My Dad is a Mouse Squisher! An Animated Twist on an Old Tale

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jul 18, 2009 in Animation |

My favorite thing about this cartoon is that after our father-and-son dog team feel so guilty about trying to kill the poor mouse — that they in fact continue to spend the rest of the cartoon trying to still kill the mouse! Which also makes me realize that Good Mouse Keeping must be one of the few cartoons to feature a “dog vs. mouse” theme. This Hanna-Barbera cartoon was released on this day in 1952 and shows off the theatrical high quality work that that the animation studio was doing for MGM before they went off on their own for the low budget world of limited animation TV shows.

Good Mouse Keeping, 1952

Looking back at it I love the character designs used for Auggie Doggie & Doggie Daddy — which are a stark contrast to the Disney designs of the previous era which always strove for realism. Here the designs here are proudly flat and feature a strong outline on the outside of the character. This cartoon’s look-and-feel owes a great deal to UPA cartoons from that era, although director Mannie Davis gives a very user friendly take on a visual modernist approach. In fact the character designs of the two dogs contrast in a wonderful way with the mouse who is filled with a high level of detail.

Good Mouse Keeping, 1952

This cartoon seems rather gentle by modern day standards, but keep in mind that it was produced in 1952 in an America that was striving to get back to normal after World War II. People wanted to forget about the last twenty years which also included the Great Depression, so you have that unique embrace of modernism. In fact not only is the look of this cartoon modern, but the even the attitudes of our favorite father-and-son dogs showing a sensitivity for a mouse (who wants to swipe their cheese) is unlike anything you’d see before this era. In fact it’s during this timeframe that you see Charles M. Schulz working from a similar psychological point of view with Peanuts.

Good Mouse Keeping, 1952

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