November 6th, 2005

krazy koati

You'll begin with a grin when you first tune us in

A couple of thoughts on a day when I don't feel like doing all that much from watching the Tom and Jerry DVDs:

  • The set includes a documentary on Scott Bradley, who composed or arranged and conducted most of the music for the Tom and Jerry shorts. It struck me this is maybe the first time I've heard who did the music for them, which is remarkable considering how much outstanding music they had -- particularly since the cartoons had so little dialogue and the sound effects, while fine, didn't reach Treg Brown levels of inspiration. (Heck, is there any sound they didn't use that same gunshot sound for?) Granted Carl W Stalling deserves his fame; but shouldn't Scott Bradley get at least some attention?
  • For that matter, the MGM cartoons as a whole don't get much attention. Warner Brothers and Disney do, and they deserve it. Fleischer gets attention among connoisseurs and Popeye fans. But MGM -- which combines the discipline and richness of animation of Disney with the comic stylings and strong pacing of Warner Brothers -- you never hear about. Maybe that's because the studio was rather weak in characters; besides Tom, Jerry, and Droopy everyone else is generally forgotten (Screwey Squirrel could've broken out, but he only had four cartoons, and one of them isn't shown anymore), a one-shot (Bad Luck Blackie), or actively annoying (Nibbles or the Yakky Doodle precursors).
  • By George, I think I know who did Tom's voice. At least I recognized the voice for a couple of the cartoons in which he spoke a line, like The Zoot Cat (``Say, something is burning around here!'' -- also the ``Boy, are you corny'' radio announcer) or The Missing Mouse (``DON'T YOU BELIEVE IT'') (and Tom had multiple voices; I mean I recognized one). I won't say here because I don't want to spoil it for people who like wondering, but what a Eureka moment that was.
  • I haven't got any idea, though, who did the ``ow-wow-WOWhowowow'' that Tom usually used when screaming in pain.

Trivia: There are 880 magic squares of four rows and columns with consecutive numbers, though with rotations and reflections they can be presented 7040 ways. Source: Mathematical Recreations and Essays, W W Rouse Ball, H S M Coxeter.

Currently Reading: A Crack in the Edge of the World, Simon Winchester.