ANIMATION SPIN
December 29, 2015 posted by

Tom & Jerry Explore Outer Space on Records

Before there was a Star Wars, cartoon characters were conquering the galaxy right and left. Here’s the second time the cat and mouse team flew a platter into space.

tom-jerry-astrocat-record_550

TOM AND JERRY: ASTROCAT AND MOUSE
Peter Pan Book & Record #2014 (7” 45 RPM LP / Stereo)

Released in 1981. Executive Producer: Martin Kasen. Producer: Donald Kasen. Writer/Producers: Charlotte Sanders, Herb Davidson. Running Time: 11 minutes.

Tom and Jerry explored space twice on records; the first time was on their original home label, MGM. We talked about that record in this “classic” Animation Spin.

tom-jerry-astronautsLesser known was when Tom enlisted in the space program and basically had a lovely time with his dear friend Jerry. Because, of course, it was now 1981 and they were largely depicted as pals. To be fair, the story begins with a page of cat-and-mouse chasing, which gets them kicked out of the house and leads to Tom learning about his opportunity to go places.

The story on the record has no connection to Gene Deitch’s 1962 MGM Cartoon, Mouse Into Space. An edited version of this short has the distinction of having been played every day, during regular business hours, for almost 25 years at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida inside the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant.

This is one of the very last Peter Pan Records to bear the unique touch of Herb Davidson and Charlotte Sanders, who produced dozens of records for the label from the ’60s through the ’80s.

After we posted a Spin about their Bugs Bunny and Funky Phantom albums a few weeks back, I contacted Ms. Sanders through their website, and she was delighted to know that they still had lots of fans who grew up enjoying their work.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Tom and Jerry in “Astrocat and Mouse”


BOZO AND HIS ROCKET SHIP
Pinto Colvig as Bozo
Capitol Records Children’s Series BBX-65 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Mono)
Reissued on LP with Bugs Bunny and the Tortoise (L-6962)

Released in 1946. Writer/Producer: Alan J. Livingston. Music: Billy May. Other Voices: Stan Freberg, Billy Bletcher. Running Time: 12.5 minutes.
Songs and Melodies: “I Love the Briny, Briny Sea,” “Frere Jacques,” “O Sole Mio.”

BozoRocketShip78Bozo really gets around. Using his rocket (which Howdy Doody record fans might recognize as similar to the Air-O-Doodle), the original Capitol Records Bozo (created by Alan Livingston) flies around the world in just a few minutes on four 78 RPM records. He goes to Brazil, Greenland, Scotland, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Egypt, Africa, Russia, Borneo, Australia and the South Pole, encountering friends, educational factoids, a few tunes and a handful of now-politically incorrect speed bumps.

This album follows the same format as most of the Livingston-Capitol children’s records to the point that it could be Bugs Bunny or Woody Woodpecker doing the same thing on other records in the series. He stops, tells us who he has met, they chat, there’s either a tune or a short gag, and it’s off to another page in the book or another disc in the set. But it’s delightful just the same, thanks to the fine performances and the wonderful music.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Bozo and His Rocket Ship”

7 Comments

  • It is fascinating to listen to Pinto Culvig’s BOZO, especially when he clearly provides the sputtering motor sound effects throughout and, hey, how can you go wrong with some classic voices providing the cartoony characters, expressly of their time of course…and Billy Bletcher provides the voice of the German greeter, approximately seven years after his stint at MGM as voice of “derr Captain” in the short-lived CAPTAIN AND THE KIDS series. Great stuff as usual!

  • I’ve still got a copy of that Tom and Jerry “Astrocat and Mouse” book and record. One of the more impressive things about it is that the artwork pretty much stays on-model. Tom and Jerry look like Tom and Jerry throughout the book. Believe me, that often was not the case with a lot of album artwork from this era featuring licensed characters.

    Tom and Jerry had pretty decent recording careers, considering they’re mute most of the time.

    • At least Peter Pan was able to get a competent artist for this. Very enjoyable illustrations.

      Tom and Jerry had pretty decent recording careers, considering they’re mute most of the time.

      Just be thankful they didn’t go there!

    • While the characters look good, I can’t help but noticed the cat and mouse shifting between their regular designs and their Chuck Jones-era designs.

  • After we posted a Spin about their Bugs Bunny and Funky Phantom albums a few weeks back, I contacted Ms. Sanders through their website, and she was delighted to know that they still had lots of fans who grew up enjoying their work.

    At least it’s nice to know I helped point you the way, Greg!

    Having to listen to the first clip, I find it amusing we can go from the seriousness of Tom nearly being lost in space forever to Jerry defying all physics (and logic) to save the day while holding his breath (though he should be exhaling I think).

    • Yes, thank you, Chris!

      Tom’s mortal danger reminds me of Gary Lockeood’s fate because of HAL the evil computer in 2001 A Space Odyssey.

    • Now I’m thinking the story would’ve been rather cool had it all been told as a flashback up to when Tom found himself almost stranded in space as if life was flashing before his eyes but he had to think about what led him to this predicament in the first place. That would’ve gave it a bit of a bite making you wonder how he was going to get out of this, while springing Jerry on us at the last minute!

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