Chuck Jones’ Tom & Jerry

The Chuck Jones Tom & Jerry cartoons of the 1960s are a mixed bag. There are a couple of good ones (I really like The Cat Above, The Mouse Below and The Cat’s Me-Ouch for example) and a whole bunch of mediocre ones. But one thing that most agree is that the films themselves look great thanks to Maurice Noble’s layouts, Jones character designs and the first rate professionalism of his crew. MGM/UA released a laser disc boxed set of these back in the 1990s (which was marred by awful DVNR clean-up technology, which essentially ruined the cartoons one redeeming value: the animation). Now Warner Bros. is making up for that with two-disc DVD collection of digitally remastered cartoons. Tom & Jerry: Chuck Jones Collection features 34 Tom & Jerry shorts and two bonus documentaries: Peggy Stern’s Chuck Jones: Memories of A Childhood (which airs March 24th at 8pm on TCM) and an original doc, produced by our friends at New Wave Entertainment: Tom and Jerry… and Chuck. It goes on sale June 23rd.

For more information on Chuck Jones check out the new blog devoted to the director, by his grandson Craig Kausen: Chuck Redux blog

(Thanks, Dave Lambert and Larry Levine)


  • Daniel Spencer

    These cartoons have been released on DVD in the UK on the Tom and Jerry Complete Collectors Edition along with all the other Gene Deitch ones. Although they may not be as good quality as this new remastered release. The new documentaries are quite a bonus too.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    I actually like quite a bunch of them. They are not as good as H-B ones but most of them are enjoyable. I really like Penthouse Mouse, the abstraction in Ah, Sweet Mouse Story Of Life, the sweetness in Love Me, Love My Mouse, the fun in Haunted Mouse, the charm in Snowbody Loves Me, the parody in The Mouse from HUNGER, the fun in Rock N’ Rodent and the dark humor in The Year Of The Mouse (am I the only one who finds some similarities with one of the initial sequences of Ratatouille with two mices-one brown and the other one grey blue- on the top of a roof?).

    At least all those were very good in my opinion. Others were more meh and forgettable (the likes of Advanced and Be Mechanized).

  • http://www.karrotanimation.com Jamie B

    That cover art is just perfect! The spotlight collections had desperately mediocre covers, but this typifies the Jones era wonderfully, without trying to pretend that the cartoons were anything more than they were. It’s an unlikely request in an age of low disc count boxsets, but a 6 disc chronological H-B set with their best title/logo card for the cover would be outstanding now Warners are seemingly interested in doing things right by the series!

  • http://segaltoons.com Steve Segal

    Chuck Jones is a God, and his Tom & Jerrys are OK, I guess. But where’s the Tex Avery at MGM DVD? They were on laser disk, it’s time for a definite DVD release. C’mon they are some of the best cartoons of all time. Jerry, I know you’ve been pushing for it, so I’m not attacking you. But they are scraping the bottom of the MGM theatrical barrel and had to throw away the cream at the top to get to it.

  • Jason

    It’s obvious why Jones was picked to direct new Tom and Jerrys: his most famous creation, the Road Runner, was also in the prey-and-predator vein. But the knockabout sensibilities of T and J weren’t a good fit for Jones IMO. T and J had no personality, whereas Chuck’s Coyote was loaded with it (and his Roadrunner at least had attitude). The cartoons he created for T and J look nice, but they ring false. Plus his Tom needed an eyebrow waxing STAT!

  • http://www.swordandsarcasm.com/ Chuck Fiala

    That’s wonderful news! I bought the laser disc box many years ago, and loved it in spite of the flaws. I’m glad everything will be cleaned up on the new set. I’m not sure if the cartoons are funny or not, but they are nice to look at. The Chuck Jones poses on these are favorites of mine. I can’t wait to see these in pristine condition!

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    >>T and J had no personality >>
    Are you talking about Tom and Jerry in Chuck Jones cartoons or in general? Cause Tom and Jerry do have strong personalities in H-B shorts and I believe they still keep some of their traits with Jones.

  • Jody Morgan

    Is there any confirmation that the DVD set won’t repeat the DVNR mistakes of the laserdisc set? I recently got the Droopy set, and the (over)use of DVNR on those cartoons ranges form bad to intolerable.

