133. The Bowling Alley Cat – William Hanna, Joseph Barbera

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SUMMARY: Tom and Jerry continue their on-going chase in a downtown bowling alley.

WHY IT’S HERE: By this, the seventh Tom and Jerry cartoon, the cat and mouse were established popular characters. However, for me this wonderful cartoon feels like the first time that the pace, tone and characterisations of the series at its best really began to crystallise. Unlike the later Sylvester and Tweety cartoons, which tended to replay the same chases and jokes in different locations, ‘The Bowling Alley-Cat’ showed Hanna and Barbera’s skill at adapting the action accordingly to each new context. Tom and Jerry would go on to meet in many other sporting locations, in films such as ‘Tennis Chumps’, ‘Tee for Two’ and ‘Cue Ball Cat’. Each time a new inventive set of themed gags were worked up. ‘The Bowling Alley Cat’ both epitomises this skilful writing and direction and sees the pace quickening, the gags getting more painful and the visuals more striking and atmospheric.

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