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HISTORY

The 9 Jun 1961 LAT announced that actress-singer Judy Garland would provide the voice of a cat named “Mewsette” in the upcoming animated feature from United Productions of America (UPA). The 23 May 1961 DV estimated the budget at $1.3 million. Songs were provided by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg, who also wrote Garland’s signature song, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz (1939, see entry). Production began 6 Jun 1961, according to the 7 Jul 1961 DV.
       The 25 Jul 1961 DV included Gene Kelly and Louis Jourdan among the cast of voice actors. Three weeks later, however, the 16 Aug 1961 DV reported that Kelly was unable to participate, due to his commitment to direct Gigot (1962, see entry) in Paris, France. No explanation was given for Jourdan’s departure. A news item in the 26 Sep 1961 DV stated that Elvis Presley was considered as Kelly’s replacement, but the singer declined due to a scheduling conflict. According to the 27 Sep 1961 Var, composer Mort Lindsey was leaving for Los Angeles, CA, to record the score. On 1 Nov 1961, DV reported that actor-singer Robert Goulet would take a week’s leave from the Broadway musical, Camelot, to provide the voice of “Jaune-Tom” in Los Angeles, with plans to arrive on 9 Nov 1961. He completed his role five days later, as noted in the 14 Nov 1961 DV.
       Meanwhile, the 13 Nov 1961 DV announced that the ...

