For The Love Of Cartoon Animation
March 21, 2018 posted by Charles Brubaker

“Another Day, Another Doormat” (1959)

As most of you know, I’ve been on the hunt to get as many CinemaScope copies of the Gene Deitch Terrytoons shorts as I can. I shared much of it through several posts on this site, but since my last one, I managed to gain new ones.

This particular one I felt was worthy of its own post. Another Day Another Doormat (1959) is the last of the four “John Doormat” cartoons, and it’s arguably the best one of the bunch.

The cartoon is an interesting twist on the “henpecked husband” trope, where we see that John Doormat, when away from his domineering wife, is a tyrannical boss at his company. Meanwhile, Jane Doormat dreams about having a husband that’s firm and dominating.

According to Gene Deitch, the character was already being developed when he arrived at Terrytoons: “A new character they were already working on was named ‘John Doe,’ a harrassed husband; a completely stock character. I felt right off that the name, ‘John Doe,’ meaning the average man, was uncopyrightable, too generic, and didn’t say anything to indicate his character, a browbeaten husband. So I changed his name to John Doormat, which was at least an original name, and it did describe the character.” (source:

The first two cartoons featuring the character (Topsy TV and Shove Thy Neighbor) was evidently close to the original plan they had before Gene arrived. However, when Al Kouzel took over the series, changes were being made to characters. “On all of these characters, we tried very hard to develop in a multi-dimensional way, writing extensive character studies of each of them.” (source:

Gene Deitch himself regards the cartoon as one of the best to come out from his days at Terrytoons, writing to me “[Another Day Another Doormat] holds up today, over a half-century old, thanks to Jules [Feiffer’s] story, Al’s styling and old Phil Scheib’s remarkably update music.”

I sent Jules Feiffer a DVD copy of my Another Doormat transfer, and this is what he wrote back to me in response:

“Al [Kouzel], Eli [Bauer] and I did a lot of hanging out together. Gene was trying, with mixed results, to do an end run around the stuffy Paul Terry veterans who would have dearly loved to stick with Heckle and Jeckle and Mighty Mouse. The one original piece I created, which Gene wanted to put in to replace Tom Terrific ( I wrote a few) when it ended its run, was a jazzy kid’s cartoon, that Gene was high on but CBS rejected with this unforgettable quote, “Really, it’s more like Dostoyevsky than Peter Pan”. After that rejection, it became clear that the support for the level of work I was interested in doing had melted away, so I gave notice, and got out. But I was there almost 2 years, and I think of my friends and time there fondly.”

And now, here is the cartoon, in its original format:

In regards to the original titles, somebody in the credits department goofed, accidentally crediting Allen Swift for Lionel Wilson’s voices! Yes, even on-screen credits are not 100% reliable. Here’s an original model a sheet for John Doormat (click to enlarge):

(Thanks to Tommy Jose Stathes, Jerry Beck, Gene Deitch and Jules Feifer)


  • I’m guessing the “jazzy kid’s cartoon” Feiffer was talking about was “Easy Winners”. Previously covered here a few years back….

    • Chris is certainly perceptive! I’ve written elsewhere that I feel my greatest loss at being kicked out of |Terrytoons, not only before Tom Terrific aired, but even worse, before The Easy Winners pilot was produced. That would have changed animation history!

    • Our key story team of Jules Feiffer, Al Kouzel ,Eli Bauer, and myself, as the “accidental” creative leader of CBS Terrytoons in the mid 1950s, well realized that we were on borrowed time at Terrytoons. We four were a part of the happenstance that I was chosen by CBS television, the new owners of Terrytoons to be the new Creative Director of of the studio, I assumed that the reason I’d been hired was that I was the protege of the creators of the UPA animation revolution, bringing the principles of modern graphic design and intellectual humor to cartoon animation.. I found later that the CBS leaders, knew nothing nothing about that! What they really wanted was to expand on the 200 existing Terrytoons dishwater-dull cartoon library they’d bought. They had no art interest at all. What they really wanted was for me to produce more of the same! They were bamboozled by my former boss Bill Murray. at the wartime Lockheed Aircraft plant but then a Jam Handy live-action film
      director, who recommended me to them. But they found out soon enough that I was not a Mighty Mouse animator! Their great error was my undoing!

  • Shades of “Unicorn in the garden”

    • Oscar Grillo is right. I was indeed bowing to my teacher Bill Hurtz’ Un nicorn in the Garden, just as he was bowing to James Thurber in the character conceptions!

  • Wow… that’s actually kinda depressing.

  • Of course, today there are many of us who actually revere the work that those “stuffy veterans” did…..

  • Still hoping to one day see A Bum Steer, Gaston Is Here, Gaston’s Baby, Gaston Go Home, and Old Mother Clobber.

  • I remember this, plus one other where John Doormat’s loudmouth neighbor keeps telling him to be assertive — with disastrous results. The payoff was that the neighbor was just as henpecked in his own home.

    Strange how Terrytoons and Paramount, both known mainly for downright condescending kiddie toons, had all these attempts at adult sophistication mixed into their TV packages.

    And is it just me, or does Mrs. Doormat seem to be Lucy Van Pelt grown up (in character more than appearance).

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