Saturday, August 25, 2012

"The Tuba Tooner" with Tom and Jerry (1932)

I did not know that there was a Tom and Jerry cartoon previous to the cat and mouse I grew up with. Hanna-Barbera began their series of Tom and Jerry in the late 1940’s. This cartoon is one of several that were circulated by RKO as part of their Van Bueren series; the cartoons themselves were the work of John Foster and George Stallings.

Much as Max and Dave Fleischer produced and directed the Popeye series, along with Betty Boop, these guys really had something going. The cartoons were very well received in their time, with several becoming cult classics, such as “The Piano Tooners”, which is pretty much a replication of the theme in “The Tuba Tooner”, and “Plane Dumb”.
Black and white cartoons were the first ones I ever saw. The “Farmer Grey” series from the 1920’s used to play on TV early in the morning. They were silent, as they were produced before the advent of sound films. For the most part the soundtracks on TV consisted of classical music, handpicked to fit the tempo, and theme, of the cartoon being shown.  It was kind of a neat way to be indoctrinated to classical music without realizing it.

Pay attention to the detail of the cartoon as it seemingly sways to the music. This was a hallmark of the Fleischer Brothers, as well as the team of Foster and Stallings. Some of it had to do with the process used at the time; drawing the cartoon frame by frame; but a lot more of it was in the expertise of the artists themselves. Enjoy the cartoon and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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