Merlin, a W.C. Fields-like mouse, puts on a magic show in front of an audience of one cat. Merlin does some bad magic tricks for the feline before he realizes he's a mouse.

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Merlin / Second Banana / Cat (voice)
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Merlin, a W.C. Fields-like mouse, puts on a magic show in front of an audience of one cat. Merlin does some bad magic tricks for the feline before he realizes he's a mouse.

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18 November 1967 (USA)  »

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A classic example of how Looney Tunes declined so badly in the mid-late-60s
15 August 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Have always been a huge fan of Looney Tunes, which in their prime were beautifully made, scored and hilarious cartoons with some of the most iconic characters in animation.

None of these are present in 'Merlin the Magic Mouse'. Alternatively, 'Merlin the Magic Mouse' is a classic example of how badly the decline in quality was. It's even worse than the worst of the Daffy/Speedy cartoons and the worst of Roadrunner/Wile E. Coyote, and also on the same level of 'Pre-Hysterical Hare' and 'Devil's Feud Cake'.

Sure there are more inept cartoons than this, where looking for a redeeming merit is impossible. Oddly, 'Merlin the Magic Mouse' is redeemed by the spirited voice work of Daws Butler, who always gave his all even when the material was beneath him (which it certainly was here).

On the other hand, the animation clearly suffers from smaller budgets and tighter deadlines. Everything looks so flat, scrappy and rushed, none of the colour, liveliness and fluidity seen with Looney Tunes at its best. Have also rarely been a fan of the stock/canned music that Bill Lava adopted, and 'Merlin the Magic Mouse' contains some of his cheapest-sounding, annoying and ill-fitting.

The writing is incredibly lazy, nothing sticks out as remotely amusing let alone hilarious and there's nothing endearing or anything that sticks out. The story is tired and disjointed, Looney Tunes at their best are some of the zaniest, wildest, wittiest and liveliest cartoons ever. 'Merlin the Magic Mouse' is an extremely pale shadow of all that, and actually doesn't feel like Looney Tunes, actually feeling a rejected and very low-budget Hanna-Barbera effort.

While one doesn't expect the iconic Looney Tunes to stick around forever, surely they could have come up with more memorable, interesting, likable and funnier characters than the characters here. Was especially irritated by the sidekick character.

Overall, a classic example of Looney Tunes in decline. Apart from Daws Butler, nothing works. 2/10 Bethany Cox


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