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  1. Tom and Jerry show is a classic unforgettable TV show! I'll be reviewing Hanna and Barbera's Tom and Jerry, Gene Deitch's, and Chuck Jone's. For this review, I'll include a non spoiler review and a spoiler one! Non spoiler review: Animation: The animation in Hanna and Barbera's Tom and Jerry show was spectacular! I loved the classic feel of Tom and Jerry even though it had a "foggy" texture. I loved how the characters could take different shapes and colors! I loved how the animation changed slightly in some episodes. Gene Deitch's version of the Tom and Jerry show had the worst animation. Almost everything looked awful and poorly designed with some exceptions. Chuck Jone's Tom and Jerry's animation was the best. It was high-quality with beautiful colors and shades. The characters and backgrounds had very neatly shaped forms. Cinematography: The cinematography in the Tom and Jerry show was good. I loved how in many episodes, the camera was at a perfect angle. The camera wasn't too far away or too close. It was at mid-range where you could see the background and characters. It made you feel they were constantly at war with each other. I think we rarely (if ever) got a close-up or wider camera shot. The cinematography was fairly consistent in all of the Tom and Jerry versions. Story: The plot in the Tom and Jerry show is extremely simple revolving around a cat chasing a mouse. Nonetheless, the Tom and Jerry show amazingly managed to add a ton of creativity to the story! Tom and Jerry could be exciting and suspenseful due to its unpredictability! The anticipation of what you knew was going to happen filled you with dread. When other characters were introduced, the Tom and Jerry show became more interesting as Tom had to try different approaches to catch Jerry! I loved how the pacing of Tom and Jerry was chaotic. Sometimes, characters moved at a slow pace. Other times, they moved very fast only to stop completely and move at a slow or medium pace. I disliked how Tom and Jerry talked sometimes. It didn't feel like they would authentically talk. It feels like they were forced to because the creators couldn't think of nonverbal ways of expressing themselves. Gene Deitch's Tom and Jerry stayed true to the original to some degree while adding a new interpretation to the show. Tom's owner was really disturbing! He was brutal and sadistic. He made the show more dreadful to watch! Chuck Jone's version of the Tom and Jerry show was probably the weakest of them all. Some episodes were good and funny but they didn't have the same energy as the original. I love Chuck Jone's other works such as Looney Tunes but I didn't think he was suitable for Tom and Jerry. His version of Tom and Jerry felt more like Looney Tunes. Chuck Jones' specialty is Looney Tunes. I felt Tom and Jerry didn't have strong nonverbal communication in Chuck's version compared to previous versions. The pacing of Tom and Jerry in Chuck Jones' version felt too consistent compared to the original. Chuck's version didn't feel as chaotic as the original Tom and Jerry show. Soundtrack: I loved the swing jazz in the original Tom and Jerry show! What makes Tom and Jerry special is the music. Though the Tom and Jerry show had little to no dialogue, you can feel the characters talking to you through the mostly instrumental music. It's the music that expresses the characters' excitement, curiosity, sadness, joy, etc. It shows you what they're doing. The music makes the characters look like heroes. The music constantly shifted from style to style. It could be melodic and full of energy only to abruptly stop then play at a slower tempo. The Tom and Jerry soundtrack had no set structure. It felt chaotic and improvised which brought the show to life! Gene Deitch's version was close to the original Tom and Jerry's soundtrack. Chuck Jones' version was good but the soundtrack was too predictable at times. For example, music with the same pace and rhythm plays for several episodes during chase scenes. Theme: The overall theme of the Tom and Jerry show is life is chaotic. Tom and Jerry appeal to me so much because there are technically no heroes or villains. Tom and Jerry both have heroic and villainous traits. Both have the same goals but different means of achieving them. Jerry might be small but he's intelligent. Tom might be big but he's not as intelligent as Jerry. They might be friends one day but enemies the next. Life's not what it seems. Overall, I felt Hanna and Barbera's Tom and Jerry was a classic masterpiece! Tom and Jerry show is a must-have collection, especially for fans of animated cartoons! If you want to read more, check my blog post! http://artfromthehumansoul.blogspot.com/2022/09/tom-and-jerry-show-review.html