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The 9 Jun 1961 LAT announced that actress-singer Judy Garland would provide the voice of a cat named “Mewsette” in the upcoming animated feature from United Productions of America (UPA). The 23 May 1961 DV estimated the budget at $1.3 million. Songs were provided by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg, who also wrote Garland’s signature song, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz (1939, see entry). Production began 6 Jun 1961, according to the 7 Jul 1961 DV.
       The 25 Jul 1961 DV included Gene Kelly and Louis Jourdan among the cast of voice actors. Three weeks later, however, the 16 Aug 1961 DV reported that Kelly was unable to participate, due to his commitment to direct Gigot (1962, see entry) in Paris, France. No explanation was given for Jourdan’s departure. A news item in the 26 Sep 1961 DV stated that Elvis Presley was considered as Kelly’s replacement, but the singer declined due to a scheduling conflict. According to the 27 Sep 1961 Var, composer Mort Lindsey was leaving for Los Angeles, CA, to record the score. On 1 Nov 1961, DV reported that actor-singer Robert Goulet would take a week’s leave from the Broadway musical, Camelot, to provide the voice of “Jaune-Tom” in Los Angeles, with plans to arrive on 9 Nov 1961. He completed his role five days later, as noted in the 14 Nov 1961 DV.
       Meanwhile, the 13 Nov 1961 DV announced that The Mirisch Company partnered with UPA to produce the film, with distribution by United Artists (UA). One month later, however, the 13 Dec 1961 Var reported that UPA president Henry G. Saperstein was frustrated by UA’s delay in financing the project and arranged distribution through Warner Bros. Pictures. The new deal would provide the production with a budget of $1 million, as compared to the $700,000 offered by UA. Saperstein declined Warner’s request for a second animated film, as Gay Purr-ee still required another seven months of production and 40,000 drawings, in addition to UPA’s television obligations. After more than nine months, the 29 Aug 1962 DV stated that sound dubbing and mixing were underway. According to the 5 Sep 1962 Var, a 9 Nov 1962 premiere was planned for a Chicago, IL, theater that was managed by Saperstein in 1939. A general release would follow during Thanksgiving week, bolstered by an $800,000 to $900,000 advertising campaign. Judy Garland was scheduled to make a series of personal appearances in New York City to promote the film, as noted in the 20 Nov 1962 and 7 Dec 1962 DV. Despite various reports that Gay Purr-ee would play Radio City Music Hall in New York City over the Christmas holidays, the 15 Aug 1962 Var confirmed that the picture was never under consideration.
       Gay Purr-ee garnered positive reviews, the Nov 1962 Family Medal from Parents magazine, and an Academy Award nomination for Art Direction. Despite these accolades, the 13 Feb 1963 Var described the film’s commercial success as “dubious.”
       The soundtrack album was released on Warner Bros. Records, as noted in the 22 Aug 1962 Var.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
23 May 1961
p. 4
Daily Variety
7 Jul 1961
p. 9
Daily Variety
25 Jul 1961
p. 2
Daily Variety
16 Aug 1961
p. 2
Daily Variety
26 Sep 1961
p. 2
Daily Variety
30 Oct 1961
p. 2
Daily Variety
1 Nov 1961
p. 3
Daily Variety
7 Nov 1961
p. 2
Daily Variety
13 Nov 1961
p. 1
Daily Variety
14 Nov 1961
p. 2
Daily Variety
23 Aug 1962
p. 4
Daily Variety
29 Aug 1962
p. 9
Daily Variety
19 Sep 1962
p. 1
Daily Variety
26 Oct 1962
p. 4
Daily Variety
20 Nov 1962
p. 11
Daily Variety
7 Dec 1962
p. 9
Daily Variety
26 Dec 1962
p. 14
Los Angeles Times
9 Jun 1961
Section B, p. 6
Los Angeles Times
2 Dec 1962
Section Q, p. 8
Variety
27 Sep 1961
p. 56
Variety
13 Dec 1961
p. 4
Variety
7 Mar 1962
p. 27
Variety
15 Aug 1962
p. 16
Variety
22 Aug 1962
p. 47
Variety
5 Sep 1962
p. 10
Variety
17 Oct 1962
p. 17
Variety
13 Feb 1963
p. 4
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod des
Prod des
Prod des
Prod des
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus arr & cond
Vocal arr
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Title des
ANIMATION
Col stylist
Col stylist
Col stylist
Col stylist
Col stylist
Anim
Anim
Anim
Anim
Anim
Anim
Anim
SOURCES
SONGS
"Mewsette," "Roses Red--Violets Blue," "Take My Hand, Paree," "Paris Is a Lonely Town," "The Horses Won't Talk," "The Money Cat," "Little Drops of Rain," and "Bubbles," words by Harold Arlen, music by E. Y. Harburg.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
November 1962
Premiere Information:
Chicago premiere: 9 Nov 1962; Los Angeles opening: 5 Dec 1962
Production Date:
began 6 Jun 1961
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
UPA Pictures
24 November 1962
LP29391
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
86
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Mewsette, a little country cat on a French farm, decides to abandon her peasant life and go to Paris. She is followed by her devoted admirer, Jaune-Tom, and his kitten companion, Robespierre. Upon arriving in Paris, Mewsette falls into the hands of the evil Meowrice who takes her to a salon run by the plump and jaded Madame Rubens-Chatte. Unaware that Meowrice is planning to groom her for marriage to a rich cat in Pittsburgh, Mewsette willingly takes beauty courses. When Jaune-Tom and Robespierre arrive in the city, Meowrice gets them drunk and has them shanghaied aboard a ship headed for Alaska. Once there, they accidentally discover gold and return to Paris laden with wealth. Mewsette, meanwhile, has learned of Meowrice's plans and tries unsuccessfully to escape. She is placed in a basket labeled for Pittsburgh, but Jaune-Tom and Robespierre come to the rescue. After disposing of the culprit, Jaune-Tom rides away with his beloved Mewsette. Songs : "Mewsette" (Jaune-Tom); "Roses Red--Violets Blue," "Take My Hand, Paree," "Paris Is a Lonely Town" (Mewsette); "The Horses Won't Talk," "The Money Cat" (Meowrice); "Little Drops of Rain" (Mewsette & Jaune-Tom); "Bubbles" (Jaune-Tom & ...

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Mewsette, a little country cat on a French farm, decides to abandon her peasant life and go to Paris. She is followed by her devoted admirer, Jaune-Tom, and his kitten companion, Robespierre. Upon arriving in Paris, Mewsette falls into the hands of the evil Meowrice who takes her to a salon run by the plump and jaded Madame Rubens-Chatte. Unaware that Meowrice is planning to groom her for marriage to a rich cat in Pittsburgh, Mewsette willingly takes beauty courses. When Jaune-Tom and Robespierre arrive in the city, Meowrice gets them drunk and has them shanghaied aboard a ship headed for Alaska. Once there, they accidentally discover gold and return to Paris laden with wealth. Mewsette, meanwhile, has learned of Meowrice's plans and tries unsuccessfully to escape. She is placed in a basket labeled for Pittsburgh, but Jaune-Tom and Robespierre come to the rescue. After disposing of the culprit, Jaune-Tom rides away with his beloved Mewsette. Songs : "Mewsette" (Jaune-Tom); "Roses Red--Violets Blue," "Take My Hand, Paree," "Paris Is a Lonely Town" (Mewsette); "The Horses Won't Talk," "The Money Cat" (Meowrice); "Little Drops of Rain" (Mewsette & Jaune-Tom); "Bubbles" (Jaune-Tom & Meowrice).

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GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
with songs, Animation


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.