Cheese Chasers

Cheese Chasers
Merrie Melodies (Hubie and Bertie) series

"This is a dream?!" Claude Cat with suicidal mice Hubie and Bertie in a scene from Cheese Chasers.
Directed by Charles M. Jones
Produced by Eddie Selzer
Story by Michael Maltese
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Ken Harris
Ben Washam
Lloyd Vaughan
Phil Monroe
Studio Warner Bros. Cartoons
The Vitaphone Corporation
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) August 25, 1951
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7 min (one reel)
Language English

Cheese Chasers is a 1951 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Chuck Jones, and starring Hubie and Bertie in their final appearances of the Classic era. Also starring are Claude Cat and a bulldog predecessor to Marc Antony. Mel Blanc plays Claude, Hubie, and the bulldog, while Stan Freberg plays Bertie.

Synopsis

At the end of a raid on a cheese factory, Hubie steps out of a wheel of cheese fat and nauseated. Bertie stumbles out after. Hubie determines that, based on the amount of cheese the average mouse eats in their lifetime (12 lbs.), they've eaten enough to have lived two thousand years (48 tons). Determining that they can no longer stomach cheese, and with nothing else to live for, they determine their only course of action: suicide. They return home, where they write a generic suicide note ("Goodbye, cruel world!") with a not-so-generic postscript ("We've lived a full life."), and introduce themselves to the gullet of a sleeping Claude Cat.

Claude immediately wakes up and spits the mice out. Believing that there is "something rotten in Denmark", he figures the mice are poisoned, and refuses to eat them. He tries to convince himself it's a dream, but after several attempts realizes it's no dream. He tries to bribe the mice with cheese; when they vehemently refuse the offer, Claude questions his own sanity. The mice insist on being eaten and take to him with a hammer so as to make him angry enough to eat them, but Claude stops at the last second. Claude concludes that he's now too scared to eat mice, has no more reason to live, and also decides to commit suicide. Leaving an equally generic suicide note with a similarly-strange postscript ("No P.S."), Claude heads outside and punches the sleeping bulldog.

The bulldog sees Claude standing there blindfolded and with a cigarette (as if standing before a firing squad), and asks what's going on. When Claude begs the dog to "massacre" him, the bulldog thinks there is "something decidedly fishy here". It gets worse when Hubie and Bertie run out, trying to get Claude to eat them. The bulldog figures out that Claude no longer wants to eat mice, and now the mice don't like cheese, but after using an adding machine to figure it out, concludes, "It just don't add up!" He runs after a dog catcher wanting to get committed ("Hey! Wait for me!! Wait for Baby!!"), with Claude ("Hey! Wait for me!! You gotta massacre me!!") and the mice ("Wait, you cowardly cat!!") in hot pursuit, still bent on ending their own lives.

Censorship

When this cartoon aired on The WB, the part where Hubie and Bertie hit Claude's foot with a hammer in an attempt to be eaten by him was cut.

Availability

This cartoon can be seen (uncut and restored) on the second volume of The Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set. It is also occasionally available on the Looney Tunes website.



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