Mouse Cleaning

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Mouse Cleaning
Tom and Jerry series
Reissue Title Card of this cartoon
Directed by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Produced by Fred Quimby
Voices by Lillian Randolph
Stepin Fetchit
Music by Scott Bradley
Animation by Ray Patterson
Irven Spence
Kenneth Muse
Ed Barge
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) United States December 11, 1948
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7' 23"
Language English
Preceded by Professor Tom
Followed by Polka-Dot Puss

Mouse Cleaning is a 1948 one-reel animated cartoon and is the 38th Tom and Jerry short. The title is a play on "house cleaning". It was produced in Technicolor and released to theatres on December 11, 1948 by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer. It was animated by Ray Patterson, Irven Spence, Kenneth Muse and Ed Barge, who were the usual animators for the Tom and Jerry cartoons in the early 1940s up until the late 1950s. As per most Tom and Jerry cartoons, it was directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, and produced by Fred Quimby; no writer is credited. The music was scored by Scott Bradley and the backgrounds were by Robert Gentle.[1] This cartoon was Stepin Fetchit's only role in animation as the uncredited voice of Tom.


The cartoon opens with Mammy Two Shoes mopping the kitchen floor. After she finishes, she is happy to have cleaned the entire house and hopes it will remain clean; unfortunately, it does not, as the camera cuts to Tom chasing Jerry outside, rounding a corner too wide and through a mud puddle, and then continuing the chase into the house. He runs into Mammy and she hits him with the mop, chastises him for making such a huge mess and forces him to mop the floor. As Tom finishes, Mammy goes out to go shopping. She warns Tom not to make any mess in the house, otherwise she will throw him out.

Tom nods his head in fright and Jerry, hiding behind a broom, also nods his head, ready as usual to take stock of the situation to sabotage Tom's efforts. After Mammy closes the door, Tom sticks his tongue out at her and makes a face, but she opens the door and points her finger at Tom, giving him a final warning to keep the place clean. Tom then nods again and kisses her finger, smiling politely, and satisfied, the maid leaves. For the rest of the cartoon, the mouse takes advantage of this conditional to torment the cat.

Tom finishes the remainder of the cleaning, and relieved, Tom wipes the sweat off his forehead, but immediately has to clean this up in addition. A fly buzzes through the room and leaves dirt behind on one of the windows, so he has to wipe the window down to boot, but is shocked out of his wits to see Jerry busting in on the fun by deliberately scooping ashes from an ashtray onto the floor. Tom quickly grabs a broom and dustpan and cleans up the mess, but no sooner has he finished than the rodent is on the floor, holding the ashtray like a parade drum, and tripping the switch to dump more ashes onto the ground. Shocked and fed up, Tom angrily hurls a tomato at him, and Jerry ducks as the tomato splatters into the wall, creating an even bigger mess for Tom to clean.

In apoplexy, the cat collects a bucket and starts to clean the wall, but as usual, he does not concentrate on the bucket and fails to spot Jerry deliberately ejecting blue ink from an ink pen into the bucket. Midway through cleaning up the tomato, Tom has created an identically sized mess of blue ink on the wall, and he realizes what has happened when he becomes aware that the water and towel are blue. In absolute dread, the cat covers his eyes and slowly peeks at his new mess, and then lifts his hand; his eyes exaggeratedly pop out and his jaw drops.

Tom does a wild double take as he sees the mess Jerry has caused him to make.

Soon, he sees Jerry holding the ink pen, and he starts a new chase in complete rage, which quickly stops when the mouse threatens to squirt ink over the drapes. Smirking, he carries out this threat, but no ink escapes; apparently, the pen is empty. The cat, delighted, steals the pen and accidentally empties it onto the drapes. In horror, he grabs the drapes and runs them through the washing machine, the wringer, and the iron. Exhausted, the cat replaces the drapes and breathes out hoarsely.

Shortly after this happens, Jerry has returned to his sabotage; this time, he deliberately juggles six eggs while walking a tightrope, forcing the cat to protect him in case he falls and, eventually, to catch the eggs when Jerry flings them across the room. In addition to juggling, Tom is forced to catch a cream pie on a fork using only his head, barely standing up. As the coup de grace, Jerry deliberately pulls the rug from under Tom, and although the cat recovers in time to snatch the egg carton and catch every egg in it, he forgets about the pie, which splatters onto his face.

