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Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: March 21, 1953
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Johann Mouse © MGM‘Johann Mouse’ is the story of a waltzing mouse, who inhabits the home of Johann Strauss jr. in Vienna.

The mouse (Jerry) only comes out to waltz when the master plays, so when he’s out of town, the cat (Tom) learns to play waltzes to make the mouse waltz. This novelty leads to the two performing for the Austrian emperor.

‘Johann Mouse’ is a cute little fairy tale, told by a quasi-German voice over. However, the cartoon is hampered by all too economic animation. Especially Jerry’s design has become very streamlined and rather stiff in this cartoon, making his dance movements less impressive than in earlier entries.

Watch ‘Johann Mouse’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 75

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Jerry and Jumbo
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: That’s My Pup

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: February 16, 1952
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Duck Doctor © MGMTom is hunting ducks and he hits a little drake.

Jerry helps the duckling, dressing his wounds, but he has a hard time preventing the careless duck of being shot again. This cartoon builds up to a great finale involving an anvil.

The little drake looks and behaves like Little Quacker (see ‘Little Quacker‘ from 1950), but differs in having mature feathering. In fact, this overenthusiastic, but not too clever drake leads to greater comedy than the more famous little duckling. As a result ‘Duck Doctor’ is very entertaining, and one of the more inspired of the latter day Tom & Jerry cartoons.

Watch ‘Duck Doctor’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 64
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Flying Cat
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Two Mouseketeers

Director: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: January 12, 1952
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating:
 ★★★★★
Review:

The Flying Cat © MGMIn ‘The Flying Cat’ Jerry teams up with a canary, whom Tom wants to eat.

The chase routine that follows, gets an unexpected twist when Tom accidentally acquires some wings (out of a corset) and becomes a flying cat. It makes him a real threat to the two little creatures.

Unlike the contemporary Tom & Jerry cartoons, the ugly ‘His Mouse Friday‘ and ‘Cat Napping’, ‘The Flying Cat’ uses the simplified character designs to great effects. The cartoon is fast and full of gags, many of which involving great and inspired deformations of Tom.

Watch ‘The Flying Cat’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 63
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Cat Napping
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Duck Doctor

Director: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: December 8, 1951
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Spike
Rating:
 ★★★½
Review:

Cat Napping © MGM‘Cat Napping’ is a blackout gag cartoon, in which Tom & Jerry are fighting over a hammock  on a hot summer day.

‘Cat Napping’ is certainly not among Tom & Jerry’s best cartoons. The gags are not all bad (the best one is when marching ants make the hammock resonate), but the comedy feels uninspired. Moreover, the story is less consistent than usual, and the gags are rather disjointed. However, the cartoon is especially hampered by rather appalling designs on Tom & Jerry, which are on the same low level as those in ‘His Mouse Friday’ from earlier that year.

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/9404702/tom_jerry_cat_napping/

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 62
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Nit Witty Kitty
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Flying Cat

Director: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: October 6, 1951
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Mammy Two-Shoes
Rating:
 ★★★½
Review:

Nit Witty Kitty © MGMWhen Mammy hits Tom on his head with a broom, he looses his mind and thinks he’s a mouse. This to great annoyance of Jerry, because Tom eats all his cheese and wrecks his bed.

‘Nit Witty Kitty’ is a well-told cartoon, if a little bit slow and low on gags. Highlight of the cartoon are Jerry’s attempts to deliver Tom a “sharp blow on the head”.

Watch ‘Nit-witty Kitty’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 61
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Slicked-up Pup
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Cat Napping

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: September 8,1951
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Spike & Tyke
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Slicked-up Pup © MGMWhile chasing Jerry Tom makes Tyke dirty.

Spike threatens Tom he’ll tear him limb for limb, when he makes Tyke dirty again. So Tom does his best to keep Tyke clean. To no avail, because, as expected, Jerry takes advantage of the situation. ‘Slicked-up Pup’ is based on a routine that goes all the way back to Tom & Jerry’s very first film (‘Puss gets the Boot’ from 1940). Unfortunately, it has all been done before, even with cleaning (‘Mouse Cleaning‘ from 1948), and with Spike & Tyke (‘Love That Pup‘ from 1949). The result is less amusing than any of the previous films. The best gag may be when Tom pretends Tyke to be a chicken.

Watch ‘Slicked-up Pup’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 60
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: His Mouse Friday
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Nit-witty Kitty

Director: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: July 7, 1951
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating:
 ★★
Review:

His Mouse Friday © MGMSomehow Tom is shipwrecked. He’s washed ashore a tropical island where he meets a Crusoe-like Jerry, whom he wants to eat.

