Tom & Jerry's 50th Birthday Bash

Does anyone feel passionate about Tom and Jerry, the cartoon cat-and-mouse act created by Joseph Barbera and William Hanna a half century ago? The early Tom and Jerry cartoons were pieces of vividly animated slapstick, and the characters were popular enough that Jerry made a cameo appearance in Anchors Aweigh, dancing with Gene Kelly in a pre-Roger Rabbit stunt. But this duo has never inspired the kind of devotion enjoyed by Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, or Warner Bros.’ Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Maybe that’s because Tom and Jerry are so inconsistent: In one cartoon, they’re enemies chasing and eluding each other; in the next, they’re pals teaming up to defeat some foe — a bulldog, usually. Hanna-Barbera went on to pioneer the use of inferior-quality ”limited animation” in stiff-moving shows like Huckleberry Hound and The Flintstones. Tom & Jerry’s 50th Birthday Bash‘s low-quality salute befits, therefore, the cartoon makers who went on pretty much to ruin modern cartoons. Roseanne‘s John Goodman hosts a choppy series of clips and, near the end, Hanna and Barbera come on to congratulate themselves. At the very least, in true Tom-and-Jerry spirit, Goodman should have thrown pies in the cartoonists’ faces. C-

Tom & Jerry's 50th Birthday Bash
  • TV Show