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Director: Tex Avery
Release Date: April 9, 1949
Stars: Droopy, the Wolf, Lina Romay
Rating: ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

Señor Droopy © MGM‘Señor Droopy’ is one of Tex Avery’s most classic cartoons and arguably the best bullfight cartoon of all time, another candidate being Chuck Jones’s ‘Bully for Bugs’ from 1953.

‘Señor Droopy’ is set in Mexico and features the wolf as an overconfident champion bullfighter and Droopy as his measly challenger. Both are in love with Mexican film star/singer Lina Romay, but it’s of course Droopy who wins her: the last scene shows live action footage of this forgotten film star petting our happy hero.

But it’s of course not the story that makes the short so memorable. It’s the gags, and they come in fast and plenty. The film is stuffed with Avery’s own weird logics and cosmic laws, which lead to many a hilarious situation. The best example of Avery’s unique logic may be the following gag: when the bull has vanished between two wooden doors, the wolf closes them together, then another time, but this time vertically, reducing their size by two. He continues doing so until the large doors have been reduced to a tiny cube. He then casually throws the cube behind him, which quickly unfolds to the size of the original doors, which open to reveal a stairway to a cellar, from which the bull rushes back into the arena. Seeing is believing.

‘Señor Droopy’ is not entirely flawless: the wolf’s transformation from über-confident to panic-stricken is not really convincing, and Avery reuses the road gag from ‘Wild and Woolfy‘ (1945), which makes less sense inside the arena. But who cares! The interplay between the wolf, the bull and Droopy is delightful throughout, and even a minor character like the Mexican announcer is animated with gusto.

Watch ‘Señor Droopy’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.veoh.com/watch/v202445Gjy2WGzy?h1=Senor+Droopy+-+Droopy

Director: Ben Washam
Release date: September 8, 1967
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating:  ★
Review:

Purr-Chance to Dream © MGM‘Purr-Chance to Dream’ was Tom & Jerry’s very last theatrical cartoon.

It marks the rather welcome end to the Chuck Jones era, which, despite a few highlights, was a very disappointing age for the cat and the mouse. ‘Purr-Chance to Dream’ is no exception. In this short, Tom is haunted by nightmares about large bulldogs. But when Jerry has acquired a tiny bulldog, this reality is even worse.

The tiny bulldog is the same as was featured in ‘The Cat’s Me-ouch‘ (1965), and so ‘Purr-Chance to Dream’ reuses quite a lot of animation from the earlier cartoon. The good news is that this results in better designs of Tom and Jerry than usual in their 1967 cartoons. Carl Brandt’s music, however, is terrible, and so are the gags, making ‘Purr-Chance to Dream’ anything but enjoyable.

Watch ‘Purr-Chance to Dream’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry 162th and last theatrical cartoon

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Advance and Be Mechanized

Director: Ben Washam
Release date: August 25, 1967
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating:  ★
Review:

Advance and Be Mechanized © MGM‘Advance and Be Mechanized’ is the third of three science fiction cartoons starring Tom & Jerry, released in 1967, the others being ‘O Solar Meow‘ and ‘Guided Mouse-ille‘.

In their third science fiction short Jerry’s stealing cheese from a ‘cheese mine’ protected by police officer Tom. Both use the robots from ‘Guided Mouse-ille’ to fight each other. The film uses a whole scene twice and reuses a complete scene from ‘Guided Mouse-ille’, adding to a very cheap feel

The end is particularly depressing when the two robots turn Tom & Jerry themselves into mindless robots… They could hardly be further removed from their glory days than in this cartoon.

Watch ‘Advance and Be Mechanized’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 161

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Shutter Bugged Cat
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Purr-Chance to Dream

Director: Tom Ray
Release date: June 23, 1967
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating:  ★
Review:

Shutter Bugged Cat © MGM‘Shutter Bugged Cat’ is the fifth and last of Tom & Jerry’s compilation cartoons.

