Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer is a song about two mischievous cats who are named in the title. It is based on the poem of the same name by T S Eliot. It is performed as a lively dance number with acrobatics while the two named characters sing in duet.
There are three versions of the song "Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer". The Original London version is relatively languid paced Jazz number. The original Broadway production introduced the upbeat version. The song was sung by Mistoffelees, and was danced by the actors playing Coricopat and Etcetera, as puppets made out of junk that appeared from the trunk of the car set piece, brought to life to entertain Old Deuteronomy. The third version is a re-working of the upbeat Broadway tune, but sung by Mungo and Rumple themselves while dancing and performing acrobatics. This is the version used in the film and in modern productions.
The most common version is the one used in the 1998 film. Due to various reasons, principally filming over-runs, a large chunk of the song was cut out.
After Bustopher Jones' introduction, a loud crashing sound rings throughout the Junkyard, sending the cats into a panic. Macavity is suspected to abound, members of the tribe hiding offstage. Suddenly, both Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer spring up, giggling, and begin singing about their lives, profession, and exploits as 'knockabout clowns, quick-change comedians,' etc. They describe their lavish residence and travels causing trouble throughout London, as well as within their own owner's family. They are eventually caught and scolded by the other cats, their bags of treasures discarded.
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer, we're a notorious couple of cats
As knock-about clowns, quick-change comedians, tight-rope walkers and acrobats
We have an extensive reputation. We make our home in Victoria Grove -
This is merely our centre of operation, for we are incurably given to rove.
If the area window is found ajar,
And the basement looks like a field of war,
If a tile or two comes loose on the roof,
Which presently fails to be waterproof,
If the drawers are pulled out from the bedroom chests,
And you can't find one of your winter vests,
Or if after supper one of the girls
Suddenly misses her Woolworth pearls:
Then the family would say: 'It's that horrible cat!
Was it Mungojerrie - or Rumpleteazer!' - and most of the time they leave it at that.
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer have an unusual gift of the gab.
We are highly efficient cat-burglars as well, and remarkably smart at the smash-and-grab.
We make our home in Victoria Grove. We have no regular occupation.
We are plausible fellows, who like to engage a friendly policeman in conversation.
When the family assembles for Sunday dinner,
With their minds made up that they won't get thinner
On Argentine joint, potatoes and greens,
And the cook would appear from behind the scenes
And say in a voice that is broken with sorrow:
'I'm afraid you must wait and have dinner tomorrow!
For the joint has gone from the oven - like that!'
Then the family will say: 'It's that horrible cat!
It was Mungojerrie - or Rumpleteazer!' - And most of the time they leave it at that.
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer have a wonderful way of working together.
And some of the time you would say it was luck, and some of the time you would say it was weather.
We go through the house like a hurricane, and no sober person could take his oath
Was it Mungojerrie - or Rumpleteazer? or could you have sworn that it mightn't be both?
And when you hear a dining-room smash
Or up from the pantry there comes a loud crash
Or down from the library came a loud ping
From a vase that was commonly said to be Ming -
Then the family will say: 'Now which was which cat?
It was Mungojerrie AND Rumpleteazer!' - And there's nothing at all to be done about that!