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"Car Number 44, stand by! Car Number 44, stand by! Another mummy has been stolen from the museum. Proceed at once!"
Police captain
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Magic Mummy is the 20th Tom & Jerry short by Van Beuren Studios to hit theaters. It came out on February 7, 1933, being preceded by Tight Rope Tricks and followed-up by Panicky Pup. Of the 26 shorts total, Magic Mummy is the only horror-themed one to be produced after the series starter Wot a Night and it also is the last short John Foster, the main writer, contributed to. As per the credits, the script and direction are by John Foster and George Vernon Stallings, while the score is the work of Gene Rodemich. The animation is uncredited but thought to be by George Vernon Stallings, Frank Tashlin, and Jim Tyer.

Magic Mummy is a loose adaptation of Trilby, a popular novel which cultural relevance got another notch on its belt as recently as the 1931 movie adaptation Svengali. On top of that, Magic Mummy taps into mummy fiction, a genre that in 1932 got a major boost with the release of The Mummy.

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Tom and Jerry are cops out on patrol in radio patrol car 44. It's a quiet night, so like the rest of the police department and prisoners they enjoy a performance of "The Cop on the Beat, the Man in the Moon, and Me" by two of their colleagues. The party is ended when the police captain gets a call that another mummy is in the process of being stolen. Tom and Jerry are sent out to apprehend the thief and track him to a secret lair beneath a cemetery. They witness the thief, a ghoulish musician, unwrap the mummy and force her to sing to his piano play at a theatre where the audience consists of the cemetery's skeletons. Tom and Jerry break up the performance to retrieve the mummy, but when the ensuing fight moves into the dark corners of the lair, Jerry has a chance to grab the sarcophagus and return to the station without Tom, which'd make him the big hero. And so he is received at the police station until he deigns to open the sarcophagus and not the mummy is inside, but an unconscious Tom.

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The voice of the mummy reminds of Betty Boop, and that is because she was voiced by Margie Hines, Betty's original voice actress. The mummy sings "Sing (It's Good For Ya!)", a 1932 song that in 1935 was also sung by Betty Boop as voiced by Mae Questel in Judge for a Day.


Tropes:

  • Adaptational Context Change: When the ghoulish musician unwraps the mummy, he thrice orders her to sing, growing aggressive about her silence until she finally obeys. They take the stage for a performance thereafter and again the ghoulish musician orders the mummy to sing. This time the mummy follows up by responding with "Keep you spirits high", the first line of "Sing (It's Good For Ya!)", which reveals a second layer to the ghoulish musician's order to sing as also being an instruction to specifically sing "Sing (It's Good For Ya!)" in a duet with him.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: The ghoulish musician carries the mummy in her sarcophagus into a dark corner of the lair to escape Tom and Jerry. They, however, follow and a fight breaks out during which only three sets of eyes are visible. Two sets move over further away into the dark, while the third set strikes a match, revealing itself to be Jerry who is left with the sarcophagus. He takes it with him to the police station, but upon opening the sarcophagus there finds not the mummy inside but Tom. This means the fight in the dark wasn't between the ghoulish musician, Tom, and Jerry, but between the ghoulish musician, the mummy, and Jerry.
  • Creepy Cemetery: The mummy-stealing ghoulish musician takes his latest loot to a cemetery, under which he has a lair accessible through a stairway hidden beneath a grave ledger. The lair contains at least three levels, the second of which holds a theatre that is packed with living skeletons waiting for the ghoulish musician's return.
  • Dem Bones: All of the audience in the theatre are the walking and talking skeletons of the people buried at the cemetery. The ghoulish musician may or may not be a living skeleton himself. His legs are mere bones and his face is skull-like, but he has a nose, hair, and fleshy hands. Tom and Jerry, at least, don't realize his undead nature until they lift his robe.
  • Dreary Half-Lidded Eyes: The mummy constantly has her eyes three quarters closed. While it adds to her visual appeal, it mostly signifies that up until the final seconds she's on screen she's under the ghoulish musician's mesmeric control.
  • Hand Rubbing: The ghoulish musician rubs his hands when he unwraps the mummy and he sees that, after several earlier thefts of mummies, he finally has stolen the right one.
  • Hero vs. Villain Duet: The Svengali-like ghoulish musician and the Trilby-like mummy sing "Sing (It's Good For Ya!)" together. At first, the ghoulish musician sings the "Sing" part as an order, which the mummy answers with the rest of the lyrics. But as the music gets going, they both sing all of the lyrics.
  • High-Class Glass: One of the skeletons in the audience is a lady of status, going by her loge seating, her companion, and of course her lorgnette.
  • Magical Gesture: The ghoulish musician has some magic at his disposal as he's shown to be able to open doors at a distance, unwrap the mummy without doing the unwrapping, and nearly tears the flesh of Tom's and Jerry's bones. All of these acts of magic are initiated by him flicking his fingers towards the object the magic is to work on. When he does, small lightning bolts appear at the tips of his fingers.
  • Mummy: The Trilby-like mummy of Magic Mummy is the revived corpse of presumably a singer of fame, because it appears the ghoulish musician had been stealing mummies specifically in search of her. She gets unwrapped by him and spends the rest of the short looking no less alive than a human.
  • Sentient Vehicle: When Tom and Jerry are notified about the latest mummy heist, radio patrol car 44 stops being a normal car and starts taking orders. For a bit, it even doubles as the Tom's and Jerry's sniffer dog.
  • Skeletal Musician: Both the ghoulish musician, who is part-skeleton, and the skeletons that form the audience are musically inclined. The ghoulish musician is the director of and co-singer to the mummy's musical performance, he summons a full band of skeletons from the ground to play along, and the skeletal audience itself not only sings along but taps their bones to add a xylophone-like sound to the performance.
  • Skeleton Motif: The staircase down to what's possibly the lowest and most inhospitable level of the lair is marked by a skull with crossbones under it.
  • The Svengali: The ghoulish musician is an adaptation of Svengali with the mummy serving as his Trilby. He attains her by stealing her from a museum and forces her to sing with him in front of an audience of skeletons by means of mesmerism. It is likely the ghoulish musician loses his control when he and she end up fighting each other in a dark portion of the lair while he is under the impression he's fighting off the policemen.
  • Walk Like an Egyptian: The mummy dances by always facing the audience and moving sideways, making crooked arm, hip, and leg motions reminiscent of Ancient Egyptian murals.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jerry is hailed as a hero when he returns to the police station with the sarcophagus that ostensibly holds the mummy. However, when Jerry opens the sarcophagus, it's not the mummy inside but Jerry's unconscious patrol partner Tom. As Tom groggily stumbles out and collapses, the praise Jerry received turns into scorn and contempt.
  • Wicked Cultured: For all his ruthlessness, hostility, and impressive magic, the ghoulish musician's only interest seems to be to have the mummy as his musical partner. He himself is a solid singer and piano player and he doesn't do badly as a conductor either.

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