Monday, 21 December 2015

Merry Christmas To Kitty (Once Again)

Nothing brings you the warmth and cheer of the holiday season than Katnip choked by a cane against an old wall telephone, having boiling coffee poured down his throat or slammed against a wall by the force of a metal heating grate.

Yes, we’re talking about the Famous Studios cartoon Mice Meeting You where all the frozen Katnip wants is a turkey dinner and ends up unconscious with his tail plugged into a light socket to illuminate Christmas lights strung around him, while Arnold Stang sings “Merry Christmas to Kitty” (accompanied by a serene, if blasé, chorus).

I’m not a fan of Famous cartoons, but this holiday entry is one of those which makes you laugh at the fact they’ve had the audacity to put the painful violence on the screen you’ve just watched. I can picture a story meeting in a room filled with empty bourbon bottles and a bunch of guys wearing derby hats and slurring “Screw Disney” with Bronx accents. It’s as if they were using agony and torture to purge the wretched repetition of friendly ghosts, spinach-eating sailors and truant-officer-defying little girls out of their system.

And there’s some nice animation in this one, too. I wish these screen grabs weren’t as fuzzy so you could see them better, but I like the scene where Katnip rushes to the chimney, thinking Santa is coming down it (it’s actually Herman the Skiddle-Diddle-Dee Mouse disguising his voice) and then claps his hands and races to his little bed.

Dave Tendlar and Marty Taras get the animation credits, while Mike Meyer and Jack Mercer co-wrote the story.


  1. Tendlar came out of the Willard Bowsky school of unnerving an audience with violent or menacing images, and that kind of carried over into the H&K and Baby Huey series of the 1950s, even if they didn't mean to do it, and thought the gags would be more funny than painful.

  2. Keep in mind that Katnip was the DUMBEST cat in animated cartoon history. And that anything that happened to him, he DESERVED.

  3. Not to split hairs (or cats), but it's "Skiddle Diddle Dee".

    1. Yes, TCJ, you're quite right. May I have a hot branding iron shot at my butt like an arrow and then try to cool the burn by sitting in a can of gasoline.