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Shinbone Alley (1970)

A newspaper man is reincarnated as a cockroach and makes friends with a free-spirited female alley cat.


John Wilson (as John David Wilson), David Detiege


Joe Darion (screenplay), Mel Brooks (play) | 2 more credits »




Credited cast:
Carol Channing ... Mehitabel (voice)
Eddie Bracken ... Archy (voice)
Alan Reed ... Big Bill (voice) (as Allen Reed Sr.)
John Carradine ... Tyrone T. Tattersall (voice)
Hal Smith ... Freddie the Rat / Prissy Cat (voice)
Joan Gerber Joan Gerber ... Penelope the Fat Cat / Ladybugs of the Evening (voice)
Sal Delano Sal Delano ... Beatnik Spider (voice)
Ken Sansom Ken Sansom ... Rosie the Cat (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Byron Kane ... Newspaperman (voice)


A newspaperman jumps in the river to drown himself. He reappears as a cockroach, who finds he can still type by jumping up and down on the keys of a typewriter. He is in love with Mehitabel, the office cat. He writes poetry to her, and tries to keep her on the straight and narrow. Big Bill the Alley tom cat is Mehit's heart-throb, and Archy's nemesis. She has kittens, and archy declares war in a George Herriman sequence. Written by John D.Wilson <FinartsFilm@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A PURR-fectly Delightful film for the Whole Family See more »


G | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The revolution speech scene is animated in the style of George Herriman, the illustrator of the original Archy and Mehitabel stories. Herriman also created Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse, who appear briefly in the scene. See more »


"Cheerio My Deario (Toujours Gai)
Music by George Kleinsinger
Lyrics by Joe Darion
See more »

User Reviews

Expanded animated version of the Broadway play
30 July 2020 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

1970's "Shinbone Alley" was adapted from the Broadway presentation of humorist Don Marquis' Evening Sun creations Archy and Mehitabel, first popularized during World War I, Archy a poetic cockroach composing fanciful verses about alley cat Mehitabel. By 1954 a musical album was recorded with Eddie Bracken as Archy and Carol Channing as Mehitabel, later done for Broadway with Mel Brooks as coauthor (Eartha Kitt replacing Channing), and this became the basis for the movie produced by Fine Arts Films, retaining the original stars in their signature roles. Archy emerges from the river a lowly, ugly cockroach, having been a poet who once wondered what it might be like to be an insect, 'transmutated' into one after suicide by drowning, and still infatuated with loose and lusty feline Mehitabel. By night the composer of stories on an abandoned typewriter in an empty office, Archy paints a portrait of Mehitabel's wayward nature, always hoping that she'll make something better of herself but unable to resist the persistent advances of tomcat Big Bill (Alan Reed, best remembered as Fred Flintstone). Abandoned as always, she hardly thinks twice about turning over a new leaf when 'simple, unassuming genius' Tyrone T. Tattersall (John Carradine) serenades her with promises to make her a star, sweeping her off her feet to join him for Shakespeare at the local theater. Unfortunately, despite her constant feeding of his ravenous appetite, this entrepreneur proves dismissive of her acting talents, which may be more impressive than his due to her penchant for literally singing the praises of Romeo and Juliet. Banished for taking too many bows at her expense, Tattersall is rapidly replaced by Big Bill, whose seductive ways do not include fatherhood, Mehitabel's newborn litter putting a cramp in her style until Archy suggests a new occupation as housecat to get through the winter cold. The music is plentiful and the cast excellent, Carol Channing's persona expertly rendered in shapely feline form, alternately purring and spitting at the hapless Archy, whose infatuation finally results in a day of reckoning to see all the hep cats rejoice when Mehitabel makes a triumphant return to Shinbone Alley. The true revelation is John Carradine, whose basso profundo was rarely displayed on screen but was heard on Broadway in the early 60s as Marcus Lycus opposite Zero Mostel in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." It's likely that he was familiar with the original 1957 musical and requested the part of the Shakespearean alley cat, obviously tailor made for his unique gifts, and offering plenty of screen time to show off his 'grand manner.' Released by Allied Artists, still in business after outgrowing its Monogram roots, the picture was neither a critical nor box office success, the filmmakers clearly inspired by The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine," a devoted cult following but not really aimed at children.

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Release Date:

7 April 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kujien kuningatar See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fine Arts Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)
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