In this short Tom is playing 8mm films of his own injuries, while Jerry is watching, too. This compilation cartoon, like all others, makes exclusively use of Hanna & Barbera material. It is atypical, however, in its execution: the excerpts are much shorter and from many more films than earlier compilations, and many of them we see in reverse, as well, when Tom plays his 8mm films back.

The designs of Tom and Jerry in the framing story are different from those in other Chuck Jones Tom & Jerry cartoons, probably to match them more with the Hanna & Barbera designs. Unfortunately, the result turns out to be particularly bad, making Tom & Jerry look almost as bad as in their Gene Deitch films.

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

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 160

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Surf-Bored Cat
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Advance and Be Mechanized

Director: Abe Levitow
Release date: May 5, 1967
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating:  ★★½
Review:

Surf-Bored Cat © MGMIn this short, Tom and Jerry are apparently on a cruise somewhere in the Pacific.

When Tom sees people surf, he naturally wants to join in. This leads to a cartoon full of gags, one of which is reused from the Disney classic ‘Hawaiian Holiday'(1937), then thirty years old. It also contains one gag that would have made Hanna and Barbera proud if it had been timed better. Now, most of the action is plain tiresome, resulting in yet another mediocre entry in Chuck Jones’s Tom & Jerry series.

Watch ‘Surf-Bored Cat’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 159

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Mouse from H.U.N.G.E.R.
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Shutter Bugged Cat

Director: Abe Levitow
Release date: April 21, 1967
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating:  ★★★★
Review:

The Mouse from H.U.N.G.E.R. © MGMAs the title implies, this is a parody on the popular secret agent series ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'(which aired from 1964 to 1968).

in this short Jerry is a secret agent who is after a huge stock of cheese, kept in a safe and heavily guarded by the evil ‘Tom Thrush’ (THRUSH was the arch-villain organisation of U.N.C.L.E. In the original series).

Director Abe Levitow and story man Bob Ogle clearly enjoy spoofing the spy cliches. The two are greatly helped by composer Dean Elliott, who provides a very apt sixties spy film musical score. This makes this entry also enjoyable for people who have never watched the original series, but who are familiar with, for example, James Bond.

This short has little to do with Tom & Jerry as originally conceived by Hanna and Barbera, but it is an entertaining cartoon, nonetheless. The film was to be the duo’s last enjoyable theatrical cartoon.

Watch ‘The Mouse from H.U.N.G.E.R.’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 158

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Cannery Rodent
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Surf-Bored Cat

Director: Chuck Jones
Release date:
 April 14, 1967
Stars:
 Tom & Jerry
Rating:
  ★
Review:

Cannery Rodent © MGMChuck Jones returns to direct one final Tom & Jerry cartoon.
Based on a story of his own, ‘Cannery Rodent’, like ‘Much Ado About Mousing‘ (1964) and ‘Cat and Duplicat’ (1967) is set in a harbor. Tom’s adversary this time is a large, purple shark, which looks like it has been borrowed from a Hanna-Barbera television series.

Unfortunately, Jones doesn’t seem to be inspired and the film is not a success, but just another boring entry in Tom & Jerry’s last theatrical series.

Watch ‘Cannery Rodent’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 157

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Rock ‘n’ Rodent
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Mouse from H.U.N.G.E.R.

Director: Abe Levitow
Release date: April 7, 1967
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating:  ★★★★
Review:

Rock 'n' Rodent © MGMAfter directing seven terrible cartoons, Abe Lebitow suddenly strikes with ‘Rock ‘n Rodent’.

The story, by Bob Ogle, is inspired, if not anything new (it’s in fact the reverse of the classic Tom & Jerry cartoon ‘Saturday Evening Puss‘ from 1950): when Tom goes to sleep, Jerry rises to play drums with his hep-cat mice friends in the nightclub ‘Le Cellar Smoqué’.

This, of course, keeps Tom awake, and he desperately tries to get rid of the mice, only to succeed in bothering a large bulldog living in the same apartment block.

Unlike the other Tom & Jerry’s by Chuck Jones’s unit, this short has a lively jazzy score penned by a remarkably inspired Carl Brandt. In short, everything seems to come together for once in this cartoon, making this one of the best of the Chuck Jones Tom & Jerry’s.

