Thursday, December 25, 2008

Cartoon a Day: Texas Tom

Texas Tom
Directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
Available on: Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection

Merry Christmas everybody! There were some cartoon collections under the tree for me this year, so tonight we get to sample a cartoon from some characters we have yet to look at for a "Cartoon a Day" feature, Tom and Jerry.

Tom and Jerry seem to be under appreciated at times. Perhaps it's that in the last 20 years we've been exposed to an extreme parody of theme in the form of the Simpson family's favorite cat and mouse team, Itchy and Scratchy. That particular duo gets downright gruesome, but that's not to say that they don't take some cues from MGM's cat and mouse team. Tom and Jerry are pretty violent. Other classic characters are too, but I think with Tom and Jerry it all seems much more painful. I mean, these characters actually seem to be in pain when Tom kicks Jerry with a spur, or when Jerry slams Tom in the face with a cactus, as happens in this short.

I've certainly been guilty of downplaying the significance of these shorts, but shame on me. Violent as it is, this is great animation. In this short I especially noticed what a well designed character Tom is. He has a great range of movement and reactions. When he pretends to be a swaggering cowboy singer in this short the animators show great range.

I guess these characters are kind of like the Three Stooges of animation. You wince a bit when you watch them, but sure are funny.

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