The Mouse-merized Cat

“Sleep! Sleep!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Arthur Davis, Don Williams, Richard Bickenbach, and Cal Dalton; Layouts and Background by Richard H. Thomas and Cornett Wood; Effects Animation by A.C. Gamer; Voice Characterization: Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on October 19, 1946.

Remember Babbit and Catstello? Even if Tweety managed to get their fame, the two still managed a couple more pictures as mice. (Thus making them the only Warner Bros. characters to change species.) It’s clearly them and not just some lookalikes, the names are the same, the appearance is familiar, and they are still voiced by Pierce and Blanc, respectively. Still, for whatever reason, they only got two shorts as rodents, with this being the last of them.

Catstello, (which is a rather odd name for a mouse, but not THE worst. That distinction goes to Mortimer.) is excited to see us, the audience, but Babbit has more important matters to attend to. He’s reading a book about hypnotism, and he plans to entrance the chubby mouse, so said mouse will forget any fear of a cat, and get food from the deli in which they reside.

Naturally, the loss of free will is not something that Catstello wants any part in, and refuses to participate. Starting out by simply pretending it worked. He gives himself away when he refuses to mallet his own hand. Babbit refuses to accept that either hypnosis doesn’t work that way, or that his little pal could just be immune. (And why should he accept either one in a cartoon?) Still, Catstello tries to avoid the powers, protecting his eyes, and ducking. It’s no use though, Babbit finally gets him and now its time to test these powers.

It wouldn’t be a Warner Bros. Picture if they didn’t caricature some of the most popular people of the day, so Babbit starts by making his pal be Crosby, Sinatra, Durante, and Rochester. But any Warner character could do those, so the real test is to become a chicken. Sure enough, not only does Catstello cluck, but he even somehow lays and egg. (Or he just took it off a shelf. They are in a deli.)

Okay, how about we see this cat that’s in the title? Catstello is commanded to be a dog, and sent out to get the cat. His barking sends the cat into hiding, but upon seeing its just a mouse, the feline loses any and all fear. He even snaps Catstello out of the trance. The mouse flees in fear back to the hole, but Babbit rehypnotizes him out. In turn, the cat studies some hypnotism of his own and tries sending him back again. (He doesn’t just eat him because fat mice are high in cholesterol)

This goes on, but somehow in between the dueling hypnotists, Catstello is able to get his own will back and holds two mirrors out. Now they’ll see how funny hypnosis can be! With them caught in their own trances, Catstello can get them to do anything. He decides on the cat being a horse, and Babbit being a cowboy. With that done, he sends them out to hunt some varmint, and he is finally rid of them. With the whole place to himself, he does what anyone would do with an empty deli: eat.

Favorite Part: One of the ways Catstello resists the hypnosis. He reads a book entitled: “How to resist hypnotism.”

3 Replies to “The Mouse-merized Cat”

  1. Besides Babbitt and Catstello, Paramount/Famous’s Hal Seeger’s attempt at a thjeatrical character form his own studio, “Muggy Doo”, was a cat that was redone on TV as a fox! (“MILTON THE MONSTER”,1964.)

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