Watch ‘Rock ‘n’ Rodent’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 156

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Guided Mouse-ille
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Cannery Rodent

Director: Abe Levitow
Release date: March 10, 1967
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating:  ★
Review:

Guided Mouse-ille © MGMAfter ‘O-Solar-Meow‘ Tom and Jerry immediately return to the science fiction setting in ‘Guided Mouse-ille’.

The time is 2565 AD and again, Tom and Jerry fight each other with modern technology, including the robot cat from ‘O Solar Meow’. In the end, our heroes are inexplicably blown to the prehistory, where they continue their chase.

Written by story man John Dunn (as was O-Solar-Meow), ‘Guided Mouse-ille’ is a very bad and terribly unfunny cartoon. Luckily, Tom & Jerry’s next short would be much more fun…

Watch ‘Guided Mouse-ille’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 155

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: O-Solar-Meow
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Rock ‘n’ Rodent

Director: Abe Levitow
Release date: February 24, 1967
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating:  ★★
Review:

O-Solar-Meow © MGMIn a cartoon that looks forward to ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’ (released the following year), Tom and Jerry inhabit a roulette-like space station.

Here they fight each other using modern technology, including a robot cat. In the end, Tom manages to shoot Jerry to the moon, but luckily for Jerry, it turns out to be made out of cheese.

This cartoon contains nice settings and some original ideas, but none of them are executed well, resulting in yet another mediocre Tom and Jerry cartoon produced by Chuck Jones. Tom & Jerry’s next cartoon, ‘Guided Mouse-ille‘, also has a science fiction setting. Interestingly, both these shorts were penned by story man John Dunn.

Watch ‘O-Solar-Meow’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 154

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Cat and Dupli-cat
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Guided Mouse-ille

Director: Chuck Jones
Release date: January 20, 1967
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating:  ★
Review:

Cat and Dupli-cat © MGMThe harbor was a popular setting in Chuck Jones’s Tom & Jerry series. Like the earlier ‘Much Ado About Mousing‘ (1964) and the later ‘Cannery Rodent‘ (1967), ‘Cat and Duplicat’ is set in a harbor.

Here Tom fights a rather dog-like cat over Jerry. The timing of this cartoon is remarkably slow and terrible, especially in an all too elaborate mirror routine. Eugene Poddany’s awfully sounding music wears down the action, like always.

Watch ‘Cat and Dupli-cat’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 154

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Catty Cornered
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: O-Solar-Meow

Director: Tex Avery
Release Date: December 26, 1953
Stars: Droopy, The Wolf
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Three Little Pups © MGM‘Three Little Pups’ starts as a pastiche of the Disney classic ‘Three little pigs’ (1933) with dogs instead of pigs, and the wolf being a dogcatcher.

However it changes into a typical Avery-cartoon as soon as the wolf has failed to blow the smart little pup’s dog house down. He then goes completely berserk on trying to break the house down only to freeze and say into the camera in a remarkably laid-back southern voice, provided by Daws Butler: “Well, that’s a well-built dog house, man”.

This is clearly a completely different wolf than we had seen before in Tex Avery’s cartoons. Instead of having wild takes, his reactions to his humiliations are absurdly stolid. All through the picture, he remains completely calm, and several times we can hear him whistling the civil war tune ‘Kingdom Coming’, accompanied by the barest minimum of percussion. This would become his signature song in his reappearances in the Tex Avery one-shot ‘Billy Boy’ (1954), and in two of Michael Lah’s Droopy cartoons: ‘Sheep Wrecked’ (1958) and ‘Blackboard Jumble’ (1957), which reuses some animation from ‘Three Little Pups’.

The phlegmatic Southern Wolf is by all means a hilarious character to watch, and he plays surprisingly well against the equally deadpan Droopy. Add lots of gags, Tex Avery’s superb timing and spot on music by Scott Bradley, and we have a fine cartoon of excellent comedy. ‘Meow, man!’

