Friday 31 March 2023

A Giant Mouse?!

Mr. Terry! Mr. Terry! I have another great idea for a cartoon.
What’s that, Tommy?
There’s the house cat, you see, and this circus animal comes into his home, and he mistakes it for a giant mouse. And the giant mouse keeps beating him up!
Tommy, that sounds like...
Oh, no, Mr. Terry. The animal isn’t a kangaroo. It’s an elephant.
Well, that’s good. As I always say, “Never steal more than you can carry.”

Okay, the dialogue likely didn’t happen. But it is a fact that Bob McKimson’s giant mouse appeared in Hop, Look and Listen (1948), Hippety Hopper (1949) and Pop 'Im, Pop (1950) on theatre screens before Manny Davis’ The Elephant Mouse (1951), written by Tom Morrison for Terrytoons.

One thing McKimson did not have was Jim Tyer. Now, I’m not any kind of expert at identifying animators, but I feel safe in assuming the animation below is by Tyer. He doesn’t do a simple head turn on the cat. Look at the way the head sweeps.


Love the Terry Brake Squeal? It’s in this cartoon. Love the imitation Ed Wynn voice that Gandy Goose had? It’s in this cartoon? Like the routine where alley cats, who don’t believe there’s a giant mouse, shove their buddy cat back into the house? That’s here, too. (In fairness, the brake squeal is from a production record. Bob and Ray used it on radio, too).

Evidently, Paul Terry was looking for new stars. He tried Dingbat. Dingbat lasted five cartoons (see note in comment section). This was the second cartoon starring Half Pint (who gets his own title card). It was the last one.


  1. I thought Hippity's first cartoon was Hop, Look and Listen (1948).

    1. Yes, JW, you're quite right. There were two more before the Terry effort.

  2. It's true that Hippety Hopper beat Half Pint to the big screen by a couple of years. However, "The Elephant Mouse" was released two years before "Jerry and Jumbo", a 1953 Tom and Jerry cartoon that also concerns a baby circus elephant who invades a suburban home and exasperates a cat that thinks the elephant is a giant mouse, and whose mother likewise comes to the rescue in the end. "Jerry and Jumbo" is, of course, by far the superior cartoon, but in this case Terry tackled the subject first.

    There were five Dingbat cartoons: "The Hard Boiled Egg", "Dingbat Land", "Foiling the Fox", "All This and Rabbit Stew", and "Sour Grapes", all made between 1948 and 1950.

    1. Hi, Paul. I know about the T&J cartoon, but it's not germane to my point.
      Thanks for being correct on Dingbat. I used the index in Maltin's book and it lists only two shorts as Dingbat cartoons.

  3. Jim Tyer, one of a kind!

    Also, didn’t know the brake squeal was from a record (Valentino, perhaps? Idk). Always thought that was specifically made for Terry (the studio did use some Valentino sound effects, one of them being some train sounds). Kinda wonder if the iconic Terry splash was original or from a record as well?