Babbit and Catstello


Babbit and Catstello

Babbit and Catstello are fictional characters, quite obviously based on the comedic duo Abbott and Costello, that appeared in certain Warner Bros. animated cartoons.

Although the short, fat character calls the other one "Babbit", the tall, skinny one never addresses his partner by name; the name "Catstello" was invented later.

The "Babbit" character was voiced by Tedd Pierce, and Mel Blanc performed "Catstello". Later Babbit is voiced by Billy West, and Joe Alaskey performs Catstello.

Originally, the pair were cats in pursuit of a small bird for their meal in the 1942 Bob Clampett-directed cartoon "A Tale of Two Kitties", a cartoon notable for the first appearance of the bird character, who would eventually become Warner Bros. cartoon icon Tweety Bird. The hapless duo fail in every attempt to capture the bird, establishing the pattern that would be used time and again in future Tweety cartoons.

Three years later, Babbit and Catstello reappeared in the similarly-named "A Tale of Two Mice", directed by Frank Tashlin. Though their characterizations were the same, the two were now mice, living in a hole in the wall of a typical cartoon kitchen.

Their goal in this cartoon was the cheese in the kitchen's refrigerator, the only obstacle being the resident housecat. Babbit attempts to coerce Catstello into going after the cheese solo, and eventually succeeds by using a book on hypnosis, convincing Catstello that he is strong, fearless, and capable of standing up to the cat. Every attempt ultimately fails, however, when the hypnosis wears off at a crucial moment, and Catstello has to make a mad dash back to the mouse hole. Finally, Catstello becomes fed up with Babbit making him the fall guy, and turns the tables on both Babbit and the cat, hypnotizing them into believing they are, respectively, a cowboy and his trusty steed. Babbit utters a deliberately misworded variation on the Lone Ranger's classic catchphrase — "Hi yo, Sliver, awaaayy!" — before he and the cat gallop away.

The final scene shows Catstello eating cheese and reading a book on living alone, before turning to the audience and uttering one of his archetype Lou Costello's famous lines: "Oh"--I'm a "baaaaad" boy!" (At one point in "A Tale of Two Kitties", he similarly remarks, "I'm a "baaaaad" pussycat!")

Finally, in 1946, they appeared in Robert McKimson's "The Mouse-Merized Cat", wherein Babbit uses a book to hypnotize Catstello.

The pair have made few appearances since then, mainly cameos in modern Warner Bros. animated projects such as "The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries".


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