The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit

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The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit
Cartoon kit.jpg
The title card of The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit.
Directed byGene Deitch
Animation direction:
Václav Bedrich
Produced byWilliam L. Snyder
Story byChris Jenkyns
StarringAllen Swift
Music bySteven Konichek
Animation byJindra Barta
Antonín Bures
Mirek Kacena
Milan Klikar
Vera Kudrnová
Vera Maresová
Olga Sisková
Zdenka Skrípková
Zdenek Smetana
(all uncredited)
Checking:
Ludmila Kopecná (uncredited)
Backgrounds byBackground paint:
Bohumil Siska (uncredited)
Assistant background paint:
Miluse Hluchanicová (uncredited)
Color processMetrocolor[1]
Production
company
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer[1]
Release date
August 10, 1962
Running time
6:39
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit is a Tom and Jerry animated short film, produced and released on August 10, 1962. It was the ninth of the thirteen cartoons in a series of thirteen to be directed by Gene Deitch and produced by William L. Snyder in Czechoslovakia.[2]

The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit is a sarcastic attack on the series as a whole and its formulaic approach, which the short mocks as excessively violent and designed solely for profit.[3] Deitch had strongly divergent views on animation compared to Tom and Jerry's creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, that he has openly expressed throughout his lifetime.[4]

Plot[edit]

The cartoon begins with a demonstration for the Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit, with which "anyone can now enter the lucrative field of animated cartoons." The items in the kit include the following:

  • "One mean, stupid cat" (Tom)
  • "One sweet (innocent), lovable mouse" (Jerry)
  • "Assorted deadly weapons" (a knife, a hammer, and a stick of dynamite)
  • Coffee and cigarettes (removed from the kit and described as being "for the health of cartoonists")
  • A slice of watermelon

The narrator says, "First, put the sweet, lovable mouse into a simple situation expressing a natural human need, such as eating a slice of watermelon contained in our kit. The result may not make sense, but it will last long enough for you to be comfortably seated before the feature begins." This statement refers to the original theatrical exhibition of the cartoon, in which it ran ahead of a feature film.

At first, Jerry eats the watermelon and spits the seeds out, hitting and waking Tom, who initially grabs the hammer to attempt to hit Jerry but instead flicks him in the back of his head. Jerry swallows the seeds by accident, causing him to turn green for a moment and then make sounds like a shaker when he moves, and goes into a lively dance until Tom traps him in a metal can. Tom uses Jerry as a maraca for his own dance; when the effect suddenly stops, Tom peeks inside only to get a mouthful of seeds spat into his face. He gets very mad and devours the rest of the watermelon and turns his head into a cannon to fire blasts of seeds at Jerry, who takes cover in the kit box just before Tom hits it, blowing up the stick of dynamite and destroying the box.

Jerry winds up lying beneath a book named Judo for Mice, studies it, and emerges with enough fighting skill to easily overpower Tom. Even a stint of training at a boxing gym and use of the knife do not give Tom any advantage against Jerry. Finally Tom goes to a judo school in order to face him again. The two have a breaking contest, in which each tries to outdo the other: Jerry with a wooden board, Tom with a brick, then Jerry again with a cement block. The contest ends abruptly when Tom tries to break a huge block of heavy marble, which crashes through the floor and takes him with it.

An unconscious Tom ends up in the battered box. Jerry replaces the lid as the narrator pipes up, "Our next film will be for the kiddies, and will demonstrate a new poison gas. Thank you and good night." The words on the lid say "The End, an MGM cartoon" like an ending typical of a Deitch Tom and Jerry short. The music winds to stop as if it was being played on a slowing phonograph record, and Jerry bows to the audience in typical Japanese fashion, as the gong is sounded, making the screen fade to black.

Reception[edit]

  • While the Deitch shorts were generally negatively-received by Tom and Jerry fans,[5] this particular short is often considered one of the best of the thirteen cartoons, due to its inventive plotline and satirical nature.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Copyright Office (1963). "Works of Art". Catalog of Copyright Entries. Third Series. 17. United States Government Publishing Office. p. 47. Retrieved May 17, 2016 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Beck, Jerry (February 6, 2015). "Warner Bros. Home Entertainment To Release 'Tom & Jerry: The Gene Deitch Collection' DVD on June 2nd". Animation Scoop. Indiewire. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  3. ^ Deitch, Gene (2001). "Tom & Jerry: The First Reincarnation". How To Succeed in Animation. Animation World Network. Archived from the original on September 14, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2009.
  4. ^ Gene Deitch (2001). "How to Succeed in Animation: Chapter 28: A Tangled Web". Animation World Network. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  5. ^ Nessel, Jen (August 9, 1998). "Made In Prague, Bound for the U.S." The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved May 17, 2016. 'All the experts say they're the worst of the 'Tom and Jerry's,' Mr. Deitch readily admitted.
  6. ^ Cartoons Considered For An Academy Award-1961-Cartoon Research

External links[edit]