Friends, welcome back to a new installment of Toon In – where we take a look at an animated short worthy of your precious viewing time. This week, since the Holiday is almost upon us, we have for your viewing pleasure the 1941 MGM theatrical short The Night Before Christmas featuring Tom and Jerry. An interesting fact is this particular cartoon was originally going to be entitled …Not Even A Mouse but was changed to it’s current title at some point when it went into production. Not only does it mark the third animated outing for Tom and Jerry but it also happened to be the very last pre-war cartoon for the duo.
As this is an early Tom and Jerry animated short, you will probably notice a few differences in not just how the characters behave in The Night Before Christmas but how they look as well. Now don’t get me wrong, Jerry is still cute as a button but like in some of the earlier animated shorts in the series he seems to be a little more of a stinker. Tom at least in this cartoon appears to take most of the abuse – having said that there are more than a couple of brilliant gags in this short. Fun fact, when I saw this in my youth, it was the first time I ever encountered ‘Xmas’. Thankfully my Grandmother was on hand while I was watching it to explain it to me and thanks to this short I started writing ‘Do Not Open Till Xmas’ on all the gifts.
In The Night Before Christmas we find Jerry the mouse, avoiding a bow wrapped piece of cheese in a trap, to venture out and explore the house on the eve before the Holiday. This means navigating some probably strange Holiday items for the little guy but of course his biggest obstacle is Tom. Who until Jerry mistakes him for a stuffed animal honestly seems just content to sleep next to the crackling fireplace. Soon the chase is on, it’s pretty lighthearted fare compared to some of the more violent situations you will find in later Tom and Jerry cartoons…that is until Tom locks Jerry outside of the house in a snowstorm.
Naturally with this animated short, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1942 – the Spirit of the Season is in effect…but the question is if Tom has realized the error of his ways before it’s too late.