Saturday, October 25, 2008
It's Getting Near Halloween
The early-30's cartoons of the Van Beuren Studios continue to tickle that dark place deep down that I'd rather not talk about. While my five-year-olds are used to much more sophisticated fare, such as the irredeemably insipid Wonder Pets, this one, from the 1930-1933 Tom and Jerry series, gets a lot of repeat play. There's shades of 30's racism, but hey, they've got nothing over Jar Jar Binks and the assorted creepy psuedo-Asians of Star Wars. I guess every era has its blind spots.
This thing's so trippy I had to watch it six times before the plot line gelled for me.
It was a dark and stormy night. Tom and Jerry await their next fare at the train station in their taxi, which appears to have a bad cold. A locomotive with oval wheels does some weird shit before discharging freakishly tall Orthodox Jew twins at the station, who get a ride to their haunted castle and, of course, stiff Tom and Jerry the fare. They get trapped in the castle, and a moronic overweight cloud plays the turrets and towers like a pipe organ while trees with limbs like squid tentacles play accompaniment. Tom and Jerry encounter a freaky bat, a bathing skeleton, and a hallway full of goblins before falling through the floor to see a tango playing skeleton and his dancing friends and a negro skeleton barbershop quartet. Then Tom and Jerry encounter the Jews again, and are themselves turned into skeletons that run in the strangest manner imaginable. The girls love that part, but are equally blown away by the organ playing cloud and the bathing skeleton.