Animation History
April 17, 2013 posted by Jerry Beck

Tom and Jerry Festival of Fun (1962)

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1962 was an odd year for Tom & Jerry. MGM may have kicked Hanna Barbera out of their studio, but it was in ’62 that the studio decided to mount a major revival. Along with new Gene Deitch Tom & Jerry shorts in the theaters for the ’61-62 season, a revived effort in comic books (as Western took over publishing the property from Dell, they refreshed the brand in a new giant-sized title, Tom & Jerry’s Fun House), the studio put together a compilation of great Hanna Barbera shorts and advertised it as a feature called “Tom And Jerry” Festival Of Fun.

You’ll note in the pressbook below, that this feature was clearly aimed towards families and kids (urging theatres to give “Half-price for Mom and Dad!“). Saturday matinees were looking for fresh product at the time – and MGM scored a success with its anime release of Magic Boy the previous summer. Click thumbnail below to enlarge pressbook pages:

tomjerryfun-1 tomjerryfun-2 tomjerryfun-3 tomjerryfun-4

festival_lobby2
festival-lobby1

As noted in the pressbook above, the film used Jerry’s Diary (embed below) as the bridging material to surround the shorts. Other films included in the Festival of Fun were Old Rocking Chair Tom, The Little Orphan, Jerry’s Cousin, Professor Tom, Mouse Cleaning, Yankee Doodle Mouse, Mouse Trouble, Nit-Witty Kitty, Push-Button Kitty and Saturday Evening Puss.

Could it be the success of this compilation (along with exhibitor the disfavor of the Deitch shorts) that convinced the studio to contract with Chuck Jones to continue making the shorts in the 1960s?

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festival_still1

13 Comments

  • Metro did seem to decide that reviving the characters on the cheap was beneath the dignity of the studio’s image (MGM still was considered the classiest of the majors even though that was getting awfully frayed around the edges by 1962). The Jones T&Js suffer from dullness and over-posing at times, but you can’t say for the mid-1960s that MGM skimped on their budgets.

  • and just think….only years later everyone would be “up in arms” about “cartoon violence!” How silly!! The images in this (great) poster depict NOOOO violence, lol

    • Blame groups like Peggy Charren and Action for Childern’s Television for ‘sanitizing’ cartoons later on. After all, many theatrical cartoons weren’t originally meant to be exclusively for childern.

    • It was a troubling time to go through hearing people like her and her group give our classic cartoons such a bad name.

  • Did they edit the cartoons they used for the compilation?

  • Bridging material? Did they actually edit to create the illusion of a movie? Any chance Time Warner might release it?

    On one of the early Golden Collection DVDs there are trailers for some all-Loony Tunes programs. Did Warner just send out a stack of cartoons, or did they assemble something with at least an opening title? And what about the Disney packages (at least one pre-Snow White, and maybe a couple of Mickey’s Birthdays)?

    I’ve seen old ads for cartoon shows that mix different studios’ characters; evidently do-it-yourself programs by theater managers. I somehow assumed the studios’ own programs were likewise simply current release prints of individual shorts.

    • If the movie still exists, I don’t think you could do much with it. The individual cartoons have probably all been restored to a higher quality. You’d have to essentially re-create the entire movie from scratch, editing together the better versions of the cartoons, as well as the “wraparounds.”

    • It seems doable. Just for DVD extras, Time Warner upgraded the shorts in “Bugs Bunny Superstar” and Disney edited full-color animated sequences into the B&W TV special “One Hour in Wonderland,” even duplicating the “magic mirror” frame at the start of each sequence.

      And there’s evidently a market for Tom & Jerry, judging from the parade of increasingly improbable direct-to-DVD movies. Restoring “Festival of Fun” and throwing in a trailer and pressbook gallery would provide a new title for a comparatively small investment.

      Now, does anybody remember those Loony Tunes compilations? The early theatrical ones, not the later pasteups.

