Cartoon of the Day: The Missing Mouse

The Missing Mouse
1953
Directed by William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Available on: Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection Vol. 2

The plot of today’s Tom and Jerry short is about as outlandish as they get. During a normal day of chasing around the house, Jerry smashes into a wall, causing a bottle of white shoe polish on a high shelf to topple over. This spills all over Jerry, causing him to look completely white. Right at that moment, the radio warns of a white mouse that has escaped from a science lab which could explode at the slightest touch. Jerry then has his way with Tom who is convinced this is the real white mouse.

Eventually the shoe polish washes off and Tom kicks Jerry out, right at the moment that the real mouse appears on the scene. After knocking the mouse around for a while, Tom realizes that this is the real mouse…but no sooner does that happen that radio announces that the white mouse is not a danger after all. Of course, when Tom literally kicks the white mouse out the window, it explodes, destroying the whole town.

Tom and Jerry shorts have never been my favorites. I enjoy them, just not as much as some other characters…but this short is one of their classics for me. It’s got the signature extreme violence they are known for (in this short alone they hit each other with hammers and Tom gets smashed in the face with an iron) not to mention some great animation moments. The best gag in the film is that last one…”we repeat, the white mouse will not explode”…we loved as kids and it’s still great today!

It’s easy to get lost in the violence of the Tom and Jerry shorts and forget that there is really some great artistry on display. I usually think of TV cartoons when thinking of Hanna & Barbera, but this short reminds that they really were masters of the theatrical shorts as well.

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One Response to Cartoon of the Day: The Missing Mouse

  1. Alex Smart says:

    The last bit is pretty funny. When I was younger, Tom going “Don’t you believe it” was highly unsettling and unnerving to me. Especially when that phrase was used in Mouse Trouble (with Tom looking much creepier), however, now the instance in the Missing Mouse doesn’t bug me as much. Matter of fact I actually enjoy the craziness of this particular cartoon a little.

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