Cue Ball Cat

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Cue Ball Cat
Cue Ball Cat Titles.JPG
Title card
Directed byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Produced byFred Quimby
Story byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Music byScott Bradley
Animation byKenneth Muse
Irven Spence
Ed Barge
Ray Patterson
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
November 25, 1950
November 30, 1956 (reissue)
Running time

"Cue Ball Cat" is a 1950 one-reel animated cartoon and is the 54th episode in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's original Tom and Jerry series. The short was directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, and produced by Fred Quimby. Its animators were Kenneth Muse, Irven Spence, Ed Barge, and Ray Patterson. Scott Bradley composed its music.


Tom is playing pool in a billiard hall, pocketing (potting) two object balls by physically moving the table and a side pocket (cheating). Tom then wakes up Jerry (asleep inside the table, under a pocket opening) by pocketing the 10 ball, which rolls Jerry to the ball-return before the 10 and 13 balls squash Jerry between them. Jerry walks up through the pocket, but spots Tom perched behind it.

Jerry tries to jump into another corner pocket, but Tom hits a cue ball at Jerry with so much force that it rolls and spins backwards to Tom; Jerry slides up Tom's cue stick before Tom blows him down. Tom then shoots a stream of balls to flatten Jerry before the balls rebound back towards Tom with Jerry on them and stack up at the end of the table. Tom hits the balls in succession with his cue; Jerry hangs onto the cue tip, but Tom rubs chalk on Jerry and shoots him at the 8 ball.

Jerry becomes "half knocked-out" and is upended by the 8 ball, which rolls in circles. Tom forces Jerry to jump through a ball rack, even setting it on fire, before discarding the flaming rack and shooting the 8 ball across the table, which rebounds and hits Jerry, giving the mouse the "8" mark printed on his rear end, like a tattoo. Enraged, Jerry flings Tom's cue stick into his face.

Tom throws the 8 ball at Jerry, but Jerry ducks, and the ball bounces back into Tom's face. Tom then throws the 8 and 6 balls, but Jerry uses his cue stick like a baseball bat to hit them back into Tom's eyes, knocking Tom down ("86-ing" him). Tom puts on a baseball glove and throws the 10 ball like a baseball pitcher, which is returned with such force that it punches a hole through Tom's glove. Tom then pitches the 1 ball, and Jerry breaks his cue/bat returning it. Tom, dashing through the pool hall to catch it, stretches backwards and barely catches the ball, but due to its momentum and the cat's unbalanced posture, Tom is pulled into a soft drink dispensing machine and spat out in the shape of a drink bottle.

Jerry then dives into a corner pocket. Tom gropes through the pocket to find Jerry, but grabs his own tail, pulling himself through the pockets. Tom then sticks a hose down the holes, sweeping Jerry up, and swings a mechanical bridge (rest) to hit Jerry, but Jerry, latching onto the end, climbs up onto a scoring wire and steals the bridge. Jerry uses the bridge as a tightrope walking balance stick, but Tom throws two cues, like spears, at Jerry. The first hits the wire dead centre and splits in two (with circular saw sound effects), but the second scrapes Jerry's private to an alarming red friction burn. Angry, Jerry then shoots the mechanical bridge into Tom's mouth, using the wire like a bow string.

Jerry then runs away as Tom shoots a stream of balls at him, which chase Jerry in and out of various pockets on their own accord, until Jerry jumps on Tom and opens his mouth, causing Tom to swallow all seven balls. Jerry then flees into a corner pocket, and Tom pokes his cue through it, but Jerry attaches a hatpin to the tip of the cue as it curves out another pocket and back toward the unsuspecting Tom. Tom thrusts the cue into the pocket hard, and the pin strikes his backside, causing Tom to rise yelling in pain and then fall into the corner pocket, with his head sticking out. Jerry then tidies the rack, with all fifteen balls inside it, and hits them all. The balls all fall into holes – a trick shot – except for the 1 ball, rolling toward the trapped Tom; the mouse whacks Tom's head with the cue such that Tom screams and ends up swallowing the ball, as the cartoon ends.


A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production, "Cue Ball Cat" was written and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, with Fred Quimby as producer. It was animated by Kenneth Muse, Irven Spence, Ed Barge, and Ray Patterson, with backgrounds by Robert Gentle and layout by Dick Bickenbach. Scott Bradley composed the music. The short, a bit under 7 minutes long, was originally produced in Technicolor with monaural sound; the 1956 re-release used a different audio and color process, Perspecta, with stereophonic sound.

Thematically, the cartoon is similar to the rest of the series, involving many physically impossible sight gags, and no dialogue other than indistinct vocalization of pain and surprise. The particular gag of Jerry being chased by balls with a temporary mind of their own was previously used in the episodes "The Bowling Alley Cat" and "Tee for Two". "Cue Ball Cat" was the fifth and last in the series to focus on a particular sport.

In later popular culture

A clip of this cartoon can be seen on the film Night of the Lepus (1972).



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