RICHARD PHILLIPS-JONES looks at five Jekyll-inspired shorts from animation’s golden age
From the 1930’s to the early 1960’s, the cartoon divisions of the major Hollywood studios were as much a part of the cinema experience as the feature films their work supported on the bill. The animators were frequently sending up popular movie trends of the time, so it was inevitable that the classic horror movies would come under their sights along the way.
Here’s five examples where Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale, The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde provided the inspiration.

Jerry sorts out Tom, in Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Mouse (1946)

TOM & JERRY: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Mouse (MGM 1946)
Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera

After an opening which looks like the usual day for our favourite cat and mouse, Tom decides he’s had enough and thinks he’s got the perfect way to get rid of Jerry – why not just poison him? However, Tom’s concoction doesn’t have the desired effect, and Jerry develops super powers…
 

A transformed Sylvester marks out where to make his incision, in Dr. Jerkyll’s Hyde (1953)

SYLVESTER: Dr. Jerkyll’s Hyde (WB 1953)
Director: Friz Freleng

Two dogs out cat-chasing manage to scare Sylvester into a nearby lab, which just happens to belong to one Dr. Jerkyll. A thirsty Sylvester downs what he thinks is a “soda pop”, before undergoing a change. Trouble is, the mixture has a very on/off effect…
 

Bugs Bunny realises he’s being watched, in Hyde And Hare (1955)

BUGS BUNNY: Hyde And Hare (WB 1955)
Director: Friz Freleng

Bugs decides to be adopted by a kindly doctor who feeds him in the park every morning. What Bugs doesn’t realise is that the fella is Dr. Jekyll, who can’t resist a quick glug of his favourite recipe…

“Oowahh-ha-haaa… You bad old putty-tat!” – A giant Tweety sends Sylvester to pieces, in Hyde And Go Tweet (1959)

TWEETY & SYLVESTER: Hyde And Go Tweet (WB 1959)
Director: Friz Freleng

Evidently, director Friz Freleng was a big fan of the Jekyll story. This time, Sylvester is on the receiving end. He chases Tweety into the doctor’s lab, where the cute little birdie decides to hide in a bottle of Jekyll’s formula…

Tom bites off more than he can chew, in Is There A Doctor In The Mouse? (1964)

TOM & JERRY: Is There A Doctor In The Mouse? (MGM 1964)
Director: Chuck Jones

Back where we started with the beloved cartoon duo, this time Jerry’s got the science kit out. At first he manages to give himself super speed, but an attempt to make a second batch of elixir doesn’t have the expected effect…
Do you have a favourite Jekyll and Hyde-inspired cartoon? Let us know in the comments section!

Richard Phillips-Jones
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