When did Sylvester get the name Sylvester?

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Brandon Panther
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When did Sylvester get the name Sylvester?

Postby Brandon Panther » Tue May 17, 2011 10:23 am

I know he was first named in "Scaredy Cat" which was released at the end of 1948, but that was a little over three years after the character debuted. I think even Foghorn Leghorn got the name two years after his debut. As far as I can tell, he's the one Looney Tunes star that went the longest without an official name.

Now, we all know, thanks to historians like Mike Barrier and David Gerstein that Bugs Bunny had that name attached to him as early as 1939 on merchandise, model sheets, promotional material, etc. So, I began wondering if the same applied to Sylvester? Was his name ever used on any lobby cards, or model sheets, or really anything before the cartoon "Scaredy Cat" came out?
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rrfan3267
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Postby rrfan3267 » Tue May 17, 2011 11:02 am

On his Wikipedia page, it says

"
Until the mid 1960's many books called the house cat Felis sylvestris catus and asserted that the house cat was a sub-species of the European Wildcat. But in the mid 1960's studies emerged correcting the lineage, so now the domestic cat is identified as a species by itself, being a descendent of Felis lybica, which in its own turn has recently been recognized as a species apart from Felis sylvestris.

Sylvester the Cat was created in 1945, and the scientific knowledge prevalent at the time fully justified the claim made by his creators that he is named after the domestic cat's scientific name,
Felis sylvestris. Over the years public relations outlets used by the studios made this claim regarding the naming of Sylvester common knowledge, immortalizing it despite the change in scientific taxonomy.

Incidentally, although the character was named Sylvester in later cartoon shorts (beginning with 1948's Scaredy Cat), he was called "Thomas" in his first appearance with Tweety Bird in Tweety Pie."


I looked around, but I couldn't find any model sheets or promotional images with his name on it before 1948.

Coincidentally, there's a dog named Sylvester in 1944's "Hare Force," which came out a year before the cat Sylvester's first cartoon. It was directed by Friz Freleng, so we know he at had the name on his mind around that time (maybe because he was currently designing Sylvester and planning his fist cartoon).
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oceansoul
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Postby oceansoul » Tue May 17, 2011 1:27 pm

Scaredy Cat
One for the money,
Two for the show,
Three to get ready, and
Four to.... GERONIMO!

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Brandon Panther
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Postby Brandon Panther » Tue May 17, 2011 1:35 pm

oceansoul wrote:Scaredy Cat

Image
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Postby Fibber Fox » Wed May 18, 2011 1:27 am

rrfan3267 wrote:On his Wikipedia page, it says


A load of Grade-A crap.

Sylvester was a character played by Mel Blanc on The Judy Canova Show. He used the same voice as the later Warners cat. Here's an episode from Aug. 24, 1943. Cue in about 5 1/2 minutes in and listen for yourself.

http://www.otr.net/r/jdyc/1.ram

"Beats me where they get this guff": Sylvester the Cat.

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nickramer
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Postby nickramer » Thu May 19, 2011 5:14 pm

Sylvester got his name when his parents decided to name him.:D

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Postby larriva9/11 » Thu May 19, 2011 7:09 pm

Well, the terrific thing about his name is that it's custom-made to be said by Thylvethter (eccch, I got spittle all over my screen)

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Postby Matt the Y » Thu May 19, 2011 8:45 pm

larriva9/11 wrote:Well, the terrific thing about his name is that it's custom-made to be said by Thylvethter (eccch, I got spittle all over my screen)


Yes, I've heard it was Tedd Pierce who suggested the name for the character when it was thought that a character who mostly sprays when he talks needed a name with at least two "S's" in it (even Jerry Beck has told this story so, at least, I know it has some credibility to it).

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Postby Brandon Panther » Fri May 20, 2011 10:10 am

Matt the Y wrote:Yes, I've heard it was Tedd Pierce who suggested the name for the character when it was thought that a character who mostly sprays when he talks needed a name with at least two "S's" in it (even Jerry Beck has told this story so, at least, I know it has some credibility to it).

And yet, the first cartoon to actually use the name (Scaredy Cat), was written by Mike Maltese. Maybe Tedd came up with it during production of "Kit For Cat" or something.
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Postby Matt the Y » Fri May 20, 2011 12:01 pm

Brandon Panther wrote:And yet, the first cartoon to actually use the name (Scaredy Cat), was written by Mike Maltese. Maybe Tedd came up with it during production of "Kit For Cat" or something.


The whole team of writers could have had a "pool session" to name the character or something like that.

Also, kind of ironic how in the first cartoon to use Sylvester's name, Sylvester never actually speaks (ie. no reason for him to thhhhhpray!).


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