The Hanna-Barbera-created Oscar-winning cat-and-mouse team of Tom & Jerry returned to TV in an hour-long stretch of new adventures. Here, T&J, after years of rivalry, have become the best ... See full summary »
The Hanna-Barbera-created Oscar-winning cat-and-mouse team of Tom & Jerry returned to TV in an hour-long stretch of new adventures. Here, T&J, after years of rivalry, have become the best of friends (and Jerry dons a red bow tie, so the animators would be able to "fragment" his movements), in episodes wherein they roamed the world competing in sports, enduring on-the-job misadventures, running afoul of dastardly villains, solving mysteries and helping others. In the first season, three 7-minute New Tom & Jerry segments alternated with two 10-minute ones concerning a 40-foot purple ape, Grape Ape (voiced by Bob Holt) and his fast-talking beagle buddy, a carnival hustler answering to the unlikely moniker of Beegle Beagle (voiced by Marty Ingels), or "Beegley Beagley," as G.A. would lovingly refer to him. The second season ushered in 16 6-minute segments of The Mumbly Cartoon Show, a new Hanna-Barbera comedy/mystery concerning a snickering plainclothes man detective hound named Lt. ... Written by
Aaron Handy III <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Old and beloved characters fitted with new personalities, based upon a sad under-estimation on children
Tom & Jerry went through their heyday in the years 1940-58, when Hanna-Barbara produced well over a hundred hilarious episodes starring the unfortunate cat and the smart mouse for movie-theaters. The shorts were violent and included large portions of sadistic actions; however, no animation-historian is required to confirm that this apparently simple madness was the product of pure genius. I've recently been re-watching several episodes at a club for youths where I work, not having seen them for years, and realize that the older I grow, the more impressed I get by the technical aspects of Tom & Jerry; also, and perhaps even more significantly, I laugh even louder of the episodes now than I did as a child. The team was, in my opinion, without a doubt the most brilliant and funniest characters, put in the cleverest circumstances, ever produced in the history of animation.
Sadly, as with Looney Tunes, Popeye, and most of the Disney-characters, attempts to recreate the success of Tom & Jerry have been more kind to the producers' pocket-books than to the artistic value of the final products. In the years 1960-62, MGM produced a new series of Tom & Jerry-shorts, this time directed by William Snyder; while these episodes include a surrealistic quality which makes them enjoyable, they lack the charm and inventiveness of the original episodes; the same happened when Chuck Jones produced his version of the team during 1963-67.
When this series, THE NEW TOM & JERRY SHOW, was first aired in 1975 (being the first Tom & Jerry-episodes produced exclusively for Television), things had changed on the market. Similar to several other classic cartoons, Tom & Jerry were by now considered politically incorrect and a possible threat to the minds of younger generations. There was no way around; when Tom & Jerry were paired together again, the two previous enemies had somehow out-won their demons and become friends, traveling around the world as adventurers. The rivalry was gone; and so was the laughter. With no conflicts involved, the nature of cat and mouse vanishes; so does the nature of all rivals, and so does the nature of Tom & Jerry.
I am astonished to see how the heads of ABC could possibly under-estimate the minds of children to such an extent that they decided to abandon the magic of Tom & Jerry. Everybody understands that the world of Tom & Jerry is pure fantasy, and that's exactly why we laugh of their violence and sadism. The older generations tend to believe that younger generations interpret fantasy as reality as soon as they laugh, but that is hardly valid evidence; I believe that the laughter proves the opposite. We laugh of Tom & Jerry because we know that what they do won't happen to us or any other real person; we are permitted to laugh because what we laugh at is a mere fantasy-world.
THE NEW TOM & JERRY SHOW ran for only two seasons, and is seldom (if ever) broad-casted today. I happened to buy a collection of the show on DVD a few years back, supposing I would get some of the classics for the bucks, which I, needless to say, didn't. Happily, producers of animation seem to have learned a bit of the mistake, and a new series of Tom & Jerry-shorts were produced a couple of years ago, based upon the old formula. They lack the charm and inventiveness of the classic series, but are nevertheless a far more flattering tribute to the wonderful team than this childish mess.
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