|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2008)|
|Tom and Jerry series|
|Directed by||William Hanna
|Produced by||William Hanna
|Story by||Homer Brightman|
|Voices by||Julie Bennett
|Music by||Scott Bradley|
|Animation by||Lewis Marshall
|Layouts by||Richard Bickenbach|
|Backgrounds by||Robert Gentle|
|Release date(s)||August 1, 1958|
|Preceded by||Robin Hoodwinked|
|Followed by||Switchin' Kitten|
Tot Watchers is a 1958 one-reel animated Tom and Jerry short, produced and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera with music by Scott Bradley. The short was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on August 1, 1958. It is the last Tom and Jerry theatrical cartoon produced or directed by Hanna and Barbera during the Golden Age of Hollywood animation.
Tot Watchers was animated by Lewis Marshall, James Escalante and Kenneth Muse, with backgrounds by Robert Gentle and layouts by Richard Bickenbach. The story was written by Homer Brightman. This cartoon marks the second and final appearance of the supporting characters from the 1956 short Busy Buddies: Jeannie the babysitter, a baby, and the baby's parents, George and Joan.
While this cartoon was still in production, Hanna and Barbera were told that MGM were shutting down the MGM cartoon studio, after the studio bosses realized that re-releases of older cartoons brought in as much money as the new cartoons did. Hanna and Barbera found themselves out of a job, but quickly picked themselves back up by setting up Hanna-Barbera Productions and creating cartoons made for television as opposed to the cinema and animated series based on Hasbro properties (including Tonka). This began Hanna Barbera's work in limited animation in order to mass-produce these cartoons for television on a significantly lower budget.
MGM later decided that Tom and Jerry were a viable property after all, and in 1960, decided to continue production of new Tom and Jerry cartoons with director Gene Deitch of Rembrandt Films. This short would be the last Tom and Jerry theatrical cartoon produced by William Hanna throughout his life. This cartoon also marks the final appearance of Spike during the Golden Age of Hollywood animation. It is also the last Tom and Jerry cartoon with Scott Bradley as the music composer.
Babysitter Jeannie (voiced by Janet Waldo) is instructed to look after the baby while his mother goes out. However, Jeannie pays more attention to the telephone than her actual babysitting. In the midst of Tom and Jerry's usual fighting, they see the baby crawling out of its pram. Any attempt to return the baby to where it came from simply results in the baby escaping from the pram again. During one escape, the baby crawls into Spike's dog house. Tom accidentally grabs Spike instead of the baby, and is promptly attacked, scratched and bit. This time, Tom angrily brings the baby back to Jeannie herself, who hits Tom over the head with a broom, thinking that Tom has taken the baby away from her.
Realising that the baby is no longer worth the trouble, Tom does nothing the next time that it crawls from its pram. However, he and Jerry are forced to react after the baby crawls down to the street and into a construction site. The baby crawls from one steel beam to another while the cat and mouse look on. Jerry manages to catch up, and saves the baby from crawling off a wooden plank by grabbing his diaper. The diaper comes loose, and the baby falls, but he is then caught by Tom. Tom attempts to put the baby's diaper back on, but in the impending confusion, ends up putting the diaper on himself while the baby crawls off, nonchalantly.
Tom and Jerry catch up with the baby, only to lose it again, and fearing that it has crawled into a cement mixer, the cat and mouse dive straight in, only to find that the baby never did enter the mixer but instead playing with a hammer. The baby then playfully bonks Tom on the head.
Later on, Jeannie is in panic, crying, telling a police officer that she was babysitting, took her eye off the baby for "one teensy minute", and the baby was gone. A tired Tom and Jerry arrive with the baby. Jeannie grabs the baby while the two try to escape, but the policeman (voiced by Bill Thompson) arrests Tom and Jerry, assuming they were "baby nappers". In the police car, the police officer cannot believe Tom and Jerry's explanation. Just then, to their surprise, the baby crawls past the police car and into the distance.