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Mr. Bug Goes to Town
Mr. Bug Goes to Town original one-sheet poster.
Directed by Dave Fleischer
Shamus Culhane (uncredited)
Animation directors
Willard Bowsky
Shamus Culhane
H.C. Ellison
Thomas Johnson
Graham Place
Stan Quackenbush
David Tendlar
Myron Waldman
Produced by Max Fleischer
Screenplay by Dan Gordon
Tedd Pierce
Isadore Sparber
Graham Place
Bob Wickersham
William Turner
Carl Meyer
Cal Howard
Story by Dave Fleischer
Dan Gordon
Tedd Pierce
Isadore Sparber
Narrated by Guinn "Big Boy" Williams (uncredited)
Starring Kenny Gardner
Gwen Williams
Jack Mercer
Tedd Pierce
Carl Meyer
Stan Freed
Pauline Loth
Pinto Colvig (uncredited)
Margie Hines (uncredited)
Mae Questel (uncredited)
Dave Fleischer (uncredited)
Max Fleischer (uncredited)
Seymour Kneitel (uncredited)
Isadore Sparber (uncredited)
The Four Marshalls
The Royal Guards
Music by Leigh Harline (score)
Frank Loesser (words-songs)
Hoagy Carmichael (music-songs)
Sammy Timberg (music-songs)
Lou Fleischer (supervisor, uncredited)
Editing by Dave Fleischer (uncredited)
Studio Fleischer Studios
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) December 5, 1941 (1941-12-05) (premiere)
February 13, 1942 (1942-02-13) (California)
February 20, 1942 (1942-02-20) (New York City)
Running time 78 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1 million
Money made $241,000

Mr. Bug Goes to Town (also known as Hoppity Goes to Town and Bugville) is a 1941 American cel-animated Technicolor feature film produced by Fleischer Studios, previewed by Paramount Pictures on December 5, 1941, and released in California and New York City in February 1942. The film was originally intended to be an adaptation of Maurice Maeterlinck's The Life of the Bee, but the rights could not be attained, or, more rightly, Paramount was unwilling to purchase them from Samuel Goldwyn. Instead, they fashioned and crafted an original modern story loosely inspired on the book.

The film was produced by Max Fleischer and directed by Dave Fleischer and Shamus Culhane, with animation sequences directed by Willard Bowsky, Culhane, H.C. Ellison, Thomas Johnson, Graham Place, Stan Quackenbush, David Tendlar, and Myron Waldman. It featured the songs: "We're the Couple in the Castle", "Katy Did, Katy Didn't", "I'll Dance at Your Wedding (Honey Dear)" by Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser, and "Boy Oh Boy" by Sammy Timberg and Loesser.

This would also be Paramount's last animated feature film until Charlotte's Web released in 1973.


Hoppity the Grasshopper, after a period spent away, returns to an American city (Manhattan, New York City). He finds that all is not as he left it, and his insect friends (who live in the "Lowlands" just outside of the garden of a cute bungalow belonging to down-on-his-luck songwriter Dick Dickens and his wife Mary) are now under threat from the "human ones," who are trampling through the broken-down fence, using it as a shortcut.

Insect houses are being flattened and burned by cast away cigar butts. Old Mr. Bumble and his beautiful daughter Honey (Hoppity's sweetheart) are in grave danger of losing their Honey Shop to this threat. To compound their problems, devious insect "property magnate" C. Bagley Beetle has romantic designs on Honey Bee himself, and, with the help of his henchmen Swat the Fly and Smack the Mosquito, Honey is tricked into marrying the Beetle for the good of the insect community.

Hoppity discovers that the Songwriter and his wife are waiting for a "check thing" from the Famous Music publishing company for the songwriter's composition, "We're the Couple in the Castle." With this money they can save the whole bug community. But C. Bagley Beetle and his henchmen "steal" the check, and the Dickens house is foreclosed. Days pass and with nothing improved nearly everyone in the lowlands loses faith in Hoppity's claim. To make matters worse the Dickenses lose their home when a skyscraper is built on the site. Mr. Beetle can force everyone to pay his exorbitant prices -- until he finds out that the building will be on his property too. Realizing that Hoppity was nearby and overheard him, he seals Hoppity inside the envelope that the Dickens' check came in, hiding it in a crack in a wall.

Construction begins while everyone is at the wedding of Beetle and Honey; a weight from a surveyor's level that rips through the chapel causes the terrified bugs to flee back to the Lowlands (not realizing the whole parcel is endangered by the construction crew). Hoppity escapes when the construction crew demolishes the wall, freeing the envelope. Hoppity comes to Honey's rescue, battles Beetle and his henchmen, and wins.

Hoppity tells everyone what happened and manages to get the check to Mr. Dickens. "We're the Couple in the Castle" becomes a massive hit. Meanwhile, Hoppity leads an exodus from the Lowlands to the top of the skyscraper, where he believes the Dickens' have built a new home and invited the bugs to live there. They get to the top, which at first appears to be barren, but the young bugs discover the Dickens have built a new penthouse with a "Garden of Paradise" just as Hoppity had described. Honey and the rest of the Lowlanders live there happily ever after in their new home. And as Ambrose looks over the edge, he remarks, "Look at all the human ones down there. They look just like a lot of little bugs!"

Voice cast

  • Kenny Gardner as Dick Dickens
  • Gwen Williams as Mary Dickens
  • Jack Mercer as Mr. Bumble / Swat
  • Tedd Pierce as C. Bagley Beetle (credited as Ted Pierce)
  • Carl Meyer as Smack
  • Stan Freed as Hoppity
  • Pauline Loth as Honey
  • Pinto Colvig as Mr. Creeper (uncredited)
  • Margie Hines as Mrs. Ladybug (uncredited)
  • Mae Questel as Buzz the Beescout (uncredited)
  • The Four Marshals as Chorus Interpretations
  • The Royal Guards as Chorus Interpretations
  • Guinn "Big Boy" Williams as Narrator (uncredited)

Book and other merchandise

The film received a book adaptation which was released around the same time - it features new characters along with the ones from the film and goes further on key plots. For example, in the film Honey is aware of Beetle's romantic interest, expressing dislike to him but willing to make the sacrifice if it means everyone can live safely on his property away from the broken fence. However, in the book, Hoppity is made aware of this fact by Ambrose the Bee Scout, making Beetle's conflict with Hoppity more apparent from the start. Whether this was part of the film's script is unknown. The film also inspired a Mr. Bug Goes to Town board game and a series of trading cards.

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