TAKE ME TO THE PICTURES
EPISODE TYPE : Growth Ray (Formula)
(see Common Themes section for more on this category)
WHAT IS ALLEY CAT?: An anthro, furry, black and white stray cat
WHAT IS CANARY?: An antro, furry, yellow canary
WHAT IS ATOM?: A non anthro, non furry, brown bulldog
WHAT IS MOUSE?: An anthro, furry, grey mouse
ARE THEY MACRO ORIGINALLY?: No
HOW DID THEY BECOME MACRO?: Drink from a bottle of "Jumbo-Gro" plant growth food
WHAT DO THEY BECOME AFTER THEY GROW?: Larger Versions of Selves
IS GROWTH SHOWN?: Yes
HOW MUCH OF BECOMING MACRO STAGES SHOWN?: Most of growth stages shown throughout episode.
NOTE: Only the last stages of Atom, the bulldog's growth are shown. All other characters have majority of growth shown.
MACRO NAMES: (If different from regular sized name) --SAME AS BEFORE --
NOTE: Atom, the bulldog, is the only character who is actualy shown with a formal name at any time in this episode.
LOCATIONS: Suburban house, city, mountain range, rail road caves, Boulder Dam, Grand Cannyon, top of the planet Earth
MACRO SIZE (Approx or Average ): (Canary) 15 feet
(Atom) 40 feet
: (Alley Cat & Mouse) Taller than the Planet Earth
NATURE: Chaotic Animal Behaviors
DESTRUCTION LEVEL DONE: Low - Parts of the house (And most likely the whole house after mouse grew but his exit is never shown)
SYNOPSIS OF EPISODE: An alley cat is looking for food in some trash cans and is only able to come up with some fish bones. Some cats in the cans eat the fish bones before he can as he slams the trash can lids onto their heads maddly. He spots a house nearby and realizes that there must be food inside. He walks onto the property and notices a bulldog named Atom sleeping in a dog house. The dog is awakened as the cat sneaks by him. The cat quickly takes out a bottle of sleeping pills and uses them on Atom quickly putting him to sleep. With the dog out of the way the cat can now enter the house and uses some boxes next to the house to get in through a window to the kitchen. He searches the house for food but finds nothing after tearing apart the whole kitchen. There is not an ounce of food to be found. He comes upon a can of cat food and opens it and dumps the contents out only for a mouse to fall onto the plate out of the cat food can. The cat is about to eat the mouse when the mouse tells the cat that he shouldn't eat him because he will save his life later on. He tells the cat that there is a nice, plump canary in the other room. The cat leaves the mouse and go's for the canary. The cat slips his hand into the cage and grabs the bird without looking at him. He places him onto a plate and to his shock he notices that the bird is a scrawny, small and sickly looking bird which he decides he doesn't want to eat afterall. Almost dejected he wonders what to do next until he sees a bottle of "Jumbo-Gro" plant growth food on the shelf and decides to feed it to the canary. The canary grows in size until it's about 15 feet and towering above the table it was placed on. The cat realizes that this maybe wasn't such a good idea afterall and starts to run away from the now much bigger bird. The canary starts beating up on the cat in the kitchen. The cat in a last ditch effort grabs for the bottle and drinks the potion and he then grows bigger then the bird and it is now the bird who is running from a much larger cat.
The cat throws the bottle out the window with the bottle landing into the dogs muzzle and the bulldog starts drinking it. The cat chases the canary through the side of the house exiting it and all around the neighborhood until they wind up back at the house in the backyard where the canary comes to a sudden stop grinning slyly. The cat takes a peak around the house and a massive Atom now steps from behind the house towering over the very house. The cat freaks out at this and makes a run for it. The dog who is bigger then the cat kisses the "Jumbo Gro" bottle and drops it into the chimmny of the house and now starts chasing the cat. The mouse sees the bottle roll up towards him and takes a few swigs of it himself, only to grow to massive proportions. Meanwhile, the dog chases the cat to the city where the cat comes to a sudden stop as he reaches the side of a building pointing to something. The dog looks around the corner only for a now 100 foot tall mouse to look down at the small dog saying simply "BOO!" and scares Atom away. The mouse then then gives the bottle back to the small in comparison cat and walks off out of the city.
The cat is still hungry though and gets a wild idea. He takes a few swigs from the bottle and suddenly is even bigger then the mouse and starts to chase after him all over the country. After passing places like a dam and mountain ranges, they both come to a train tunnel where the cat drops the bottle to try and grab the mouse inside the train tunnel. The mouse runs out of the other side of the tunnel and the mouse then drinks it and becomes bigger then the cat. He's now beating up the cat until the cat drinks the bottle to grow bigger then the mouse. They go back and forth growing bigger then each other until they are both the same size and they run out of plant growth food. They both now sit on a very small planet Earth in comparison to their size and apologize that they have to end the cartoon because they drank all of the plant food and wave good night as they sit atop a planet barely big enough to hold their bodies.
REVIEW OF EPISODE: Truly a classic amongst classics, both macro wise and just cartoon wise. Tex Avery is a brillient director and writer and this cartoon is just a minor example of what he was able to accomplish. This should be noted as being the first really good macro cartoon ever made. There were some macro themed cartoons earlier and in black and white as well, but this was the first that truly developed a theme of growth and size situations and the whole idea of drinking something and getting bigger instantly. Of course this could all be traced back to "Alice in Wonderland" as well but this was the first really good furry and animal growth situation that can be noted and looked to as far as cartoons go. This was made back in 1947 and still holds up the time very well to today's standards and outshines many other macro episodes quite easily and probably will for a very long time to come.
This episode plays on a lot of themes, but mostly themes that relate to the cat. Cat vs. Mouse, Cat vs Bird and Dog vs Cat. So of course the four animals picked for this situation are the obvious chocies as they are the animals that you see in the one chasing the other situations in most cartoons from this time. Even picking the bulldog as the dog was very cliche as that is the type of dog that was always used in the old cartoons as the mean bully dog that always took care of the cat somehow. Logic was thrown out the window with this cartoon and for that reason alone we are to believe that a bottle of common plant food with the name "Gro" on it can cause this to happen just by one of the animals having drank from it. And we wouldn't expect any less when it comes to Tex Avery who had a way of coming up with some of the most bizzare yet brillient cartoon ideas ever. Everything that built up to the moment the Jumbo Gro was to be used was pretty cool too. We have a cat who can't get a bite to eat, some cats in the alley steal his fish bones and even when he gets into a house there is still no food. We have a mouse in a cat food can which was kinda out there but even the mouse he can't eat as the mouse will save his life later and a bird that is a few inches tall is almost unedible. This poor cat couldn't do anything to get a bite to eat, and after all he went through prior, you almost felt sorry for him.
Little details were payed attention to in every part of this cartoon. Whether it's Atom's name or the fact that each animal had the same reaction as they would come up to a corner pointing as if they know something the other doesn't, only to have an even bigger giant appear to scare the one chasing the other away. Even as each character kisses the bottle before they drop it made things flow nicely. Each character after drinking the bottle of Jumbo Gro would have a sly smile realizing the potentials for their new sizes and take onto the new found power and size happily before foolishly handing the bottle over to someone else not realizing that others can out do them. It was all very formulatic but played on a lot of common themes and took them to extremes due to the size and sudden changes in power that were constantly occuring. But it was all flowing nicely as each character had the proper reactions you would imagine if they suddenly found themselves twising the tables due to a sudden size boost and advantage they now had. A lot of cartoons just don't understand that little things like this are important if you want a story to flow correctly and to be believable in the universe you have built around it. If the characters just grew and did their thing without any expressions , it would work yes, but due to the expressions of great joy after their sudden growth spurt and the fact that they had become a monster of great proportions and they are now in charge, and realized it.. Well it sold the whole situation perfectly. Every little detail seemed to be thought of and that's what makes this really a gem above all others that would go on and try and copy this cartoons formula.
The short may seem like just that, short.. but it really is the same length as most shorts of that time. It probably seems to go by fast because: first of all its very enjoyable and all good things seem to go by fast and secondly a lot of it was building up the situation to the great climax at the end. But I was a bit disapointed that the dog and canary got written out of the situation so quickly. If somehow all four characters could have gotten mixed into the hijinx it may have added a bit more to the situation. Rather then have had the huge build up to what happend, we could have had one ore two more minutes with the dog and canary getting bigger then they did with each chasing the other before it became the battle of the cat and mouse for who is going to be bigger then who. I suppose it would have gotten a bit out of hand or hard to manage if they had to many characters involved so the focus of two rather then four made things flow right. I'm not one to question Tex Avery and the cartoon is great for so many reasons but all the characters in this were so cool I guess I just wanted to see more then just two of the characters rather then having some quick moments with the title character and Atom, leaving the focus to Alley Cat and Mouse.
The thing you should take from this short is that simple works best. Some cartoons and movies that have giant things going on try and get all complicated. Or sometimes they try and out do themselves. There is no need for that. Simple works fine. We have a bottle of Jumbo Gro that was conviently there for whatever reason. You drink it you grow. End of story. It's ridiculous and they drank way more then could have ever been on the bottle let alone be able to hold a tiny bottle at the sizes they were but it worked. It was also a great example of how size makes for a sudden change in power. Whoever was the bigger one was the one in control at all times in this cartoon. Whether it was before they grew or afterwords. The cat fed the Jumbo Gro to the canary and when the canary was suddenly bigger he backed away in fear without the canary even doing anything. When the cat grew bigger then the mouse in the city the mouse suddenly ran only to turn the tables at the railroad caves as the Mouse grew bigger and was the one in charge again. We will never know for sure if Tex did this to be a macro episode or just that he felt it was a great idea but due to the fact that this is really the only true macro themed short he did, we have to assume it was that he just liked the idea of this. This page and any fan of macro themed cartoons does owe Tex Avery a lot though just for this short as I'm very sure many who went on to do cartoons were influenced by things like that and that some of the macro episodes or even comics stories or tv shows that had macro themes out of nowhere were influenced by this one short.
Bottom line is, this is an example of what a macro toon should be. Lots of growth, lots of cool situations, lots of characters getting involved. Great humor and size themes and just very enjoyable to watch every time. The characters all had their own unique personalities and give a great scenario of what would happen if your typical MGM cartoon would be like if a growth potion got involved. This may go down as the best ever made and if you haven't seen this yet, you are definitely missing out. Could have had a little more talking or a little more involvement with some of the other characters but besides that it's perfect in every way and this was made in 1947. Looks like people now a days who try and do their own macro cartoons for shows have a lot to learn. If they need a lesson look no further then "King-Size Canary", it is all they will ever need to know.
MEMORABLE QUOTES AND MOMENTS IN EPISODE:
(The Alley Cat dumps the contents of the cat food onto a plate which contains one grey mouse. He tries to eat the mouse with a knife and fork before the mouse hops off the knife wondering whats going on)
Mouse: "Hey wait a minute pal. What ya trying to do? Eat me?
(The Alley Cat nods a lot as he answers)
Alley Cat: "Duh..yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.. yup!"
(The mouse looked shocked by this)
Mouse: "Well forget it, see? I've seen this cartoon before. And brother, believe me. If you are smart you won't eat me. Cause before this picture's over, I save your life!
Alley Cat: "Duh yeah. But I'm hungry.."
(Mouse leans into the cats ear and talks into it)
Mouse: "Well ok then, in the next room you will find a great...big... fat... juicy... canary.... Eat him!!"
(The cat grins and runs off heading into the next room)
(An excited Alley Cat empties a sack with a canary bird onto a plate only to see it's a teeny shrimpy looking bird a few inches tall)
Canary: "Welllllll... I've been sick..."
