Thursday, 6 April 2017

Jerry Mouse Gets His

Much like Saturday night baths and boys being forced to wear short pants until a certain age, giving someone castor oil seems to belong to a distant era. I’ve never seen a bottle of the stuff and don’t know anyone who was forced to take it. In the 1940s, I’m sure it was different, so we get a castor oil gag in the Tom and Jerry cartoon Baby Puss.

Apparently it’s maid Lillian Randolph’s day off because some obnoxious girl is running rampant, infantilising a cat. Between the girl, the unnecessarily tormented Tom, and smugly gleeful Jerry Mouse, this cartoon is grating. However, Jerry gets his in the end. About bloody time.

As usual, the MGM animators give the cat and mouse lots of expression. Here we are when the annoying child shoves castor oil into Tom for, well, for being abused.

And what’s that saying about he who laughs last? Jerry isn’t laughing for long but the satisfied audience is watching the mouse get what he deserves.

I won’t attempt to identify the voices or fine vocal group (the falsetto Carmen Miranda impression by the short stout cat is a lot of fun), but the credited animators are Pete Burness, Ray Patterson, Irv Spence and Ken Muse.


  1. The little girl sounds like Sara Burner and I believe the same music group also appeared a few years later in Texas Tom (1950), or at least they sound similar..

  2. This cartoon also is the debut for Tom's 'pals' -- Butch and the other unnamed cats who would continue to appear all the way to the CinemaScope releases in the mid-50s.

    (And Joe Barbera must have finally gotten fed up with all the people on the MGM lot telling him how much he beat up that cat (using a phrase described far more floridly in Joe Adamson's book on Tex Avery) a little before the widescreen shorts arrived, because by the mid-1950s Tom was getting off a lot better and Jerry a lot worse on average at the end of the cartoons. You can pretty much count on the fingers of one hand the episodes where Jerry gets the worst of it by the iris out, from 1940 to about 1953.)

  3. Haven't seen this in a while, but I'm pretty sure this sequence is Ray Patterson.

  4. Castor oil was a laxative, given (usually to children) for stomachaches and reviled for its taste. I recall a couple of Our Gang comedies with castor oil gags. But here, the animators succeeded in making it look disgusting.

  5. Castor Oil is still available for purchase (just do an internet search to find it). Its one of those great products of the past that's always good for a laugh in shorts or cartoons, just as is alum--which according to many shorts will shrink anything including one's mouth..Alum is still available too!