  2. It is, perhaps, the most neglected genre of cinema. The sponsored promotional film never gets its proper respect, any more than your average TV commercial. To be fair, it is hard to analyze films that often lack story-lines or feature major stars, although some of the animated cartoons get modest attention in small circles. Not surprisingly, they were ignored at Oscar time (with one exception listed far below) because Hollywood's bigwigs didn't view them as particularly “worthy”. Nonetheless they existed and some of those spared from the death of nitrate decomposition are quite cinematic and innovative. The two companies I am profiling here were focused in the Detroit and Chicago areas, but with multiple branch offices across the U.S. and in foreign countries as well: Jam Handy Organization and Wilding Picture Productions a.k.a. Wilding, Inc. Because so many films produced by these two were rarely documented even in their own time, outside of select periodicals like Business Screen (1938-1973), it is quite a chore gathering information about them. Hopefully this thread can encourage others to provide a much better listing than mine. This is a history that should not be ignored. Rick Prelinger, a key archivist, has helped spare Jam Handy's name from the ravages of time, providing a mini-history in Films that Work: Industrial Film and the Productivity of Media (edited by Vinzenz Hediger and Patrick Vonderau, Amsterdam University Press, 2009) and uploading a log book for that company, ending abruptly in the '60s, to the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/JHOProdLog3/page/n0 As a film producer, Handy was enormously prolific. For a time, more film stock was being processed in Detroit, Michigan than by several major studios in California combined. Henry Jameson “Jam” Handy was very energetic and dedicated-to-healthy-living, being once part of the Illinois Athletic Club water polo team in the 1924 Olympics and an active swimmer well into his nineties. He started making movies sometime in the 1910s with his first company started during World War I with Herbert Kaufman assisting (as stated in Anthony Slide's The New Dictionary of the American Film Industry, Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998). Much of his early work was in the field of animated cartoons, particularly diagram films for the armed services. While he never became the next Walt Disney, he did maintained his own animation department for a rather long time and even employed the great Max Fleischer at one point. The first official “Jam Handy” productions began circulation around 1922 (with this list's earliest title date) and his settling in Detroit the following year. His first sound productions arrived around 1930 and, by 1932, he was expanding with a new facility at 2900 East Grand Boulevard. At its peak, JHO (Jam Handy Organization) employed 600. In addition to the above mentioned animation department, there were two full orchestras that rivaled any out west, a processing lab and mobile projection vans that provided a newsreel you-are-there quality on screen almost equal to Fox Movietone. Technicolor was being utilized by 1936, three years after his arch rival Wilding Picture Productions (as discussed farther below). Initially the process was used for animated cartoons and select Alka Seltzer and Norge live-action ads, but one special two-reeler made for the New York World's Fair of '39 and CocaCola, Refreshment Through The Years, became so popular that many historians have incorrectly labeled it as the first all-color “sales film”. Because Technicolor was still an expensive luxury, Cinecolor and AnscoColor were tested as alternatives until 16mm Kodachrome (and later Ektachrome) became the favored choice for most industrial films. Eastmancolor arrived in 1952, alternating with Technicolor in the 35mm format. Three films utilized SuperScope in the fifties, all absolutely gorgeous productions that still maintain interest today: American Engineer, American Look and American Maker. Almost half of the JOH product was bankrolled by General Motors which, at the time, was the most profitable manufacturing company in America. The vast majority promoted the Chevrolet division, but some involved Pontiac, Buick and Oldsmobile divisions while, curiously, ignoring Cadillac for the most part. The relationship between film producer Handy and GM was mutually beneficial with the former keeping production costs down and only demanding the smallest take on any profits while the latter received all of the much needed advertising on both big theatrical and smaller household screens. GM's competitors like Chrysler, Ford, American Motors and Packard also utilized Jam Handy's services on occasion, but Chrysler and Ford's auto divisions had a more exclusive deal with Wilding. GM remained Jam Handy's chief supporter through the summer of 1971 when he helped one of his top assistants, William H. Sandy, branch out on his own by transferring over to him the lofty $5 million account, as