Birds Anonymous

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Birds Anonymous
Birds Anonymous.jpg
Directed byFriz Freleng
Produced byEdward Selzer (uncredited)
Story byWarren Foster
StarringVoice characterizations:
Mel Blanc
Music byMusical direction:
Milt Franklyn
Orchestrator:
Milt Franklyn (uncredited)
Edited byTreg Brown
Animation byCharacter co-animation:
Art Davis
Virgil Ross
Gerry Chiniquy
Ink and paint (uncredited):
the crew
Effects animation in the uncredited:
Harry Love
Layouts byCharacter and background layout:
Hawley Pratt
Ink and paint:
the crew in the uncredited
Backgrounds byBackground paint:
Boris Gorelick
Ink and paint in the uncredited:
the crew
Color processTechnicolor
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date
August 10, 1957 (1957-08-10)
Running time
6 minutes 56 seconds

Birds Anonymous is a 1957 Merrie Melodies animated short, directed by Friz Freleng and written by Warren Foster, starring Tweety Bird, Sylvester and Clarence the cat. The voices were performed by Mel Blanc.

The film is a lighthearted reference of 1950s melodramas about the sufferings of substance abuse and drug recovery groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Plot[edit]

Sylvester is once again attempting to catch and eat Tweety, this time very nearly succeeding, only to be stopped by an erudite, mild-mannered cat who explains that Sylvester's constant cravings for Tweety, and birds in general, can only lead to self-destruction, and that the only way to overcome this weakness is to kick the habit for good. The cat invites Sylvester to a meeting of "Birds Anonymous" ("B.A."), a support group of cats who have resolved to help one another overcome their bird addictions. Sylvester agrees to attend and hears other cats briefly tell of their own struggles and that B.A. was able to help them. Empowered by their stories, Sylvester adopts a new motto for himself: "Birds is strictly for the birds!"

Back at home, it doesn't take long for Sylvester's will power to break down, due in large part to ubiquitous temptation as he and Tweety live together. Sylvester's temptations are only exacerbated after watching a TV chef preparing a turkey, and then hearing a disc jockey on the radio mention bird-themed songs. Sylvester valiantly makes many attempts to control his urges, even handcuffing himself to an iron radiator out of the reach of Tweety, but when Tweety asks him, "Don't you like me anymore?", Sylvester finally caves and makes another grab for the bird, but is stopped again by the B.A. cat who reluctantly shoots a plunger at Sylvester's mouth. When he expressed the fear that Sylvester might be weakening, he gratefully confirms the B.A. cat's suspicion.

That night, Sylvester is tormented by insomnia and withdrawal symptoms and completely succumbs to his basic instincts, reasoning that he can quit after just "one little bird" and that "no one will know the difference", but he is stopped yet again when the B.A. cat arrives and pours alum in his mouth, after which Sylvester attempts to literally suck Tweety into his mouth through a straw but fails. Sylvester collapses into sobs on the floor tearfully admitting weakness and that it can't be helped, but the B.A. cat consoles him saying that birds and cats can truly coexist. To prove his point, the B.A. cat kisses Tweety's head, but yielding to his own long-suppressed temptation, the B.A. cat backslides and attempts to devour Tweety himself, this time with Sylvester having to restrain him.

Escaping to a nearby counter as the two cats continue to struggle, Tweety sums up the whole affair with the observation: "Like I said before: Once a bad ol' puddy tat, always a bad ol' puddy tat!"

Production[edit]

The voice of the B.A. cat (retroactively named Clarence in modern Looney Tunes comics) is similar to that of Marvin the Martian (the creation of the junior Termite Terrace director, Chuck Jones). The voice of the second B.A. Cat was used by Blanc for the love-bird in Life With Feathers, among other places.

The premise of this cartoon was later adapted into the short The Last Hungry Cat, again with Sylvester struggling against his conscience over Tweety.

Honours[edit]

Birds Anonymous won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 1957,[1] beating Tabasco Road starring Speedy Gonzales; both shorts were eventually given Blue Ribbon reissues in 1961. When Eddie Selzer died, the statuette was passed on to Mel Blanc, who said that this was his favorite cartoon to do voices for, especially when it came to Sylvester.

Availability[edit]

This film appeared in The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie's third act "The Oswalds" where Sylvester and Clarence fight over Tweety again with Granny intervening.

As of 2005, Birds Anonymous can also be found, uncut and restored, on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 3 and on Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection. It can also be found on the former UK rental VHS tape of The Bodyguard from 1993. A music/effects only track is also available.

References[edit]

External links[edit]