A scene from THE MOUSE THAT JACK BUILT, directed by Robert McKimson for Warner Bros.

The Mouse That Jack Built (1959, Robert McKimson)

A prerequisite for The Mouse That Jack Built is probably working knowledge of “The Jack Benny Program.”

I have none, though I think I’ve heard the radio show before. But I certainly do not remember it enough for Mouse to make sense.

It’s a strange concept for a cartoon–imagine Jack Benny is a cartoon mouse; he’s still Jack Benny in all respects, except species and affinity for cheese. And then there’s the frame. Apparently, the cartoon opens in the “real” Beverly Hills, even though it’s a cartoon. Because it ends with Benny, in person, in the house where the cartoon takes place. McKimson didn’t think anything through.

The animation’s mediocre. It’s weak on Mary Livingstone’s mouse alter ago and good on Benny’s.

Benny gives the only good performance (besides Mel Blanc).

I suppose it does make me want to see Benny’s program, but it’s not much of a cartoon.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Robert McKimson; written by Tedd Pierce; animated by Warren Batchelder, Ted Bonnicksen, George Grandpré and Tom Ray; edited by Treg Brown; music by Milt Franklyn; produced by John W. Burton; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Jack Benny (Jack), Mary Livingstone (Mary), Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson (Rochester), Don Wilson (Don) and Mel Blanc (Ed the Vault Guard).

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