him of how Porky raised him from a kitten, showing him the "comparative sizes" of a cat to a mouse, and demanding that he get back in there and "FIGHT!". Suddenly bursting with courage, Sylvester, who is now determined to prove himself of not being a coward anymore, grabs a whole tree for use as a weapon, races back into the mouse-infested house, fights at full power, and sends the murderous rodents running for their lives, much to his conscience's delight.

With the mice now gone for good, Porky graciously apologizes to Sylvester and thanks him for saving his life, but one leftover mouse (the executioner) pops out of the longcase clock with a mallet behind Sylvester. Seeing this, Porky warns Sylvester to look out, but it is too late as the mouse clobbers Sylvester on the head, knocking him unconscious, much to Porky's shock. The mouse then yanks off his hood, revealing a Napoleon army hat, and declares (in a Lew Lehr voice), "Pussycats is the cwaziest peoples!" and chuckles.

Censorship[edit]

  • On Cartoon Network, ABC, and the former WB! Channel, the entire scene where Sylvester disrupts Porky's sleep, threatens to shoot himself with a pistol and Porky gives in to letting him sleep in the same bed ("Good night, you cowardly Sylvester, you") was cut.
    • While ABC, WB and pre-2010 Cartoon Network broadcasts used a fake "dissolve-edit" to remove the entire scene (fading out after Sylvester runs up the stairs), Cartoon Network aired a new edited version starting in 2010 (which also retained the original title cards as opposed to the generic titles that ABC and WB used and the "Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodies" titles that pre-2010 Cartoon Network aired often) that showed Sylvester running into Porky's room and explaining his fear, but still edited the part where he withdraws the pistol from a drawer and threatens to shoot himself, causing a fight with Porky by cutting the actual scene of Sylvester getting the gun and Porky trying to get it out of his paws and zoomed in on Sylvester crying to cover up the scene of Porky emptying the bullets from the gun (yet viewers can still hear the bullets being emptied).
    • The pre-2010 CN version also deleted the scene where Porky bends to pick up Sylvester and barely misses getting shot by a mouse in a black hood.

Availability[edit]

  • Scaredy Cat is available, uncensored and with the original opening titles restored (after they had been cut out for a theatrical re-release in 1956), on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 1, Disc 2.

External links[edit]