Scuttlebutt is one of the supporting antagonists in An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island. He initially serves as the associate of Dr. Dithering, but is revealed to be a villainous rat working for Mr. Grasping, Toplofty and O'Bloat and the savage Chief McBrusque. He is one of the only two villains of the American Tail series (the other being Chief McBrusque) to die.
Scuttlebutt is only seen in An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island.
Scuttlebutt is first seen creeping around the Museum of Natural History, following Fievel, Tony, Tiger and Dr. Dithering whilst sticking to the shadows. He soon bursts out of a file cabinet, claiming that he was merely organizing the doctor's files. He then pulls over "the large magnifier" (really just a magnifying glass) and holds up an old piece of parchment that Fievel and Tony found while exploring an abandoned subway tunnel. Dithering is easily able to recognize it as a document made by Native Americans (or, to be more specific, the mice who lived with them) of the Lenape tribe.
Later, Scuttlebutt is seen reclining whilst Fievel and Dithering examine the parchment; however, Dr. Dithering makes a sudden realization, startling Scuttlebutt and causing him to land in a cauldron of sticky stuff (which he doesn't notice until he asks what's going on).
That night, Scuttlebutt (along with Fievel, Tiger and Dr. Dithering) visits Tony (who had apparently quit his job at the cheese factory after having shown up to work late, which caused him to lose a week's pay), where Dithering shares the news that what Fievel and Tony found was a treasure map. Naturally, everyone is excited; however, when Fievel wants to go looking for the treasure, his parents deny him, being naturally concerned for his safety. However, with some help from Dr. Dithering and Tony, Fievel is able to convince his parents to let him go on the expedition. Dr. Dithering then asks Scuttlebutt to help him gather supplies, but the rat (who was watching the whole discussion) has mysteriously vanished; most unbeknownst to the heroes, he has ran off to inform his true employers of what he has found out.
Next, when Scuttlebutt visits the big cheese club, it is revealed that the only reason he helps Dr. Dithering is that he is a spy working for the factory owners, keeping an eye out for anything that they might want for themselves. After being introduced to Chief McBrusque (who has never met him because there is a lack of any broken bones, which causes everyone except Scuttlebutt to laugh pleasantly), he then asks if they might be interested in a treasure map. Though it seems obvious that they're not after the map, they are after the treasure that waits at the end of the line.
The next day, in the ruins of Beach's Pneumatic Subway (where Fievel and Tony found the map), Fievel's family wishes the group good luck and provides a container of matzo ball soup (even though the group has plenty of supplies, which are "easy to carry" as Dr. Dithering says, to which Scuttlebutt remarks "That's a matter of opinion"). Presented in a montage, the group slowly makes their way through the underground maze that leads to the treasure. Scuttlebutt ends up bringing up the rear, constantly complaining of the massive weight on his back, making silent remarks of how if he were in charge, "the only thing at the end of the line... would be the end of the line!"
As they journey on, the group hears what sounds like running water. Though Scuttlebutt doubts that Native Americans had indoor plumbing, Dr. Dithering makes the correct assumption that they are in close proximity to an underground river. Soon afterward, they stumble upon writings that tell of a cataclysm (i.e. an invasion or flood) that threatened the mice and forced them underground. Only a few seconds afterwards, Scuttlebutt ends up crushed by Tiger, who was scared when the group got too far away.
Though the group is mystified by the Native American architecture, their amazement turns to fear when Tiger unintentionally sets off a gauntlet of traps, splitting the group up. Scuttlebutt ends up with Dr. Dithering and is forced to dodge a massive supply of arrows (which are easily absorbed by the supplies, as Scuttlebutt soon finds). Having dodged or escaped the traps, the group breaks through an old stone barrier and finds, of all things, a village underground... as well as the fact that they're trapped.
