In the past few weeks I’ve been finding some great stuff in the ‘Dollar Racks’ in the front of my local Target store: dollar DVD’s.
Just before Halloween I managed to pick a few schlocky 60’s horror double-feature discs (One includes Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Dementia 13‘), and just the other day I found a great compilation of 1930’s Tom & Jerry Shorts.
I’m a sucker for animation to begin with, but this is the BEST kind: Old, Black and White, and absolutely Music-centric. These cartoons were made when speech was still used sparingly in animation, and the on-screen action was closely tied to the often elaborate orchestration of the soundtrack. The DVD consists of 9 black and white Tom & Jerry animated shorts from 1931-1933.
Clearly, these are not the characters that first spring to mind when one thinks of ‘Tom & Jerry,’ but they get a pass since they were there first. The manufacturer of the DVD, Genius Entertainment, shrewdly attempts to exploit this confusion in the on-box copy:
“Two of the most popular cartoon creations are together again in this one-of-a-kind collection of their most fun-filled escapades. Poor Tom is always going up against the wise Jerry in their cat-and-mouse games. You’ll enjoy these hilarious shorts over and over again.”
Watching the shorts reveals that this Tom & Jerry are actually a team of sorts, and don’t “go up against” each other at all. There’s a good website with information on these cartoons here.
If you’re a big weirdo and interested in getting a copy of your own, check out the nearest Target, dollar store, or if you don’t feel like getting up, you can order it from Amazon (Though it’ll cost you an extra fifty cents).
Bonus: The Horror double-feature DVD’s also feature ‘Spooky’ Tom & Jerry shorts of the same vintage, which are not included on the Tom & Jerry DVD. Rib-cage xylaphones abound!