Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: June 12, 1943
Stars: Hubie and Bertie

The Aristo-Cat © Warner BrothersThe aristo-cat is the pet of a rich lady. He nags the butler so much that the latter quits. Not knowing how to get food himself, the cat panics, until he learns from a book titled ‘the behavior of cats’ that cats eat mice.

He immediately sets out to get one, but when he encounters one (Hubie) he doesn’t recognize it and he’s scared to death. Hubie and Bertie take advantage of the situation to convince the cat that Rover, a vicious bulldog next door, is a mouse. This leads to several chase routines, until it is revealed that it was all a dream.

‘The Aristo-Cat’ is only moderately funny, and the aristo-cat has a rather ugly voice. But the cartoon’s highly stylized backgrounds are beautiful and an attraction on their own. They are based on layouts by John McGrew, who did some innovative work in a couple of Chuck Jones cartoons from 1942 and 1943, e.g. ‘Conrad the Sailor‘, ‘The Dover Boys‘, and ‘Flop Goes The Weasel’. The backgrounds in ‘The Aristo-Cat’ arguably form the apex of McGrew’s art with their expressionistic angles and patterns, supporting the cat’s agony and fear. In fact, such daring designs would not be seen again before the advent of UPA.

‘The Aristo-Cat’ marks the debut of the mischievous mouse duo Hubie and Bertie. Strangely enough, they were shelved for three years, although Hubie had one solo-outing in 1944 with ‘From hand to Mouse’. The duo returned in 1946 to star five more cartoons: ‘Roughly Squeaking’ (1946), ‘House Hunting Mice’ (1948), ‘The Hypo-Chondri-Cat’ (1950), ‘Cheese Chasers’ (1951) and the greatest of them all, ‘Mouse Wreckers‘ (1949).

Watch ‘The Aristo-Cat’ yourself and tell me what you think: