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Gay Puree DVD cover
Gay Purr-ee
Directed by Abe Levitow
Produced by Henry G. Saperstein
Lee Orgel
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on
Written by Dorothy Webster Jones
Chuck Jones
Starring Judy Garland
Robert Goulet
Red Buttons
Hermione Gingold
Paul Frees
Mel Blanc
Narrated by
Music by Score:
Mort Lindsey
Songs:
Harold Arlen
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg (Lyrics)
Cinematography
Editing by
Production company(s) UPA
Warner Bros. Cartoons
Vitagraph Studios
Distributor Warner Bros.
Release date(s) October 24, 1962
Running time 85 minutes
Language English
Budget
Gross revenue
Preceded by
Followed by
External links

Gay Purr-ee is an animated film musical produced by United Productions of America and released by Warner Bros. in 1962. It features the voice of Judy Garland in her only animated-film role, as well as Robert Goulet in his first feature film. The film received positive reviews, but was a box office disappointment.

Plot

The story is set in 1895 France and takes place predominantly in Paris. However, it begins on a farm in rural Provence. The lovely housecat Mewsette and the accomplished but shy mouser Jaune Tom are in love ("Mewsette"), until the former is frustrated with his plebeian ways (and those of the farm), to the point of calling him a "clumsy country clod". Inspired by the human Jeanette's stories of glamour and sophistication in Paris ("Take My Hand, Paree"), Mewsette runs away by taking a train to the big city ("Roses Red, Violets Blue"), where she encounters the slick con-cat Meowrice (Paul Frees). Taking advantage of the country kitty's naivete, he puts her in the care of the sultry Madame Henretta Reubens-Chatte, who promises to turn Mewsette into a dainty debutante known as "The Belle of all Paris". Unbeknownst to Mewsette, Meowrice is grooming her to be the mail-order bride of a rich American cat in Pittsburgh known as "Mr. Henry Phtt" ("The Money Cat"). Meanwhile, Jaune Tom and his sidekick Robespierre arrive in Paris, searching for Mewsette.

Training does not go well. Just as Mewsette is about to give up and return to the farm, Meowrice takes her out to see the cat side of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées and the Mewlon Rouge and then take a buggy ride back home ("The Horse Won't Talk"). Reinvigorated, she returns to her studies. Jaune Tom and Robespierre arrive just at that moment but get waylaid by one of Meowrice's shadowy cat henchmen and barely escape drowning in Paris's famous labyrinthine sewers. By coincidence, Jaune Tom displays his incredible mouse-hunting skills in front of Meowrice (known as "Virtue-Mousety"), who sees a money-making opportunity, gets them drunk ("Bubbles"), and sells them as mousers to a ship bound for Alaska. On the ship, Robespierre consoles a depressed Jaune Tom, telling him that any problem, regardless of size, can be broken up into manageable pieces, by remarking that even the mighty ocean is made up of little drops of water. Jaune Tom has a vision of Mewsette singing about how no problem is unconquerable, and the importance of never giving up ("Little Drops of Rain").

Mewsette finishes her training and is now lovely enough to impress even Meowrice, who commissions a series of paintings of her by such famous artists as Claude Monet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Georges Seurat, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin and Pablo Picasso (an opportunity for the animators to indulge in some artistic parodies), so that he can send them to Mr. Phtt. Meowrice quietly writes a check to pay his "sister", Madame Reubens-Chatte (using disappearing ink, so that the check is worthless), and takes Mewsette to his hideout in Notre Dame. There, he reveals his plan to ship her to America and tries to coerce her to enter a luggage crate, but after seeing a portrait of Mr. Phtt depicting him as fat and old, she manages to escape Meowrice and his sidekicks. In the resulting chase scene, she leads them to a bulldog, who injures Meowrice badly enough to put him out of action for six weeks. Meanwhile, his sycophants (who are nowhere near as intelligent as he is) comb the city without success, searching for Mewsette.

Meanwhile, not long after they reach Alaska (a howling wilderness of snow), Jaune Tom and Robespierre strike gold thanks to the former's mouse-hunting skills. Now wealthy, the two cats hurry back to Paris.

A disillusioned and homeless Mewsette wanders around the streets of Paris, eventually ending up sitting atop a bridge over the river, considering ending her misery ("Paris is a Lonely Town"), but gets captured by Meowrice and his sidekicks. She is taken to the Gare du Nord railway station, en route to a boat to America, and all hope seems lost, when Jaune Tom and Robespierre arrive. They have been aided by Madame Ruebens-Chatte, who is irritated that her own "brother" double-crossed her and tears up the worthless check. In a humorously over-the-top fight scene inside the boxcar of a moving train, the three heroes defeat Meowrice and pack him into the crate intended for Mewsette, doubtless that this will be a nasty surprise for Mr. Phtt. The film concludes with Mewsette, Jaune Tom and Robespierre enjoying the high life in Paris that Mewsette was seeking when she left home ("Mewsette Finale").

Voice cast

  • Judy Garland as Mewsette (voice), is a beautiful white Turkish Angora. While she is idealistic and naive, she is kind and demure, and believes strongly in herself.
  • Robert Goulet as Jaune Tom, a handsome orange Tabby Cat. While he is hotheaded and not too bright, he is selfless, devoted, brave, and strong-willed.
  • Red Buttons as Robespierre, a young Black Cat, Jaune Tom's friend. While he is sometimes inconsiderate and reckless, he does mean well, and is clever and resourceful.
  • Paul Frees as Meowrice, a slim Tuxedo cat. He is devious, shrewd, sly and willing to hurt others for his own personal gain.
  • Hermione Gingold as Mme. Rubens-Chatte, Meowrice's "sister" and a Persian Cat. She is amply-contoured, crafty, and a force to be reckoned with.
  • Morey Amsterdam as Narrator and Man on Ship.
  • Mel Blanc as Bulldog and additional voices.
  • The Mellomen as Meowrice's business partners (singing voices).
  • Julie Bennett and Joan Gardner as two ladies from Provence.
  • Thurl Ravenscroft as Singing Hench Cat (uncredited).

Production

Gay Purr-ee was the second and final feature film, following 1001 Arabian Nights with Mr. Magoo, produced by UPA (United Productions of America), a studio which had revolutionized animation during the 1950s by incorporating design and limited animation.

The script for Gay Purr-ee was written by Dorothy Webster Jones and her husband, Warner Bros. Cartoons veteran director Chuck Jones. The latter Jones also ultimately produced the project, moonlighting for UPA in violation of his exclusive contract with Warner Bros. One of the former animators from his Warner Bros. unit, Abe Levitow, directed the film. According to the production notes on the DVD edition, it was Garland who suggested that her Wizard of Oz songwriters, Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, should write and compose the songs for Gay Purr-ee.

When Warner Bros. picked up the film for distribution, they discovered that Chuck Jones had worked on the film. After a long debate with management over the details of Jones' exclusivity agreement, Warner fired Jones in July 1962 and laid his staff off after they had finished their next cartoon. Jones later hired his old unit after Warner Bros. Cartoons was closed at his first independent studio, Sib Tower 12 Productions.

The film was theatrically released in October, 1962 to positive reviews from film critics, but became a box office flop.

Soundtrack

Main article: Gay Purr-ee (soundtrack)

Transcript

Gallery

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Warner Bros. Entertainment Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Gay Purr-ee.

