Cartoon of the Day: Mouse Cleaning

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Mouse Cleaning

Mouse Cleaning

Back before their television empire, back before the Flintstones and Scooby Doo, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera played a cat against a mouse. From Tom & Jerry, today’s cartoon of the day is Mouse Cleaning from this date in 1948.

Mammy-Two-Shoes tells Tom that if the house gets dirty or untidy, he will be thrown out. Once she leaves, Jerry uses a cigarette ashtray to spread filth all over the place. Gags and chase sequences ensue. Jerry diverts a coal chute into the living room as Mammy comes home.

She and Tom collide outside the front door. When Tom pokes his head out of the coal, he becomes a stereotypical black Stepin Fetchit-style character. Mammy thinks Tom is a man and asks, “Hey you! Has you seen a no-good cat around here?” Tom replies (in a stereotypical black voice), “No ma’am! I ain’t seen no cat around here! Uh-uh! No cat, no place, no how, no ma’am!”

Mammy spots Tom’s tomfoolery and yells “Thomas!” Tom runs away and hobbles along the sidewalk, shuffling and mumbling.

This cartoon was redubbed in the 1960s, with Mammy-Two-Shoes speaking in an aggressively non-racial white-bread accent (her legs are still 100% “of color,” though!).

Additionally, the scene where Tom, in blackface, does his “Stepin Fetchit” routine was excised and replaced with some newly-created animation by the Chuck Jones MGM unit nearly 20 years later.

Kenneth Muse did the animation in the sequence where Tom juggles eggs and an ink pad, according to animator Mark Kausler. Ed Barge animated the old horse and the coal, while the final sequences were done by Ray Patterson and Irv Spence.

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