Monday, May 19, 2014

Mighty Mouse in "Gypsy Life" (1945) for Terrytoons

Mighty Mouse
She's quite a little heartbreaker, this one.
Mighty Mouse in "Gypsy Life" (1945) for Terrytoons.

This classic Terrytoons animation is just too precious not to share.

We have a band of lonely gypsy mice traveling, going about their daily lives. Meanwhile, look! Up in the sky! It's... vampire cats!

Yes, vampire cats.

Mighty Mouse
He sees something he likes! No, this is not suggestive... at all.
Well, now the mice are in a pickle - particularly the really cute gypsy girl dancer (of course).

The animation is top-notch. But the best thing about the hoot of a video is the fact that the mice and vampire cats burst out into... opera. Yes, this is an opera animation about gypsy mice and vampire cats. In six minutes. No, I kid you not.

The vampire cats attack! The pretty gypsy girl screams! Oh, what will happen to the poor gypsies!

There are all sorts of underlying sexual dynamics going on here that it's hard to keep track of. Meanwhile, despite all the protestations by the gypsy girl, the vampire cat is actually quite gentlemanly, though a bit bombastic.

"Noooooooooooow, you're in my power!"

"You really think that I'm your victim? Unhand me or I will call for help!" (he's actually nowhere near her).

"No one can save you, your fate by now is sealed."

"It's not! There is one who will save me!"

"Who pray tell can that be?"

"It's MIGHTY Mouse, Mighty Mouse!"

It's... Mighty Mouse ... to the rescue!

So... who gets the girl? Tune in and find out!

Mighty Mouse
She's the cutest little animated gypsy girl you'll ever see!
This is just classic stuff. You don't get cornier than this. It's only 6 minutes long, but it packs as much punch as an entire episode of any show that you could name. And the dialog and singing are just insane.

The characters are never named except for Mighty Mouse, sing in the most cultured operatic voices you will ever hear in a cartoon. These were the days when for some reason the studios felt obligated to load their animation with "culture." What's amazing is that this helps keep them relevant today, because the vocal quality is superb and it's quite fascinating to see how an Italian opera would play out in English with... gypsy mice and vampire cats.

This was animated in 1945 and would have appeared in the theater as part of a night at the bijou. The animator Carlo Vinci, mentioned as contributing to the dancing scene, worked for various outfits from 1921 onward, and for Hanna-Barbera Studio (under different corporate names) from 1958 until his retirement in 1979. You've seen his work on "The Flintstones" and many other cartoons, but you never knew his name until now. A true workhorse of the industry.

Oh, and if this sort of cartoon wasn't the inspiration for "An American Tail," it's an awfully big coinkydink that you have all these sympathetic mice pursued by the outlandishly evil (but ineffectual) cats.

From the youtube page:
Gypsy Life (Terry-Toons/1945) 
Few people know the names of the artists who make cartoons, even fewer know of their background and training. Carlo Vinci was not only the man who animated the sexy girls dancing in Mighty Mouse cartoons and Fred Flintstone's tippy-toe bowling scenes, he was also an accomplished fine artist.
Mighty Mouse


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