Monday 5 September 2022

Today's Lesson: Bashing the Cat

You know the old “I’ll chase him and you clobber him with this” gag. Usually, it means the guy doing the chasing gets clobbered instead.

Joe Barbera (or his unacknowledged gagman) switches it in Professor Tom (1948). The gag here is the kitten Tom is instructing just stands there as the chase goes round and round.

Tom stops and gives the kitten a disgusted look. Jerry stops, too. Tom gives instructions to the kitten.

The twist to the gag: the kitten thinks for a moment, and then gives the vase to Jerry.

The whole blackboard/classroom idea that starts the cartoon was used again by Barbera and writer Charlie Shows in 1958 in the Pixie and Dixie cartoon Jinks, Junior. The lineage of the kitten in this short is unclear.

The cartoon features Bill Hanna shouting “Noooooo!” and a nice little piece at the end animated by Ken Muse where Jerry and the kitten stroll off together toward one of Bob Gentle’s watercolour backgrounds as Scott Bradley conducts the MGM orchestra in “We’re Off to See the Wizard.”

Ray Patterson, Ed Barge and Irv Spence are also on the animation credits.

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