Release date: May 1, 1937.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Tex Avery.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Cat, Old Man, Elevator Mouse) and Billy Bletcher (Mouse in Checkered Cap).
Animation: Charles "Chuck" Jones and Bob Clampett.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: A group of mice raid the kitchen while the cat's asleep.
The old man who is annoyed of the black cat sleeping on his armchair then whacks the poor cat with a rolled up newspaper to make the cat leave. The poor black cat has to sleep on the rug where it isn't so comfortable and even further away from the fireplace - boy, that must be REALLY annoying. The cat then starts to wake his head up but the old man whacks a book on the cat's head before going off to snooze. From the looks of it, the old man is horrible to his cat as he beats it and doesn't let the cat feel comfortable.
The message is being folded into an airplane model as the message then flies down to the mouse-hole as the mice hear the news of the cat sleeping which means party time for the mice. It's a good example of the phrase; "When the cat's away, the mice will play" - except the cat is asleep. All of the other mice then start to dash out of their homes quickly to greet with the other mouse who then "shushes" them to be quiet since any sound could wake up the cat. The mouse leader then starts to lead the other mice to follow him in tiptoes.
As the mice are about to walk past the sleeping gag; they make a really quick dash away from the cat leaving a breezy effect on the cat with it's furs waving. The cat then wakes up feeling the shivers; the sounds of the cold voice effect is pretty funny in some ways - at least in a Warner cartoon for the first time. The cat assumes that it was wind from an open window in which he stands up to close the window. Now that was a cunning gag since the window was left all-along and there is no blizzard as the cat never expected any mice. I have to say that the animation effects of the mice running away quickly with the furs waving has got some good weight into it.
I'm not too sure on what that gag is with that old lady mouse asking but I thought I heard the word "cat" being mentioned as the elevator mouse makes a scared take which I'm assuming it probably means something. In the next sequence; there are a group of mice that are eating a lot of the food as we get to see a lot of food-eating gags being presented here. We first see a mouse that is eating chunks of loaf of bread and because of their small bodies; after only eating a small part the mouse becomes very fat and walks with a bouncing belly.
Meanwhile there is a gangster mouse (voiced by Billy Bletchet) who asks a rather timid-looking mouse, "and if the cat comes. Give us a whistle like this". He then starts to whistle rhythmically which is the call. Another mouse finds a group of mouse-traps set up probably by the old-man who appears to be aware of mice in the kitchen all the time. The mouse has his chance to run up and grab all of the cheese without being snapped from the traps. The mouse successfully manages to complete that task. A mouse then starts to use it's tail as a cork screw to unscrew the cork out of the bottle. The funny gag is that after putting in an awful lot of effort of trying to open the cork; the mouse flies off but lands inside another bottle opposite the champagne bottle and ends up trapped.
After the mouse then starts to eat a cracker from a box; the cat is disturbed from the noise being heard and wakes up. The cat begins to suspect and creeps up to find out. The mouse eating the crackers (the reason for why the cat woke up) then makes a scared take as the cat enters the scene but the mouse tries his best to whistle but struggles after eating a box of crackers. After the mouse tries to put in a lot of effort into whistling for the gangster to rid the cat; the mouse's face starts to turn red until the mouse gets all puffed out after all the energy. I do wonder if that scene was considered "magical" to any of the WB staff and praised whoever animated it at the time as to the praise Rod Scribner may get for his work for 'Coal Black', and so forth. But I wouldn't try to make a deal out of it.
The cat is chasing after the mice while still inside the turkey costume which can be worth for some amusement since the cat's arms and legs are a part of the turkey's arms and legs and the running cycle is even in fact pretty good. The cat chases after the mice but then hits his head in the mouse hole. Ahh, this is 1930s cartoons where comic timing hadn't been quite developed and no-one but probably Bill Hanna could perfect timing on a cat having his muzzle caught inside a mousehole. Notice in the next shot of the mouse hole door from previous shot is missing in the next shot. Background error. All of the mice start to run back into the mouse hole stuffing foods into the cat's arms (still wearing the turkey costume) to make sure the cat gets the blame from stealing food.