  • When the “Tom and Jerry Festival of Fun” was released, I pestered the folks to take me over and over again. I must have seen it five times, and laughed myself stupid at every show! Poor Dad had to sit with me as I howled like a banshee at all the slapstick merriment, as he suffered in silence (actually, he laughed the first two times he saw the feature). It was the first time I ever saw such classics as “Mouse Cleaning” or “Ol’ Rockin’ Chair Tom” and I’ve never gotten over that first experience. “Jerry’s Diary” was used to bridge the cartoons, and they just used the same two or three scenes of Tom paging through the diary between cartoons. In the original “Jerry’s Diary” cartoon, they used the pages of the book to lead into the various clips from the old shorts, but in the feature, they just showed Tom glaring at a page and then faded out, to fade up on the first scene of the cartoon. There were no main or end titles on the shorts contained in the feature. I don’t even remember how the Tom and Jerry Festival of Fun main and end titles looked, it’s been too long. I think they used the standard red and orange Tom and Jerry, “Made in Hollywood, USA” end title from the shorts to conclude the feature. Nobody cared if 10 Tom and Jerrys in a row were too many for the general public, they made that feature for nuts like me and you! Alas, the feature was printed in Metrocolor, so would be faded red if any prints exist today, but it looked gorgeous back in ’62. Seeing that feature was a treasured part of my childhood and a great introduction to those beautiful cartoons, at our neigborhood Loew’s State and Ozark theaters (St. Louis, Mo.)!

    • You were one happy camper Mark!

  • Oh, this was a glorious afternoon at the movies for me, and what a joy to find out that other classic MGM cartoons were thrown in to add some diversity to the mix. I think the oldest cartoon included was Hugh Harman’s “GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS”. Other titles I dimly recall finally seeing in full color on the big screen during this festival were “THE BEAR AND THE BEAN”, “NORTHWEST HOUNDED POLICE”, “WHAT PRICE FLEADOM” and I’m sure there were others and, oh, the most interesting aspect of this “FESTIVAL OF FUN”, some of the cinemascope titles were featured in two track stereo–yes, the music track could be heard in one channel and the sound effects in the other!! If it is ever given a thorough restoration, I would hope that they go so far as to replicate this aspect on a DVD. While the versions of some cartoons in this fest might not be the original versions, just owning this on DVD would bring back those fond memories of experiencing TOM & JERRY and the classic MGM cartoons by Hugh Harman, Tex Avery or Lah/Blair and others in full color and on the big screen, the perfect way to see and hear these lavish cartoons.

    To Mark Kausler: Wow, I only wish I’d dragged a family member to see this fest more than once, but my experience was similar to yours in that those that I brought to see the show did not really share my absolute enthusiasm. I’ll never, ever forget it, though. “NORTHWEST HOUNDED POLICE” never looked or sounded so good!!

    Oh yes, and I do recall those wonderful comic books as well. I’d curl up with one of those each time I caught THE EARLY BIRD CARTOON SHOW which featured the classic MGM toons. We need all this stuff on DVD, please, I’m beggin’ ya!

  • Although I have a lot of respect for Gene Deitch,his T and J’s weren’t all that good.They surely didn’t look like they came from MGM (Perhaps someone thought they could pass off the ragged animation and the poor audio as what would pass for cutting edge entertainment!) And as for Chuck’s T and J’s, it all depends on viewing them on their own merits,instead of having the Hanna-Barbera shorts to compare them with.,Besides,after sufferiung through the Deitch debacles,i”ll bet Chuck’s T and J’s were a welcome sight!

    • I quite love the Chuck Jones T&J’s… no, they aren’t the best Tom & Jerry’s and they are not the best of Chuck’s work, but they are still a fun watch with lots of hilarious gags and poses (albeit ones we’ve seen before elsewhere). But for a kid watching TV there are a lot of “classic” moments in these.

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