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|Tom and Jerry series|
Re-release title card of Solid Serenade.
|Produced by||Fred Quimby|
|Music by||Scott Bradley|
|Distributed by||Loew's Inc.|
|Preceded by||Trap Happy|
|Followed by||Cat Fishin'|
Solid Serenade is a 1946 one-reel animated cartoon and is the 26th Tom and Jerry short, produced in Technicolor and released to theatres on August 31, 1946 by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer. It was produced by Fred Quimby, directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, and the musical supervision was by Scott Bradley. Ed Barge, Michael Lah, and Kenneth Muse animated it; Pete Burness and Ray Patterson were uncredited animators. Excerpts of this cartoon are seen in three other Tom and Jerry shorts: Jerry's Diary, Smitten Kitten, and Smarty Cat, the latter instance with altered audio and an added scene of Tom whistling.
Near a house is a doghouse labeled "Killer" with a dog (Spike) in it. Tom pokes his head over the wall and spots a female cat (Toodles Galore) in the window. Tom brings along his string instrument (possibly a double bass or cello), then wakes up Spike and neutralizes him by whacking him in the head with a mallet and tying him up. Tom uses his instrument as a pogo stick to hop over to the window, stopping halfway to taunt Spike along the way.
Tom plays "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby"; the sound waves from the instrument shake Jerry's mousehole, bouncing Jerry off the bed, then under the table, and Jerry's head is hit by a vase that falls off the table when the mouse comes out the other side. Having had enough, the mouse gets his revenge by going into the kitchen and hurling a pie with an iron stuffed inside; the cat is angered, but continues with a few more bars. Seconds later, he is hit in the face again – this time with a pie covered in whipped cream. Spotting Jerry, Tom chases him through the house.
Both animals dive off an ironing board; with Jerry ahead of Tom, Jerry drains the kitchen sink he landed in, leaving Tom to crash into the crockery. Tom follows Jerry through the open window, but Jerry pulls the window stop out of the window. The window falls on Tom's neck, and Tom shrieks in pain. Jerry then runs out and unties Spike, and the dog lets out a loud bull roar, which starts a new chase. Spike swaps his small teeth for "heavy-duty" ones, blows off some pent-up steam, and goes after Tom.
Tom ducks as Spike's teeth come at him, which instead get lodged in a tree trunk. Tom then barely avoids getting his tail bitten and hides behind a wall, holding a brick up ready to attack. Spike sees the brick and investigates, but gets knocked on the head with it. With his ally eliminated, Jerry revives Spike by hitting him with a wooden plank. After slamming Spike, Spike leaps high in the air screaming in pain just as Jerry hands off the board to Tom, framing the cat.
Knowing he is in trouble, Tom tricks Spike into believing the board is a bone by playing "fetch". Spike obliges and fetches but realises he's been tricked. Tom and Spike then begin a back and forth chase with Toodles Galore watching on. Tom stops periodically to kiss the cat. Catching on to this habit, Spike substitutes himself on the third pass, and gets wooed in a Charles Boyer voice (his lines recycled from The Zoot Cat). Tom stops his speech abruptly when he sees the female cat and, realizing his mistake, drops Spike onto the floor. Tom hides from Spike's rampage until Jerry walks around the corner; he chases Jerry to Spike's house, which Jerry immediately hides in. Tom then sneaks into the doghouse with a murderous Dracula laugh while closing the door, indicating that something most foul is going to occur. A second later, the door opens and Spike pokes his head out, helps Jerry out of his house and laughs even more evilly as he withdraws inside to. The entire dog house thrashes about as Spike beats up Tom, who at one point quickly writes his will before being wrenched back in and beaten to within an inch of his life. At the end, Toodles Galore watches Spike strum Tom, who had replaced the strings on his instrument, while Jerry plays a quick riff on Tom's whiskers.
Animation historian Michael Barrier wrote that Tom's appearance stabilized by the time of Solid Serenade, giving him a more streamlined and less inconsistent look. Jerry, whose appearance was already economical, only become cuter, according to Barrier. Describing music director Scott Bradley's work, academic Daniel Ira Goldmark called Solid Serenade "an excellent overview of Bradley's techniques", as it uses both popular songs and an original score.