In what must be the film’s highlight Jerry fools him by pretending to be a cannibalistic native, but in the end both characters have to flee for real cannibals, the first human beings we see in their entirety in a Tom & Jerry film

‘His Mouse Friday’ must be one of the least inspired Tom & Jerry cartoons ever. Not only are the two completely out of place on the tropical island, the comedy feels tired, the humor is offensive, and the designs of our heroes mediocre. Tom’s designs in the opening scene are particularly sloppy. It seems that these designs inspired the Gene Deitch cartoons, because they look remarkably similar, which is no advertisement.

Unfortunately, ‘His Mouse Friday’ is no isolated incident. From mid-1951 on, we see the quality of the series gradually deteriorate: character designs get simpler and sloppier, backgrounds less lush, and stories more routine or uninspired. There were still some great Tom & Jerry cartoons to come, and even two Oscar winners, but one nonetheless gets the impression that by mid-1951 their heyday was over.

Watch ‘His Mouse Friday’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 59
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Sleepy Time Tom
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Slicked-up Pup

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: May 26,1951
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Mammy Two-Shoes, Meathead
Rating: ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

Sleepy Time Tom © MGMTom has been hanging out all night with three other cats.

He comes home early in the morning, only to meet a very angry Mammy. The same night Jerry has plundered the kitchen, so Mammy orders Tom to stay awake to chase the mouse away. Not an easy task for the exhausted Tom. Especially when Jerry repeatedly makes him fall asleep. In the end Tom is thrown out, only to be picked up again by his friends for another long night out…

‘Sleepy Time Tom’ is a hilarious cartoon with great gags and wonderful animation involving Tom’s feeble attempts to stay awake. Together with ‘Daffy Duck Slept Here‘ from 1948, its’arguably the funniest cartoon about sleep ever, outdoing other great cartoons, the Woody Woodpecker cartoon ‘Coo-Coo Bird’ (1947),  the Donald Duck shorts ‘Fall out-Fall in’ (1944), ‘Sleepy Time Donald’ (1947), and ‘Drip Dippy Donald’ (1948), or the similar Pluto short ‘Cat Nap Pluto‘ (1948).

One may indeed consider ‘Sleepy Time Tom’ to be the last of the classic Tom & Jerry cartoons. Although other funny Tom & Jerry shorts would be made in the years to come, the average quality of the designs, animation and stories would only diminish during the rest of the fifties.

Watch ‘Sleepy Time Tom’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 58
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Jerry’s Cousin
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: His Mouse Friday

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: April 7, 1951
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

Jerry's Cousin © MGMIn the great opening shot of ‘Jerry’s Cousin’ we see multiple cats being clobbered by what turns out to be a very muscular mouse.

This mouse happens to be Jerry’s cousin. He receives a letter in which Jerry asks ‘cousin muscles’ for help, having ‘serious trouble with Tom’. Muscles takes care of Tom alright, but only after he defeats the three ‘Dirty Job’ cats Tom called in, Tom surrenders. In the future, Jerry will be safe. His surprised smile at the end of the cartoon is priceless.

‘Jerry’s Cousin’ is one of the Tom & Jerry classics. It’s a great gag cartoon, its storytelling and timing are both perfect, and it makes clever use of the invincibility theme.

Watch ‘Jerry’s Cousin’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 57
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Jerry and the Goldfish
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Sleepy Time Tom

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: March 3, 1951
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Jerry and the Goldfish © MGMTom’s listening to the radio where a french cook is telling about a fish recipe. Tom immediately tries to cook the goldfish in various ways, but Jerry, who’s the goldfish’s friend, rescues him again and again.

Unlike most Jerry-and-a-friend cartoons, ‘Jerry and the Goldfish’ is not cute, but fast and funny, with great gags coming in plenty, many of which involving deformations of Tom’s body. This makes ‘Jerry and the Goldfish’ easily one of the best Tom & Jerry cartoons using this theme. In 1966 Abe Levitow used the same story theme in the late Tom & Jerry cartoon ‘Fillet Meow‘, unfortunately with appalling results.

Watch ‘Jerry and the Goldfish’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 56
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Casanova Cat
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Jerry’s Cousin

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: January 6, 1951
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Meathead, Toodles
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Casanova Cat © MGMIn ‘Casanova Cat’ Tom is visitingToodles,  who has inherited a million dollars and who now lives in a classy apartment downtown.

