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The Rebel Without Claws

From Loonipedia

The Rebel Without Claws is a "Looney Tunes" cartoon animated short starring Tweety and Sylvester. Released July 15, 1961, the cartoon is written and directed by Friz Freleng. The voices were performed by Mel Blanc.

The cartoon, one of a number of Warner Bros. cartoons set during the American Civil War, is a play on the 1955 movie title Rebel Without a Cause.


Although the American Civil War was not an unheard-of subject in the Looney Tunes/Merrie Mellodies series, Rebel Without Claws is unusual in that it portrays the Confederate States Army in a sympathetic light, while casting a negative focus on the Union and its Army.

Here, the Confederates want to get an "important message" to General Robert E. Lee, but all the carrier pigeons have been shot down. The soldiers realize that Tweety is their last hope and turn to him for their mission. The Union soldiers learn of the Confederates' attempt and counter with their "Messenger Destroyer," who turns out to be none other than Sylvester. "I tawt I taw a damn Yankee tat," says Tweety just before the chase begins.

The bulk of the cartoon uses battle gags, such as Sylvester getting blown out of a cannon; Tweety momentarily tricking Sylvester into thinking Union soldiers are marching to battle (Sylvester tries to confront the canary but is blown away by Confederate soldiers); and Tweety hiding behind cannons on a fighter ship (Sylvester takes the brunt of more explosions).

Eventually, Sylvester disguises himself as General Lee and grabs Tweety. The bird is taken to the firing line for execution. He states that his only regret is that he has "but one wife to give foh my countwy", to which Sylvester says that he has nine lives, But the commander and his soldiers prove incompetent — they shoot Sylvester instead! "It's a good thing I have got nine lives! With this kind of an army, I'll need 'em!"


Preceded by
Trip For Tat
Tweety and Sylvester cartoons
Succeeded by
The Last Hungry Cat


  • The version of this cartoon that aired on the former WB Channel cuts out the "damn" in the Confederate Officer's line "Damn Yankees!" and deletes Tweety's line "I tawt I taw a damn Yankee Tat!".[1]
  • Cartoon Network's version of this cartoon, much like The WB's version, also removes the two usages of the word "Damn". Unlike The WB however, CN used a fake blackout to end the scene where the Confederate Officer gives his sidekick the letter to deliver to General Lee early to remove the officer's line "Damn Yankees!" and shortened Tweety's line "I tawt I taw a damn Yankee tat!" to "I tawt I taw a Yankee tat!" [1]
  • The version of this cartoon that aired on the syndicated "Merrie Melodies" show left in both uses of the word "damn", but cut a scene in the middle of the cartoon where Sylvester pursues Tweety on a ship and gets blasted by cannons (though this cut scene was shown in a "Hip Clip" on another episode of "The Merrie Melodies Show")[1]


  • Friedwald, Will and Jerry Beck. "The Warner Brothers Cartoons." Scarecrow Press Inc., Metuchen, N.J., 1981. ISBN 0-8108-1396-3.

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