Note the anti-television gags in this short. Tex Avery would make more of those in ‘Drag-along Droopy’ (1954). During the 1950s television made things difficult indeed for theatrical cartoons. Less and less visits were paid to the cinemas, and so studios were forced to cut down their costs. This process ultimately led to the demise of the theatrical cartoon, and to the decline of American studio animation in general, which reached an all-time low in the 1970s, only to be revived again in the middle of the 1980s.

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

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: December 31, 1967
Rating: ★★★
Review:

he Bear That Wasn't © MGMEven though not entirely successful, ‘The Bear That Wasn’t’ is a beautiful, highly stylized film, which uses some avant-garde techniques to tell its story, which makes it one of the most daring of the MGM cartoons, comparable to independent cartoons from the era.

Based on the children’s book by Jones’s former Warner Brothers colleague Frank Tashlin, ‘The Bear That Wasn’t’ tells the story of a bear who ends up in a factory after hibernation, and who’s told he’s not a bear, but “a silly man who needs a shave and who wears a fur coat” so many times, he comes to believe it himself.

Jones quite faithfully retells Tashlin’s simple, but deep story, but the cartoon is hampered by bad sound design, canned music and a theme song that never really develops. Moreover, it features a lot of smoking, which distracts the viewer from the main subject. Despite being billed as a producer Frank Tashlin was not involved in the film, at all, and he reportedly hated the film…

Watch ‘The Bear That Wasn’t’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Directors: Tex Avery
Release Date: August 3, 1946
Stars: Droopy, The Wolf
Rating:  ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

Northwest Hounded Police © MGM

In ‘Northwest Hounded Police’ Avery revisited the material of ‘Dumb Hounded‘ (1943) to make a film that is faster, more concise, more extreme, more paranoid and funnier than the original.

The idea of Droopy being everywhere is quickly established, while the focus lies on the wolf’s double takes, which get more and more extreme during the film, including the famous jaw drop. The cool part is that Droopy (or ‘Sergeant McPoodle’ as he’s called here) only has to be there to scare the wits out of the wolf. He doesn’t do anything but being there.

In the wolf’s double takes Tex Avery explores the limits of cartoon exaggeration. These extreme takes make ‘Northwest Hounded Police the epitome of animated cartoon paranoia, displaying a world of fear that has not been seen on the animated screen since the Fleischer cartoon ‘Bimbo’s Initiation’ (1931). If there should be only one classic Tex Avery cartoon, this must be it.

Watch ‘Northwest Hounded Police’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.veoh.com/watch/v202943sX3q26aT?h1=Northwest+Hounded+Police+-+Droopy

Directors: Tex Avery
Release Date: November 3, 1945
Stars: Droopy, Red, The Wolf
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Wild and Woolfy © MGMAfter the successful ‘The Shooting of Dan McGoo‘ Droopy from earlier that year, Red and the Wolf join forces again in ‘Wild and Woolfy’, a hilarious spoof on the classic western.

The cartoon has the simple plot of Droopy following the wolf, who has kidnapped Red after her performance of a nice country & western yodeling song. But Tex Avery once again packs the film with gags, including a wonderful and now classic empty road gag.

Film composer Scott Bradley reuses his twelve tone row he had introduced in the Tom & Jerry cartoon ‘Puttin’ on the Dog’ (1944) to accompany Droopy riding his little blue horse, with equally funny results.

Watch ‘Wild and Woolfy’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Directors: Tex Avery
Release Date: April 14, 1945
Stars: Droopy, Red, The Wolf
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

The Shooting of Dan McGoo © MGMIn his second film Droopy enters the wolf’s world of sex, joining forces with the ever sexy Red as his lover Lou, while the wolf’s the villain entering the Alaskan saloon and Droopy is ‘dangerous Dan McGoo’ himself.

The cartoon is a hilarious re-telling of the poem ‘The Shooting of Dan McGrew’ by Robert Service. It is simply packed with self-conscious gags and puns. Red is absolutely stunning, when she sings a great army song, displaying her popularity with the armed forces. Her performance remains a tour of the force of animation, courtesy of animator Preston Blair.

