Pay day. I know I shouldn’t be blowing my meagre bookseller serf’s wages on frivolities, but I need a treat. A new DVD – classic film, lovingly restored to pristine beauty. Two disc set (double sided at that) of one of cinema’s greatest ever creations in this multiple Oscar winning set. No, Not Citizen Kane. Not Casablanca. Not Seven Samurai. Tom and Jerry, special edition! Wooohhhoooooo!!!!!! Dozens of T&Js in chronological order, right from the very first outing (where Tom is actually called Jasper). Utterly fabulous stuff. The craft and love and simple, wonderful insanity which went into these cartoons is still utterly vibrant. The animation from the 40s is so rich and detailed. Not only are the jokes funny – the fold-out ironing board routine is always funny – but the artwork is fabulous. The expressions on Tom’s face alone are often enough to crack me up. The fine attention to details, the little morality plays and the quite incredible synchronisation to music are amazing. This is especially showcased in a few cartoons where the music is brought to the foreground, such as where Tom is conducting the orchestra (Cat Concerto) or where opening the freezer door in the kitchen leads to an indoor ice-dance (with coloured jellies for the spot lights).
And on a more personal note, ever since I can remember my dear old dad and I have watched these cartoons together. My long-suffering mother shakes her head as we sit down on the floor cross-legged like schoolboys to watch when one came on TV. We’d end up rolling around on the floor, crying with laughter, no matter how often we’d seen that film before (as long as it was a Fred Quimby original and not the awful 60s versions). We still watch them together if they come on when I’m home at my parent’s house. Some folk shake their head and ask how a grown man can still watch this kind of thing. I feel so sorry for them; something important in side them has atrophied. Fortunately my dad taught me to keep that quality alive. Thanks, dad.