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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), which is one of the best Tom & Jerry’s by Chuck Jones’s unit.

‘Saturday Evening Puss’ is noteworthy for being the only cartoon in which Mammy’s face can be seen, if only for a split-second when she rushes towards the camera. Unfortunately, this cartoon also exists in a censored version from the 1960s featuring a white girl instead of the familiar black maid.

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.

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 an excerpt from ‘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

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: July 9, 1949
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

Heavenly Puss © MGMWhen, during a typical chase, Tom is crushed by a falling piano, he unexpectedly dies

His spirit goes up to heaven on a gigantic golden escalator. But he’s not allowed to go with the heavenly express, because of what he has done to Jerry. Nevertheless, he’s allowed one hour back on earth to persuade Jerry to sign a forgiveness certificate. If he doesn’t make it, it will be hell for him.

After loads of struggle and cheating Tom finally succeeds, but it is too late and Tom falls into hell. Fortunately it’s all a dream, and when he wakes up Tom rushes to Jerry’s home kissing and hugging the completely bewildered mouse.

‘Heavenly Puss’ is one of the all-time best Tom & Jerry cartoons. It draws completely on the two characters and their well-established love/hate-relationship. The silent acting is particularly superb and Tom’s feeble attempts to convince Jerry against a ticking deadline are both hilarious and chilling. His agony is heartfelt and his pantomimed pleas are moving.

‘Heavenly Puss’ may cover familiar grounds (comparable cartoons include Disney’s ‘Pluto’s Judgement Day‘ from 1935, and Paramount’s ‘A Self-Made Mongrel’ from 1945), it’s execution is both brilliant and original and a great example of both silent comedy and character animation.

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

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 42
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Hatch Up Your Troubles
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Cat and the Mermouse

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: May 14, 1949
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★
Review:

Hatch Up Your Troubles © MGMAn egg rolls into Jerry’s house where it hatches, revealing a tiny woodpecker.

The little woodpecker thinks Jerry is his mother and who destroys Jerry’s wooden household almost instantly. When Jerry sends the fledgling home, it encounters Tom and of course Jerry and the woodpecker team against him.

‘Hatch Up Your Troubles’ is one of those Jerry-teams-a-bird-cartoons that are more cute than that they are funny. It is only interesting for its experiments using oil in the backgrounds. It was re-shot in 1956 in Cinemascope as ‘The Egg and Jerry’, which used the same animation against new fifties style backgrounds.

Watch en excerpt from ‘Hatch up your Troubles’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 41
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Little Orphan
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Heavenly Puss

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: April 30, 1949
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Nibbles
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

The Little Orphan © MGM‘The Little Orphan’ can be summarized as ‘The Milky Waif’ (1946) at Thanksgiving.

Little Nibbles is sent over to Jerry as a Thanksgiving guest. They both patrol the dining table, dressed like pioneers, when Tom, dressed like an Indian, attacks them. He’s won over, however, and in the last shot they all share the dining table, but it is little Nibbles who eats the complete turkey, alone.

Apart from ‘The Milky Waif’, ‘The Little Orphan’ resembles ‘Yankee Doodle Mouse‘ (1943). Both feature a battle fought in a household setting. What makes ‘The Little Orphan’ so great is that Hanna and Barbera are able to play the complete pilgrims and Indians setting at a dinner table.

Watch an excerpt from ‘The Little Orphan’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 40
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Polka Dot Puss
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Hatch Up Your Troubles

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: February 26, 1949
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Mammy Two-Shoes
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Polka Dot Puss © MGMMammy orders Tom to go out, in the pouring rain, so Tom fakes a cold to be able to stay inside bullying Jerry.

But Jerry elaborates on the idea, drawing polka dots on Tom, making him think he’s really ill, so the mouse can put extreme treatments on the cat. When Tom finally discovers the truth, they both really get the measles.

‘Polka Dot Blues’ is a nice cartoon, albeit not among Tom & Jerry’s best. It contains some mild Tex Averyan takes, and a story line akin to the Donald Duck short ‘Donald’s Off Day’ (1944). Jerry’s ‘treatments’ form the highlight of the cartoon.