Trivia

  • Chuck Jones had been under an exclusive contract with Warner Bros., and worked on this film in violation of his contract. After Warner Bros. picked up the film from UPA for distribution, they discovered his work on the film and fired him, resulting in his departure for MGM.
  • When Judy Garland was approached about doing this film, it was she who reportedly suggested that her two good friends (and The Wizard of Oz (1939) collaborators) Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg provide the music and lyrics, respectively. It was to be both men's last full-length score for any medium.
  • Golden Books' children's division published a "Little Golden Books" version of "Gay Purr-ee" to coincide with the original theatrical release of the film.
  • When the nefarious Meowrice hatches a plot to shanghai Jaune Tom and Robespierre and sell them as ship's cats, he escorts them to the celebrated feline cabaret, the "Mewlon Rouge", under guise of friendship. During this scene, the famous French artist Toulouse-Lautrec - who painted many advertising posters for the real Moulon Rouge - is portrayed as a bearded, green-colored cat sitting at a nearby table, tossing back a drink and sketching his surroundings.

External Links


v - e - d
Gay Purr-ee logo
Media
Films: Gay Purr-eeVideo

Books: Little Golden BookBig Golden Book
Music: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Characters
MewsetteJaune TomRobespierreMeowriceMme. Rubens-ChatteMeowrice's minionsButterflyLadies from ProvenceMan on ShipBulldog
Locations
FranceParis, FranceAlaskaLadies from Provence's house
Objects
Songs
Gay Purr-eeMewsetteLittle Drops of RainThe Money CatTake My Hand PareeParis is a Lonely TownBubblesRoses Red, Violets BlueThe Horse Won't Talk
See also
Warner Bros. CartoonsWarner Bros. AnimationChuck Jones


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Warner Bros. Cartoons 1947
Media
Shorts (1929-1939):

Shorts (1940-1949):
Shorts (1950-1959):
Shorts (1960-1969):

Studios
Songs
Other
Warner Bros. CartoonsLooney TunesMerrie Melodies
See also


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Warner Bros. Animation Logo (Template-only)
Looney Tunes/Spielberg universe
Animated series: The Bugs Bunny ShowTiny Toon AdventuresTaz-ManiaAnimaniacsThe Sylvester & Tweety MysteriesPinky and the BrainFreakazoid!Road RoversHisteria!Pinky, Elmyra and the BrainBaby Looney TunesDuck DodgersLoonatics UnleashedThe Looney Tunes ShowNew Looney Tunes

Films: Bugs Bunny: SuperstarThe Bugs Bunny/Road Runner MovieThe Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny MovieBugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit TalesDaffy Duck's Fantastic IslandDaffy Duck's QuackbustersSpace JamWakko's WishTweety's High-Flying AdventureLooney Tunes: Back in ActionBah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes ChristmasLooney Tunes: Rabbits Run

DC Comics
Animated series: Batman: The Animated SeriesSuperman: The Animated SeriesBatman BeyondStatic ShockThe Zeta ProjectJustice LeagueTeen TitansThe BatmanBatman: The Brave and the BoldYoung Justice

Animated films: Batman: Mask of the PhantasmBatman & Mr. Freeze: SubZeroThe Lego Batman Movie

Hanna-Barbera
Animated series: What's New, Scooby-Doo?Tom and Jerry TalesShaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!Scooby-Doo! Mystery IncorporatedThe Tom and Jerry ShowBe Cool, Scooby-Doo!Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs!

Direct-to-video film series: Scooby-Doo on Zombie IslandScooby-Doo! and the Witch's GhostTom and Jerry: The Magic RingTom and Jerry: Blast Off to MarsThe Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age SmackDown!The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania!

Other TV series
Detention¡Mucha Lucha!Xiaolin Showdown
Other original films
Theatrical: Quest for CamelotThe Iron GiantOsmosis JonesThe Lego MovieStorksThe Lego Ninjago Movie

Direct-to-video: Kangaroo Jack: G'Day U.S.A.!¡Mucha Lucha!: The Return of El MaléficoHappiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown

Films, distribution only
Gay Purr-ee



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Warner bros family entertainment
Theatrical films