Having been humiliated again, Tom searches for Jerry, but shortly the mouse opens the front door for an old horse to walk into the house. Tom scares Jerry back out of the house as he quickly grabs the horse and throws him out (presumably doing away with Jerry in the process), and while his enemy is occupied with this, Jerry takes the opportunity to unknowingly re-enter the house through an electrical outlet marked Emergency Entrance, ready for another scheme. Tom goes to sleep, apparently rid of all threats.

Meanwhile, Jerry pushes an ink stamp pad onto Tom's paws, and when the cat wakes up, he shuts the pad on Tom's nose before the cat can process what he sees; accordingly, Tom forgets about the stamp pad and chases the mouse. Jerry leads Tom on an off-screen chase through the entire house, and when the duo finally pulls back into view, Jerry stops the chase and points the cat to look at the gigantic mess of paw prints he must now clean up. Looking at his now ink-covered paws, Tom makes the connection and picks up the mouse, hurls him down the laundry chute, and races to clean the house before Mammy returns.

Meanwhile, a truck full of coal has come to the house to make a delivery; Jerry grabs a rope and ties it to the delivery chute. On the verge of finishing the sanitizing job, Tom sees Mammy coming up the sidewalk; he hurriedly finishes, then stows the cleaning supplies behind the couch and sits down hopefully, ready for Mammy's return. Jerry pulls the delivery chute up to the living room such that the entire shipment of coal literally barges into the house (Jerry is not seen again afterwards), pushing Tom and then knocks Mammy down when she opens the front door. As soon as she digs her head out from the coal, she begins threatening to throttle Tom, despite the utter impossibility of Tom's cause for this new mess. Just then, Tom emerges in blackface.

Thinking that he is a black man with information on Tom, Mammy asks him if he saw Tom. Tom, knowing that he is in trouble now, responds (via Stepin Fetchit's voice) that he has not: "No, Ma'am! I ain't seen no cat around here! Uh uh! There ain't no cat, no place, no how! No MA'AM!". Tom, meanwhile, walks away from the coal pile, but only his head is blackened, so Mammy finally sees through Tom's disguise. As she begins to pelt coal angrily at Tom, he taunts her and tries to run away, but Mammy throws a piece of coal which is as large as a bomb into the distance and it ends up hitting Tom on the head, knocking out Tom in an identical fashion to Tee for Two as the cartoon ends.

Voice cast[edit]

Censorship and Bans[edit]

Tom in blackface speaking while sneaking away from Mammy is deleted. Warner Home Video had this cartoon on their list of 2 cartoons (the other being Casanova Cat) to be pulled from the Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection - Volume 3 DVD compilation because of the scene where Mammy emerges from the coal and discovers the "black man" is actually Tom.[2]


  • Mouse Cleaning can be found on the 1990 MGM/UA Home Video VHS compilation Tom and Jerry's 50th Birthday Classics 3.[3]
  • The original version (with Lillian Randolph's voice) is intact on UK TV airings, as well as being available on Volume 2 of the Tom and Jerry Classic Collection.
  • This cartoon was skipped over on the Spotlight Collection, Volume 3 DVD release in 2007. It had been recently announced that Mouse Cleaning would be available on the Tom and Jerry Golden Collection - Volume 2 on DVD and Blu-ray, with the short being presented uncut, uncensored, and restored from its original nitrate elements that had been recently discovered.[4] However, on February 6, 2013, it was announced by that Mouse Cleaning was not part of the list of cartoons on this release, as well as the cartoon Casanova Cat, which was also skipped over on the Spotlight Collection, Volume 3 DVD release.[5] However, the set has since been indefinitely delayed following negative reception.


  1. ^ "Mouse Cleaning". BCDB. 2012-12-10. 
  2. ^ Lacey, Gord. "Tom and Jerry - Two shorts missing - Statement from Warner Bros". Retrieved September 10, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Tom & Jerry's 50th Birthday Classics 3". Tom and Jerry Online. 
  4. ^ "“Tom & Jerry” on Blu-Ray | Cartoon Brew". Retrieved April 18, 2014. 
  5. ^ Lambert, David. "Tom and Jerry - Episode List for 'Golden Collection Volume 2'...Guess What's Missing?". Retrieved February 6, 2013. 

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