Friday 9 June 2023

Today's Sniffles Question

Non sequiturs happen in cartoons. That I can understand. But there are times I’m watching something and thinking “What?! What was that? Why?”

It happens with Van Beuren shorts, but I give them a pass because the plots are full of things that are funny-weird. It happens with some of the later shorts at Columbia/Screen Gems, but I figure they’re trying for Warner Bros. or Tex Avery gags and failing.

But there’s one by Chuck Jones I simply don’t get.

He and writers (Rich Hogan gets the screen credit) came up with The Brave Little Bat (1941). The National Board of Review magazine describes it:

A nice little dope of a bat saves a strange mouse when a giant cat invades their home.

Okay, so here’s the bat.

But then the bat strolls from behind a beam and comes out the other side as a mouse with little bat wings under his arm pits. And remains that way for the rest of the cartoon.

My question is—why?

The bat isn’t in disguise to trick him because there’s no trick involved. Is Sniffles hallucinating? I’m missing something. Maybe.

In this short, Sniffles is boring, the bat is annoying. Eventually the ridiculous, repetitive chatter (stolen from Teeny of Fibber McGee and Molly) would be put by Jones into Sniffles himself. There isn’t much of a point to the cartoon, which inches along. The climax is a cat falls a long way to the floor.

Rudy Larriva is the credited animator. I suspect Paul Julian painted the backgrounds.


  1. I assume that's the whole joke. The bat LOOKS threating when it first appears in build-up, but then it reveals itself to be nothing more than a "rat with wings" - not only that, but he's an exact copy of Sniffles. Or at least that's I always took away from it.

    1. Me too. It's a sort of like Cartoon Laws of Biology.

  2. It was a joke of the sort with Elmer Fudd reflecting Chernabog. In The Brave Little Bat, though, it's clumsy. It's still a charming cartoon.