Wednesday, December 31, 2014

All Hail the Tom and Jerry Ants!!!

Boy, I missed those guys.  And yet, here they are in Cat Napping, marching along at four beats a second, one beat every six frames.  Keep in mind, these were the old days of filmmaking when film used to run at 24 frames a second.  These days, who knows what it is anymore?  Twenty-four?  Twenty-five?  Thirty?  Forty-eight?  Sixty?  The choices seem endless.
Alas, my time isn't anymore, so gotta focus on the fundamentals now.  This Tom and Jerry's a little different, in that it takes place outside.  Seems like they're cooped up indoors a lot, in the house.  But even if they're not, they seem to get in the same shenanigans over and over... I know, I know, a little late to complain about that.
Anyway, instead of fighting over something in the fridge, this time it's a turf war: a fight over a hammock.  Jerry's already claimed the space, and here comes Tom with drink in hand, a pillow and a blanket.  Jerry sleepily helps himself to that pillow, but Tom quickly takes care of that.  I remember this one because the drink that Tom has ends up making an outline of its shape in the top of Tom's head, with a little careful maneuvering by the seemingly infinitely strong Jerry Mouse.
Jerry ends up back in the hammock, and Tom gives the hammock a good strong thwack, sending Jerry high into the air.  Jerry matches this move on Tom later on with the help of a winch.  Asleep the whole time he's flying around, Jerry ends up back on the hammock.  Tom's got the sleeping Jerry on a spatula, but no skillet is handy to fry him up.
CUE THE ANTS!!!  Love those annoying little pests.  With a fiendish smile upon his feline face, Tom places Jerry on the back of the ants.  Jerry wakes up and hits his head on the back of the sprinkler.  Now, in any other cartoon, you'd think that Jerry would turn on that sprinkler and give Tom the hose-soaking of his life, leaving Jerry relatively dry... I mean, there's bound to be some splashback.  But this is not a normal Tom and Jerry, and only the ants will suffice.  Mostly because they're here now, mostly because they can be aimed at a target which is shown no mercy.  Jerry redirects the course of the ants, and the ants end up marching down one of the hammock strings.  As the ants march, you will notice that the hammock starts to shake.  And the further down the hammock string the ants advance, the harder the shaking of the hammock... why, it's almost downright sexual, in a way!  Must be why I have such a strong love hate relationship with those damn ants.  Alas, the hammock ultimately yields to the ants' collective strength.  I'm surprised those ants weren't used to win WWII onscreen!  Think of what it could've meant to American audiences if Tom and Jerry somehow took their bickering to the doorstep of the Axis powers.
Anyway, that's kind of the high point of the cartoon for me.  But don't worry, for Jerry's thirst for revenge doesn't go unslaked.  Jerry pulls out all the stops.  Using his Mighty Mouse-like strength, he uses the hammock to send Tom damn near out of the stratosphere.  Listen to Tom's shriek before he plummets back to earth, landing in the ocean.  I was tempted to do a screen capture of the aftermath, but only the ants will do.  Only the ants will do.
Jerry also gets the bulldog involved in the hammock game... but somehow it's just not the same.  The dog doesn't have any lines, for one thing.  What is it, a piece of meat licking a bone?  The bulldog's gotta say "LISTEN, PUSSYCAT!!!!!"  It's like a David Puddy episode of Seinfeld in which he doesn't at some point say "Yeah, that's right."  I think it's the one with the Jesus fish... Elaine says it in Puddy's stead, if memory serves.  Why, it's probably on TBS right now!
One of the keys of comedy, be it Laurel and Hardy, the Stooges, or Tom and Jerry, is that a character has to act in haste, not knowing what they're attacking or doing.  The character's not watching what they're doing, and they'll end up sucking a frog through a straw, or bash the crap out of a bulldog in a hammock with a baseball bat.  Well, Tom was just that pissed off, mind you.  I mention Laurel and Hardy because there's a funny sequence in their short film, Dirty Work, where they're attempting to clean up after their chimney debacle.  Ollie's holding a sack, and Stan's filling the sack with ashes.  Stan admires a picture on the wall while he works, and drops a brick into the bag.  These two elements together allow Stan to dump ashes down Ollie's pants instead.  Genius.  Jack Brown Genius.
Anyway, the angry dog with ugly red lumps on its cranium chases the cat off screen Stage Left.  And much like Quiet Please! before or after it, there's loud crashing noises, there's stuff flying from that direction, and there's glorious aftermath where an ailing Tom has to care for the dog and mouse.  Well, it's still less cruel than Two Gophers from Texas.  My only hope is that this 2 DVD collection also contains the Tom and Jerry cartoon featuring the ants sabotaging Tom's barbecue.  Unfortunately, judging from the titles, this doesn't appear to be the case.  I'll tell you all about it anyway.  I think it's right at the end of the cartoon.  The ants have Tom trapped on the diving board of a typical Hollywood backyard swimming pool.  The ants start their voluptuous, determined march down the diving board.  Same twanging noises, same cadence, similar results.  They don't destroy the diving board, but Tom ends up in the pool.  I think Tom was desperately clinging to his last barbecue food, so naturally that gets destroyed as well.  I'm assumpting that the ants stop their death march after that.  All hail the Tom and Jerry ants!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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