Friday, 21 July 2017

Jackpot Tom

There’s only so much you can do with characters before you start running out of ideas. And that’s what happened with Tom and Jerry at MGM. There are only so many ways a cat can chase a mouse. So Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera started adding secondary and tertiary animal characters (and, even worse, humans toward the end of the series). But you could start to see the gags coming. You’d seen them before.

In Jerry and the Lion (1950), there’s Tom blocking a door to stop Jerry from getting through. But there’s a little door inset into the door. You know Jerry’s going to run through it. So where’s the gag? Jerry doesn’t even stop and do some amusing bit of personality business, he just runs through it and, uh, okay.

Same with a later gag. Just look at the first frame below.

Now, you and I and the rest of the world know the lion is going to sock Tom. Ho hum. We’ve seen it before.

The best part of the gag is something that, again, is telegraphed. Tom slams through a chimney, which turns into a one-armed bandit. You pretty well can guess what’ll transpire.

Right. Tom tumbles out like a jackpot, and then bricks land on him like a secondary jackpot.

Ken Muse, Ed Barge, Ray Patterson and Irv Spence are the animators in this cartoon.


  1. This is Irv's scene, Yowp.

    1. Thanks, Mark.
      In some of the MGM cartoons around this time the action kind of goes along and then some really outrageous action or take will happen. I usually figure those are Spence scenes because I can't picture the other animators doing that kind of thing.