Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Lonesome Mouse

Tom and Jerry talk in “The Lonesome Mouse” (1943), which has always bothered me. They’re not supposed to talk.

The concept driving the plot (Jerry getting Tom to agree to a fake fight in the house so the cat can ultimately move back in) could have been handled in pantomime after the narrator sets up Jerry’s thoughts. And if the woman of the house has kicked out Tom for good, why does she think the cat’s going to be able to get back in the house merely by screaming for him?

Well, instead of focusing on this, let’s look at some brushwork. Tom has a run cycle in some of the cartoons where all his legs are off the ground at the same time and at the same height. It’s in eight drawings on ones. One of the drawings has the legs merely as a blur of brush strokes.

The brush is used to a nice effect later in the cartoon when Tom is clobbered. He remains on twos, while the brush lines expand on ones. This is the second drawing.

Oh, and it’s an MGM cartoon, meaning Tom running past the camera in perspective.

Scott Bradley’s score (pts. 2, 8, 10) are copyright May 10, 1943. He mixes classical music with a jazz interlude, tunes in the MGM catalogue and ‘Ach Du Lieber Augustin’, the standard melody whenever there’s a Hitler gag. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera get the only credits, so the experts can weigh in if Ken Muse, Irv Spence, Jack Zander and Pete Burness animated this one. And I don’t have any idea who is talking for Tom and Jerry.


  1. The first screen grab is probably Muse but I need to see it in full motion. The second screen grab is definitely Pete Burness, and the last is Kenny Muse.

    Well, Mammy would've screamed for Tom since she has no-one else to help and I guess her panicking caused her to not realizing. Bill Hanna would've probably voiced T&J here. I never was too bothered with them talking and occasionally they'd have a line. Even Tom talks in 'Zoot Cat' which is a little weird on him. At least the shorts back then weren't harmful and I feel it had charm. Way better than say'Tom and Jerry the Movie' who not only speak but become friends which is just 100% f****d up!

  2. It's still early enough in the game here I kind of give TLM a bit of a pass on the characters speaking, sort of like the two early Pink Panthers Friz did where he experimented with giving the Panther a David Niven-ish voice.

    But I have less tolerance for H-B breaking the formula in the later cartoons like "Quiet Please" or "Mucho Mouse", where the series and its rules was by then were completely established (the former is still one of the better T&Js and obviously the Academy didn't care when they were handing out the Oscars, but the custard pie gag annoys me due to having Tom speak. On the other hand, at least Tom doesn't sound like Huckleberry Hound as he did in the other cartoon).

  3. I believe you've correctly called the credits, with the exception of George Gordon, who was also on this one. He animated Tom sinking into the pie, and Jerry's inner monologue.

  4. Thanks, Z. I wasn't certain if Gordon was in his own unit at this point.

  5. Steven: Tom and Jerry become temporary friends in "The Lonesome Mouse" as well. I don't think the problems with The Movie come from anything the title characters do, but from the fact that, after about half way through, they contribute virtually nothing to the story.