Hubie and Bertie
Looney Tunes character
Bertie & Hubie in Mouse Wreckers.
First appearanceThe Aristo-Cat (1943)
Created byChuck Jones
Voiced byHubie:
Tedd Pierce (1943)
Dick Nelson (1946)
Mel Blanc (1947–1951)
Jim Cummings (1995–2000)
Bob Bergen (1996)
Joe Alaskey (2005)
Jeff Bennett (2017)
Eric Bauza (2019–2020)
Sean Kenin (2021)
Bertie:
Michael Maltese (1943)
Mel Blanc (1945)
Stan Freberg (1946–1951)
Jeff Bennett (1995–2000, 2017)
Bob Bergen (1996)
Steve Kehela (1996)
Joe Alaskey (2005)
Eric Bauza (2019–2020)
Sean Kenin (2021)
In-universe information
SpeciesDeer mouse
Annoyances
Enemies
Cats

Hubie and Bertie are animated cartoon rodent characters in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. Hubie and Bertie represent some of animator Chuck Jones' earliest work that was intended to be funny rather than cute.[1] Seven Hubie and Bertie cartoons were produced between 1943 and 1952.[2]

Debut

Jones introduced Hubie and Bertie in the short The Aristo-Cat, first released on June 19, 1943.[3] The plot of the cartoon would serve as the template for most future Hubie/Bertie outings: a character with some mental illness or degree of naïveté (here, a cat who doesn't know what a mouse looks like) is psychologically tormented by the pair. They tell the hungry cat that he is a lion and a bulldog his prey, leading to several painful encounters for the cat.[4]

Hubie and Bertie as designed by Jones are nearly identical rodents (Hubie, a rat and Bertie, a mouse) with long snouts, large ears, and big, black noses. The two are anthropomorphic, walking on their stubby hind legs and using their forelimbs as arms. They are primarily distinguished by their color: one is brown with a lighter-colored belly and face, while the other is gray. Hubie has a Brooklyn accent ("Hey, Boit! C'mere!"). Bertie has large buck teeth, and a habit of responding to Hubie with "Yeah-yeah, sure-sure!" or snickering "Riot!" if Hubie has just proposed some scheme with comic potential.

Mel Blanc voiced Hubie. While historians differ on who voiced Bertie in the initial cartoon, Stan Freberg voiced him subsequently.[3]

Development

Bertie made a cameo in Odor-able Kitty.

Trap Happy Porky (February 24, 1945) was their second appearance.[5] Nameless, indistinguishable except for color, they appear only in the first act, stealing food from Porky in nightshirt and cap. They are silent except for a single "I'm only three and a half years old", and retreat when a cat shows up.

Jones would repeat the theme of mind games several more times in his Hubie and Bertie shorts, as in their third cartoon, Roughly Squeaking on November 23, 1946. This time, Jones has the mice exploit a cat's stupidity by convincing him he is a lion and a dog is a moose he wants to eat. By the short's end, the cat thinks he is a lion, the dog believes he is a pelican, and a bystanding bird (driven mad from watching the two) has pulled his feathers out and imagines himself a Thanksgiving turkey. The mice are here voiced by Dick Nelson (Hubie) and Stan Freberg (Bertie).

The short was followed by House Hunting Mice on September 6, 1947, where Hubie and Bertie run afoul of a housekeeping robot.

In the next cartoon, Mouse Wreckers, and for the remainder of the series, Blanc and Freberg would handle the voices of Hubie and Bertie, respectively.

Cat and mouse

Jones introduced a permanent "antagonist" of sorts for the mice in Mouse Wreckers. The short was released in 1949 and was the first in which they are officially called "Hubie" and "Bertie". In the cartoon, the duo moves into a new home, only to discover that it is protected by champion mouser Claude Cat (the character's debut), voiced by Mel Blanc. The mice torment the cat both physically and mentally. The short was nominated for an Academy Award.[6]

The mice would antagonize Claude in two more films: The Hypo-Chondri-Cat, released in 1950, featured Hubie and Bertie making Claude think he is sick with various ailments and, ultimately, that he has died. In 1951's Cheese Chasers, however, Hubie and Bertie inadvertently torment Claude when, after going overboard on a cheese raid and getting sick of their favorite food, they decide to commit suicide by trying to get Claude to eat them, but Claude thinks that they are poisonous and refuses, deciding to commit suicide as well by getting a bulldog to attack him but the bulldog gets confused.

After these seven cartoons, Jones retired Hubie and Bertie, but continued to use the characters (or mice resembling them) in cameo roles in other shorts whenever he needed a generic mouse for a gag, such as the unnamed mouse in Chow Hound, who resembles Bertie, or the "killer" mice in Scaredy Cat.

Filmography

Later appearances

Hubie and Bertie have made several cameos in Warner Bros. productions:

Home media

All of the Hubie and Bertie cartoons are available, remastered, on Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: The Chuck Jones Collection on DVD and Blu-Ray.

References

  1. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1991). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals. Prentice Hall Press. p. 128. ISBN 0-13-275561-0. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  2. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 94. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Hubie and Bertie at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on February 5, 2016.
  4. ^ "The Top 5 Chuck Jones Mouse Cartoons". CraveOnline. August 21, 2012. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  5. ^ Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. Henry Holt and Co. p. 158. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2.
  6. ^ Mouse Wreckers at The Big Cartoon DataBase Retrieved on May 9, 2011.