Friday, 23 December 2011

Merry Christmas Dear Kitty

Nothing exemplifies the benevolent spirit of the holiday season better than beating a cat senseless, decorating it with colourful lights, then plugging its limp tail into a electrical socket to illumine them. All this, while wine-swilling mice join together in a quiet chorus of Winston Sharples’ holiday classic “Christmas is Here.” Makes you feel warmer than rum and egg nog, doesn’t it?



Poor Katnip. All he wants is a turkey dinner and some presents from Santa but he gets wincing violence from trespassing mice.

The credits were ripped off “Mice Meeting You” (1950) when it was released for television decades ago, so the artists may be known only to those who have a compulsion to closely examine the 1950s product of Famous Studios.

Since Herman and Katnip seem to have been influenced by Tom and Jerry, it should be no surprise this gag was likely influenced by one in a Tom and Jerry cartoon.



This was animated by Ken Muse in the Oscar-winner “Quiet Please” (1945).

3 comments:

  1. It's the first H&K pairing and also the oldest Noveltoon in the 1950-62 Harvey package. I wonder if it also was the first one to receive new titles, and the film editors just botched the transfer and blocked everything out, before opting for the eventual re-filmed style of new credit opening and new title page copyright, with the actual animators credits sandwiched in-between.

    If I had to guess, I'd say the cartoon's from the Tendlar-Taras-Reden unit, which had been handling Herman's most recent shorts before this, was the studio's go-to group for painful cartoon violence, having just kicked off the Baby Huey series, and paired Katnip immediately after this with Buzzy for the first time. (Tendlar had been using a black cat design as Herman's adversary, but this being a Christmas cartoon, may have decided a red cat would be more festive for the occasion. Of course in guessing about the credits, I need to remember what Felix Unger once noted on The Odd Couple, "When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.")

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  2. Leonard Maltin used this as an example of why H&K made "Tom and Jerry nonchalant by comparison"[1980, "Of Mice and magic"].


    Other early 1950-1962 Famous/Novletoon/Harveytoons shorts that year were "Casper's Spree under The Sea" - also the first official Casper, just like "MMY"'s the first Herman-Katnip pairing, and ersatz Herman [Arnold Stang] as turkey, and human Katnip [Syd Raymond]as farmer, in "Voice of the Turkey".Steve

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  3. It is from the Tendlar-Golden-Reden-Taras unit. Confirmed by Bob Jaques.

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