Friday 26 December 2014

How to Make a Cartoon

Gene Deitch Tom and Jerrys? Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.

Even those who think they’re wretched blights on film can’t dislike the opening of “The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit” (1962). Chris Jenkyns, who had worked on “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” came up with the facetious dialogue intoned by Allen Swift:
Anyone can now enter the lucrative field of animated cartoons with the new Tom and Jerry cartoon kit. This kit contains everything needed for quiet, sophisticated humor. One mean, stupid cat. One sweet loveable mouse. And assorted deadly weapons.

And the numerals appear on the screen as each is numbered.

What about the other things in the kit? The best line in the short. Swift treats it as an aside.
The coffee and cigarettes are for the cartoonist.
And they float away out of the picture.

I suspect, in real life, the cartoonist had something a little stronger than coffee.


  1. As far as we know, that coffee could have been Irished up.

  2. 12/31/14 Wrote:
    One of Gene Deitch's better than average cartoons out of thirteen mediocre-to-fair attempts atom & Jerry. Of the instructed ingredients as follows:
    1) One mean, stupid cat.
    2) One sweet, loveable mouse (oh, really?)
    3)Assorted deadly weapons , such as a watermelon that somehow doesn't rot from expiration after being in a box for two days.
    4) A judo book for dummies (complete with the mean stupid cat and the sweet loveable mouse saying Ahhhhh-Chhuuuuccckkk!)
    5) The patience of MGM's suits growing thin, wondering if they made a mistake about letting Bill & Joe out of their contracts after turning down their requests to make cartoons for a lower budget.
    6) The coffee & cigarettes for Gene Deitch & William Snyder(what kind of hard liquor do they have in Czechlovakia?)
    7) The exit of Geno & Bill after their thirteen cartoon quota runs out in 1962,to be replaced by Chuck Jones & Sib-Tower 12 Productions a few months later.
    8)The low budget paid for the music that still sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom.
    Result: Gene Deitch's cartoons for MGM may have not been the greatest, but they still are quite interesting after decades of reruns on syndication and cable TV.

    1. Rob, I suspect in 1961 they had plenty of Russian vodka.