The Duck Doctor and Cartoon Mortality

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Our little one (Willow) has become a hard-core Tom & Jerry addict. One who requires/demands her fix of cat-on-mouse ultra-violence every evening before bed. No complaints from me.

One of her current faves is The Duck Doctor (1952): featuring a cute (but reckless) duckling who Tom wants to shoot and Jerry tries to protect. She seems especially fond of duck-based Tom & Jerry cartoons, and there were quite a few (Just Ducky, Downhearted Duckling, Southbound Duckling). All voiced by Red Coffee – a guy who built his modest career on an ability to, um, sound like an adorable baby duck.

Anyway…what separates Duck Doctor from the pack is this: Tom dies at the end. Not, "cartoon dies" (as in, he's miraculously restored in the next scene), but dies dies. An anvil cracks him on the head, he falls into a grave he's dug for himself, the anvil becomes his headstone, and the cartoon ends. He's dead. DEAD! See for yourself.

Of course he was back (none the worse for wear) a month later in the next theatrical short (The Two Mouseketeers), but for that month he was, as far as any traumatised 1950s kid was concerned, dead.

There are a few other T&J 'toons that end without the normal restoration, but I think this is the only one that actually ends with a grave! It's pretty unsettling (although Willow doesn't seem remotely bothered by it).

November 9, 2012

One response to The Duck Doctor and Cartoon Mortality

  1. Madeleine said:

    Came across your blog through the blogroll along the side of the Irish Time online. I wonder if Willow has a love of the dramatic and tragic – my 4 year old certainly does and loves the part of Molly Malone where she dies of a fever…usually wants me to skip straight to that part if I am singing to her (though maybe it’s just a nice way of her getting me to stop singing sooner..).

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