Muscles Mouse Makes Peace - Former MGM toon-star enjoys the country life Special for Entertainment Weekly Hard-knock Life Sixty years ago Bertram “Muscles” Mouse was a self-described “nobody”. The younger cousin of Jerry Mouse of “Tom and Jerry” fame was a dockworker on the Jersey Shore. He had dreams, but like many in the hard scrabble life of New Jersey, they were just that…dreams. Muscles Mouse with co“I wanted to make dough like my big cousin Jerry. He would come to the neighborhood, flash some cheddar, and star Tom Cat in the MGM man, it was on. I wanted the life – fame, fortune and everythin‟ that came with it.” short, ”Jerry’s Cousin” Always in shape as a young mouse, Muscles decided to increase his odd of becoming famous. He began to use anabolic steroids. It was a decision that he would live to regret. “Yeah, Mortie, um…Mighty Mouse got me to try the “juice” (steroids). He was already big in Hollywood. He had started out doin‟ all male stag films, y‟know and eventually caught a break – his own series with Paul Terry’s Terrytoons .” Muscles pauses before taking another sip of coffee. We are at The Feedbag Dinner in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He‟s been in the small city since 1995. “There were stories about him, and yeah, I wondered, but I wanted to make it. So I hung out with him to get the stuff”, he continues.
Off to Tinsel Town “Well, after I got on the garbage, business picked up for me. I put on some more muscle, and eventually started doin‟ art school modelin‟ – y‟know, nude, semi-nude and the sort, “cheesecake”. After a while Jerry called me and told me that MGM Mr. (Joseph) Barbera and Mr. (William) Hanna needed a “muscle-bound” mouse for their short, Jerry’s Cousin. I went out there and they signed me right away. Everyone was happy „cept for Mortie. He was ticked.” It turns out that Mortie “Mighty” Mouse had fallen for Muscles and they became a couple. Mortie felt that if they both were Hollywood stars they would turn out as star-crossed lovers. According to Muscles, Mighty Mouse was the Muscles picks up the tale, “Yeah, Mortie always felt that we would end up like other couples “Booty Warrior” (Fleece Johnson, pictured right) out there, broken. He would joke that we were „Desi and Lucy‟, but I knew what he meant, we of 1950’s Hollywood were oil and water. Y‟see Mortie had an insatiable „appetite‟, if you know what I mean. If you think Fleece Johnson (The self styled „Booty Warrior‟ from MSNBC’s Lockup and The Boondocks) was somethin‟. You shoulda seen Mortie. He was ravenous. What wasn‟t given, was taken.” Muscles pauses again takes a sip of coffee and looks out the window at the street. “Eventually, decided I couldn‟t live like that, so I left him. When I left, he started rumors about me. Before long, I was bein‟ called a „commie‟. Now keep in mind, this was the age of (Senator Joseph) McCarthy, nobody wanted to buck him or J. Edgar Hoover. Well, I coulda bucked Hoover „cause of his lifestyle. But I wouldn‟t have won, so my career was done - Pftt. This was in, let‟s see 1954.”
Who Moved My Cheese? “After Hollywood, I did some independent stuff. John Waters (of Hair Spray fame) really came through and gave me bit work. But I couldn‟t shake the steroids. I was afraid to let them go, they were my crutch. At the same time, I didn‟t want to end up like Mortie, singin‟ falsetto and nabbin‟ booty… Eventually, in 1991, I quit cold-turkey.” Muscles takes yet another pause and asks for a coffee refill. “I kicked around afterwards, goin‟ throughout the country, and then I landed here.” His eyes cloud over, and then he continues, “I was doin‟ okay until Pearl took a shot at me.” Longtime friend Pearl Muscles is referring to Pearl Russell, his landlady and friend for the past fifteen years. According to police reports, Russell reportedly took Russell accidently shot herself, after she dropped a piece of cheese. She claimed she was shootin‟ at a rat. Musat shot Muscles cles tells a different story. “First of all, callin‟ a mouse a the R-word, (rat), well, you just don‟t do it. It‟s offensive. Second of all, Pearl‟s lyin‟. Her and me were tossin‟ back a few PBR‟s (Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer) when she decides to get funky and move my hunk a‟ cheese. I had a hunk a‟ jalapeno, cheddar on my plate and she moved it, put her nasty hands all on my cheese.” Well, I called her a few names that you can‟t print, and the rest, well – y‟know the rest.” He sighs as he continues, “But, we‟re cool now, square. All in all life ain‟t too bad. I could have ended up like Goofy dyin‟ of “laughin‟ gas” (nitrous oxide) or Wylie E. (Coyote), he died from one too many inferior ACME products. I would tell him to sue the company, but he wouldn‟t he was so compulsively obsessed with that blasted bird. Damned shame…. And then there‟s Tasmanian Devil, that eatin‟ disorder took him out. He was a mess at the end. So, yeah…I‟m good.” Muscles Mouse, then pushes his trademark derby hat forward and exits the restaurant. © Otherwise Productions 2010