Credits: Animation – Art Davis, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snagglepuss, J. Evil Scientist, Cat – Daws Butler; Mrs. J. Evil Scientist – Jean Vander Pyl; Junior, Mouse – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1960 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: J. Evil Scientist hires Snagglepuss to catch a mouse, which has been unknowingly enlarged in an experiment.
Hanna-Barbera seemed to use the Snagglepuss cartoons to showcase recurring secondary characters it may have wanted to turn into series leads. Thus Snagglepuss met up with Yakky Doodle, Bigelow the Mouse, Snuffles and, in this cartoon, Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist.
As much as the Scientist clan is reminiscent of TV’s Addams Family, it should be noted that the John Astin-Carolyn Jones series debuted a few years after this cartoon, though books of the single-panel Addams cartoons in The New Yorker were published as early as 1954.
Just as H-B cartoons can have a dog that can only say “Yowp,” they can have an enlarged mouse with a vocabulary restricted to “Snarf!” The big rodent scares Mrs. Scientist, who actually exhibits no fear (other than standing on a chair) and continues to calmly flick cigarette ashes on the mouse as she requests help, maintaining the same relaxed, throaty voice as she does in the rest of the cartoon (Jean Vander Pyl as Tallulah Bankhead). The family cat bolts when asked to get the mouse; J. Evil develops multiple eyes to watch the cat’s streaking exit.
The set-up complete, Snagglepuss arrives. The ensuing dialogue:
J. Evil (opening door) – It’s a mouldy-looking mountain lion, my dear.The dialogue continues...
Snagglepuss – Mouldy-lookin’! If it were not, I were to the manor born, I’d reciprocate in kind. Whaddya think of that? Whaddya think of that?
J. Evil – I still think you’re mouldy. What do you think of THAT?
Snagglepuss – I seek not but food, ere I continue me weary travels. Whaddya say to that? Whaddya say to that?Snagglepuss begs for food, promising work in return. “Anything you need, name it, name it. Chop wood, beat a rug, jelly eels, fix a fig maybe.” Only Maltese would throw in “jelly eels.”
J. Evil – I’d say “scram or I’ll sic a dragon on you.”
Another neat bit of dialogue (or, rather, monologue) ensues, featuring Maltese’s use of mounting ridiculous phrases:
Snagglepuss (to Junior) – Say! Why aren’t you in school? Better yet, why aren’t you in jail?The mouse grabs Snagglepuss. A couple of nice drawings.
Mouse – Snarf! Snarf, snarf, snarf!
Snagglepuss (to mouse) – Say! Are you followin’ me? Don’t yazz realise that you’re breakin’ a city ordinance? Malpractice. Pedestrum follow-ita. With an ipso factory. And an accessory after the carbohydrate. So watch it. Watch it.
The cartoon ends with Junior and the mouse shrinking Snagglepuss, who runs to the comfort of the mouse’s hole and finds a piece of cheese. So Snagglepuss succeeds in getting something to eat after all. Note the brush strokes and multiples in the exit drawings.
Daws Butler gives J. Evil a Peter Lorre-esque voice, though it’s less nasally than you think Lorre sounds like. If you’re familiar with how Lorre emphasized certain words, you’ll notice when Davis stretches J. Evil’s mouth when emphasizing.
The sound cutter makes good use of Hoyt Curtin’s music tracking library. I like the bass fiddle music during one scene where the large mouse is walking. And a variation on “Meet the Flintstones” is heard when Snagglepuss is at the door.