Friday, February 13, 2009

Cartoon capers I

I love the old Tom & Jerry films. The ones produced by Fred Quimby. With the luscious scores by Scott Bradley, with all the Gershwin lietmotifs and louche jazz riffs. The ones done by animators who believed that cartoons were more than static pictures with moving mouths. And feet that walked and ran and didn't just bend up and down while the background moves.

But most of all, the ones with storylines that scrunched a couple of hundred sight gags into ten minutes' worth of chase, counterchase and mayhem.



There are so many things to enjoy about "Cat Fishin'" that it seems invidious to pick any out for special attention. I was going to write about the gag with the fishing rod. And the sound of hungry fish. And the big fish's... Ah, but I'll spoil it. And as for the Gothic delights of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse," well now...



Just look at the attention to detail with the lighting! And, indeed, with...



...just check out the details like the shadow of the book of matches! (Just don't get too strung up by the textual inconsistencies!)

Despite the myriad sight gags and dramatic conceits of this series of films -- the concert piano stool; the bowling alley; the canary saving Jerry from a fate worse than The Perils of Pauline -- my favourite moment is two and a half minutes into "The Little Runaway." Every time I look at Tom's face I crack up. See what you think...



7 comments:

Gadjo Dilo said...

You're right, Kevin, I'd forgotten what great that animation was, and how jazzy it all is. Sad that Hanna/Barbera went on to make such rubbish after this.

Papercuts said...

Hey! I won't hear a word against the Flintstones!

STOP THE PIGEON STOP THE PIGEON was the anthem of my childhood.

Kevin. I'll give you a big fat hairy hug if you're clever enough to tell me Mickey Mouse's original name, to which Mrs Disney objected before making Walt change it.

scarlet-blue said...

What's worse is that they don't show these on TV anymore...
Sx

scarlet-blue said...

Didn't Mary Whitehouse complain about the violence in Tom and Jerry?!
Sx

Kevin Musgrove said...

Gadjo: you've been and provoked Papercuts now!
It is utterly brilliant animation, though.

Papercuts: Wasn't that Mortimer? I've an idea that there was another name even before that; I'm half-remembering something I once read in an article about Waly Kelly, who worked in the Disney shop for a while.

(who was it who was complaining the other week because her dad bought her kids' DVDs?)

Scarlet: yes, it's shameful. They have the atrocious 'Tom & Jerry Kids' instead. Not that I watch CBBC of course. And yes, she did. ))-:

Gadjo Dilo said...

Papercuts, Kevin will know the answer for sure, but I'd like to imagine that it's Malcolm Mouse.

Papercuts said...

Kevin wins it! Mortimer, it were.

(And I wasn't complaining...I was very happy. And this is the same dad who brought me boiled sweets and lucozade today, to aid my recovery from a migraine. A four-puker on the spew scale, since you ask).