Friday, October 10, 2008

Little Blabbermouse

Here's an interesting little character who never gets much recognition. He's interesting for two reasons: One, he starred in two cartoons by the same director (Friz Freleng) with virtually the same plot in the same year. Two, the character was eventually merged into Chuck Jones' Sniffles the Mouse series, first as the basis for a talkative bat character the following year ("Brave Little Bat") and then Sniffles himself from "Unbearable Bear" (1943) through the characters' final cartoon in 1946.

Both "Little Blabbermouse" and "Shop, Look and Listen" have the same premise, and the same crew behind them. My guess is that they came up with too many gags to fit in one cartoon, so they made two seperate cartoons. In both, A W.C. Fields caricature leads Blabbermouse on a guided tour of a department store full of unusual, funny and futuristic items. It's a rather unusual melding of Freleng's inamimate-objects-and-packages-come-to-life obsession, and the Tex Avery style of blackout spot-gags and puns. Also notice that the idea of W.C. Fields as a mouse would turn up again 27 years later as Merlin the Magic Mouse...and the connection may very well be Cal Howard, writer of the first Merlin short who was a frequent collaborator with Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton in the early 40's. Both Hardaway and Dalton appear in the credits for the Blabbermouse cartoons.

"Little Blabbermouse"

"Shop Look and Listen"

"Unbearable Bear"


Anonymous said...

Wow! I remember watching some of these cartoons. And boy, that mouse can talk like there is no tomorrow. He and "Shorty", the fast talking rabbit from "Rabbit's Kin" should have a convention together.

tedwioncek said...

Little Blabbermouse is one of my favorite cartoon characters based on the great W.C. Fields. I even have two of the Little Blabbermouse dolls in my W.C. Fields memorablia collection.

Thank you for writing about the character and helping to keep the spirit of W.C. Fields alive.

Ted Wionek, President
W.C. Fields Fan Club
PO Box 506
Stratford, NJ 08084-0506 USA

tedwioncek said...

Actually the doll I have is the Merlin the Magic Mouse.

Ted Wioncek

J Lee said...

The character's roots actually go back to the hyper-talkative duck in Avery's 1937's "I Wanna Be A Sailor". He then showed up two years later in Hardaway and Dalton's "It's An Ill Wind", before Friz took a shot at trying the same type of fast-talking, never-shutting up character in the two 1940 cartoons.

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