Poor Tom just can’t get a break. Not only is he usually bested by clever mouse Jerry, but he also has a robot cat, a cute duckling, dog adversaries, and even ants to contend with in the new DVD Tom and Jerry: Fur Flying Adventures.
The whole family can enjoy these fourteen shorts compiled from Tom and Jerry cartoons from the 1950s and ’60s. The cartoons by Hanna Barbera, all from the ’50s, also feature recurring characters Spike the bulldog and his little pup Tyke, and the adorable duckling Quacker, who may be even more trouble for Tom than Jerry the mouse.
Willliam Hanna and Joseph Barbera introduced the characters in 1940 and worked on creating 114 Tom and Jerry cartoons from 1940–1958. The shorts from the ’50s on the DVD include:
“Little Quacker” (1950) Tom tries to cook duck for dinner, Quacker, who would be hardly more than a mouthful. Note to cartoon cousin Sylvester re Tweety: are these little feathered friends worth all of the grief? Jerry of course is more than willling to aid and abet the little duck in his escape from big, bad Tom.
“Hic-cup Pup” (1952) Spike wants his son Tyke to take a nap, but Tom’s waking him up gives the pup the hiccups. You can just imagine the hijinks that ensue from Tom’s tryng to stay quiet as well as cure the pup’s hiccups.
“Neapolitan Mouse” (1953) An Italian mouse, Topo, protects Jerry from Tom and Tom from some stray dogs, all with some wonderful background drawing which serves as a bit of a travelogue of Naples and environs. The cartoon is also playfully self-referential, as Topo reveals himself to be a big fan of the pair’s cartoons.
“Pet Peeve” (1953) Tom and Spike are living happily together, until their owners, George and Joan, start arguing over keeping just one of their pets. When it’s suggested that cats are more valuable because of their ability to catch mice, Jerry is now faced with two adversaries as Spike and Tom compete to see who is the best mouser.
“Pup on a Picnic” (1953) Tom and Jerry muscle in on a Spike and Tyke’s picnic, Jerry because he is hiding from Tom in the picnic basket, and Tom because he is endlessly in pursuit of the mouse. Just when you think Jerry is the smartest of the bunch those ants start marching …
“That’s My Mommy” (1955) Tom inadvertently helps to hatch Quacker’s egg, but Quacker’s declaration, “That’s my mommy!” doesn’t deter Tom from trying to barbecue or bake him in a pie. Luckily Jerry is around to help protect the miniature duckling.
“Barbecue Brawl” (1956) Spike, in his best Jimmy Durante imitation, and his son Tyke try to have a barbecue in the back yard. The dog/cat/mouse dynamic is less important here, as none of them are a match for an army (again) of ants.
“Timid Tabby” (1956) Tom’s cousin George is afraid of mice and comes for a mouse-free visit. Boy, has he come to the wrong house.
“The Vanishing Duck” (1957) Tom’s owner George buys Joan a present, Quacker the singing duck, and then takes Joan out for a night on the town. Tom wastes no time trying to catch and eat the tiny duck, who, with the aid of some vanishing cream, is able to hide in plain sight with new pal Jerry.
“Robin Hoodwinked” (1957) Jerry and his little friend Tuffy the mouse try to spring Robin Hod from prison, who is guarded by Tom the cat.
“Happy Go Ducky” (1958) In this Easter-themed cartoon Tom and Jerry fight over booty left by the Easter Bunny, including the cutest little duckling ever, “Quacker.”
Chuck Jones’ studio worked on 34 Tom and Jerry cartoons from 1963 to 1967. There are three samples of his signature style included here:
“Rock ‘n” Rodent” (1967) Jerry is jamming with some jazzy mice and driving poor Tom, who just want a decent night’s sleep, bonkers.
“O-Solar-Meow” (1967) Even in space the race to catch Jerry is on for Tom. The cartoon also attempts to answer the eternal question of whether the moon is made of cheese.
“Guided Mouse-ille” (1967) In the year 2565 Tom monitors all mouse activity at a control panel with the help of a robot dog and cat. Do you think these space age helpers are really a match for Jerry the mouse?
The fun in Tom and Jerry: Fur Flying Adventures is in watching the chase, and Tom and Jerry never seem to tire of each other’s company, just as these cartoons never seem to get old. It’s hard not to root a little for Tom to catch Jerry, although I’m sure he wouldn’t know what to do with him if he ever did.