Even after all these decades, little kids are still transfixed by Tom and Jerry cartoons. Why the appeal to youngsters? The lack of real dialogue makes sure they’re not alienated by grown up chatter. The constant action keeps the eyes dazzled. The wall to wall music perks up their ears. Each cartoon is short enough to match their attention span. Parents often find Tom and Jerry cartoons a great way to calm down the kiddies when they’re popped in the mini-van’s DVD player. Tom and Jerry: Volume 1, Fur Flying Adventures contains 14 vintage shorts of cat and mouse chase action aimed for the shorter viewer.
The mix here goes heavy on the later titles created by William Hanna and Joe Barbera. This was the time when they animated in Cinemascope so there’s a wide open frame. They also brought in plenty of supporting characters to keep things interesting for Tom (the cat) and Jerry (the mouse). “Barbecue Brawl” focuses on the bulldog Spike and his son Tyke. He’s explaining to the kid how to get thing heated up on the grill. Leave it to Tom and Jerry to ruin the steak feast. “Hic-cup Pup,” and Pup on a Picnic” are more about the father and puppy than the stars. “Pet Peeve” has Tom and Spike fight to be the pet that the suburban couple keeps as they tighten the budget. Animals do cost quite a bit on the grocery list. The annoying little duckling arrives for “Happy Go Ducky,” “The Vanishing Duck,” “Little Quaker” and “That’s My Mommy.” There’s quite a bit of talking on these episodes from the duckling. Sometimes I find myself rooting for Tom to eat that waterfowl. “Neapolitan Mouse” and “Robin Hoodwinked” brings out the little grey mouse. He’s not nearly as painful as the duck. He’s cute when drunk.
There’s a few Chuck Jones era shorts. “Rock ‘n’ Rodent” puts Tom in the Penthouse. Jerry plays drums the basement with the music blasting up the elevator shaft. Tom wants to stop the rock noise so he can sleep. It just gets nasty with silence schemes. “Guided Mouse-ille” conceives of a future world where the cat and mouse chase each other using robots. “O-Solar Meow” also has futuristic robo-cats. These two play off each other. Once more the 13 Tom and Jerry shorts produced by Gene Deitch have been ignored. This is rather strange since Boomerang always mixes them in with the Hanna and Barbera and Chuck Jones cartoons. When will “Dicky Moe” arrive on DVD?
The best news about Tom and Jerry: Volume 1, Fur Flying Adventures is that none of these cartoons feature the controversial black face moments. There’s no Mammy Two-Shoes. You don’t have to explain the humor. Tiny tykes should easily understand the comedy in cats, mice, dogs and ducklings chasing each other. This is a fine mix for young minds when you don’t want to hear their little worlds for the entire car trip.
“Barbecue Brawl,” “Neapolitan Mouse,” “Happy Go Ducky,” “The Vanishing Duck,” “Robin Hoodwinked,” “Hic-cup Pup,” “Little Quacker,” “Rock ‘n’ Rodent,” “Pet Peeve,” “Pup on a Picnic,” “O-Solar-Meow,” “Guided Mouse-ille,” “Timid Tabby” and “Thats’ My Mommy.”
The video is ok. The cartoons vary between 1.33:1 full frame, 1.78:1 anamorphic and 2.35:1 anamorphic. Although “Pet Peeve” is 1.33:1 letterboxed. You get to see everything, but it’s not enhanced for you widescreen TV. The transfers appear to be the ones previously used on earlier DVDs. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. It’s mostly about the music and effects which still sound clear after all these years. There’s also Spanish and Portuguese dubs. The subtitles are in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Tom and Jerry: Volume 1, Fur Flying Adventures gives 14 vintage cat and mouse chases. This is a nice collection for a child that needs something to dazzle their eyes.
Warner Home Video presents Tom and Jerry: Volume 1, Fur Flying Adventures. Starring Tom, Jerry, Spike and Tyke. Boxset Contents: 14 episodes on 1 DVD. Released on DVD: February 8, 2011.
Tags: chuck jones, hanna-barbera