Watch an excerpt from ‘Polka Dot Puss’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 39
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Mouse Cleaning
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Little Orphan

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: December 11, 1948
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Mammy Two-Shoes
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Mouse Cleaning © MGMBy chasing Jerry into the house, Tom dirts the kitchen floor, which just has been painstakingly cleaned by Mammy.

She leaves shortly after, but not before warning him that if she’ll see one speck of dirt when she returns, she will throw him out. Jerry of course uses this threat to his advantage.

The plot of ‘Mouse Cleaning’ is very similar to that of ‘Puss Gets the Boot‘ (1940), Tom and Jerry’s very first cartoon, but the execution is much faster and funnier. Tom & Jerry had come a long way since, as is shown by a particularly Tex Averyan doubletake, in which Tom produces multiple eyes and a drops his jaw unto the floor in surprise.

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

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 38
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Professor Tom
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Polka Dot Puss

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: October 30, 1948
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Professor Tom © MGMIn ‘Professor Tom’ Tom is teaching a small kitten to chase mice.

Unfortunately for Tom, the unwilling kitten rather wants to befriend Jerry, and they both team up against the disappointed teacher. The result is a fast and funny cartoon with wonderful character animation and great silent acting.

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

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 37
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Old Rockin’ Chair Tom
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Mouse Cleaning

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: September 18, 1948
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Mammy Two-Shoes
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Old Rockin' Chair Tom © MGMWhen Tom fails to catch Jerry, Mammy calls for ‘Lightning’, a red and literally lightning-fast cat, who disposes of Jerry in no time.

This wonder-cat, however, doublecrosses Mammy by plundering the icebox and blaming it on Tom. So Tom is kicked out, too. But he and Jerry team up against the intruder in an equally unlikely as hilarious plot, which involves an iron and a magnet. A classic.

Watch ‘Old Rockin’ Chair Tom’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 36
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Truce Hurts
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Professor Tom

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: July 17, 1948
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Spike
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

The Truce Hurts © MGM‘The Truce Hurts’ starts with a chase involving Jerry, Tom and Spike (called Butch in this cartoon).

The chase ends in a triple fight, until Spike interrupts and they all sign a peace treaty. The treaty works until the three discover a giant steak dropped from a van. When they have to share it, their greediness and egotism win, and they start to fight again at the same spot and with the same tools as where they’d left them before.

‘The Truce Hurts’ is one of the most marvelous Tom and Jerry cartoons. Not only is the idea original, it has a perfect story that is wonderfully executed with great character animation of the three foes behaving like pals.

Watch an excerpt from ‘The Truce Hurts’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 35
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Kitty Foiled
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Old Rockin’ Chair Tom

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: June 1, 1948
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Kitty Foiled © MGMJerry teams with a canary to withstand Tom’s attempts to eat them both. Unfortunately, this first of several Jerry-and-a-bird-cartoons adds nothing to the elementary chase formula.

Jerry would team several birds after this one, the most famous being Little Quacker, a talkative little duck. These teamings would lead to very cute cartoons, but these are not Tom & Jerry’s funniest. At least ‘Kitty Foiled’ isn’t, despite a frantic pace (the first quiet scene only enters after 2:30!). It even would be one of the more forgettable Tom & Jerry cartoons, were it not for a marvellous scene in which Tom thinks he’s been shot.

Watch ‘Kitty Foiled’ yourself and tell me what you think:

https://vimeo.com/89586804

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 34
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Invisible Mouse
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Truce Hurts

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: September 27, 1947
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Spike
Rating: ★★
Review:

The Invisible Mouse © MGMDuring a chase Jerry accidentally falls into a bottle of invisible ink, rendering him invisible, too. In this condition he gives Tom a hard time.

The invisible mouse is wonderfully animated, especially in the scenes where Jerry’s presence is only suggested by forces on pillows and clothes. However, it suffers from an all too powerful Jerry. Tom doesn’t stand a chance against his invisible opponent, making him pitiful rather than a comical foe. The soundtrack, with its surprisingly low amount of sound effects, doesn’t help, but the main problem lies in the invisibility itself, for the Donald Duck short ‘The Vanishing Private‘ (1942), using the same idea, leads to an equally unfunny cartoon.

