Thursday 19 November 2020

A Slice(r) of Life

Time seems to go backward in Rough on Rats (1933), where a huge rat in a grocery store kidnaps a little black kitten and ties him to a meat slicer. The rat rubs its misshapen (this is a Van Beuren cartoon, after all) hands in poorly-animated glee while kitten moves its head from side to side in fright.

The rat smells cheese outside its hole and goes to investigate. But when we cut back to the kitten, notice how far back he is. Somehow, the slicing board has moved backward, not forward toward the blade. Fortunately, this odd time-warp allows a white kitten to jump and grab the rope to stop the slicer so it doesn’t have to go back in time again.

Harry Bailey gets the “by” credit; Bailey had been around animation for about 15 years at this point.

This cartoon is still enjoyable to watch, even though it’s kind of a low-rent Disney short in terms of story. Where else can you see a rat attacked by Best English Walnuts (with a sign poking out of the bag reading “Nuts to you”?). And, as usual, Gene Rodemich finds some great tunes. Devon Baxter points out the one in this scene is called “Zombie” composed by Harold Mooney. Listen to a very good version below.


  1. That Means Harry Bailey Started His Career in 1918. Where was he after He Done work for Disney??

  2. Hans Christian Brando23 November 2020 at 07:14

    "This cartoon is still enjoyable to watch" if you're into torturing kittens.

  3. Yeah, Or if you're a mouse hater. According to IMDB. Harry Bailey, Eddie Donnelly, Steve Muffati, Vernon Stallings, John McManus, and George Rufle animated this. I don't know if this is 100% true so I'm gonna take it with a grain of salt

    1. Well, it's a rat, not a mouse.
      I don't use IMDB, or haven't in years. If they provide a source for something, fine. If not....