Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tytla, the "old mice-tro"

I just stumbled across these old xeroxes and figured I'd post them before I lose them again. They are from a project Bill Tytla was trying to launch in his twilight years: MOUSETHUSELA, THE 2000 YEAR OLD MOUSE. I can't recall who gave me these, but I had heard about this project for years. In at least one Tytla bio I read, one of his contemporaries (likely Art Babbit or Grim Natwick, I can't remember for sure) recalled seeing Tytla working on sketches for this project in his final days and referred to them as I think, "pitifull" or "pathetic".

Maybe my standards are lower, but aside from the main character, they aren't quite as bad as I expected. Mousethusela himself looks a bit too much like Magoo for my taste. Otherwise, the sketches still show wit and skill.
Some sort of aristocratic character, maybe a villain?

A "pixellated" (drunk) mouse, as described in type apparently devised to register the characters with the US copyright office.
I have a few more pages of this, but they are so faint and broken up, they are barely visible and not worth scanning. I remember a short (and rather boring) syndicated cartoon on TV in the 1970's about a mouse character cavorting in barely animated history lessons, but it was not done by Tytla, Maybe it was somehow revived after he died and mutated into something else.Here's a LINK to an episode. Was Ralph Bakshi involved in this?

UPDATE: Steve Worth has kindly sent along THIS LINK to an online reprint of a fine Tytla bio by John Canemaker. Included are better copies of the last 2 images shown here.


Stephen Worth said...

The drunk mouse is designs for The Lion and the Mouse, a Mighty Mouse cartoon. Tytla's animation of the drunk mouse in that cartoon is brilliant.

I believe it was Shamus Culhane in Funny Animals and Other People who said that Tytla's pitch was pitiful.

There's clearer copies of the drunk mouse and the dapper mouse in... John Canemaker's article on Tytla

Weirdo said...

These are good. I like the aristocratic mouse. Beautifully done and clear silhouette.