After watching all 12 Sniffles cartoons in sequence on the new DVD set “LOONEY TUNES MOUSE CHRONICLES – The Chuck Jones Collection”, I think I may have enough evidence to set a new “Conspiracy Theory” in motion over the character of Sniffles.
We all know Sniffles. A timid, naïve little mouse with a slow but cute childlike voice. If you don’t know Sniffles, you can GO HERE for more. But, I’m betting you do at least know of him…
“That Sniffles” starred in EIGHT cartoons between 1939 and 1941. In them, as noted, he was a shy cute little mouse, who did cute little things. He befriended electric shavers, went on scavenger hunts, hid out in old book shoppes with his friend The Bookworm (Not the Batman TV villain!), took trips to the country, collected bird eggs, tried to stay awake on Christmas Eve, belled a cat, and visited a toy department. Those eight outings represented the Sniffles most of us knew.
(…Hah! “Bonus Cartoon”, indeed!)In the latter part of 1941, a turning point occurred in the career (and perhaps the very LIFE) of Sniffles, with the release of a cartoon titled “The Brave Little Bat”!
In what would be “Cartoon # 9”, Sniffles encounters another look-alike “mouse” (who is later revealed to be a BAT), who talks rapidly and incessantly in a voice sounding suspiciously like Sniffles – but, say… Isn’t this the M.O. of “Little Blabbermouse”? You know… The failed “cartoon star” who had not been seen in over a year… and would never be seen again!
|Good Bye, Sniffles! Hello, ???|
…Or (Heh-heh!) WOULD HE?
After this outing, our cute, shy, slow-talking little Sniffles would not be seen for about two years – returning in 1943 in a cartoon called “The Unbearable Bear”!
“The Unbearable Bear” marked a noteworthy reimagining of the Sniffles series! The emphasis is more on “comedy” than “cuteness”… but all the more significant is that Sniffles is no longer shy – but a RAPID AND INCESSANT TALKER, and a general pest… as was “Little Blabbermouse”! Hmmmm…
The final three Sniffles cartoons (numbers 10-12) would find him in motor-mouth mode: “The Unbearable Bear” (1943), “Lost and Foundling” (1944 – not a “pest” but still a talker), and “Hush My Mouse” (1946). In this last one, Sniffles TALKS SO MUCH that he actually TELLS US what’s going to happen next in the cartoon – before it happens!So, what happened here?
Did “Our Sniffles” walk off the job, or get quietly released, only to be replaced by “Little Blabbermouse” (alias “The Brave Little Bat”), who assumed the stage name of “Sniffles”? Funny we never saw the shy guy again, after his meeting with that bat!
|...Have you seen THIS MOUSE?|
Did directors Jones and Freleng conspire to replace an older “cute” character with a more contemporary “funny” one – one to whom one or both gentlemen may have… (Ahem!) “…owed a favor”?
Did the “Real Sniffles” meet with foul play – or “suicide by cat”, perhaps, over a flagging career – resulting in “Little Blabbermouse” participating (willingly or otherwise) in the cover-up?
Over the years, Mary Jane has been strangely silent on this matter! ...But, note that, in the comics, the mouse talks too!
…And have I just opened up a new “Sniffles Conspiracy Theory”?
|Heh-heh-heh! The fools!|
No matter, it would have been interesting to see where Chuck Jones might have taken this “New Sniffles” during Warner’s glory days of the 1950s! He sure would have been funnier than Pepe LePew!