I have to wonder if William Hanna and Joseph Barbera thought their creations would hold up for 70 years. When Tom and Jerry, a very uncommon house cat and mouse, burst onto movie screens in the 1940s and later onto television sets, they left a lasting impression that continues to this very day. Tom and Jerry's Greatest Chases, Volume 2 provides a glimpse into their endearing world and a even a couple of award-winning shorts.
Tom, a house cat, seems to have it in for Jerry, a mouse, trying to live in the same house. Their antics, both inside and outside of various homes, manage to cause both great swaths of destruction and peels of laughter at the same time. It's a gift Hanna and Barbera had for this duo. These cartoons are from the golden age of animated shorts, combining hand-drawn artistry, slapstick, and original music to form an amazing union of creative talents.
Tom and Jerry's Greatest Chases, Volume 2 includes fourteen shorts in all, including a number of my own favorites.
"Baby Puss" (1944) puts poor Tom in the clutches of little girl Nancy who is intent on dressing and treating him like a baby. When Jerry gets involved, he sees an opportunity to cause Tom some additional trouble by letting his cat friends Meathead, Butch, and Topsy know what's going on. They delight in torturing "baby" Tom until Nancy gets home and catches them in the act.
In "The Bodyguard" (1944), Jerry rescues Spike, a big bulldog, from the dog catcher. As a result, Spike offers to help Jerry out whenever he whistles. Of course, Tom gets the rough end of this deal and has a few run-ins with the dog while trying to catch Jerry. Of course, Tom eventually devises a cunning plan to stop Jerry from whistling and the cat and mouse chase continues.
In "The Invisible Mouse" (1947), Jerry stumbles into an inkwell of invisible ink and finds ways to use it to torment poor Tom. Initially Tom doesn't know what to think, but he catches on after a while and lays a trap for the wily mouse. When Spike gets involved however, Jerry has time for a leisurely drink of chocolate milk to celebrate his victory.
As I mentioned earlier, many of the original Tom and Jerry cartoons from Hanna and Barbera were nominated or won awards. Of those included in this collection, "Mouse Trouble" (1944) and "Quiet Please" (1945) each won an Academy Award for Short Cartoon. And "Jerry's Cousin" (1951) was also nominated for an award, but lost to "Gerald McBoing-Boing", a short from UPA about a boy who only speaks in sound effects.
All of the shorts included on the DVD are still fun today in this age of computer-generated animation. It's nice to see the classics get their due. Be sure to pick up Tom and Jerry's Greatest Chases, Volume 2 at your favorite local retailer or online and get caught up in the chase!