Tom brings Jerry along as a present, who is forced to dance with a blackface on a hot plate, a scene which is probably censored on many copies. The annoyed Jerry invites alley cat Meathead, too, and a feud starts between the two rivaling cats. However, in the end it’s Jerry who’s the lucky one, driving off with Toodles into the distance and kissing her.

‘Casanova Cat’ doesn’t cover any new grounds, but it combines the themes of earlier romance cartoons ‘Puss ‘n’ Toots’ (1942) and ‘Springtime for Thomas’ (1946) with great and remarkably fresh results.

Watch ‘Casanova Cat’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 55
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Cueball Cat
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Jerry and the Goldfish

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: October 21, 1950
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Spike
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

The Framed Cat © MGMTom frames Jerry for eating a chicken leg only to eat the chicken leg himself.

Jerry revenges himself on Tom by repeatedly framing him for stealing Spike’s bone. The cartoon ends with a wonderfully elaborate magnet gag, repeatedly tying Tom unwillingly to Spike’s bone.

Even though it’s not among Tom & Jerry’s most memorable entries, ‘The Framed Cat’ is a fun cartoon. It’s one of those rare cartoons in which Tom speaks a little. It’s also noteworthy for its backgrounds, which are more stylized than usual.

Watch ‘The Framed Cat’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 53
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Cueball Cat

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: September 16, 1950
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Tom & Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl © MGMOnly a year after Chuck Jones’ Bugs Bunny cartoon ‘Long-Haired Hare‘ the Hollywood Bowl is visited by cartoon characters again in ‘Tom and Jerry in The Hollywood Bowl’.

This short is Tom & Jerry’s second concert cartoon (the first being ‘The Cat Concerto‘ from 1947). This time Tom is a conductor, conducting an orchestra of cats in Johann Strauss Jr.’s overture to ‘Die Fledermaus’. Jerry wants to conduct, too, but Tom doesn’t allow him. This leads to a battle between the two with a great finale in which Jerry makes the complete orchestra disappear, so Tom has to play all the instruments himself. Jerry, who conducts him shares the applause with an exhausted Tom, before the cat vanishes into a hole, too.

During the complete cartoon the feud between the two conductors is perfectly timed to the music. ‘Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl’ is not as good as ‘The Cat Concerto’, but still very funny. Its only drawback are the designs on Tom and Jerry, which both look poorer than usual, looking forward to the leaner designs of their later cartoons.

Watch ‘Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 52
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Safety Second
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Framed Cat

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: April 8, 1950
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

Jerry and the Lion © MGMA ferocious lion has escaped from the circus, and of course, the lion is in Tom & Jerry’s house.

He turns out to be a nervous wreck and he asks Jerry to help him out. Tom, on his guard after a warning on the radio, never finds out the lion is in his house, but he does think that Jerry suddenly has gained enormous strength. In the last scene Jerry says goodbye to the lion, who’s stuck away on an ocean liner to Africa.

‘Jerry and the Lion’ contains some nice confusion scenes, but like most ‘Jerry-befriends-an-animal- cartoons’ the cartoon is rather cute, and the comedy somewhat subdued.

Watch ‘Jerry and the Lion’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 50
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Texas Tom
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Safety Second

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: March 11, 1950
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Texas Tom © MGMTom somehow is a cowboy at the ‘Dude Ranch’  in Texas.

This ranch is visited by a sexy kitten in cowboy dress, and Tom tries to impress her: first, by an outrageously cool smoking of a cigarette, then by singing to a record player and courting her at the same time. This is a wonderful scene and undoubtedly the highlight of this cartoon, which is highly enjoyable throughout, anyway.

The record player is an early testimony of the introduction of 3313 and 45 rpm records two years earlier, for it is able to play with variable speeds. The cartoon also features a long bull chase, and ends with Jerry kissing the girl, and riding Tom into the sun set .

Tom and Jerry would return to the West four years later in ‘Posse Cat’, with much less funny results.

Watch ‘Texas Tom’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 49
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Saturday Evening Puss
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Jerry and the Lion

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: January 19, 1950
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Mammy Two-Shoes, Meathead
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Saturday Evening Puss © MGMWhen Mammy goes out, Tom invites his friends, Meathead, the red cat and the little cat, who we hadn’t seen together since ‘Baby Puss’ (1943).

Together they play intoxicating hot jazz, which unfortunately keeps Jerry out of sleep. After several attempts to stop them, Jerry calls Mammy who rushes home to catch the cats red-handed. Unfortunately, she likes the same music…

‘Saturday Evening Puss’ is one of the better ‘Tom and Jerry’ shorts, due to the irresistible jazz soundtrack and great comedy from all the characters. Highlights of animation are those of Mammy preparing to go out and of Jerry’s head taking different shapes to corresponding jazz sounds.

