The record industry of 1951 was still song-oriented. Thus, if a song looked to be gaining in popularity, several companies would “cover” the song, hoping to grab off some of the coin for themselves. So it was with “I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat”.
The February 17th, 1951 issue of “The Billboard’ advertised two covers of the burgeoning hit that Capitol had started with Mel Blanc’s record ((F)1360).
Columbia found a real survivor to perfrorm the puddy-tat opus. They went with Helen Kane on (4-)39154. Of course, by now most cartoon fans will know that Helen Kane was the immediate inspiration for Betty Boop’s singing. Some will even know of the lawsuit that Helen Kane filed against Max Fleischer—filed and lost.
But after twenty years or so, Helen Kane was back in the public eye. She was once again famous because an M-G-M feature, “Three Little Words”, had used Helen on the sounddtrack. You’d see Debbie Reynolds singing “I Wanna Be Loved By You”–but, on the soundtrack, you’d be hearing Helen Kane’s vocal. Helen delivers the song in her cutesy-poo style, and it works.
The same week saw Decca advertise a new release–Danny Kaye, singing ‘I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat” on 27456. Normally, Danny Kaye is nimble of tongue and smart with a novelty song. This, alas,was not one of those times.
Danny tries to do “funny” voices for both Tweety and Sylvester–and neither of them come off very well. In fact, his ‘Sylvester” sounds more like a dockwalloper than a lithping, thlobbery puddy-tat.
The next week (2/24/1951), London Records–the US arm of the British Decca lbel–issued a version of he puddy-tat number by Benny Lee and Mary (834). I have not had the chance to hear this. Nor do I know if it’s a British recording, or one that London had made for them in Chicago.
Mel Blanc himself would revisit Tweety and Sylvester on several occasions in the next few years of his Capitol records contract. Firstly, there were the storytellers, issued as Record Readers. Already”Tweety Pie” was a top seller in the Children’s Record charts. And “Tweety’s Puddy Tat Trouble” would be out the following summer.
Several other storytelles would follow, including the hard-to-find “Snowbound Tweety”.
But Mel would do another song inspired by the bird-and-cat adversaries. “Won’t You Ever Get Together With Me?” (Capitol (F)1948),wsa reviewed in “Cash Box” for February 17th, 1952, But Capitol appears to have given the disc zero promotion.
Thus, the record is one of Mel’s less-common items among his Capitol discs. This despite the cleverness of the song, the excellent engineering, and a swinging Billy May chart.
If Mel worried that a particular record wasn’t selling–it did no seem to faze him all that much. The other side of Capitol 1948 might express things as well as any. It had Mel as “Porky” singing That’s All, Folks!
NEXT WEEK: Covering Disney’s Alice In Wonderland