Thursday 24 July 2014

Neapolitan Dogs

Any Tom and Jerry cartoon with cute, girl-sounding, foreign-accented mice is cringe-worthy, but I really like the dog designs in “Neapolitan Mouse.” Whether they’re by Dick Bickenbach or Gene Hazelton, I don’t know.

The cartoon’s weird. The Italian girly mouse recognises Tom and Jerry from cartoons. That means the whole Tom and Jerry world realises its living in a cartoon. And the big climax scene has the dogs thumped into the ocean by wheels of cheese which evidently have minds of their own, as they churn away from the cartoon after performing their deed.

But the dogs haven’t been vanquished. Like fanbois, they happily wave goodbye to Tom and Jerry to close the cartoon. Yeah, after the blue dog beats Tom into a hand-accordion earlier in the short.

The Hanna-Barbera unit’s usual animators are all here—Ed Barge, Irv Spence, Ray Patterson and Ken Muse.


  1. This is why I want to think this is Tom & Jerry in their off-hours but yes, pretty 4th wall weird indeed.

  2. I tried to look at the MGM live action releases of the same time period, to figure out if this wasn't some sort of tie-in commissioned cartoon from the front office, which told Fred Quimby to tell Bill and Joe to do a Tom & Jerry cartoon set in Italy. Never could find any link, but it is so different from the other T&J's of the time, you have to wonder what the impetus was behind it (on the other hand, if you were looking for a well-animated template for Hanna-Barbera's 1975 Tom & Jerry cartoons for ABC, where they were best buddies with co-stars who took up much of the plot time, look no further than this short).

  3. J.L., my stab in the dark was that Quimby enjoyed such success with the little French mouse, the studio decided to try a little Italian mouse.
    The cartoon was originally named for the mouse, but I can't find my clipping from Variety which said what it was.

  4. You didn't like this one?

    I'll be honest, I always liked this one because I thought it was really nice to look at. Found the narrative bizarre, but not offputting.