Sunday, July 17, 2016

Saturtainment: Punkin' Puss & Mushmouse (1964)

When Bill Hanna & Joseph Barbera formed their studio in 1957, they couldn't bring Tom & Jerry with them right away. MGM was still churning out shorts of the Oscar winning cat & mouse team, and it would be nearly 20 years before Tom & Jerry would be reunited with their creators.

In need of a backup feature for 1964's Magilla Gorilla Show, Hanna & Barbera came up with a Southern twist on the concept. Cross Tom & Jerry with the Hatfields & McCoys, and you get Punkin' Puss & Mushmouse.

Mushmouse (Howard Morris) and Punkin' Puss (Allan Melvin) live in a cabin situated in a very unlikely place--on the edge of a cliff on what's likely a dead end road, somewhere in the South. By 1964, they felt there was a need to have the characters talk, rather than continue the pantomime that made Tom & Jerry so successful.

In "Short Change", Mushmouse tries a witch's brew, but the results are the exact opposite of what he had in mind, as Punkin' Puss discovers.......

Allan Melvin would recycle his Punkin' Puss voice for Drooper of The Banana Splits, but without the Southern accent, 4 years later. H-B would revisit the concept, this time in the big city, with Motormouse & Autocat as part of the Cattanooga Cats in 1969.

Rating: B.

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