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com Jerry Beck

    Jody Morgan – While I haven’t seen the finished discs yet myself, I will confirm they are not using the masters from the MGM/UA laser disc, or any previous release of these cartoons. WB is well aware of the DVNR problems of the Droopy set and, as far as I know, are being very careful to do these right.

  • http://www.slangmansworld.com Ron

    Being a fan of Kiss’s version of the Ramones’: “Rock and Roll Radio” and Jane’s Addiction’s version of “Sympathy for the devil”, may I say I love when artists put their own spin on an established canon. I wish more cartoon directors with a distinctive personal style would do this. Bakshi did it with Mighty Mouse. John K. did it with Yogi Bear and the Jetsons. Even Genndy Tartakofsky did it with Star Wars. Wouldn’t it have been cool if Walt had let Chuck “Jonesify” the Disney characters while Chuck was at that studio? One can only imagine.

  • Jorge Garrido

    YES! I’m one of the few who LOVE these cartoons, I have ever since I was a little kid, and will definately be buying this the day it comes out!

  • J Lee

    Jones’ T&Js really aren’t that bad, though some of the final ones he did suffered from trying to be too clever and cute, causing the cartoon to come to a dead stop. It’s the Abe Levitow ones that are the most disappointing — he tried to take a harder edge than Chuck did with the characters, but working within the Jones unit’s sensibilities, the added violence (almost all on Tom) mixed in with the attempts at cuteness gave the audience too much time to focus on the pain of the gag without just going on to the next one.

  • Anna

    *le sigh* WB is never gonna do MGM Tex Avery disk are they…

    yaay, more T&J releases! *is excited*
    Jones episodes aren’t as amazing as H-B run (I’m sorry! the Looney Tunes parallels just kept screaming at me) but “Of Feline Bondage” is sooooo fun!!

  • Nancy K.

    “Bakshi did it with Mighty Mouse. John K. did it with Yogi Bear and the Jetsons. Even Genndy Tartakofsky did it with Star Wars.”

    “Interesting” didn’t make these good cartoons. Mighty Mouse was good because of the writing of Jim Reardon, Tom Minton, Andrew Stanton, and Jeff Pigeon. The new Yogi/Jetsons cartoons were an abomination. One could forgive them for being ugly, but not for being relentlessly unfunny. And the Star Wars shorts were rather blah.

  • BJ Wanlund

    WOW! Glad WB finally is putting these out on DVD! Loved most of the Chuck T&J cartoons, including all the ones set in space, including Advance or Be Mechanized, probably one of the funniest T&J cartoons ever.

  • Jay Taylor

    Pass! I’d also rather see a Tex Avery dvd, or even an MGM dvd. Still trying to hunt those down on laserdisc…

  • Pedro Nakama

    In my opinion Chuck Jones’ best work was the Road Runner cartoons.

  • http://www.slangmansworld.com Ron

    Nancy K. – “Interesting” didn’t make these good cartoons. Mighty Mouse was good because of the writing of Jim Reardon, Tom Minton, Andrew Stanton, and Jeff Pigeon. The new Yogi/Jetsons cartoons were an abomination. One could forgive them for being ugly, but not for being relentlessly unfunny. And the Star Wars shorts were rather blah.”

    I agree with you except for Star Wars. I only brought it up because I like to see another take on an established character. There was another take on the Flinstones that was done recently… I don’t remember the title but I think it had to do with “Rockapulco”. I felt it was very well done. Kept the spirit of the original while adding somethng new and distinctive.

  • uncle wayne

    I never saw a ONE of these films until i moved to N.Y. (in ’78!) I was brought up with (long-running) CBS show from the mid-60s…the REAL films….with only interstitials, by Jones. I always found it odd that they (the fillers) looked an awwwwwful lot like the Grinch!! It made sense, later, that (CBS’) Grinch, & the CBS hit show, both were from the same year….and that Jones had (alas…i found out….& quickly) done those 60s MGM T&Js!! But my seeing Grinch preluded my seeing the 60s T&Js!! How it alllllllll (finally finally) made sense!!

