When I was a kid I loved “Tom and Jerry” cartoons.
Whether they were the classic William Hanna and Joseph Barbera shorts created in the 1940’s or the “Looney Tunes” styled reimagined shorts created in 1963 by Chuck Jones, I would watch the cat and mouse duo endlessly.
There was one downside to my before and after school cartoon binging and that was when one of the Gene Deitch directed shorts from the early 60’s would randomly get shuffled into the mix of the classics. At the time there were only a few of these (13 to be exact) and I absolutely hated them. Even as a kid I knew they sucked!
The animation looked cheap and amateur when compared to the lush full backgrounds of the Hanna/Barbera shorts or personality and style of the Chuck Jones shorts. To this kid it felt like torture when I would see a Gene Deitch title card flash across the screen as I knew I was in for eight minutes of boredom. The backgrounds were minimalist at best and sometimes even nonexistent. The human characters mumbled all of their lines and there wasn’t even an attempt at synching up the dialogue to the mouth movements. All in all, these animated shorts were a complete mess and did not come close to the original characters that I had grown to love.
All in all the “Tom and Jerry: The Gene Deitch Collection” is for completists only and I doubt that even those rabid fans would watch these shorts in their entirety more than once. The only upside to owning this collection are the two documentaries that are included as Special Features. The first is “Tom and Jerry… and Gene” and recounts the history of Gene Deitch and his experience making these shorts with a limited budget and with foreign animators that had never seen a single “Tom and Jerry” cartoon! During the doc Deitch even admits that his shorts are considered the worst “Tom and Jerry” cartoons ever created. The second is called “Much Ado About Tom and Jerry” and serves as a retrospective look at the duos entire career.
The animated shorts: 0 out of 10
The 2 Special Feature Documentaries: 10 out of 10
Pat Francis currently hosts the popular comedy/music podcast “Rock Solid,” called 1 of the 8 great music podcasts to put in your ears by USA Today and featuring artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Sammy Hagar and Susanna Hoffs. His frequent appearances on Jimmy Pardo’s top rated podcast “Never Not Funny” are fan favorites. Pat began his entertainment career as a stand-up comic in Chicago, IL. After touring the country and performing in 42 states at comedy clubs and colleges, he relocated to Los Angeles, CA. There he appeared as a comedian on Comedy Central, AMC, the UCB and is a yearly regular at the San Francisco Sketchfest. For the past 5 years he has also served as Co-Host of the yearly event Pardcast-A-Thon which to date has raised over 700,000 for Smile Train. When not entertaining people in person he also makes his living as a Story Producer for reality television programs. It is also important to know that Pat is a monkey in a human mask.