Written by Pirata Hermosa
The iconic cat and mouse duo is being featured in a new Deluxe Anniversary Collection, a double-DVD set containing 30 episodes spanning the entire on-screen history. Starting as a simple cartoon for theatre houses in 1940, Tom & Jerry became an immediate hit and won creators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera seven Academy Awards.
The first disc in this set contains 20 of the 30 episodes. Starting from the very first short, “Puss Gets the Boot,” the viewer is treated with the very best original episodes including multiple Academy nominees as well as all seven of the Academy Award Winners. The second disc starts off with the scene from the live-action film Anchors Aweigh where Jerry dances with Gene Kelly, and then follows up with Tom and Jerry swimming with Esther Williams in Dangerous When Wet.
While both of those were considered groundbreaking at the time, today they come across as a little flat. And while the following episodes produced by Chuck Jones are more reminiscent of his previously done Warner Bros. cartoons, they are not enough to float this second disc above mediocrity as the last five episodes are terrible and come from newer shows like The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show and Tom and Jerry Kids. After having watched all of the incredible episodes from disc one, watching the second disc was almost pure torture by contrast.
There is also a feature on the first disc titled: “Much Ado About Tom and Jerry”, which has interviews from Hanna and Barbera and discusses the cartoon's origination and what was going on behind the scenes in the world of animation. This was quite interesting, but it would have been even better with longer interview footage and a few more added stories of the creative process.
For someone who doesn’t have any Tom and Jerry DVDs already, then you might be interested in this collection. But since all but the last five cartoons on disc two are already on previously released DVDs and not up to the same standards as the others, it might be worth buying some of the other sets instead and just taking a pass at this one.