Wednesday, July 16, 2014

DIY - Zoot Suit Edition

Ah, the dual temporal nature of courtship.  Romance is older than Heloise and Abelard... but there's also the need to keep up on current trends.  That's the cat's dilemma here in The Zoot Cat, our next Tom and Jerry cartoon.  It must be a good one because cartoon historian Jerry Beck does a commentary for it on the DVD.  It's essentially a one act play that takes place at the girl cat's house, except for the brief introductory scene where Tom's preparing a package to take to his girl cat.
Spoiler alert: all that grooming for nothing!  He curls his whiskers, for God's sake!  And strums a ukulele!  You know, just like on that awful song by Train!  The girl is summarily unimpressed and tells Tom and his "rat" to take a hike.  A mighty chase ensues on the girl cat's porch.  Lucky for the cats, the humans are out for the day.  On his way away, Tom hears the radio.  He peeks in the window and watches as the girl cat listens to the radio... well, it was a different era, and guys were allowed to be creepier than today.
There's an ad on the radio for a zoot suit.  Chicks dug them at the time.  Fortunately for the cash-strapped Tom, he already knows how to make one!  Go figure.  He manages to steal the girl cat's lampshade, and turns it into a hat, and the hammock on the porch becomes the source of fabric for his zoot suit.  Tom also manages to find a clothes hanger to give him wider shoulders.  After a few furious seconds of stitching and cutting, the suit is ready and Tom is dressed to impress.
Now for the final test.  The girl cat opens the door a second time, and boom!  It worked!  Time to dance!  Jerry the mouse is also quite impressed by Tom's new duds.  Why, you might say they have... no, I won't go there today.  But Jerry Mouse finds himself cutting in on the dancing.  I don't get how the girl cats in these things seem to prefer the mouse to the cat.  They never get around to eating the mouse, anyway.  Tom's caught up in the adrenaline-fueled frenzy, but he does manage to be affronted by the mouse's intrusion, which takes precedence over pitching woo in this picture.
As usual, the mouse gets the better of the cat and... we go back to the girl cat dancing with the mouse!  What's up with that?  Oh, and there's a piano number, where the cat plays the piano, and the girl cat sits and swoons.  Only one way to break that up... yup, you guessed it, the old hot foot routine.  Because this is a Tom and Jerry cartoon, the number of matches well exceeds the required amount for a hot foot.
The finale is reminiscent to me of another Tom and Jerry cartoon where the mouse gets ahold of some strength vitamins... but we'll save that for later, if it's on the DVD, anyway.  Anyway, Tom ends up getting caught on one of those comedy curtains, snaps back and gets dunked in the goldfish bowl twice.  This causes his suit to shrink... and shrink... and shrink.  Will Tom be choked to death by his makeshift zoot suit?  Hoisted on his own petard, as it were?  Spoiler alert: no, the suit snaps off.  It's very tiny now, and it slowly floats down to the ground... hmm!  Why, you might even say it's mouse-sized now!  GENIUS!  The little rat steals the suit, puts it on and sashays off into the proverbial sunset, as it were... meh!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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