Friday 28 August 2015

Say, Something IS Burning Around Here

Even when there’s dialogue, the pictures tells the story in a Tom and Jerry cartoon. This is from “The Zoot Cat.” Tom stops his flame/fire/buring love analogies to remark “Say! Something is burning around here.

One of the treats of these early Tom and Jerrys is Jerry’s expressions. Sometimes they were pretty subtle.

Ray Patterson, Ken Muse, Irv Spence and Pete Burness got screen credits. Tom’s line is uttered by Jerry Mann. Sara Berner’s also in this cartoon, and I can’t tell who is doing the faux Boyer voice Tom uses.
Metro has 16 one-reel cartoons, which comprise entire program for 1943-44, and four additional pen-and-inkers from current slate's re-leases now In works at studio, under supervision of Fred Quimby.
Eight will have Tom and Jerry characters as stars. These include 'Zoot Cat,' 'Million Dollar Cat,' Baby Puss,' Bodyguard,' 'Puttin’ on the Dog,' 'Kitty Foiled,' Mouse Comes to Dinner' and 'Tee for Two.'
New cartoon star, Squirrely Squirrel [sic], will star in seven shorts, 'Screwball Baseball,' 'Nuts in May,' 'Little Heel-watha,’ The Shooting of Dan McGoo,' 'Screwy Truant,' 'House of Tomorrow' and 'Screwball Squirrel.'
Remainder include 'Worst Aid,' 'Strange Innertube,' Bear Raid Warden,' 'Bedtime for Barney' and 'Some Skunk.'
And Variety then announced on February 3, 1944:
'Zoot' Opens New Year
"The Zoot Cat" has been set as Metro's initial cartoon release for 1944, hitting the theatres Feb. 26. Short is first of six in new Tom and Jerry series.


  1. As good as the mid-40s T&Js are, it always seemed like Bill & Joe were cheating a little bit whenever they had Tom or Jerry talk in the cartoons (ditto the Coyote in Chuck Jones' "Adventures of the Road Runner" feature -- Wile E. could talk around Bugs, but not in the same scene with the bird. It just seemed like a short-cutting of the series' ground rules, based on the idea if he/they could talk here, why not talk in every cartoon?).

    Tom talking with Daws' future Huckleberry Hound voice in "Mucho Mouse" still wins the award for most incongruous use of a voice for T&J in the series.

    1. When Tom speaks in the other cartoons of the '40s, they gave him kind of a slow-witted voice. When he snaps out of his Charles Boyer voice into his "normal" voice for the line "something is burning around here!" ... it ain't his normal voice!

  2. That's my favourite Tom & Jerry cartoon! I've watched it like 5 or 6 times ^▽^ I like when he makes it look bigger with coat hanger in the back of it and the suit gets made from the hammock? I think.. Anyway I really like this one. I think it inspired other stuff like The Mask (1995) with Jim Carrey which is very reminiscent of the dance scene in this cartoon.


  3. Jerry Mann, of course, later provided voices for the first season of "THE FLINTSTONES" [Joe Barbera used his "Phil Silvers" and "Ed Wynn" impressions the most]....then "vanished" from the "stock company". I still don't know why...............

  4. Mann did an awful lot of stage touring. He was in road editions of "The Odd Couple," "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and, of course, "Oklahoma." He even did "The Bells Are Ringing" with Betty White and Allen Ludden. I presume that's the reason he wasn't used more often. Much like I presume Red Coffey didn't get the Yakky Doodle role because he was on the road.