Friday Morning LoyOL

Submitted by Andréa:

Now, here’s what I’ve always wondered: Who first came up with the concept of mice coming and going through a perfect little floor-level arch? Some early cartoon, I imagine.

And when I say “always,” I literally mean I first asked about this when I was three years old.


  1. Normally, the mice would have a larger firecracker handy for the cat to grab when he reaches into the hole. The cat then holds his closed fist up by his face, laughing evilly, thinking he has a mouse. He opens his fist …

  2. It’s nice that they’re cutting down on the number of secret symbols. They used to have an eye, a UFO, a slice of pie, a stick of dynamite and I don’t know what else–and they all had to be in the cartoon.

    I can only guess that the creators are working on therapy for their OCD.

  3. Apparently “eek” is the sound of a mouse cry. There’s also a Jamaican reggae musician called “Eek-A-Mouse.” The mice eke out a miserable existence.

  4. In the days before the Internet I would try to bluff that it was George Herriman in “The Dingbat Family” who created the arched mouse hole, but these days that’d be… well, I think I could still bluff it.

    Does it count as a bluff if I admit I’m bluffing? It can’t be a lie if I admit I’m bluffing, right?

  5. beckoningchasm: Those things all still appear. The number of symbols just varies from day to day (with the number next to the signature), I don’t think there’s been any systematic downward trend.

  6. Also the space behind the wall is always nicer than it is in my house. There’s a foot of space between the walls, and there’s always a nice little bed with a bedstand and reading lamp for the mouse to sleep in.

  7. Based on my searches, mouse holes didn’t exist in illustrations until after 1890. Before then, they were fairly realistic jagged and gnawed holes in the weak part of a wall. I think Krazy Kat was the trope namer for this stereotype.

  8. K2 in the pants crease.

    I can’t say that George Herriman invented it or even used it but there was a Dingbat Family where Krazy chases Ignatz to a hole in the floor and the hole was perfectly round.

    Even though I was bluffing I want credit if it turns out it’s true. That’s fair by pub trivia rules.

    After all, it had to be invented by a comic strip cartoonist around 1910 and what cartoonist drew more scenes with mice than Herriman.

  9. “Why would the mouse be sleeping in a reading lamp?”

    Same reason cats used to like the top of the TV set, when there was such a thing as the top of a TV set. It’ll be warm.

  10. Why can’t English be more like LISP? ((There’s (a foot (of space) between the walls)), and (there’s always (a nice little bed (with a bedstand and reading lamp) for the mouse (to sleep in)))).

  11. @ woozy – I think the UFO has to count: I see only four others: dynamite, eyeball, pie, & K2.
    P.S. In the “eeking” panel above, I missed the K2, because I thought the man’s shoes counted as a “loafer”.
    P.P.S. I’d like to submit another vote to retire this silly nonsense.

  12. “Do we have a list anywhere of comics tropes? “perfect arch” and “eek” belong there.”

    If there isn’t (or is), I can think of some to add: moths flying out of an empty wallet, bandage around the head for a sore tooth, barrel with shoulder straps for a poor guy, birds flying around a knock to the head, doctor with a head mirror…anyone else want to chime in?

  13. Ah, comics tropes.

    The “flip take.”
    ALL-CAPS lettering.
    And, most perplexing to me, crows with yellow beaks. Where *did* that come from?

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