Seventeen years later, the tables would be turned in Abe Levitow’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Rodent’ (1967).

Watch ‘Saturday Evening Puss’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 48
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Little Quacker
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Texas Tom

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: January 7, 1950
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Little Quacker
Rating: ★★½
Review:

Little Quacker © MGMTom steals an egg from a duck’s nest. When he tries to fry it, it appears to contain a little duck, who seeks shelter at Jerry’s place.

‘Little Quacker’ introduces the talkative little duckling, whose voice resembles that of Donald Duck. It would be the most frequent character of the Jerry-befriends-another-animal-cartoons, starring seven other shorts. The character even survived Tom & Jerry to reincarnate as Yakky Doodle in Hanna-Barbera’s television series ‘Augie Doggie and Doggy Daddy’ in 1960.

Despite the character’s apparent popularity, ‘Little Quacker’ is no different from any other Jerry-befriends-another-animal-cartoon. Like all the others, ‘Little Quacker’ is more cute than funny, in spite of some fine gags, and a great long chase scene.

Watch ‘Little Quacker’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 47
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Tennis Chumps
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Saturday Evening Puss

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: December 10, 1949
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Meathead
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Tennis Chumps © MGMTom and Meathead are having a tennis match, first against each other, then against Jerry. There’s no fair play involved, however, as all rules are broken, including the laws of nature.

‘Tennis Chumps’ is one of the most violent of all Tom & Jerry cartoons, and none of the three protagonists is sympathetic in it. It’s perhaps because of this that the humor of ‘Tennis Chumps’ never comes off, despite its fast timing and abundance of Tex Averyan gags.

The inspiration of the subject of ‘Tennis Chumps’ may have come from the otherwise very different Goofy short ‘Tennis Racquet‘ from four months earlier.

Watch ‘Tennis Chumps’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 46
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Jerry’s Diary
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Little Quacker

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: October 22, 1949
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★½
Review:

Jerry's Diary © MGMJerry’s Diary’ is Tom and Jerry’s first compilation cartoon.

However, Hanna & Barbera even make this cheap form of cartoon making upper class: ‘Jerry’s Diary’ contains lots of original footage and has a surprisingly good story of its own. Only after 1’56 the compilation starts, to end one and a half minute before the cartoon ends itself.

In the encompassing story an anthropomorphized radio tells Tom that it’s ‘be kind to animals week’, so Tom is persuaded to give Jerry little gifts. He knocks on Jerry’s door, carrying flowers, a box of sweets and a pie. Jerry’s not in, however, and inside his home Tom discovers Jerry’s diary, which he can’t resist reading.

Enter the compilation, which features scenes from ‘Tee for Two’ (1945), ‘Mouse Trouble’ (1944), ‘Kitty Foiled‘ (1948) and ‘Yankee Doodle Mouse’ (1943). Tom gets so annoyed reading this stuff that, when Jerry finally does show up, he throws the pie at him, smearing him against the wall and leaving the little mouse in complete bewilderment.

Apart from being Tom and Jerry’s first compilation cartoon, ‘Jerry’s Diary’ is also their first short featuring oil backgrounds (save an isolated experiment in ‘Salt Water Tabby‘ from 1947). After this cartoon, four other compilations would follow, up to their very last year of theatrical cartoons, 1967. However, none of these would reach the high standard of ‘Jerry’s Diary’.

Watch ‘Jerry’s Diary’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 45
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Love That Pup
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Tennis Chumps

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: October 1, 1949
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Spike & Tyke
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Love That Pup © MGMTom’s chases of Jerry disturb Spike’s son Tyke. If Tom is at it again, Spike “will tear him apart”. Needless to say, Jerry takes advantage of this situation.

‘Love that pup’ is one of the most hilarious Tom & Jerry cartoons. The gags come in fast and plenty, and Scott Bradley’s music is particularly inspired, perfectly matching the fast action. Highlight may be the running gag involving Tom rushing into several garden tools.

‘Love That Pup’ marks Tyke’s debut. He has no name, yet. But then again, even Spike is still called Butch in this cartoon. Spike and Tyke would become Tom and Jerry regulars in the fifties, even starring two films without the cat and the mouse in 1957.

Watch ‘Love That Pup’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 44
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Cat and the Mermouse
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Jerry’s Diary

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