Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Yankee Doodle Mouse

A Happy Fourth of July to our American readers today.

The flag-from-fireworks is from “Yankee Doodle Mouse,” a 1943 Tom and Jerry cartoon. It’s an odd exercise in patriotism in that Jerry is obviously a stand-in for the American soldier in World War Two. Tom’s a symbol for the enemy, even though he’s not really a stand-in for the Nazis or Japanese (the only stereotype he becomes is a minstrel show type).

The animation credits on the re-issue version in circulation go to Irv Spence, George Gordon, Ken Muse and Pete Burness. Thad Komorowski’s blog points out Jack Zander worked on it as well, and the re-issue is missing an entire scene on ration stamps. The experts can tell you if Spence animates the opening scene where Tom gets clobbered by a tomato and eggs (aka “hen grenades”).

There’s an admirable piece of animation of the type MGM loved showing off. Tom’s floating in a barrel. Jerry sinks him with a brick. There’s a huge cascade of water that rises up on impact and then washes back down. Whether Al Grandmain did this in the effects department, I don’t know, but it involves some pretty elaborate drawing.

The short was the first of seven Tom and and Jerrys to win the Oscar, handed to producer Fred Quimby for sitting behind a desk in his office.

1 comment:

  1. Probably Bob Bemiller worked on effects in Hanna-Barbera at that time - we also can see him on that 1945 photo of the unit.