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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