Pencil Mania (1932)
Article 5609 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by John Foster and Vernon Stallings
Featuring the voice of Margie Hines
What it is: Tom and Jerry (you know who they’re not) cartoon
Tom has a magic pencil that can create things that come to life… or is it Jerry who has the pencil..?
You know, I just realized that after sitting through several of these cartoons, I don’t know which of the characters is Tom and which is Jerry. Not that it matters; in terms of personalities, they’re nonentities, and only exist as catalysts for the gags. The magic pencil is the extra level of fantastic content here, making this cartoon a bit more on the level of a “Felix the Cat” cartoon, which is a marked improvement of the proceedings; in fact, I’ll go so far as to say that it’s the best of the T&J cartoons I’ve seen so far. The second half of the cartoon is mostly a parody of mellerdrammers, though things do get pretty surreal, especially with a train that vanishes into the Twilight Zone. If you’re really curious about this series, this is the one to catch.