‘The Shooting of Dan McGoo’ was Tex Avery’s second take on Service’s poem, the first being the Warner Brothers cartoon ‘Dangerous Dan McFoo’  from 1939.

Watch ‘The Shooting of Dan McGoo’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/83894809/

Directors: Tex Avery
Release Date: March 20, 1943
Stars: Droopy, The Wolf
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Dumb Hounded © MGM‘Dumb Hounded’ marks the debut of Droopy, the first of all cartoon heroes to be deliberately deadpan.

He is introduced as a very slow bloodhound used to catch the escaped convict, the wolf. He manages to do so by being everywhere the wolf flees to.

Droopy’s übercalm contrasts nicely with the wolf’s extreme double-takes. The best gag is when Droopy asks the wolf not to move, whereupon the wolf uses a multitude of vehicles to flee to a very remote log cabin, only to find Droopy there, exclaiming: “you moved, didn’t you?”. This sequence has a lightning fast montage, something that is lacking from the rest of the film, which suffers a little from an inconsistent story line. The result is a film that is not quite satisfying in the end.

Tex Avery may have felt the same, for he would remake ‘Dumb Hounded’ only three years later with ‘Northwest Hounded Police‘, which uses the same or similar gags to a much greater comic effect.

Watch ‘Dumb Hounded’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: July 7, 1945
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

Mouse in Manhattan © MGMTired of the country life, Jerry heads for Broadway, where he admires the big city.

Jerry’s luck is short-lived however, and after some bad experiences in the New York dumps (which involves hundreds of alley cats and scary subways), Jerry flees home, kissing a puzzled Tom in his joy.

‘Mouse in Manhattan’ is an outsider within the Tom & Jerry series, as it lacks the typical cat and mouse chase. Instead it focuses on Jerry’s journey, only. Nevertheless, it must be one of the most beautiful Tom and Jerry cartoons ever made. Jerry’s adventures in New York are accompanied by gorgeous and stunning backgrounds (most using a mouse perspective), and Scott Bradley’s particularly lush music. Bradley based his score on Louis Alter’s ‘Manhattan Serenade’ from 1928, which was also used in the MGM 1944 musical ‘Broadway Rhythm’, accompanying acrobatic stunts by the Ross Sisters. The music is so essential to the film, it almost seems the film was made for the score.

The cartoon is a sheer delight from the beginning to the end, but the highlight is Jerry’s dance with the female table figures on the roof of a very high hotel. This scene has the same class as its source of inspiration, the MGM musical.

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

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No.19

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Mouse Comes to Dinner
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Tee for Two

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: December 25, 1943
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Meathead
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Baby Puss © MGMA little girl makes Tom behave like a baby.

Tom only reluctantly cooperates, until he discovers the milk bottle. Jerry mocks him and warns three alley cats of Tom’s baby behavior. They mock him too, all too more violently, which leads to a frantic samba finale in which the little cat does a great Carmen Miranda impersonation, singing her hit song ‘Mamãe eu quero’ from the film ‘Down Argentine Way’ (1940).

Tom’s friends, the red cat from ‘Sufferin’ Cats‘, Meathead (in his debut) and a little cat, would reunite only seven years later in ‘Saturday Evening Puss‘ (1950). Apart from the finale the greatest scene is when Jerry behaves like ‘she’ is caught naked in the bathroom of a doll house.

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

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No.11

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Yankee Doodle Mouse
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Zoot Cat

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: June 26, 1943
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Yankee Doodle Mouse © MGMIn this Tom and Jerry short their chase routine is pictured as if it were World War II itself.

War references include a periscope, a “jeep”, (paper) planes, a bomber (throwing light bulbs), a parachute (a bra), and lots of fireworks. Tom is the clear villain now, with Jerry acting the role of the brave American soldier. At the end of the cartoon Tom explodes in the sky revealing the American flag to which Jerry salutes.

Although not a real war cartoon (Tom and Jerry do not fight Nazis or anything like that), it is drenched in war spirit. Moreover, the short is extremely fast and furious, with gags coming without any break. No wonder it won an Academy Award.

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

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No.11

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Lonesome Mouse
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Baby Puss

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