The old man then starts to kick the cat out of the house telling him off to not return before closing the door. After closing the door; the old man then starts to stick his tongue making a very silly, childish sound to the poor cat. The cat then replies with the same action. The old man walks back onto his armchair as he is sitting back reading his newspaper as well as criticizing the cat. The messenger mouse is writing another message reading "The cat's gone". All of the mice receive the message fast as they tremble on the mouse running out of the mouse hole again.
In the next sequence focuses on a band with mice playing the instruments to the popular song of the 30s (as well as the title song of the cartoon) - Ain't We Got Fun. There are a group of mice singers (one of them being female) as they sing the song themselves. That song has been used in Warner cartoons quite a couple of times as it's another popular choice by Stalling.
The singing there on the singers - in my opinion feel very unrealistic. There is a singer in there and yet we can't hear any female singers in the background to make it more interesting. In one of the lyrics section we get to see more feeding of a mouse feeding jelly to the mice's bellies. I have to say despite some flaws in that scene I love the animation movement of the mice singing the song as you see some perspective looks on the animation as they walk up and down as it creates a shadow-y effect. I wonder if that small sequence would also inspire Jones in Night Watchman as they sing In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree. The actual band singers singing in this cartoon appear to be familiar with voices (also heard in 'Watchman') but I don't know who it is.
The old man tries to find himself out of this incident as he opens the door trying to be kind to his cat trying to catch his attention to enter the house, "Here kitty, kitty. Here nice kitty. I thought it was you hitting me out of the house at home. I didn't know it was those pesky old mice". The old man tries to ask the black cat to enter the house to get rid of the mice remarking "I was only foolin'" even talking about beating the cat and all but the black cat is still reluctant standing cold in the snow.
Meanwhile the mouse who appears to be on guard watching the cat entering then blows from a whistle. A fat mouse steps out a cheese hole and shouts in a low voice "The cat!" and dashes out. A tiny girl shouts in a very high, squeaky voice "The cat" and dashes off which is a very funny voice effect. All of the other group of mice start to shout "The cat" as they're afraid of trouble being brought to them. The cat continues to chase after the group of mice until they run inside their mouse-hole safely and it appears the black cat has to do some waiting.
After the mice have fled (and the black cat appears to know about that too). The black cat sits on the old man's easy, comfortable armchair and snoozes by the warm fire - just like earlier on in the cartoon. The old man stands up after being tripped by the cat who was chasing after the mice. The old man walks down looking forward to sit on his armchair; "There's nothing like sitting on my easy chair by the fire side". The ending is supposed to be a parody of what happened at the beginning as during the cartoon it mostly focused on the mice raiding the kitchens.
The old man is about to whack the black cat on the armchair for sitting on his comfortable chair before finding it in his heart that the cat has saved his home and chased the mice away. For once the old man lets the black cat to sit on his chair letting the old man be the dog; at least it's rather unusual but sweet at the same time. There is some pretty solid animation of the old man sitting down on the rug trying to find a comfortable position like a cat would do which I assume was a challenge for the animator since this is being animated in a human form and much of the old-man animation was very good animation. The old man then comments at the end, "I ain't such a mean old man after all, aren't I?" The cat accepts it as rubbish by tossing a book on top of his head - just as what the old-man did to him.
Overall comments: In my opinion this cartoon feels like as though the timing and gags are similar to what Friz Freleng might work on. It's definitely a Tex Avery cartoon as it's a different style to drawing in this cartoon than Freleng and also there are a few Avery gags in there that may be traits but much of this cartoon feels different to his style. I have to admit I didn't find this cartoon very surprising or fun to watch as Tex would use often in his cartoons; as well as his earlier cartoons. The animation was splendid and the character personality of the old-man was pretty well developed (with a funny gag to end the cartoon). I found much of it dull which focuses on eating gags of mice eating that even Avery could probably make even funnier by that point. The timing in my opinion feels a little slow but maybe Tex was experimenting. After all; back then during Tex's first Merrie Melodies - songs were forced to being used which is probably the first of his cartoons may not be so great (excluding I Love to Singa which is excellent). There could've been some very funny gags included of the cat and the mouse but we get to see the chance of that. Maybe Tex was short on ideas for this cartoon and just went ahead making this cartoon.