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

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 33
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: A Mouse in the House
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Kitty Foiled

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: August 30, 1947
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Mammy Two-Shoes ,Meathead
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

A Mouse in the House © MGMIn ‘A Mouse in the House’ Mammy has two cats: Tom and Meathead. Unfortunately, they are both lazy as hell.

She tells them whoever catches the mouse (Jerry) is allowed to stay. This premise leads to a wild chase, simply packed with wonderful gags. The cartoon builds up brilliantly to a grand finale in which not only both cats are expelled, but Jerry, too.

‘A Mouse in the House’ is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable Tom and Jerry cartoons. Hanna & Barbera must have thought so, too, because the premise of this cartoon was reused in ‘Pet Peeve’ (1954), featuring Spike instead of Meathead. However, the latter cartoon is no match for the perfect comedy of ‘A Mouse in the House’.

Watch ‘A Mouse in the House’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 32

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Salt Water Tabby
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Invisible Mouse

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: July 12, 1947
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Salt Water Tabby © MGMTom is at the beach, trying to impress a sexy white kitten.

He’s disturbed by Jerry, who appears from the kitten’s picnic basket, and by a green crab, which looks surprisingly similar to the crab in the Mickey Mouse cartoon ‘Hawaiian Holiday’ (1937).

‘Salt Water Tabby’ was the first Tom and Jerry cartoon to feature oil backgrounds, several years after Disney and Warner Brothers made that transition. Nevertheless, this experiment was not to be continued, leaving ‘Salt Water Tabby’ the only Tom and Jerry to feature oil backgrounds for years.

Watch ‘Salt Water Tabby’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 31
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: A Mouse in the House

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: June 14, 1947
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse © MGMThis cartoon starts with Tom’s attempts to prevent Jerry from lapping his milk.

In ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse’ Jerry has attained a Droopy-like ability to be everywhere, giving Tom a hard time. In order to defeat the omnipresent mouse, Tom mixes a poisonous drink. Unfortunately, it renders the mouse muscular and extremely strong.

Later, Jerry tries to mix the same drink to get strong again, but it’s Tom who drinks it. However, it makes him smaller and in the final shot watch see Jerry chasing a tiny Tom.

‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse’ covers similar grounds as the Mickey Mouse cartoon ‘The Worm Turns‘ (1937), but with better results. The highlight of the cartoon is the animation of the effects of Tom’s potion on Jerry. Especially the animation of a threatening, marching muscular Jerry is grandiose, and in this scene Scott Bradley’s outstanding music is particularly powerful.

Watch ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 30
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Part Time Pal
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Salt Water Tabby

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: March 15, 1947
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Mammy Two-Shoes
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Part Time Pal © MGMMammy threatens Tom he goes out if he doesn’t catch ‘that mouse’.

In the chase Tom accidentally gets drunk, which changes him into Jerry’s best pal and rebellious against Mammy. This can’t go well, and in the end we see Mammy chasing a hiccuping Tom in a moonlit landscape.

The animation of the drunken Tom is very well done and a delight to watch. However, somehow, ‘Part Time Pal’ also seems to be the most inspirational cartoon to the Czech studio Gene Deitch led for his Tom and Jerry cartoons (1961-1962), because Tom’s design in this cartoon is remarkably similar to those later, way more poorly animated cartoons.

Watch ‘Part Time Pal’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 28
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Cat Fishin’
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Cat Concerto

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: February 22, 1947
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Spike
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Cat Fishin' © MGMTom goes fishing in a no-fishing area, guarded by Spike. He uses Jerry as a live bait to catch an enormous pike.

The humor of this perfectly timed cartoon follows logically from the clever interplay between these four characters, it’s highlight being the sequence where Tom tries to land a big fish, which turns out to be Spike. The result is one of the most perfect Tom & Jerry cartoons ever.

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

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 27
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Solid Serenade
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Part Time Pal

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