covered by a New York Times article on September 7th of that year. Earlier, in the autumn of 1969, JHO became a part of Reeves Teletape and began decreasing the number of actual motion pictures but still maintaining a prolific output of 16mm filmstrips, a staple of the business since the thirties (but not covered on this thread). The company was still quite large at that time with additional sales branches in Chicago, New York City, Hollywood and Toronto. Yet after Sandy branched off with his own company, very few actual movies were made and most often these were done by other production companies with Handy merely providing some financial backing and expertise. By 1979, video cassettes had completely replaced filmstrips and these included some rather interesting car maintenance “how to” guides. By the time of his passing at age 97, his company was down to just two key employees but it still stayed afloat for a few more years mostly in video production. The Grand Boulevard studio was taken over for a period by Faith for Miracles for a series of religious TV shows. The building still stands today almost by default. In recent years, it has hosted a few film retrospectives and have preserved some of the Handy legacy. Although little effort was made to save the Jam Handy films for preservation, a surprising number survive because they are literally everywhere in private collections and thanks to Prelinger and others considering them worthy of rediscovery. Their aim was to sell and educate first and entertain secondly; sugar coated education is one way to describe them. A few even featured familiar faces like comedian Edgar Kennedy in the delightful The Other Fellow and soon to be famous Karl Malden in Joe's Kid. Others can best be described as “retro” entertainment, particularly those made in the shallow consumerist fifties with an emphasis on happy housewives fussing over the latest appliances from Westinghouse and Frigidaire. Yet thought provoking documentaries like Both Sides Of The Equation, directed by John MacDonald as late as 1970, are certainly worth a second look. Two personal favorites of mine: This one from 1936 starts with a solarized image of the workers appearing as if they are reliefs formed in some imaginary metal plate. Many of the Handy films of this period invite comparison to the contemporary British documentary “school”, highlighted by the GPO Film Unit and John Grierson, in that they emphasize how The Common Man is both the brains and muscle behind every machine. The narration on this next 1958 production was done by the mighty Marvin Miller of CBS radio's The Whistler, UPA cartoons and Warner Brothers travelogues. He also voiced Aquaman on Saturday morning TV. This exposé on mid-century design is a delightful overkill for the wide screen... perhaps it suggests that 1950s society was as trapped in the same geometric patterns as the trendy furnishings and wallpaper designs showcased? It then progresses towards a “soft sell” of Chevrolet's latest model ready to roll off the assembly line for '59. Jam Handy Organization Checklist Below is the far from complete list of the short films that is hopefully easier to read than past Shortie Checklist posts. If “one reel” is mention, it can run anywhere from a minute to eleven minutes and I will have to provide actual minutes (m) and seconds (s) later when/if that information becomes available. Two reels is roughly twenty minutes, three thirty and so on. Obviously black and white is indicated as “bw”. First up, a brief list of Jam Handy's feature films: General Motors: Around The World (General Motors Export) / bw & silent-49m / January 1928 / video: https://archive.org/details/GeneralM1927 / video: https://archive.org/details/GeneralM1927_2 / video: https://archive.org/details/GeneralM1927_3 / video: https://archive.org/details/GeneralM1927_4 Every Third Wheel (Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.- John A. Freese) / bw-8 reels / February 27, 1931 (listed in production by Film Daily) Keep 'Em Holding (Thermoid Co.) / bw-60m / January 15, 1941 Doctor In Industry: The Story Of Kenneth W. Randall (General Motors Corp.- Harford Kerbawy) bw-55m / February 22, 1946 / video: https://archive.org/details/0217_Doctor_in_Industry Strange Interview (General Motors Corp.- Herbert Kerbawy) / bw-60m / © March 6, 1947 On Guard For Complete Engine Protection (Fram Corp.) / color (16mm)-59m / April 27, 1949 The Safest Thing On Wheels (Thermoid Co.) / bw-52m / June 20, 1949 All That I Have (Church of God) / bw-57m / July 17, 1953 Handy's first TV show was done on June 11, 1946 for the Dumont and ABC Networks just before the former's official launch. As expected, Chevrolet promoted this untitled production. I don't get into live TV productions here, but do list (again, in a very generalized way) some of the 35mm shot TV commercials.
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