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Ken Muse in a self-portrait, note the hearing aids he's wearing.

Kenneth Lee Muse, (or Ken Muse) (July 26, 1910-July 26, 1987) was an American animator, who is best known for his work on the Tom and Jerry series.

History

Walt Disney Studios

Muse was briefly employed at Walt Disney studios, where he started off as an assistant to Preston Blair (The main animator on "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", he himself would join Tex Avery's unit the same year Muse joined.) working alongside him and a few others on the 1940 film Fantasia. Afterwards he became a full-fledged animator, working on several Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck shorts. After the 1941 Disney strike, he left the studio to work at MGM.

MGM

After leaving Disney, he set off for MGM, where he was employed in the Hanna-Barbera unit. The first short he worked on was 1942s Fine Feathered Friend. He brought the skills he learnt while at his Disney tenure with him to MGM. He typically animated the slower, and more methodical scenes. (Though he still did do some wacky animation, namely in 1944s "The Zoot Cat.) From 1942-1958, he worked on all but one of the original Tom and Jerry shorts.

He, alongside Ed Barge and Ray Patterson worked on the Gene Kelly dance scene with Jerry in the movie, "Anchors Aweigh". The film would go on to win multiple Academy Awards. He also animated, along with Barge and Irven Spence some scenes that briefly starred Tom and Jerry in the movie Dangerous When Wet. He left MGM's animation department (and the studio overall) in 1957, to work at William Hanna and Joseph Barbera's new studio, Hanna-Barbera.

Hanna-Barbera

After the animation department in MGM closed down in 1957, Muse, alongside many others moved to Hanna and Barbera's new studio, Hanna-Barbera. Of the many animators there, he was arguably one of the most experienced. He animated and worked on numerous shows during his tenure at H-B. Including the pilot for The Flintstones. He spent the rest of his career at H-B, although briefly worked at DePatie-Freleng Enterprises around the early 70s, up until his death in 1987.

Tom and Jerry

Style

Since he was a former Walt Disney animator, his style is very reminiscent of how Disney shorts were animated. His characters squash and stretch, he rarely exaggerates his animation, and before "Safety Second" (1950) he was very fond of giving Tom three chest bumps. Here are some examples;

Shorts

1942

  1. Fine Feathered Friend (credited on original print???)

1943

  1. Sufferin' Cats!
  2. The Lonesome Mouse
  3. The Yankee Doodle Mouse
  4. Baby Puss

1944

  1. The Zoot Cat
  2. The Million Dollar Cat
  3. The Bodyguard
  4. Puttin' on the Dog
  5. Mouse Trouble

1945

  1. The Mouse Comes to Dinner
  2. Mouse in Manhattan
  3. Tee for Two
  4. Flirty Birdy
  5. Quiet Please!

1946

  1. Springtime for Thomas
  2. The Milky Waif
  3. Trap Happy
  4. Solid Serenade

1947

  1. Cat Fishin'
  2. Part Time Pal
  3. The Cat Concerto
  4. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse
  5. Salt Water Tabby
  6. A Mouse in the House
  7. The Invisible Mouse

1948

  1. Kitty Foiled
  2. The Truce Hurts
  3. Old Rockin' Chair Tom
  4. Professor Tom
  5. Mouse Cleaning

1949

  1. Polka-Dot Puss
  2. The Little Orphan
  3. Hatch Up Your Troubles
  4. Heavenly Puss
  5. The Cat and the Mermouse
  6. Love That Pup
  7. Jerry's Diary (only animator despite credits to others, archive and new animation)
  8. Tennis Chumps

1950

  1. Little Quacker
  2. Saturday Evening Puss
  3. Texas Tom
  4. Jerry and the Lion
  5. Safety Second (debut of Muse's new tom design)
  6. The Hollywood Bowl
  7. The Framed Cat
  8. Cue Ball Cat

1951

  1. Casanova Cat
  2. Jerry and the Goldfish
  3. Jerry's Cousin
  4. Sleepy-Time Tom
  5. His Mouse Friday
  6. Slicked-up Pup
  7. Nit-Witty Kitty
  8. Cat Napping

1952

  1. The Flying Cat
  2. The Duck Doctor
  3. The Two Mouseketeers
  4. Smitten Kitten
  5. Triplet Trouble
  6. Little Runaway
  7. Fit To Be Tied
  8. Push-Button Kitty
  9. Cruise Cat
  10. The Dog House

1953

  1. The Missing Mouse
  2. Jerry and Jumbo
  3. Johann Mouse
  4. That's My Pup!
  5. Just Ducky
  6. Two Little Indians
  7. Life with Tom (archive and new animation)

1954

  1. Puppy Tale
  2. Posse Cat
  3. Hic-cup Pup
  4. Baby Butch
  5. Mice Follies
  6. Neapolitan Mouse
  7. Downhearted Duckling
  8. Pet Peeve
  9. Touché, Pussy Cat!

1955

  1. Southbound Duckling
  2. Pup on a Picnic
  3. Mouse for Sale
  4. Designs on Jerry
  5. Tom and Chérie
  6. Smarty Cat (archive and new animation)
  7. Pecos Pest
  8. That's My Mommy

1956

  1. The Flying Sorceress
  2. The Egg and Jerry (archival animation from Hatch Up Your Troubles)
  3. Busy Buddies
  4. Muscle Beach Tom
  5. Down Beat Bear
  6. Blue Cat Blues
  7. Barbecue Brawl

1957

  1. Tops with Pops (archival animation from Love That Pup)
  2. Timid Tabby
  3. Feedin' the Kiddie (archival animation from The Little Orphan)
  4. Mucho Mouse
  5. Tom's Photo Finish

1958

  1. Happy Go Ducky
  2. Royal Cat Nap
  3. The Vanishing Duck
  4. Robin Hoodwinked
  5. Tot Watchers

Trivia

  • He was a chain-smoker, one of his friends visited his desk while he was away and found tons of cigarette butts, and multiple burns.
  • Alongside his work on The Flintstones, he also contributed to many other series' including, The Huckleberry Hound Show, The Yogi Bear Show, and later in his career, Jabberjaw, and The Smurfs.
  • He never worked on Little School Mouse oddly enough, though it's likely cause he was working on a 1954 educational short directed by another MGM cartoon employee named Gene Hazelton, Mr. Winkle Returns.
  • He had a hearing problem, and wore hearing aids.
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