Unfortunately, the natives don't initially take kindly to the explorers. The chief soon arrives and, though he is unwilling to trust the group at first, Fievel's peace offering (the matzo ball soup, which the natives believe is a strong form of medicine) does improve relations and gets them out of the net. When the doctor asks why the natives are there (since "there haven't been Native Americans in New York for 200 years"), the chief explains that, years ago, their ancestors watched as the Europeans came to America, "bringing disease, gunpowder [and] cats" and began mistreating the locals, killing many and scaring off the rest. Realizing that the European mice would likely do the same thing, the ancestors ran off, taking refuge underground. Worried that the natives will scalp them, Scuttlebutt tries to run but fails. Luckily, they are peaceful and, to prove it, they will have a feast. Until then, the chief's daughter, Cholena, is given as a guide. Scuttlebutt is slightly annoyed by this, but the sudden embrace from Tankho, Cholena's handmaiden, doesn't give him much to say except "then again, that bit about scalping doesn't sound so bad".
During the feast, Scuttlebutt sees his chance to rob them all blind from one of the huts. However, unbeknownst to him, he is being followed by a love-struck Tankho. Later, Scuttlebutt enters another hut with Tankho behind him, and is soon startled by her off-screen (in the form of censorship due to propose suggestive moment) and doesn't want her getting close to him ("You again! Back off!"), but Tankho sees all the valuables that the rat stole from the tribe (Tankho: gasp You are stealing!, Scuttlebutt: And what are you gonna do about it?) and flings him into a pile of watermelons.
After the incident, the tribe captured him and was taken to Dr. Dithering to be reprimanded by him. Scuttlebutt tries to reason with him that he was only tiding things up but to no avail. Later on, Scuttlebutt was set free back to the surface, but he will never again be in Dr. Dithering's team due to his betrayal.
After this, he reports about the tribe's existence to the factory owners and this gives Mr. Grasping, the leader of the group, a plot to start an angry mob against the Indians, just so they can keep their workers in line. Throughout the rest of the movie, Scuttlebutt begins to partner up with Chief McBrusque. He used Scuttlebutt as a guide to the Indian cave, which he reluctantly agrees. As he tags along with the police, Scuttlebutt constantly tries to warn them about certain traps, which McBrusque refuses to listen and continues to abuse Scuttlebutt. Once defeated by Fievel and the Tribe, McBrusque and Scuttlebutt (along with the police mice) were forced to retreat.
When Fievel and his friends were tasked to seal up the tunnel by using gunpowder, McBrusque and Scuttlebutt returned for round two. Scuttlebutt tries to Keep a Hold of Tony, but Tanya stops him by punching him in the face. As soon as the gunpowder was light up, it explodes, causing it to seal up the tunnel with water. McBrusque and Scuttlebutt tried to escape, but they were too late as they fell and presumably drowned in the river. He and McBrusque were not heard from again, as they are killed off from the series.
- Scuttlebutt is voiced by John Kassir, who is best known as the voice of Crypt Keeper in HBO's Tales from the Crypt franchise.
- Scuttlebutt's name is a slang usage means gossip and rumors, a term for a cask used to serve water.
- Interestingly, despite being the supporting antagonist of the film, Scuttlebutt has the most screen time out of any of the villains in the third film. Normally, this will make him the main villain, however, the real main antagonist of the film is Mr. Grasping, the leader of the factory owners. Grasping and his two colleagues are responsible for ordering Scuttlebutt to steal from the Indians and betray Dr. Dithering and his allies.
You can find the Scuttlebutt Gallery here
|Villains of An American Tail|
|Villains||Warren T. Rat • Digit • Moe • The Bullying Orphans• Cat R. Waul • T.R. Chula • Sweet William • One Eye • Frenchy • Felonius • Mr. Toplofty • Mr. Grasping • Mr. O'Bloat • Chief McBrusque • Scuttlebutt • Madame Mousey • Twitch • Bootlick • Slug|
|Gangs||• The Cossack Cats • Mott Street Maulers • Cactus Cat Gang • The Outlaw Cats|
|An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island|
|Characters||Papa Mousekewitz • Mama Mousekewitz • Tanya Mousekewitz • Fievel Mousekewitz • Yasha Mousekewitz • Tiger • Tony Toponi • Cholena • Chief Wulisso • Lenape Mice • Mr. Toplofty • Mr. Grasping • Mr. O'Bloat • Chief McBrusque • Scuttlebutt • Dr. Dithering|
|Locations||New York • Les Club Des Grands Fromages • Cheese Factory|
|Songs||We Live in Manhattan • Anywhere in Your Dreams • Friends of the Working Mouse|