Thursday, December 18, 2014
Dear Little Pup........
Our next Tom and Jerry short is called Slicked-Up Pup, and it would seem that it's all about the pride of parenthood... but more specifically, fatherhood. Now I don't recall the cat ever having sired a child for one of these pics... which isn't too surprising, given the kinds of injuries he sustains throughout these things. No, the duties of fatherhood go to Butch/Spike, the bulldog. We don't know who he's voiced by this time, and it doesn't sound like Billy Bletcher, because I don't think he ever did a James Durante impression. And I'm pretty sure it's not Durante himself, as he'd insist on billing, probably top, and he'd probably want to do at least two piano numbers.
Now I'm going to warn my more squeamish readers up front here. No Mrs. Bulldog is shown in this picture... come to think of it, has there ever been one in any of these? That's right, folks... Butch / Spike is a SINGLE FATHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Alternative lifestyle!!! Mao-Mao Indoctrination!! So if you're susceptible to that kind of thing, turn away from this review now and gather your religious artifacts near. As for the rest of us... let's press on!
Of course, Slicked-Up Pup is an equal opportunity offender. After dad bulldog finishes giving junior bulldog a bath, he tells junior that he's going to the big city to get a couple of "chops." And I don't think he means the kind made of pressed lentils and barley. Anyway, off goes papa bulldog. That is until...
Enter the mouse and cat. The mouse instinctively heads towards the plot, and dives into a teeny mouse-sized hole in the porch. The cat just misses the mouse, but slides into the bulldog pup, eventually pushing the poor little pup into a big pool of mud at the end of the porch, which of course makes a loud raspberry sound. Well, what do you expect? After all, these things can't burp, can they?
Papa bulldog comes over to assess the damage. His once clean pup is now a muddy mess. "CLEAN HIM UP!" orders the bulldog. Oh, and the papa bulldog uses the long reach to grab the cat from off camera... much like in Quiet Please! Tom instantly returns with a completely clean pup. No, the reverse side of the pup has no dirt on it, which is kind of a shame because that would have been a funny gag. Once the pup is returned and passes the smell test, the edict is issued, much like in Quiet Please! It is simply this: the pup is now clean, and it better stay clean while papa bulldog is gone for a bintel brief. "UNDERSTAND?" the dog asks the cat. The cat nods. The mouse also nods, much like in Quiet Please! I'm not saying there are parallels here, but... oh, and the dog growls before leaving, just for good measure. Nice touch!
And so, Jerry's typical game of arbitrage begins. But before that happens, Tom has a little trouble managing the pup all by himself. He ends up making another mud raspberry, but the cat bears the brunt of this one. Here's something all you screenwriters should take note of: the still muddy Tom sets down the pup, then makes the "Whew!" gesture... and gets a little mud on the pup's face. Tom springs into action and cleans it off quick. Ah, the era before all these surveillance devices. Jerry finds all this terribly amusing and starts laughing, but it sounds a bit like a violin. You know, like the sequence in Duck Soup with Harpo's various horns. You know, I'd be lost without a telephone.
And so, time for Jerry's first trick. Jerry calls Tom to a halt, which of course Tom obeys. Why, you ask? Uh, because they're gentlemen! I mean, they're animals, of course, but they're not animals, after all! Animals don't tell each other to halt! If you're a wildebeest, do you ask the lion to not eat you? You run! That's what you do! Because you're a freakin' WILDEBEEST!
...as you can see, I'm still just trying to figure out a lot of this stuff myself. And so, Jerry gets Tom to halt, and challenges Tom to a game of tic tac toe. Tom wins the round, then takes off after the mouse... only to realize he's lost the game of life once again. Yup, the game of tic tac toe has been etched upon the pup's skin in pencil. Tom quickly removes the stain from the pup, but the stain on Tom and Jerry's tenuous peace remains.
Jerry's next deviant act: chucking a Victory Garden tomato at Tom. Tom of course ducks out of the tomato's way, then realizes what Jerry's actually up to. Tom is fortunately able to outrun the tomato, which ends up hitting Tom in the face, making a tomato raspberry... boy, I don't know about you, but when was the last time you've seen a tomato that gooey? Must've been spoiled or something. I mean, when they're ripe, the various fleshy pockets holding in the gooey collections of seeds have a certain degree of structural integrity... ah, skip it. On to the next outrage.
