Tuesday, 6 December 2022

How'd He Do That?

After 28 years on the screen, Jerry Mouse suddenly develops, in the mind of Chuck Jones, a malicious sleepwalking habit in Jerry, Jerry, Quite Contrary (1966).

I realise Tex Avery once said “anything can happen in a cartoon,” but I still wonder something after watching this T & J short. There’s a pan up, first of a ladder, then of a roof.

The shot cuts further up the roof. These are consecutive frames. It means Phil DeGuard didn’t have to paint one long background, he had two shorter ones.

Higher and higher we go.

Okay. How did Jerry get all the way up there? And how did he get an anvil up there? Did he call Mighty Mouse?

Jones wrote the story for this one, and he telegraphs the climax gag, at least for anyone reasonably familiar with cartoons. Jerry wraps a cord or cable or string or something around table legs, bannisters, through keyholes, etc. We already know what’s going to happen. Tom’s going to get pulled through all those things. We’ve seen it before.

When Jones had Mike Maltese writing for him, and coming up with gags for the Roadrunner cartoons, the audience knew something was going to happen to the coyote—but not exactly what. The gag was usually a surprise. Remember this when you read about how great “Chuck Jones” cartoons were. Give some credit to Mike Maltese.

For some reason, Jones needed six animators to make this cartoon.

Also for some reason, the late Earl Kress acquired a cue sheet for this short. It’s interesting because it gives the official name of the opening music for the Tom and Jerry series (Love That Pup was a 1949 MGM short). And you can see the names Dean Elliott gave to his cues in various parts of the cartoon. All things considered, it’s not a bad little score.


  1. Hans Christian Brando6 December 2022 at 17:50

    Never underestimate the power of pent-up hostility. At least Jerry had an outlet for it.

  2. And let's not forget Dean Elliott's jazzy theme music, either.