|“||'Twas the night before Christmas, and Granny was wary
That while she was decking the halls, I'd swipe that canary;
But our plans for the holiday were soon to change;
Boy, speaking in rhymes can really sound strange.
— Sylvester's opening narration
"It Happened One Night Before Christmas" is the first Christmas episode of the Warner Bros. animated television series The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries. It was broadcast on Kids WB! as the tenth episode of the show's first season, on December 16, 1995. Its story is inspired by a plot thread from the film It's a Wonderful Life, and the title is also a reference to the film's made-for-TV remake, It Happened One Christmas.
The episode opens on Christmas Eve in the town of Bedspread Falls, where an elderly, absent-minded man named Willie Daily (an expy of Uncle Billy Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life) is frantically searching for an envelope containing $8,000 that he has lost, or else his family's savings and loan business will be ruined. His pet mice, Hubie and Bertie, observe his situation and decide they should help him. Looking at one of their owner's Christmas cards, they give him the idea that he should call his sister, Granny.
Soon after, Granny arrives in Bedspread Falls, driving a car with giant robot legs, along with her pets, Tweety, Sylvester, and Hector. After she reunites with Willie, she introduces her pets to him and his own. Sylvester naturally attempts to eat Hubie and Bertie, but Granny forces him to spit them out ("Been there, done that," quips Tweety). Willie then explains the situation to her; he was supposed to be making the family's weekly deposit at the bank, but when he arrived there, he had lost the envelope containing the deposit. Granny asks him if he didn't make any unplanned stops on the way over, and upon noticing that he has quite a few strings tied around his fingers, she decides that they should retrace his steps. While they're talking, Hector becomes enticed by the appearance of a mynah bird that jumps out of one of Willie's filing cabinets and Sylvester again tries to catch and eat Hubie and Bertie. In his attempt to do so, he ends up falling out the window and landing on the snow-covered street below, serendipitously finding Willie's footprints from his previous excursion.
The group follows Willie's footprints through the town, and it becomes evident that his memory is pretty bad, as his past footprints show that he actually made quite a few stops on the way to the bank. Granny investigates the first place he stopped at, Bowers' Drugstore, where he'd come in to get a newspaper and also a sarsaparilla. Mr. Bowers mentions to her that Willie didn't bother reading the newspaper he bought and instead placed his envelope inside it. As they leave, Mr. Bowers also gives Willie his keys, which he had dropped the previous time he came there.
After Willie remembers he had stopped off at the movie theater to see a Three Stooges film festival, he also remembers that, before he went to the bank, he stopped at a nearby mailbox to send his Christmas cards. They come to it just as the mailman is picking up the mail and look through it to see if Willie had accidentally dropped the money envelope in there, but they have no luck. Just then, a taxi driver drives up and reveals to Granny that he had taken Willie to Rossi's Tavern to get some hot chocolate. The group piles into the taxi and the driver gives them a lift to Rossi's; when they arrive, the driver then tells Willie that he left his horse in the taxi the last time he took it, and Rossi himself informs them that Willie left a bathtub in his club.
Finally, the group arrives at the last destination Willie had gone to: Totter Bank. Inside, Granny meets the owner, Freddy T. Totter, the self-proclaimed meanest man in town. He accuses Willie of trying to make a deposit with no money and demands him and Granny to leave. Outside, Sylvester is trying to eat Tweety, Hubie, and Bertie, but he ends up breaking his teeth on ice sculptures of them. While he starts shivering, Tweety, Hubie, and Bertie then look inside Mr. Totter's office window and notice a newspaper on his desk. They then see him coming inside and opening it to reveal Willie's missing money envelope. Figuring out that he stole it, they hatch a plan.
That night, Tweety, Hubie, and Bertie send Sylvester and Hector, disguised as Santa Claus, down the chimney into Mr. Totter's office. As Sylvester keeps him distracted by presenting him with Hector's collar, Hector manages to grab the newspaper, but not before stamping it with Mr. Totter's personal stamp. After he gives a signal, Hubie and Bertie pull Sylvester back up the chimney by dropping an anvil that he was tied to, accidentally leaving Hector behind. Before Mr. Totter can react, Hector takes his collar back and dashes out as quickly as he can. In the park, the pets bring the newspaper to Granny and Willie. Granny inspects it and finds all the clues - a sarsaparilla stain, a grease stain from the taxi door, and a hot chocolate stain from Rossi's - that indicate that it is indeed the same one in which Willie had been keeping the money envelope, but he then points out Mr. Totter's personal stamp on the front page.
Granny, Willie, the pets, and a police officer confront Mr. Totter in his office, but he denies having possession of the money envelope. Just then, the mynah bird that Hector's been noticing all day springs out of Mr. Totter's desk, bringing the envelope to Willie and thus exposing Mr. Totter's theft. The police officer takes him off to jail (all while he crazily shouts out "Merry Christmas" to everything, similar to George Bailey at the end of It's a Wonderful Life), and Granny decides she'll hold on to the envelope so that Willie won't lose it again. As they leave to finally make the deposit (with Willie saying they can still make it to the Daily family dinner at his nephew's house), Sylvester chases Tweety out into the snow, but is thwarted by Hubie and Bertie tossing a brick in his mouth, and the episode ends on Tweety and a dazed Sylvester quoting more lines from It's a Wonderful Life.
- Although the entirety of this story is meant to take place over the course of a single day, the opening scene is mistakenly depicted as taking place at night of what would appear to be the previous day.
- A poster of Cool Cat can be seen on the lamppost that Willie bumps into.
The episode was made available on The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries: The Complete 1st Season DVD set, released by Warner Home Video on September 9, 2008.
Freddy T. Totter
- "It Happened One Night Before Christmas" at TV.com
- "It Happened One Night Before Christmas" at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- "It Happened One Night Before Christmas" at the Internet Movie Database
- Looney Tunes Wiki: It Happened One Night Before Christmas