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Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: July 19, 1941
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Mammy Two-Shoes
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

The Midnight Snack © MGMFollowing the success of ‘Puss Gets the Boot‘ it would take quite a while before the cat and mouse duo were given their own series. But one and a half year later ‘The Midnight Snack’ was released: Tom & Jerry’s very first official cartoon.

The duo was re-christened ‘Tom and Jerry’, which may have sounded right, as there had been a human cartoon duo before with that name (1931-1933). The looks of the cat and mouse were altered, too: Tom now has his characteristic black nose and thick black eyebrows, which make his facial expressions much stronger. Nevertheless, his features are still very complex. Jerry’s designs have remained the same, but he’s now animated much more consistently, rendering him less pudding-like.

The story of ‘The Midnight Snack’ feels like a variation on ‘Puss Gets the Boot’. Tom catches Jerry stealing cheese from the fridge, only to make a buffet out of the fridge himself. When Mammy awakes, Tom frames Jerry, but in the end it’s he who gets punished by the angry maid. The cartoon violence is still rather mild in this cartoon, the most conspicuous gag being Jerry pricking the trapped Tom with a large carving fork.

Composer Scott Bradley juxtaposes separate themes for the cat and the mouse against each other in a rather complex continuous cartoon score. Bradley used this composition method in the duo’s first cartoons to a great effect. Later, the frantic cartoon action called for more disjointed and less integrated musical scores.

‘The Midnight Snack’ shows the cat and mouse’s great appeal and potential. Yet, in Charles Solomon’s book ‘Enchanted Drawings – The History of Animation’ Joe Barbera reveals that ‘The Midnight Snack’ almost became the last Tom & Jerry cartoon; apparently producer Fred Quimby was opposed to make any more of them, until he got a letter from Texas asking for more of “these delightful cat-and-mouse-cartoons”.

Watch ‘The Midnight Snack’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 2
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Puss Gets the Boot
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Night Before Christmas

‘The Midnight Snack’ is available on the European DVD set ‘Tom and Jerry Collection’

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Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: September 21, 1951
Stars: Pluto, Milton
Rating: ★★★★½
Review:

Cold Turkey © Walt Disney‘Cold Turkey’ was the very last Pluto cartoon, although Pluto would return in Mickey Mouse’s last three cartoons (1952/1953).

The short couples Pluto to Milton, the zany cat who had been introduced in ‘Puss-Cafe‘ the previous year, only to star in three cartoons.

‘Cold Turkey’ opens with some live action footage on a television set featuring a wrestling match. Pluto and Milton sleep right through it, only to awake at an add for hot turkey. The pair first tries to get the turkey out of the television set, then try to find it in the kitchen. When they discover one in the fridge, the companionship turns into rivalry.

‘Cold Turkey’ is less funny than either ‘Puss-Cafe’ or ‘Plutopia‘, the other two cartoons featuring Milton, but it’s still an enjoyable short. The best part may be the pedal bin scene. It’s sad to see the Pluto series ending when its makers had finally made it into a funny one, with its last eleven cartoons being among the best of the entire series.

Watch ‘Cold Turkey’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto’s 43rd and last cartoon
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Plutopia

Director: Robert McKimson
Release Date:
 March 26, 1949
Stars:
 Daffy Duck, Porky Pig
Rating:
 ★★★★★
Review:

Daffy Duck Hunt © Warner BrothersWith ‘Daffy Duck Hunt’ Robert McKimson returned to the subject of Daffy’s very first cartoon, ‘Porky’s Duck Hunt’ (1937).

Like in the original cartoon Porky Pig is hunting ducks, and Daffy in particular, to no avail. He’s now accompanied by a dog (a typical McKimson design). To trick Daffy, the dog convinces Daffy that he will be tortured if he doesn’t retrieve a duck, so Daffy allows the Dog to take him to Porky. Porky takes Daffy back home and puts him into a particularly cold fridge. From now on almost all the action takes place around the fridge in a wonderfully loony cartoon (penned by Warren Foster) full of wild gags and zany animation.

‘Daffy Duck Hunt’ is one of those Warren Foster/Robert McKimson cartoons that celebrate Daffy’s looniness perfectly. Highlight is a gag in which Daffy jumps out of the fridge in a Santa suit making Porky and the dog believe it’s Christmas. This gag is a nice and equally hilarious variation on a classic gag from Freleng’s ‘The Wabbit Who Came to Supper’ from 1942, in which Bugs Bunny made Elmer believe it’s new year’s day.

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

This is Porky Pig cartoon no. 125
To the previous Porky Pig cartoon: Paying the Piper
To the next Porky Pig cartoon: Curtain Raizor

This is Daffy Duck cartoon No. 49
To the previous Daffy Duck cartoon: Holiday for Drumsticks
To the next Daffy Duck cartoon: Boobs in the Woods

‘Daffy Duck Hunt’ is available on the DVD-set ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume One’

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