Thursday, 15 March 2012

Dr Jekyll and Mr Mouse

There’s an awful long set-up before we get to the transformation scenes in the MGM cartoon “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse” (1947). Tom spends over a third of the cartoon trying to keep his milk away from Jerry.

There are plot holes you can drive the proverbial truck through in this cartoon but there are still some fun things. Scott Bradley’s pounding music when the transformed Jerry stomps toward Tom sounds like anything but a Scott Bradley score. There’s a great use of colour (and shadow) in the scene where Tom’s mixing the poison. And there are the transformation drawings.

Ken Muse, Ed Barge, Mike Lah and Al Grandmain get credit on this. One wonders whether Grandmain, who I understand was an effects animator at one time, handled at least some of the transformation drawings. Here are a few after Jerry drinks the milk mixture. The brushwork is admirable.

And here’s the first time he changes back. Some drawings are simply brush lines to indicate Jerry, some are jagged heads, a few are full body drawings. The explosion at the end is interesting. A frame of solid colour (yellow, blue, etc.) is interspersed with an animation drawing.

Why a mouse likes milk in the first place, why the milk mixture didn’t turn the fly that drank it into a musclebound fly and how Jerry knew even the approximate formula recipe are questions you can ask yourself and ignore, because you’ll never get an answer. Enjoy the drawings instead.


  1. Ken Muse did the first scene; and Mike Lah did the other scenes - you've pictured.

  2. That always did bug me (no pun intended), why did the fly die after drinking the concoction and turn Jerry into what seems like Mighty Mouse, sans cape?

  3. The fly obviously overdosed on the stuff, or more likely the more volatile compounds had evaporated before Jerry got his chance.
    Jerry didn't know Tom's secret formula, although Tom mistakenly thought he had, and therefore shrunk to sub-Jerry size. Of course, an argument using cartoon logic is pretty much, a futile endeavor.

  4. This is probably my favorite Tom and Jerry cartoon!
    Mark Kausler and Mark Mayerson figured out the animators on this one.

  5. It's actually cream, not milk, that Tom first swipes from the front porch. Cream was usually delivered in smaller bottles and is often an ingredient in some varieties of cheese; which may explain Jerry's attraction to it.

  6. It would have been a great (and Avery-esque) end gag if the fly showed up at the end, even bigger and more muscle-bound than Tom and Jerry, and chased them off-screen. (although the fly would need to have had more screen time at the beginning so the audience would remember him)