(The cat pushes the plate with the small sickly bird out of the way quickly)
(The cat and mouse continue to drink and drink out of the bottle until they both stop growing and shake the empty bottle together)
Mouse: "Ladies and gentlemen. We are going to have to end this picture. We just ran out of the stuff.
(The mouse drops the empty bottle out of his hand)
Mouse: "Good night."
(A mouse and Alley Cat bigger then the planet and standing atop it wave good bye)
*The mouse is seen reading a book titled "The Lost Squeakend." This is in reference to a movie that was out in 1945, titled "The Lost Weekend" two years prior about a man who was a chronic drunk and all the trouble he got into one weekend due to his drinking. Obviously this is most fitting as seeing that a bottle of some abusive substance was used in this cartoon and heavily drunk and caused lots of trouble for all the characters who drank it.
*"Slap Happy Lion", another Tex Avery short that came out the same year as "King Size Canary" had similar themes without the growth. This time it's a mouse who stands up to a lion that the rest of the jungle feared and trembled before. The small mouse though is less then afraid and can have very similar parallels to the mouse standing up to the cat and anything else as he grew in KSC.
*The dog's name of Atom is meant to be a sight gag and another way to play into the size themes even before they started. Being named after one of the smallest known things in the universe and being involved in a situation where he grows to over 50 feet was typical of the subtle humor that Tex Avery had.
Factual -- All the characters took huge gulps of the Jumbo Gro plant food at the start of the episode and probably would have emptied the bottle long before it wound up being emptied at the end of the cartoon.
Factual -- The mouse took hold of the bottle after the dog drops it through the house and drinks it growing really huge while inside the living room. There is no damage seen to the roof and no signs that he out grew the house as the dog was bigger then the house and the mouse was bigger then the dog when he showed up to scare him.
Factual -- The bottle of Jumbo Gro must have grown with them as there is no other way the bottle would have still fit into their hands towards the end as they reach miles tall in size. If anything the bottle should have looked teeny tiny and not still easily fit in their hands as they drop it down after having emptied it.
Continuity -- If the mouse had seen the cartoon before like he explains, why did he hand the Jumbo Gro back to the cat knowing that he would grow bigger then him to try and eat him after he saves his life? The only plauseable situation is that he knew they would both wind up together on top of the world at the end anyway, but then the question of "Does he really want to be stuck in that situation forever?" has to be asked as well.
Continuity -- When the alley cat enters the house it is pitch dark outside. Only a few moments pass between the time he entered the house and the time he exits at his own huge size where it is very bright and sunny outside.
Continuity -- There was a few moments of size fluxuation in the episode. When the bird grows to his full size his head is seen as almost near the ceiling meaning he was pretty big. But then in the next moment he is only sitting on the table at a little bigger then the cat. When the cat then grows, the cat fills the kitchen making the canary look tiny in comparison and much smaller then he was after he grew. Then at one point the dog is much larger then the cat only for them to be about the same size as they enter the city, with the cat actually shrinking even smaller after the mouse shows up in his giant size. The mouse also shrank at various points when the cat chased him out of the city. He looked much smaller especially when they get to the railroad tunnel, which he probably shouldn't have been able to fit in if he was still the same size he was when he shows up to scare Atom off.
+ :The best of the best when it comes to a macro cartoon and cartoon period. Full of sight gags, humor and great macro situations and growth. Has something for everyone and plays perfectly on the old themes of cat vs mouse or cat vs dog or cat vs bird. Leagues above most modern episodes with macro and stands up the test of time very well.
- :Atom and the Canary get only blink type moments as a macro while the cat and mouse get the majority of the macro moments. While the animation was good the bodies used after the characters became huge were not. Mostly the characters became big blobs with small limbs attached. Very little destruction done when at the sizes they were at seems almost impossible to have been the case.
PICTURES OF ATOM, ALLEY CAT, CANARY & MOUSE
4 minutes 11 seconds
The classic amongst classics when it comes to old time macro situations. A cat, bird, mouse and dog all get involved in a growth war by drinking a bottle of plant growth food. Before long it becomes a battle for who is to be the biggest.