Scuttlebutt is the quaternary antagonist of An American Tail:The Treasure of Manhatten Island. He serves as the associate of Dr.Dithering but he is really a villanious rat working for Mr. Grasping, Toplofty and O'bloat and The Savage Chief McBrusque.
Role in the film
An American Tail:The Treasure of Manhattan Island
Scuttlebutt is only seen in An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island.
He 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 magnifyer" (really just a magnifying glass) and holds up an old piece of parchment that Fievel and Tony found while exploring an abandoned subway tunnel. Dr. 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, causing Scuttlebutt 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) visit 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; unbeknownest to the heroes, he has run 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 because 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 Pnuematic 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 afterwards, 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 take kindly to the explorers. The chief soon arrives and, though he is unwilling to trust the group, 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, gundpowder [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 decides to use the fact that the tribe is distracted to rob them all blind. However, unbeknownest to him, he is being followed by a certain lovestruck native. He almost succeeded in robbing them, however Tankho stops him before he could continue to rob things. After the incident, the tribe captured him and was taken to Dr. Dithering to be scolded 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 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 Toni, but Tanya stops him by punching him in the face. As soon as the gunpowder was lit 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 drown in the river. He and McBrusque were not heard from again.
- He Bullied the Natives when he tried to steal thier belongings.
- He and Chief McBrusque are the only American Tail villains to die.
- When he is being dragged to the entrance of the bobby trap by McBrusque, he says "Zoinks!" Shaggy Roger's catchphrase.
- 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.