252. Heavenly Puss – William Hanna, Joseph Barbera

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SUMMARY: When Tom is crushed to death by an upright piano, he is allowed back to earth for one hour, during which he must get Jerry to sign a certificate of forgiveness or otherwise face an eternity in Hell with a satanic bulldog.

WHY IT’S HERE: One of the most ambitious Tom and Jerry cartoons in terms of its sumptuous look, ‘Heavenly Puss’ is also caught between sentimentalism and darkness. On the one hand, the idea of turning the usual chase into a chase for forgiveness which ultimately teaches Tom the value of Jerry is an idea dripping with moralistic saccharine. One the other hand, actually killing Tom, ramping up the stakes by adding a satanic bulldog into the mix and throwing in a joke about a bagfull of drowned kittens counterbalances this considerably. The result is a unique and beautiful cartoon that showed the Tom and Jerry franchise was still not in danger of running out of ideas.

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