Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Heavenly Puss Backgrounds

“Heavenly Puss” (July 1949) has some fine acting by Tom and the bulldog (even a Wile E. Coyote-like wave at the camera before Tom drops into Hell) but just as enjoyable are the backgrounds, greatly assisted by MGM’s contract with Technicolor.

Here’s an interior. Notice the wall is curved.

Who did the backgrounds? And from whose layouts? MGM never tells us in the credits. Dick Bickenbach was doing at least some of the layouts for the Tom and Jerry unit and Bob Gentle some of the backgrounds. But who knows who else was at the studio then.


  1. This short is one of my favorites. Between the backgrounds, story and acting by the characters, it is an oddly ambitious film for a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Wonder if they were pulling out all the stops to try to get the short noticed by the Academy Awards people?

  2. For all the more direct sentimentality Bill and Joe tried to put into many of their later T&J efforts (including a certain duck who became ubiquitous in the 1950s), I think the best example of them succeeding was the drowned kittens crawling out of the bag in "Heavenly Puss". Got a big 'awww' reaction the time I saw it in a theater, and it ads greatly to the set-up where the gatekeeper tells Tom he's headed to the other place without that certificate of forgiveness.

  3. Can you picture the kitten scene in a Van Beuren or Terrytoon cartoon when Barbera worked there? (Though, I suppose if Barbera wrote one, Carlo Vinci might have pulled it off).
    Ising's ghost hung around MGM for awhile.