Friday, 30 October 2020

Pop Goes the Cat

You’d think the natural reaction would be to run when you get into trouble. But not Tom in High Steaks. Twice he’s just sat there chewing his nails and then lets out a big grin.

Mind you, if Tom ran away, there wouldn’t be much of a conflict in the plot unless something impedes him.

Director Gene Deitch or his animators doted on spikey coloured rings for impact in these Czech-made Tom and Jerrys. The rings litter this cartoon. One example:

Tom’s anger-challenged owner (voiced by the fine Allen Swift) forces cola (aka “kola”) into Tom.

Unmatched shot. These are consecutive frames.

The camera work is really odd here. The camera slowly trucks back, which makes perfect sense. But then the camera suddenly goes back to the position it started and begins to truck back again. The scene is 12 frames before the cut and looks really jerky because of this.

More impact rings. Actually, the second one isn’t. The body merely stretches up (it doesn’t snap) but we get the jagged ring anyway.

To add to the strangeness, the score is full of reverbed jazz that changes time signatures, though parts fit the action nicely (such as the idling car at the end of the cartoon). And fans of the Tod Dockstader “Boinng-nng!” will not be disappointed.

This was the fourth of the 13 Tom and Jerrys produced for MGM by William Snyder. Vaclav Bedrich gets an “animation direction credit.”


  1. Dietch's disdain for the chase-and-violence style of Tom & Jerry, which he freely admitted on his blog, never comes out stronger than in the cartoons he did with his pseudo-Clint Clobber character, though "High Steaks" wasn't anywhere near as bad as "Down and Outing", where the goal truly seems to be to cause the audience as much pain as Tom for the next six minutes.

  2. The cartoon's opening shot high above the property is great -- we see the props and settings that follow, including the badminton court, barbecue and swimming pool (nice touch with the shimmer).