    But after a [healthy] dosage of “the real thing”, the 60s T&Js, to me, were almost as horrid as 60s’ Popeyes….in comparison!!

  • Joe Torcivia

    My real hope was for one final Tom and Jerry set with all the Chuck Jones and Gene Deitch shorts, along with the remaining Hanna and Barbera shorts that didn’t make it onto the Spotlight Collections and maybe the Spike and Tyke shorts too.

    But, I’m pleased to get this!

    I’m afraid, though, that separating the Jones and Deitch shorts severely lessens the chance of the Deitch shorts ever being released. Coupled with Jones’ work, they would have been more marketable than on their own.

    Maybe one last “Theatrical T&J Collection” could be squeezed out with Deitch, and the unreleased H-B stuff, Spike and Tyke, and maybe a few other odd MGM’s… but I doubt it.

    Grumble, Grumble… Dicky Moe… Grumble, Grumble!

  • OliverB

    Incredible that these cartoons are getting a classier release than the MGM films.

    Why doesn’t WHV go back to the source elements of the original T&J shorts and do a proper restoration of these films and reissue them in a complete and comprehensive package before bothering with these bland, mediocre cartoons…

    • Snowpetal

      I couldn’t agree more! The Chuck Jones T&J ‘s are cheesy and depressing.

    • Snowpetal

      I completely agree! The Chuck Jones T&J’s were cheesy and depressing.

  • Matthew K Sharp

    Joe Torcivia says “…lessens the chance of the Deitch shorts ever being released.”

    They have been released in the UK and other PAL territories (see http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0001Z65QM/ ), but you’d need a DVD player capable of running PAL Region 2 discs. They are out there, though!

    Personally I’d rather see WB focus on getting a good complete uncut set of Tex Averys out on DVD in preference to the Deitch T&J’s. And then if they want to drift back earlier into the 1930s MGM cartoons, well that’s fine by me too!

  • Christopher Cook

    Jones himself passed off his take on Tom & Jerry as “the Road Runner and Coyote in cat-and-mouse drag.”

    • damn

      which is what it was

  • http://www.awprunes.blogspot.com/ Larry Levine

    Wonderful news!!! (except the having to wait four months part)

    Does this include the two directed by Tom Ray which mixed new animation & H-B stock footage?

  • Brian Kidd

    Ron – “There was another take on the Flinstones that was done recently… I don’t remember the title but I think it had to do with “Rockapulco”. I felt it was very well done. Kept the spirit of the original while adding somethng new and distinctive.”

    I think you’re talking about THE FLINTSTONES ON THE ROCKS from 2001. It was styled after the original seasons of the show and was actually quite adult without being “adult” if you know what I mean. I enjoyed it immensely. I kick myself every once in a while that I didn’t record it when I had the chance, as I’m fairly sure it hasn’t aired since its original showings in ’01 on Cartoon Network. With all of the substandard Scooby stuff that gets dumped onto DVD on what seems like a monthly basis, it’s a shame that something that actually has a decent level of quality to it has been forgotten.

  • Robert Barker

    These are terrible. Chuck Jones’ nadir. 2009 is looking like a depressing year for DVD animation releases.

  • http://ryuuseipro.deviantart.com/ John Paul Cassidy

    Call me crazy, but I loved the Gene Deitch T&J shorts! Even as a kid. Sure, they’re considered artsy-fartsy and creepy, but they had a lot of edge to them. The colors and backgrounds were beautiful, and Stepan Konicek’s music gave the cartoons a really epic movie feel!

    On the other hand, Chuck Jones T&J cartoons, which are just okay, seem more like TV cartoon fare.

    That said, it’s great that Chuck Jones’ T&J cartoons are getting a set of their own, but I would really be hankerin’ for a Gene Deitch set one day.

