211. The Mouse-Merized Cat – Robert McKimson

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SUMMARY: A mouse studies hypnotism in the hope of controlling the household cat… but first he must try out his new powers on is dopey friend.

WHY IT’S HERE: ‘The Mouse-Merized Cat’ is an amusing if largely unremarkable cartoon but it appears on this list as a curiosity regarding character. In his 1942 cartoon Bob Clampett created the characters Babbit and Catstello, parodies of popular comedians Abbott and Costello. Though it nominally starred the duo, ‘A Tale of Two Kitties’ ended up launching the career of Tweety instead. Babbit and Catstello, meanwhile, struggled to find their audience. There were a couple of attempts to relaunch these would-be stars but, unusually, the pair shapeshifted through species. Although they are still always referred to as Babbit and Catstello in all related literature, the characters became mice for ‘A Tale of Two Mice’, then dogs in ‘Hollywood Canine Canteen’ and finally mice again for ‘The Mouse-Merized Cat’, their last appearance. Too indebted to their source inspirations to ever have really found fame, Babbit and Catstello remain one of a handful of Warner Bros. animation footnotes and this, their swansong, is a fittingly mediocre finale for a duo who never quite had what it took, despite their willingness to change species to fit the story.

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