The Magic Voyage (UK distribution) | Dennis the Menace | Free Willy | Tom and Jerry: The Movie (home video distribution) | George Balanchine's The Nutcracker | Batman: Mask of the Phantasm | Thumbelina | Black Beauty | A Troll in Central Park | Little Giants | The NeverEnding Story III | Richie Rich | Born to Be Wild | The Pebble and the Penguin (international) | A Little Princess | Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home | The Amazing Panda Adventure | It Takes Two | Gumby: The Movie (German distribution) | The Adventures of Pinocchio (German distribution) | Space Jam | Shiloh | Cats Don't Dance | A Rat's Tale | The Fearless Four | Air Bud (UK distribution) | Wild America | The Swan Princess II: Escape from Castle Mountain (home video distribution) | Free Willy 3: The Rescue | Pippi Longstocking (home video distribution) | Quest for Camelot | Little Men | The King and I | The Iron Giant | Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season | Pokémon: The First Movie | My Dog Skip | Pokémon: The Movie 2000 | The Scarecrow | Pokémon 3: The Movie | Cats & Dogs | Osmosis Jones | The Little Polar Bear | Scooby-Doo | The Powerpuff Girls Movie | Kangaroo Jack | Looney Tunes: Back in Action | Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed | Clifford's Really Big Movie | Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light | Laura's Star | The Polar Express | Racing Stripes | Charlie and the Chocolate Factory | Corpse Bride | The Little Polar Bear 2 – The Mysterious Island | The Thief Lord | Saving Shiloh | The Ant Bully | Happy Feet | TMNT | Speed Racer | Star Wars: The Clone Wars | Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock | Laura's Star and the Mysterious Dragon Nian | Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore | Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole | Yogi Bear | Top Cat: The Movie | Dolphin Tale | Happy Feet Two | Laura's Star and the Dream Monsters | The Lego Movie | Dolphin Tale 2 | Max | Storks | The Lego Batman Movie

Direct-to-video films
Live-Action films

Dennis the Menace Strikes Again | Addams Family Reunion | Richie Rich's Christmas Wish | Ace Ventura Jr.: Pet Detective | Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins | Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster | Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove

Scooby-Doo films

Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island | Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost | Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase | Scooby-Doo! and the Legend of the Vampire | Scooby-Doo! and the Monster of Mexico | Scooby-Doo! and the Loch Ness Monster | Aloha, Scooby-Doo! | Scooby-Doo! in Where's My Mummy? | Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy! | Chill Out, Scooby-Doo! | Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur | Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery

Looney Tunes films

Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation | Tweety's High-Flying Adventure | Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas | Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run

Other films

The Snow Queen | The Snow Queen's Revenge | The Mighty Kong | Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero | Wakko's Wish | Dexter's Laboratory: Ego Trip | Millionaire Dogs | The Scarecrow | Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker | Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns | The Little Polar Bear: Lars and the Little Tiger | The Little Polar Bear: The Dream of Flying | The Little Polar Bear: Nanouk's Rescue | Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman | ¡Mucha Lucha!: The Return of El Maléfico | The Little Polar Bear: A Visitor from the South Pole | Nine Dog Christmas | Kangaroo Jack: G'Day U.S.A.! | Laura's Christmas Star

Notable television shows

Tiny Toon Adventures | Taz-Mania | Batman: The Animated Series | The Plucky Duck Show | The Little Polar Bear | Animaniacs | Free Willy | Freakazoid! | Pinky and the Brain | The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries | Road Rovers | Superman: The Animated Series | Waynehead | The Legend of Calamity Jane | The New Batman Adventures | The New Batman/Superman Adventures | Histeria! | Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain | Batman Beyond | Detention | Static Shock | Justice League | The Zeta Project | Baby Looney Tunes | Laura's Star | ¡Mucha Lucha! | Ozzy & Drix | What's New, Scooby-Doo? | The Little Polar Bear | Duck Dodgers | Teen Titans | Xiaolin Showdown | The Batman | Justice League Unlimited | Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island | Johnny Test | Firehouse Tales | Krypto the Superdog | Loonatics Unleashed | Legion of Super Heroes | Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! | Tom and Jerry Tales


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Films
Scooby-Doo (film), Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
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