Monday, October 27, 2008

Tom and Jerry:1966

Zzzzz...huh? Wha? Sorry, I must have dozed off there. "Filet Meow" has Jerry once more in charge of protecting a goldfish from Tom's starving belly. A simple needle to the feline's rear thwarts his first attempt.

Tom discovers that by wearing a trashcan, he can now be protected from any future needle attacks. Bear with me, folks. Tom attacks Jerry with an axe but (as I have pointed out before) Tom apparently has no feeling in his tail, which allows Jerry to place it on the chopping block without his knowledge. Luckily it screws right back in place.

Still wearing the trashcan, Tom is mistaken by the garbage man for actual trash and is thrown out. Tom returns and rigs up a hose system beneath the fishbowl to suck out his prey.

In order to accept the ending of this cartoon, you would have to accept the fact that Jerry finds a pet store that delivers a man-eating shark to his bathtub. Tom unknowingly sucks the shark through the tube and is forced to flee for his life.

Oh...and the shark apparently falls in love with the goldfish...or something.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tom and Jerry:1965

In sifting through the Tom and Jerry cartoons from this period, I can come across a few that are more tolerable than the others. "Tom-ic Energy" is one. I think I enjoy the films where Tom is simply chasing Jerry. No fancy backdrops, no real plot, no forced situations...just a simple chase.

One little detail that I like from Chuck's films is that he sometimes has action occuring during the title sequence. Yes, it results in the eye being distracted from actually reading the names of the people who worked on the film, but I feel it gives things that extra boost of energy right from the start.

Some gags are typical (a stoplight momentarily interrupts the chase, for example). Not to mention a strange sequence where Tom is mistaken for a female by an amorous cat. Pepe Le Pew would be proud.

A seemingly helpful act from Jerry is anything but, as the overzealous mouse inflats Tom's body with an air pump, resulting in the classic "deflating balloon" gag.

Jerry saves Tom from an angry dog, proving that the two characters actually need each other, filling the void in thier otherwise meaningless existances.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tom and Jerry:1964

We all know that Tom is able to sing. He does so in "Solid Serenade" for example. The difference between that cartoon and "The Cat above and the Mouse Below", however, is that the former is actually entertaining.

Concert halls are also nothing new as a backdrop for Tom and Jerry's feuding. "Cat Concerto" and "The Hollywood Bowl" come to mind. The difference between those cartoons and this one? I think you know the answer.

Tom sings excerpts from "Barber of Seville", annoying Jerry, who lives beneath the stage. Jerry attempts many unfunny ways to silence Tom, including a rubber band and publically licking a lemon.

A plunger to the face and a sack to the head, which sends Tom crashing through the stage floor, result in Jerry concluding the opera, which is odd because I thought he was looking for peace and quiet.

It will only get harder for me to pick cartoons from this period because they are so unmemorable that I have forgotten what most of them are about, and I'm not really in the mood to watch them in order to find out. I've been a bit moody lately, folks. Bear with me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tom and Jerry:1963

As I said, I enjoy Chuck Jones films very much, but it is clear that he never quite knew what to do with Tom and Jerry. The films have that great Jones look to them but the stories are rather flat and they are anything but funny.

The title of Pent-House Mouse comes from the fact that Tom lives in a penthouse (and it conveniently rhymes with mouse, I suppose). A starving Jerry comes across an unwatched lunchbox at a construction site near Tom's house.

Typical construction site physics ensure that Jerry is dropped into Tom's waiting hand. Jerry escapes back to the work zone only to figure that Tom's mouth offers a more safe place to be.

There is a strange flyswatter sequence that needs no more attention here. Finally Jerry manages to dump Tom off the roof, into the construction site, where an out of control barrel ride lands the cat into a dog show. Offscreen violence ensues.

Jerry takes command of Tom's penthouse and should be grateful that ice cubes melt. Chuck Jones, Mike Maltese, Ken Harris, Ben Washam...what could possibly go wrong? Several things apparently.