Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Life and Times of Tom and Jerry - Part 7

Although Tom and Jerry Tales was finished following the end of Kids WB!, someone at Warner Bros clearly must have decided that they couldn't rely forever on Looney Tunes, Scooby, Batman or any of the other productions/shows they currently own or are developing further at the time.

Between production of Season 2 of Tom & Jerry Tales, they released yet another direct-to-DVD movie, Shiver Me Whiskers - but this time round, Warner Bros. Animation and Toon City must have finally taken notes from their previous efforts (and mistakes) and picked the PERFECT team to match the same faithful quality that Spike and Tony had produced for T&JT.

Written by Chris Painter (who also wrote Frasier before becoming a regular Tom and Jerry Tales storyboarder), produced and directed by Hanna-Barbera veteran Scott Jeralds (Wake, Rattle & Roll, Droopy: Master Detective, Krypto the Superdog) and Tom Minton (Duck Dodgers, Pinky and the Brain, Raw Toonage) and featuring a stunning musical score by Mark Watters (Goof Troop, Taz-Mania, Tiny Toon Adventures), this clearly blows the likes of Blast off to Mars, Fast and Furry AND the Magic Ring right out of the water! Everything from the slick animation to the reminiscent character designs truly feels as close to Hanna-Barbera's MGM style as anything - even going as far as making extensive use of the classic MGM sound effects, including the unforgettable Tom screams (the ones produced by William Hanna!).
Featuring the voices of Mark Hamill (who BTW, puts on a fantastic performance as a Ghostly Skull), Wallace Shawn and Kathy Najimy, it was also Charles Nelson Reilly's final movie before his death the same year. Overall, it has fast become one of the better T&J Movies to date, with hardly any slow pacing to be seen =)

Then came the day we all knew was coming...Joe Barbera's swan (or cat?) song...

Joseph Barbera, with another collab between Spike and Tony, brought forth the 2006 movie special A Nutcracker Tale, his initial idea being synchronising the on-screen actions to music from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite - with all three co-writing and co-directing what would be Joe's final Tom and Jerry project and his final animation contribution as a whole, when passed away in December 2006. Thus, the movie was dedicated to him for all the laughter, memories and many inspired young animators from past to present.

Now at this point, with just about all the classic animation veterans long gone, you'd think WB would know when to call it quits and rely solely on TV reruns and DVD sales. And as much as the purists would have loved to hear that, perhaps it was the initial success of the recent movies, or the surge of creativity by Spike and Tony (or perhaps the various non-T&J flops that weren't raking in the views or cash at the time) that inspired Warner Bros. to take things a little further - realising the fact that the nostalgic market sells but not handling the theory just right...

More next time! The Present and the Future to come....


  1. Chris, you are on a roll with these Tom and Jerry posts! They've been very insightful, informative, and entertaining to read. You should consider putting these posts together as a book or something they're that good! :D

    I do agree with a lot of your thoughts here. Next to Tom Ruegger, Spike and Tony are probably the best folks to work on reviving these classic characters. So far, they'e done a good job on keeping the classics alive with a somewhat fresh feel to them. :)

    Hope to hear more stuff like this from your blog in the future. It's wonderful. :)

  2. Thanks, dood! Glad to know people are actually taking an interest in my latest ramblings =D

  3. Well what if Tom and Jerry made a movie with Marry Poppins

    1. Impossible - Tom and Jerry is WB property. Mary Poppins is Disney. Just wouldn't work out.