October 10, 2019 posted by Steve Stanchfield

The Original Tom & Jerry in “Pots and Pans” (1932)

It’s another simple Thursday in Thunderbeanville… now, for the weekly report, this time in miniature form!

Refinements continue on the Van Beuren Rainbow Parades (in color, titles and sound especially) but we’re nearly done with all the films. Color correction continues on the George Pal Puppetoons we’re working on for Arnold Liebovit. The Iwerks Comi-Color scans are crisp! Nothing combined completely just yet. Some more Van Beuren Tom and Jerrys were just finished in scans, and most of the Stop Motion Marvels 2 set is getting cleaned up. The Popeye in Technicolor set is almost done as well as the work on two others. New scans for many of the special sets are happening this week as well. Help at the office had been great this past week in catching things up. Thanks to everyone in addition for your help in all these projects.

We’ve been borrowing some Fleischer Betty Boop cartoons from one of the same people we’ve borrowed so many great Popeyes and are doing a ‘semi-official’ set of ones that aren’t on the more recent Blu-ray and DVD sets. Details here.

Since Tom and Jerrys have been on my mind, I thought I’d post one of the shorts we *haven’t* done in HD yet (but plan to soon). Pots and Pans (1932) is a dandy little musical cartoon that is apologetically happy. While not spectacular in any way, it’s a positive and fun short. Besides a gay stereotype, this pre-code cartoons doesn’t get very mischievous, but you can really feel the 30s here in both the music and subject matter. I can almost smell the coffee and imagine the green paint and shiny metal. It would be wonderful to be able to step back in time into one of the little diners that inspired this film.

Thanks to Tommy Stathes for his lend of this nice 35mm printdown…

I’m hoping to get to sift through a collection of original ‘Official Films’ fine grains in 35mm nitrate soon; keep your fingers crossed that some Tom and Jerrys (even in their ‘Dick and Larry’ form) are there in sparkling 35mm!

Have a good week everyone!


  • I have the Tom & Jerry set that you put out several years ago.
    The cartoons are very surreal in tone.
    BTW as you know Steve, when these cartoons were sold to TV
    they were renamed Dick and Larry so as to avoid confusion with the unrelated, but much more well known cat and mouse from MGM

  • I’ve enjoyed the Thunderbean collection of T&J cartoons for years now (and am particularly fond of Waffles and Don). My favourites are “Joint Wipers” and “Rabid Hunters”. “Pots and Pans” is one I tend to skip over, as it seems to suffer in comparison with “Betty Boop’s Bizzy Bee”, released in the same year and featuring a similar setting and gags. So it’s good to have the opportunity to give this cartoon another look.

    For me, the best part of this cartoon, as with so many early Van Beuren shorts, is the music. “Mean Music” is a great song, though the arrangement is hardly “low and mean”; the reed section with its noodling scales gives it a sort of Philip Scheib Terrytoons quality. Listen to Fats Waller’s “Minor Drag” if you want to hear some seriously “mean music”!

    I want to give a special commendation to Gene Rodemich’s cornet soloist. I don’t suppose it’s possible to identify him at this late date, but whoever he was, he was a superb musician. The cornet part to the opening foxtrot is extraordinarily difficult — probably more so than the cornet solo from Stravinsky’s Petrouchka that’s on all the orchestra auditions — but the performance is flawless, clean, and perfectly phrased. Very impressive!

  • I’m glad you posted this one; this is probably my favourite from the series, with a number of nice gags, and a few snappy musical numbers. Nice to see a good print, too.

  • Far and away my favorite Tom & Jerry cartoon. I first saw “Pots and Pans” on the PBS series “Matinee At the Bijou” back in the mid-80s and, as a kid, it effectively triggered my love for early 30s hot jazz and Van Beuren cartoons simultaneously.

  • The trumpet soloist has a style strongly resembling that of Sylvester Ahola (1902-1995). Although he actively recorded between 1926 and 1935, the vast majority of his recordings were with top-flight British dance bands (Bert Ambrose, Ted Heath, Ray Noble, et cetera) between 1927-30.

    • After listening to the first 3 minutes of Pots and Pans a couple more times, the music appears to be 1926-27 recordings by Paul Specht & His Orchestra, where Ahola and Charlie Spivak were both trumpet soloists. I’m sure Gene Rodemich and Paul Specht knew each other as bandleaders, so Gene was able to secure some private recordings or unreleased test pressings from Specht for Van Beuren.

    • I don’t think this was a Paul Specht recording. The use of percussion to accentuate the action — e.g., the temple blocks marking the baby’s footsteps, or the high register of the piano as Tom is working the cash register — strongly suggests that the music was recorded specifically for this cartoon.

      I know Specht mainly from his 1927 recording of “Hot Feet”, which, if you ask me, doesn’t hold a candle to the original Wendell Hall version with Murray Kellner’s red-hot violin solo. But thanks for the tip about Sylvester Ahola. I’ve looked up some of his recordings, and while I can’t say conclusively whether he’s the soloist in “Pots and Pans”, I really love his work. “That’s a Plenty” has become my new favourite song!

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