|Merrie Melodies (Sylvester the cat and Porky Pig) series|
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
|Layouts by||Robert Gribbroek|
|Backgrounds by||Peter Alvarado|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
|Release date(s)||December 18, 1948 (USA)|
|Running time||7 minutes|
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.
That was only one of five post-1948 WB cartoons to get a Blue Ribbon reissue prior to 1956 - with the original credits cut. The others were Daffy Dilly, The Foghorn Leghorn, Kit for Cat, and You Were Never Duckier. Scaredy Cat is the latest-released cartoon to have its credits cut upon reissue.
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. Sylvester tries to shoot himself in the head, which alarms Porky, who tells Sylvester to cut it out.
The mice have taken up primary residence inside the kitchen, where Sylvester does not dare to tread. Porky finds Sylvester fainted (after Sylvester got hit by a bowling ball which was landing on Porky himself) and leaves him on the basket, but without notice, Sylvester has been 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. Sylvester feels humiliated and Porky goes into the kitchen. 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 (Porky holds up a sign as the mice carry him away, which reads "You Were Right, Sylvester") Eventually, This is because that was the first cartoon with Sylvester's name.
Sylvester, in fear, scrambles out of the house. As he rests to catch his breath, his conscience appears and indicates he is a coward, 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's changed from the scaredy cat to a real hero, grabs a whole tree for use as a weapon, races back into the mice-infested house, fights at full power and sends the hordes of murderous rodents running for their lives.
Having got rid of those mice, Porky graciously thanks Sylvester 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 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.
- The US version of Cartoon Network has aired two versions of this cartoon, each with violent parts edited:
- One version has the Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodies title card and cuts the scenes where Sylvester produces a pistol from a dresser drawer and threatens to kill himself if Porky does not let him stay to protect him from the mice and the scene where Porky bends over to pick up a scared Sylvester and nearly misses being shot by a mouse in a black hood. This was also how the scene was cut when aired on the now-defunct WB! network.
- A rarely shown version (which first aired on a 4:00am showing of the compilation show Bugs and Daffy and aired again on a New Year's Day marathon of Looney Tunes cartoons on January 1, 2010) has the original title cards and credits and leaves in the scene where Porky bends over to pick up a scared Sylvester and nearly misses being shot by a mouse in a black hood, but still edits the scene where Sylvester withdraws a pistol from a drawer and threatens to kill himself with it and fights with Porky over the gun. In contrast to the usual "dissolve-edit" version that aired frequently on Cartoon Network, the new edited version cuts from Porky asking Sylvester to leave his bedroom to Sylvester crying and Porky chastising him for being a crybaby before relenting, and crops the shot of Porky chastising Sylvester for crying to conceal the shot of Porky unloading the bullets from the gun.
- As of April 29, 2011, the scenes of Sylvester attempting to commit suicide and Porky nearly getting shot from behind, along with the original title cards, are intact. However, on June 13, 2011, a new rerun aired with only the scene of Sylvester attempting to commit suicide censored (while the scene with Porky almost getting shot after picking up a scared Sylvester and the original title cards were left untouched). The cut begins after Porky says "Yes, out!" followed by a sudden jump cut on a cropped and zoomed-in shot of Sylvester sobbing to cover up the shot of Porky unloading the bullets from the gun, though the sound from the censored shot can still be heard. On January 1, 2012, the episode aired uncut on Cartoon Network again, meaning that the network alternating between airing the censored and uncensored version rather than picking one and sticking with it. Beanstalk Bunny was edited and aired the same way on Cartoon Network.
- Scaredy Cat is available, uncensored and with opening and closing cards restored, on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 1, Disc 2.