Club Sandwich, the 25th Terrytoon, released January 25, 1931, harks back to the silent Aesop’s Fables which Paul Terry produced, in that an army of mice retaliate against Farmer Al Falfa and his cat. It’s amusing that this war is instigated by the cat’s repeated blows towards the girl mouse, as she continues to harangue him for disrupting the festivities in their nightclub. The final scenes in the film, where Farmer Al Falfa endures the “gauntlet” – tied by a rope and pulled by a mule throughout different areas of his home – might have been used in earlier Fables. Terry’s films could have influenced Chuck Jones, too; Hubie and Bertie use a similar tactic to eradicate the neurotic Claude Cat in Mouse Wreckers (1949).
The animators on this film include Frank Moser, Jerry Shields, Art Babbitt and Paul Terry, credited for a small number of scenes. Moser’s assistants are Connie Rasinski, Jose Carreon and Paul Sommer, credited as “Sommers” in scene 29A. (The assistant credited “Sarka” is still unconfirmed.) Though Art Babbitt is assigned his own animation, he is credited alongside Moser in scene 40A. The film boasts a few remarkable scene layouts, particularly the low angle shots in scenes 21, as the mice march over to Farmer Al Falfa amidst a cheering crowd, and a spiraling staircase in scene 28—both animated by Moser.
Paul Sommer’s first job in animation was animating for Terry’s studio from its inception in 1929. He stayed until the summer of 1937, when he migrated to the West Coast at MGM. (Examples of his animation can be seen in The Field Mouse and The Bear and the Beavers.) Sommer left MGM to work at Screen Gems, and later became a director, partnering with John Hubley. He arrived back to Paul Terry’s studio as an animator after Screen Gems dissolved in the late ‘40s.
This film is one of the rare instances in which a Terrytoon incorporates a licensed commercial song. The 1930 tune “Good Evening” (Tot Seymour/O’Flynn/ Al Hoffman) is sung in the opening by a mouse holding a megaphone into his mouth, imitating popular crooner Rudy Vallee. Musical composer Phil Scheib also uses classical music during the battle—in this case, Franz von Suppe’s “Light Cavalry Overture” and the overture from “Fra Diavolo” by Daniel Francois Espirit Auber.
The working title for this cartoon was “Dancing Mice”; it was re-titled such when CBS aired this title with its syndication package in the ’50s. CBS censored the scene when the mouse shoots a mule with a cannon, reducing him into a skeleton as he gallops. They also excised a few frames in the final shot, as Farmer Al Falfa is dragged away. This breakdown video is sourced from a British 35mm nitrate print, with the CBS version used for the first two shots in the cartoon. On a perplexing note, scene 4 uses different backgrounds as the mice lovers are escorted to the nightclub; in the 35mm print, they are seen outside of the house, but in the CBS version, they are seen inside of the house. The reason for these changes are unclear.
(Thanks to Charlie Judkins, Mark Kausler and Steve Stanchfield for their help.)