Mouse Cleaning

Mouse Cleaning
Tom and Jerry series

Title Card
Directed by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Produced by Fred Quimby
Story by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
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)
  • December 11, 1948 (1948-12-11) (U.S.)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7:08
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 has yet been credited. The music was scored by Scott Bradley and the backgrounds were created 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 that it will remain clean; unfortunately, it doesn't, 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 prepares to go shopping. She warns Tom that he had better not make any more messes in the house, or "we is going to be minus one cat around here": him.

Tom nods his head in fright and Jerry, hiding behind a broom, also nods his head, about to take stock of the situation for the purpose of sabotaging 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 directly at Tom, giving him a final warning that the place has to be clean or else. Tom then nods again and kisses her finger, smiling politely, and satisfied, Mammy leaves. For the rest of the cartoon, Jerry takes advantage of this conditional to torment the cat and to get him into trouble once and for all.

Tom finishes the remainder of the cleaning. Feeling relieved, Tom wipes the sweat off his forehead, but he immediately has to clean this up in addition. A fly buzzes through the room and leaves dirt behind on one of the windows, so Tom has to wipe the window down to boot. When he turns around, he is shocked out of his wits to see Jerry 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 doing so when Jerry 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 Jerry, who ducks as the tomato splatters into the wall, which creates an even bigger mess for Tom to clean up.

In apoplexy, the cat collects a bucket and starts to clean the wall, but he refuses to concentrate on the bucket and fails to spot Jerry deliberately emptying 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 caused by Jerry, 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 turns to peek at his new mess, and then lifts his hand; his eyes exaggeratedly pop out and his jaw drops.

Soon, Tom sees Jerry holding the ink pen, and he starts a new chase in complete maniacal rage, which quickly stops when the pesky mouse threatens to squirt ink over the drapes. Smirking, he carries out this threat, but no ink successfully 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 returns to his sabotage again; 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, until he barely stands 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 completely forgets about the pie, which splatters onto his face.

Having been humiliated again, Tom searches for Jerry, who soon 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 it 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, having apparently gotten 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, prompting the cat to look at the disgraceful, gigantic mess of paw prints he now has to 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.

On the verge of finishing his cleaning job, Tom sees a furious Mammy coming up the sidewalk; he hurriedly finishes, then stows the cleaning supplies behind the couch and sits down hopefully, waiting impatiently for Mammy's return. Meanwhile, a truck full of coal has come to the house to make a delivery, but Jerry grabs a rope and ties it to the delivery chute. 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 towards the front door and then knocking Mammy down the moment she opens it. As soon as she digs her head out from the coal, she begins threatening to throttle Tom, despite the utter impossibility of Tom being responsible 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 are no cats, no place, no how! No MA'AM!". Tom, meanwhile, walks away from the coal pile, but only his head is blackened, so his ruse doesn't fool Mammy. Then Mammy begins to pelt pieces of coal angrily at him. He taunts her despite the fact that the last few pieces of coal barely missed him and tries to run away, but soon, Mammy throws another piece of coal into the distance and it ends up hitting Tom, knocking him out in an identical fashion to Tee for Two as the cartoon ends.

Voice cast

Later 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. External link in |publisher= (help)
  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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