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Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: April 23, 1949
Stars: Claude Cat, Hubie and Bertie
Rating: ★★★★★ ♕

Mouse Wreckers © Warner BrothersMouse Wreckers’ is one of Chuck Jones’s all time classic cartoons.

Hubie and Bertie have found a new home, which unfortunately is inhabited by a prize-winning mouse chasing cat, Claude (in his debut). But Hubie and Bertie succeed to chase the cat out of the house by turning him into a nervous wreck. Hubie and Bertie angle themselves through the chimney to evoke the cat’s doom. After several gags, ending with one using an upside down room, the cat, who never knew what was going on, flees the house in horror, leaving it for Hubie and Bertie to roast marshmellows at the fire.

‘Mouse Wreckers’ features some minor stars from the Chuck Jones vault, but its character comedy is brilliant nonetheless. The character animation of Claude Cat trying to deal with his supposed hallucinations is wonderfully well done, and his steady decline into madness is both hilarious and chilling to watch.

Fifteen years later Chuck Jones and Michael Maltese would reuse this story idea in their Tom and Jerry cartoon ‘The Year of the Mouse’ (1965).

Watch ‘Mouse Wreckers’ yourself and tell me what you think:

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:

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