Bea Benaderet

Wild Wife (1954, Robert McKimson)

Wild Wife is easily McKimson’s best cartoon (of those I’ve seen, anyway). I was going to start by talking about McKimson as an unlikely feminist, since Wife mostly concerns a housewife whose male chauvinist pig husband berates her for not getting enough done.

The cartoon then flashes back to show exactly how full her day has been, mostly with his little tasks. Then it sadly diverts to her being a shopaholic and a gossip, which is more what I expected.

But the ending recovers somewhat and McKimson and writer Tedd Pierce never make judgements. It’s a shocking cartoon coming from McKimson.

He’s even ambitious in his direction; though the character design lifts a lot from Blondie and the animation’s fairly bad. It also lifts a Blondie gag.

But it’s a good cartoon. Bea Benaderet (who’s uncredited as the lead, showing sexism wasn’t dead in the title card department) is great.



Directed by Robert McKimson; written by Tedd Pierce; animated by Herman Cohen, Phil DeLara, Charles McKimson and Rod Scribner; edited by Treg Brown; music by Carl W. Stalling; produced by Edward Selzer; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Bea Benaderet (Marsha / Daughter / Old Women with pennies / Beautician) and Mel Blanc (John / Son / Mailman / Bank Teller / Red Cross Nurse / Casper J. Fragile / Soda Jerk / Pedestrian / Officer).

Feed the Kitty (1952, Chuck Jones)

A tough bulldog adopts an adorable kitten in Feed the Kitty; a story Jones liked so much he remade it. This one, the original, manages to be charming without saccharine, maybe because of the really strange objectification of the dog’s lady owner.

She kicks up her skirt at one point, revealing her legs, and it seems highly inappropriate.

The cartoon mostly concerns the dog not being allowed new toys–or, he assumes, a new kitten–and having to hide the kitten from the owner.

All the various gags to hide the kitten are good. There’s even the sequence where the dog thinks the kitten’s been baked. Jones handles the despondence quite well.

The only weak moment is during a chase sequence when the perspective gets messed up. Otherwise, everything–story, direction, animation–is wonderful.

Kitty‘s a fine fifties visual time capsule, but it’s also an excellent bit of cartooning.

3/3Highly Recommended


Directed by Chuck Jones; written by Michael Maltese; animated by Ken Harris, Phil Monroe, Lloyd Vaughan and Ben Washam; edited by Treg Brown; music by Carl W. Stalling; produced by Edward Selzer; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Mel Blanc (Marc Anthony / Pussyfoot) and Bea Benaderet (Marc Anthony’s Mistress).

The Hep Cat (1942, Robert Clampett)

In the last minute and a half of The Hep Cat, Clampett finally comes up with some really interesting shots. The short’s a cat and dog one. It follows the standard. Dumb dog versus a mean, vain and not much smarter cat.

The titular hep cat breaks out into a song routine, but it’s not enough to separate him too much from all the rest.

They chase each other around (the dog’s smart enough to put on a pussycat puppet and tempt the cat) but at the end they end up on the city rooftops. All the animation is solid, but once they’re on the rooftops, it all of a sudden gets a lot more visually compelling.

Otherwise, there’s nothing to recommend it. The cat isn’t much of a character, even with singing and various voices, and the dog’s even less of one.

It feels long too (at six minutes).

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Robert Clampett; written by Warren Foster; animated by Robert McKimson; edited by Treg Brown; music by Carl W. Stalling; produced by Leon Schlesinger; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Mel Blanc (The Hep Cat / Rosebud) and Bea Benaderet (Bird).

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