Thursday 2 February 2023

Buddies Thicker Than Water

When Gene Deitch was handed the task of creating new Tom and Jerry cartoons for MGM, he and his writers put the cat and mouse in different locales. For a time they were paired with a grumpy guy who reminded speculating cartoon fans of Clint Clobber from Deitch’s Terrytoons (he wasn’t Clobber, as Deitch had to inform them).

However, in Buddies Thicker Than Water (released in 1962), Tom’s owned by a young lady in an urban penthouse apartment.

Having come from UPA where design was practically everything, Deitch and his artists came up with exaggerations on ultra-current home interiors.

This is a lovely satire on 1962 home interiors. Who had a pole lamp like that? We did. Or that plant? We did. Or that clock or divider or plastic chair? We didn’t, but I knew people who did. (The chair was the same colour, too).

The uncredited background artist came up with a different background to use as a close-up. Actually, this is part of a long background that was panned left-to-right at one point in the cartoon.

A view from the other direction.

This kitchen is pretty basic and dull. But at least Deitch (or whomever handled this kind of thing) has it laid out at an angle.

Dig the modern art portrait of Tom.

More modern art. My guess is a blue filter was placed over the camera.

The cartoon starts with some exteriors; I presume the setting is supposed to be Manhattan. The snow is on a couple of cycles. The penthouse has a jazzy human statue next to the tree and a crazy TV antenna on top.

Animation? Soundtrack? Well, let’s forget those for now and say the backgrounds in this short may be the most attractive thing about it.


  1. My family also had a pole lamp like that. When I was in high school I cut the poles into segments and made a set of wind chimes out of them. A pole lamp of the same design is part of the decor at Boppy Barrin's Voice Studio in "Yogi's Birthday Party", also from 1962.

  2. A similar pole lamp can be seen in Tim O'Hara's apartment in the first season of "My Favorite Martian".

  3. One of the few Gene Deitch "Tom & Jerry" cartoons done right! Tom gets his comeuppance at the end for getting rid of Jerry and taking over the apartment. Jerry pretending to be a ghost to frighten him. Also Tom and Jerry drunk and laughing uncontrollably in the apartment. 🤣