  • Jim Engel

    I know it’s blasphemy, but I PREFER the Jones T&J. The H-B Tom & Jerrys weren’t on in my house as a kid in Chicago (late ’50s-early ’60s), so they were never ‘grandfathered’ into my cartoon-loving kid psyche the way a lot of even technically inferior stuff is. I’ve also never cared much for “silent” chase cartoons VS smart-ass cartoon animals, so…

    Anyway—when I all T&J cartoons way later, it’s the Jones ones I liked, because even though they are chase cartoons, they’re really lovely to LOOK at, and they seemed, I dunno–”hipper”…

    The Deitch T&J stuff still creeps me out, but Tom Terrific is a pretty wonderful laurel to rest on, so Deitch is okay by me.

  • Jim Engel

    …when I SAW all the T&J cartoons…

  • Gordan

    These are some of the best ‘classic’ theatrical cartoons from the 1960s, but as ‘Tom & Jerrys’, they fail miserably. Jones’ penchant for satire/parody did not resonate well in the series rooted in Chaplinesque pantomime and madcap slapstick comedy.

    Does anyone else feel that WHV is somewhat ‘misleading’ the casual shopper by depicting Tom as a more ‘classic’-looking character from the theatrical MGM (Hanna-Barbera) era as opposed to the more stylized Chuck Jones’ incarnation of the cat? Still, the DVD cover art is way better than what we got in those disappointing H-B sets….

  • Jody Morgan

    Thanks for the response, Jerry; now I am looking forward to this set! (Though not without a bit of trepidation, still…)

    Gordan:
    “Does anyone else feel that WHV is somewhat ‘misleading’ the casual shopper by depicting Tom as a more ‘classic’-looking character from the theatrical MGM (Hanna-Barbera) era as opposed to the more stylized Chuck Jones’ incarnation of the cat?”

    Well, as Jason pointed out in an earlier comment, Tom still needs an eyebrow waxing on the cover of the DVD set, so I think people’ll know which series is being promoted…

  • Bob Porrazzo

    The great thing about having a TV Station like WPIX Channel 11 was having them air a mix of the T&J films, including Chuck Jones’, Deitch and most of the theatrical ones, even some that were edited. The CinemaScope ones however were of very poor quality. One I can remember Mucho Mouse had the MGM title card squeezed in tight and the movie very distorted.

    The charm of the Jones T&J’s is the clever way in which the title card is done. You have Leo (or Tanner in the case here) roar, but he fades, and Tom appears, doing his mock roar. Then the circle becomes the O in Tom and Jerry pops in and Jerry flies in to land on in the Y. A clever variant on a logo for those who are fans of such a thing as I am.

    Will I buy? Given the economy and yes as big a T&J fan as I am, I WILL! The two toons you mention Jerry, I like them as well.

  • http://segaltoons.com Steve Segal

    Chuck Jones and Gene Deitch both admit that their versions of T&J are not that strong. Unfortunately they got hit with the double whammy of lower budgets and a mandate for less violence in cartoons.

  • Randy

    I read that these Tom and Jerrys were going to be presented on DVD in a matted for widescreen format of 1.85:1 rather than full frame (1.33:1). I’m glad WHV is doing that. Just about every non-Cinemascope theatrical cartoon from the mid ’50s on that I’ve had the opportunity to run theatrically looks fine run when shown that way. Many of them look better since directors and layout men had to concentrate all important action in the middle portion of the screen, anyway, leaving the top and bottom of the picture, compositionally, as dead space.

    (And apologies if two versions of this come through. AOL is not playing nice with me tonight.)

  • Jim

    The Hanna-Barbera version is way better than Chuck Jones

  • Stephen Rhodes Treadwell

    I disagree w/ the guy or girl who said Chuck Jones’ best cartoons were Road Runner cartoons. Road Runner is the dumbest cartoon ever made!

  • http://www.egsalon.org/ hair salon middletown

    tom and jerry is my favourite show. i usually watch this show.this is great show ever

  • Stephen Rhodes Treadwell

    I disagree about the HB T&J’s being much better than the CJ ones. His are almost as good. They’re way better than Road Runner cartoons. I also disagree about T&J not having personality in those cartoons. They have as much personality as the coyote & the road runner.

  • Stephen Rhodes Treadwell

    Tom & Jerry cartoons are better looking than Road Runner cartoons or anything else Looney Tunes.

  • moiz ahmed

    Tom & Jerry is the biggest cartoon show in history!