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Western Animation / Blue Cat Blues

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Blue Cat Blues is an animated short released by MGM in 1956, directed and produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera with music by Scott Bradley, starring the iconic duo of Tom and Jerry.

Unusual for a Tom and Jerry short, Jerry "speaks" by narrating the story in a voiceover (supplied by Paul Frees); however, since said narration comes via Inner Monologue, the short doesn't break the "cardinal rule" of not having Tom and Jerry physically speaking on screen.

Also unusual for a T&J-short, is that while pretty much all other shorts for the series have a comical storyline and usually a happy ending (or at least a funny ending), this short is surprisingly sad and the only one to have a truly tragic ending.

Because of this—along with the very heavy implications that the iconic duo ends up committing suicide at the end—this short (which did air a few times in the late 1980s into the 1990s, back when TBS and TNT aired animated shorts, older movies, and general audience programming) rarely, if ever, airs on television (American and otherwise). Good luck trying to find it.


Provides examples of:

  • Absurdly-Long Limousine: When Butch pulls up in his limousine, it takes 10 seconds for the front half to fully be in view and 8 seconds for the limousine to go out of view.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The cartoon ends with the duo sitting depressed on the train track awaiting their fate. The train whistle blows in the distance just as the cartoon fades out.
  • Comically Lopsided Rivalry: Replacing "Comically" with "Dramatically" — Tom completely loses everything trying to obtain things that Butch can top a million-fold in the blink of an eye and decides to kill himself once it's clear it was All for Nothing.
  • Darker and Edgier: Probably the darkest Tom & Jerry short ever, considering it literally ends with the duo completely depressed and waiting for a train to run them over.
  • Downer Ending: In the words of Cracked: "Tom & Jerry Get Depressed, Kill Themselves."
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  • Driven to Suicide: After their girlfriends leave them for wealthier men, it's very strongly implied that Tom and Jerry end up dying through suicide-by-train at the end of the short.
  • Drowning My Sorrows in Milk: This is what Tom does after the white cat ultimately chooses Butch over him.
  • Friend Versus Lover: In the beginning, the cat and mouse were friends (sharing a glass of lemonade together and Tom allowing Jerry to have more after accidentally sucking him into his mouth as an apology), that is until Tom falls madly in love with the white cat and ignores Jerry throughout the cartoon. Even when Tom has given up hope trying to win over the white cat, he still pushes Jerry away despite his pleas and his saving him from his suicide attempt.
  • Gold Digger: The white cat that Tom falls in love with turns out to be this, blithely leaving Tom for the obscenely wealthy Butch. Most fans view Jerry’s girlfriend Toots (who looks like the mouse version of the white cat) as this as well, but it’s implied that if Toots was this, she was more subtle about it since the revelation came as a shock to Jerry or at least because Jerry didn't know he had competition until he saw that Toots got married.
  • Hate Sink: The white cat is clearly written with the allegory of 'beware of Gold Diggers because they will ruin your life', and even Jerry is aware she's bad news, thus she is the Hate Sink of the short, not Butch, despite him one-upping Tom all the time. (Toots's situation was not shown or had too little screen time or narrative weight to count). Also, she got away with ruining Tom's life.
  • How We Got Here: The cartoon opens with an utterly miserable Tom sitting on train tracks waiting for a train to come and end his life for him. Jerry, feeling bad for his Friendly Enemy, explains how Tom became the wreck he is now...
  • Love Makes You Dumb: That said, part of the reason why the white cat is a Karma Houdini is that love makes Tom incredibly dumb. And crazy. And eventually suicidal.
  • Mad Love: Tom does everything ... and we mean everything ... to win back the white cat. He spends everything he has and willingly sells himself off to slavery to win her over. The episode makes it clear that the white cat was never really interested in him, and he learns this the hard way when she marries a richer guy.
  • Mood Whiplash: The already melancholy story takes a really dark twist when Jerry discovers his gal has been cheating on him too. In a meta-sense, watching this short alongside pretty much any other short in the Tom & Jerry canon can provoke this in spades.
  • Oddball in the Series: Jerry narrates the short through a Private Eye Monologue (though neither he nor Tom are shown physically speaking). There's also little slapstick to be found, and the plot's opening premise is that Tom and Jerry have always been friends; Tom doesn't chase Jerry once!
    • Also out of the ordinary is that Butch is portrayed as being an extremely wealthy playboy cat, whereas almost all his other appearances have shown him to be an alley cat.
  • Perpetual Expression: The female cat has a completely still face the entire short.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Tom's the poor suitor to Butch's rich suitor for the affections of the white cat (whose name has never been revealed but is confirmed to not be Toodles Galore). And because of his vast wealth, Butch is able to get the white cat much larger and more extravagant versions of the gifts that Tom got her:
    1. While Tom gave her a single purple flower, Butch gave her a large (as in as big as her) pink-and-red floral wreath with "Love From Butch" written on it in yellow.
    2. After Tom gave her a single (and rather small) bottle of perfume, an enormous tanker truck full of perfume (with a "Love From Butch" note attached to it) drove up to the white cat's house.
    3. When Tom presented her with a diamond ring (but one with a diamond so small that you needed a magnifying glass just to see it), the white cat revealed that Butch had already given her a diamond ring of his own, but one with a diamond so big and shiny that you couldn't even look at it without eye protection of some kind (in this case, Tom and the white cat wore welding masks to look at the ring).
    4. Tom's final gift to the white cat was a car that he literally had to give his arm, his leg and had sold himself into slavery for, but the car was an old, outdated jalopy that's ultimately flattened when Butch runs his much longer and more luxurious coupe over it.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Jerry very clearly feels bad for the sorry state his old Friendly Enemy is left in.
  • Tempting Fate: As bad as Jerry feels for Tom, he at least takes comfort in the fact that his girlfriend would never leave him, right?
  • Too Gruesome for Cartoon Physics: Opens with Tom sitting on a railroad bridge, eyes bloodshot, and fur matted, for reasons unknown. Jerry then offers a Whole Episode Flashback explaining that Tom fell in love with a beautiful white cat that demanded expensive presents, leading him to repeatedly borrow more and more money until he literally sold himself into slavery to appease her, only for the white cat to dump him for someone else. He's now at the end of his rope, and Jerry laughs that he'd never allow that to happen to him—and then immediately sees his own mouse girlfriend driving around with another guy. Jerry's appearance becomes just as haggard as Tom's, and he goes and sits next to the cat, with both staring wordlessly off into the horizon. And why are they sitting on the bridge? They've been Driven to Suicide. The final moments of the short have a train's whistle gradually getting louder and louder...and then we cut to black. Talk about your Downer Ending.
  • Wham Shot: When Jerry's girlfriend Toots drives by with another mouse after Jerry started talking about how his own girlfriend has seemingly remained faithful to him. Unlike Tom, though, Jerry knows better than to spend vastly to win her back — but sadly, like Tom, Jerry knows he has no hopes of winning her heart, especially since Toots got married to the other mouse, and decides to commit suicide.