...did they just reuse the chase footage from earlier? Oh, dude... talk about outrage!!! Well, they had better make up for it somehow.
It's a bit premature for the Third Act, but I'll justify my reasoning in this way: it's the beginning of the end. Ever have a nightmare where you're running from the police, and you wake up relieved? You know, kinda like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day at one point? Well, unfortunately for our cat friend, whom we've shared so many adventures with, this particular film will provide him with little comfort from here on in.
It all starts with the threat from a bottle of ink. Jerry now holds a bottle of ink over the poor sleeping pup. Any time a cartoon character wields the ingredients of their making, well... one can't help but take a breath and a step back. As in Quiet Please... sorry, but they're very simular!... Tom knows that he's beat and retreats with such a fake smile it's not even funny. Soooooo fake.
And so, Tom ends up cutting off Jerry at the pass, so to speak, and gets the bottle of ink under his control. With the mouse now gone, Tom places the bottle of ink in a safe so that it can never be unleashed again on this pup or any pup ever again, without some serious safecracking first... ah, just messing with ya. Tom throws the bottle up into the air without even looking. Why, Tom's so cool, he doesn't even hear all the strange rattling and rolling noises!
And then... the nightmare unleashed from the inkwell. Yup, the ink's all over the pup. Somehow no amount of soap or water will wash it off. Tom tries to carefully blot the ink up, but this solution doesn't provide a rapid enough pace for Tom's tastes. Are we in fact dealing with a crisis of tampering with the pup's genetic structure? Is Jerry going to find an eraser as we speak? Frantic beyond the norm, Tom turns to a series of paint buckets, and starts painting the pup the right color. But Tom isn't watching where his brush is going, and the ever-strong, ever-devious Jerry slowly pushes the paint bucket bench so that the pup becomes a tie-dye masterpiece, thereby creating the 60s. Of course, when people say the 60s, they mean 1966 to 1969... oh, shorter than even that, apparently. Never mind. Yeah, that election of '68 was as big a bummer as it gets, no question about it.
Jerry's next sneaky act: exasperated, Tom finally goes for the water hose. So what does Jerry do? Why, he hooks up the hose to the spigot on the giant barrel of tar, of course! What home in post-WWII was complete without it? You know, for all your roof-related emergencies! Really keeps the ol' rainwater out. And so, the pup ends up with nine plops of tar upon its body. Its eyes are okay, of course, as it opens its eyes after the barrage is over. Tom ends up with only one plop of tar on his face. Cue the dad bulldog!
Acting quickly, Tom quickly feathers the tarred pup, puts a glove on its head and a clothespin on its nose and pretends that it's a baby chicken. "WHERE'S MY BOY?" Butch / Spike asks Tom. Tom plays dumb. The ruse works... except that the disguised pup makes some teeny tiny barking noises. Tom is forced to double down on the ruse and makes the clucking noises himself, and moves the tarred and feathered pup around as though it were pecking at corn on the ground. The chopless bulldog dad walks away satisfied. Alas, it's a temporary reprieve, as the bulldog pup removes its clothespin and takes a nice big bite on the cat's tail. I don't know why Tom would scream at that, after all the times that Jerry has tied Tom's tail to things, usually trucks that are about to take off.
Needles to say, that's all the proof the bulldog dad needs, and off the chase goes.
Tom makes his way over to the washing machine and prepares to put the inked and painted and tarred and feathered and generally be-chickened bulldog pup within to clean it up... but alas, it's too late. Bulldog dad's already there, watching what's going on. Tom hands over the pup, but it's a Brest-Litovsk type move. There will be World War II anyway. The inked, painted, tarred, feathered, generally be-chickened pup sneezes, and all bets are off. Bulldog dad puts the cat into the washing machine with extra soap, and we're all treated to a little glimpse of the real Cat Hell: being trapped in a washing machine, bumping around, soap and water everywhere. And this is one of those special deluxe models for the homemaker with a glass front, so you can see your clothes getting washed! You know, for all those "show-me" types in Missouri. State motto, after all! The mouse joins in on the fun, of course. These dogs never seem to get mad at that little bastard of a mouse.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan