|The Mouse That Jack Built|
The Mouse that Jack Built is a 1959 Merrie Melodies cartoon short directed by Robert McKimson. It is a parody of The Jack Benny Program starring the voices of Jack Benny, Mary Livingstone, Don Wilson and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson as rodent caricatures of their respective radio and television characters, with Mel Blanc reprising his imitation of Benny's Maxwell automobile (also assuming the voice of "Ed", Jack's underground vault guard, usually portrayed on radio and TV by Joseph Kearns).
The title is a play on the nursery rhyme This is the House that Jack Built.
Somewhere in Beverly Hills, in the house of Jack Benny [a sign out front proclaims, "Star of Stage * Screen * Radio * Television...also cartoons"], a mouse version of Jack is practicing his violin---off key---and saying to himself, "Who is this guy Isaac Stern?" (In real life Benny and Stern were good friends.) Outside Jack's mouse hole, a cat is lying in wait, wearing ear muffs to filter out the discordant sound of Jack's violin.
Jack calls his servant, Rochester (portrayed as a dark brown mouse) to get his white suit, which Rochester is wearing at the time. Jack tells the valet that his rental period is up (a week for $5.00) and he needs the suit because he is taking Mary Livingstone out for her birthday, and, true to character, is looking for a good cheap restaurant. Mary arrives while Jack is inspecting his cheese vault, and he emerges wondering who has been pilfering his gorgonzola. A fat rodent version of Don Wilson attempts to deliver a commercial when Jack advises him that this is a movie and not a television program. As they decide where to go, the cat writes a message extolling the "Kit Kat Club" ("entertainers free") and sends it to Jack as a paper airplane. Jack and Mary putter off in his Maxwell until they reach the Kit Kat Club by following the arrows pointing to it. Unbeknownst to them, the "club" is actually the maw of a real cat. They entered and while Jack was playing his violin, the cat's mouth closes on them.
Jack cries, "Help! Help!" as the camera cuts to the live-action Jack Benny, who wakes up and, breaking the fourth wall, tells the audience, "Gosh, what a crazy dream! Imagine- Mary and me as two little mice trapped inside a cat's mouth! And me playing the violin!" At that point, Jack is interrupted by the sound of a discordant "Rock-a-Bye Baby" played on the violin, coming from within Jack's live-action cat. From there, the rodent versions of Jack and Mary emerge unharmed from the live-action cat. Following one last bit of animation (where the rodent Jack and Mary return to their mousehole), the real Jack Benny does one of his famous "takes" as the cartoon fades out.
- DVD - Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 3, Disc Two
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- This is one of only two Warner Brothers cartoons to give on-screen credit to an actor other than Mel Blanc during the period of Blanc's exclusive contract with the studio. The other short is Three Little Bops, where the only voice actor is Stan Freberg, who receives his only credit in a Warner Brothers Golden Age short.
- ^ Borowiec, Piotr (1998). Animated Short Films: a critical index to theatrical cartoons. Scarecrow Press. p. 115. ISBN 0810835037. http://books.google.com/books?id=zFs5evuicXwC&lpg=PA115&dq=The%20Mouse%20that%20Jack%20Built&pg=PA115#v=onepage&q=The%20Mouse%20that%20Jack%20Built&f=false. Retrieved 2010-12-24.