Culture Pop Bestiary

Junior Beaver

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One in a series of posts dedicated to pop-culture depictions of beavers — as symbolic representations of Americans — from 1904–2003. The series derives its title from Thomas Carlyle’s warning about merely instinctive labor.

In the 1947 Mighty Mouse Lazy Beaver we find a squirrel-like “busy little beaver family” hard at work, every action synchronized. It’s a throwback to Autumn (1930) or The Busy Beavers (1931), except that the beavers are cuter and the movie is in color.

This is a moralistic story. The titular little beaver, “Junior,” is a skiver, who finds a way out of working — and gets himself lost in the woods. When a wolf captures him, in order to make a beaver-fur coat out of him, Mighty Mouse swoops to the rescue.

“Junior is now an eager beaver,” the narrator reports approvingly.

Like most cartoons from the Terrytoons studios, this one is larded with moralist sentimentality.

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