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The Night Before Christmas (1941 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Night Before Christmas
Directed bySupervised by:
William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Additional supervisor:
Rudolf Ising (uncredited)
Story byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera (both uncredited)
Based on the poem by:
Clement Clarke Moore (uncredited)
Produced byFred Quimby (uncredited)
Rudolf Ising (uncredited)
William Hanna (co-producer, uncredited)
StarringWilliam Hanna
Harry E. Lang (both uncredited)
Narrated byFrank Graham (uncredited)
Music byScott Bradley (uncredited)
Animation byUncredited animation:
George Gordon
Bill Littlejohn
Cecil Surry
Irven Spence
Jack Zander
Layouts byHarvey Eisenberg
Robert Gentle
Backgrounds byJoseph Smith
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • December 6, 1941 (1941-12-06)
Running time

The Night Before Christmas is a 1941 American one-reel animated cartoon and is the third Tom and Jerry short directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera,[1] produced by Fred Quimby and animated by Jack Zander, George Gordon, Irven Spence and Bill Littlejohn. It was nominated for the 1941 Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons, but lost to the Mickey Mouse short film Lend a Paw, making it the only Tom and Jerry cartoon to lose to a Disney film.[2][3][4]

This third cartoon uses what has become the basic "cat stalks mouse" premise, but also hints at a softening in Tom Cat's character: when Jerry is out in the freezing cold, Tom worries about him, indicating that the rivalry between them may not be entirely a fight to the death.[5]


It's Christmas Eve and nothing is stirring. But Jerry emerges from his hole avoiding a Christmas-themed mousetrap placed by his hole. Jerry nears the Christmas presents, jumping merrily around the tree, licking candy canes and jumping onto a plush toy lion that squeaks. Jerry continues jumping on the soft toy, but bounces too hard and lands on Tom, who he inadvertently wakes up. Tom snarls and just before he can eat Jerry, the quick-thinking mouse grabs a nearby "Do Not Open 'Til Xmas" sticker and slaps it on Tom's mouth.

Jerry is chased among the myriad of toys (briefly stopping to fire a trick field gun's cork stopper at Tom) and hides inside a Christmas fairy light, causing him to glow. Not fooled, Tom grabs Jerry and is promptly electrocuted. Jerry hides among some toy soldiers, but Tom spots him and the mouse runs off, saluting the cat like a real soldier would. Tom chases Jerry but is stopped by the barrier of a miniature level crossing. A toy train passes by, with many carriages. Jerry sits on top of the caboose, waving cheekily at Tom and pulling faces. As the train enters a model of a tunnel and Jerry hits his head, knocking him onto the track. He runs through the tunnel, pursued by Tom, who knocks the tunnel over. Jerry hides inside a boxing glove and boxes the puzzled cat in the face before running off behind the Christmas tree. Tom, now arming himself with a boxing glove of his own, follows him and spots him jumping into a jack-in-the-box. Opening up the box, Tom is punched by the boxing glove stuck on Jack's head and is knocked out. Jerry jumps out and holds it up in victory like a boxing referee.

Tom chases Jerry once again, but Jerry holds out a piece of mistletoe in front of him and persuades an embarrassed Tom to kiss him. Tom blushes and while his back is turned, Jerry kicks him in the rear. The mouse darts through the letterbox slot into the outdoors. As Tom opens the lid of the letterbox to see where Jerry has gone, Jerry hurls a snowball at his face. Tom angrily barricades the slot to prevent Jerry from getting back into the house.

While Jerry trudges up and down in the heavy snow in a vain attempt to keep warm, Tom fluffs up his cushion and prepares to sleep. He is unable to settle himself; heavenly choirs sing carols breaking their silence, pricking Tom's conscience with the message of Christmas peace and goodwill. He first props open the slot to allow Jerry back in and when the mouse does not reappear, ventures anxiously outside to find a hypothermic Jerry, frozen into a solid popsicle. Fearing for Jerry's life, he brings the frozen mouse indoors and warms him up by the fire, saving his life. Slowly, Jerry regains consciousness but is still wary of the cat. Tom hands Jerry a candy cane, his Christmas present. A delighted Jerry licks his cane, but then quickly reacts to prevent Tom drinking from his bowl of milk. He dips his cane into the bowl and a loud snap is heard. Jerry uses the cane to fish a mousetrap that he had earlier planted in the bowl. Tom appreciates Jerry's warning and the mouse runs back to his hole. He uses his candy cane to hook the cheese off the mousetrap. Instead of snapping like a usual mousetrap does, however, the spring slowly comes down, ringing the tune of "Jingle Bells" as Jerry smiles in admiration to the "musical mousetrap".

Voice cast


  • Supervised by: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
  • Additional Supervision: Rudolf Ising
  • Story: Joseph Barbera, William Hanna
  • Animation: George Gordon, Bill Littlejohn, Irven Spence, Jack Zander, Cecil Surry, Michael Lah, Pete Burness, Kenneth Muse, Ray Abrams, Carl Urbano
  • Backgrounds: Joseph Smith
  • Music: Scott Bradley
  • Co-Producer: William Hanna
  • Produced by: Fred Quimby, Rudolf Ising


  • Tom & Jerry's 50th Birthday Classics 3[6]
  • Tom & Jerry's The Night Before Christmas[7]
  • The Art of Tom & Jerry Vol. 1, Side 1[8]
  • HBO Max


This short was aired as part of the MeTV Christmas special titled "MeTV's Super Colossal Cartoon Christmas" that was hosted by characters from Toon In with Me and Svengoolie.

See also


  1. ^ Maltin, Leonard (1987). Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons (Revised ed.). Plume. p. 289. ISBN 0-452-25993-2.
  2. ^ "The 14th Academy Awards (1942) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
  3. ^ Rowan, Terry (2014). Having a Wonderful Christmas Time Film Guide. ISBN 9781312140455 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Crump, William D. (September 4, 2013). The Christmas Encyclopedia, 3d ed. McFarland. ISBN 9780786468270 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Sennett, Ted (1989). The Art of Hanna-Barbera: Fifty Years of Creativity. Studio. p. 21. ISBN 978-0670829781. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  6. ^ "..:: The Tom and Jerry Online :: An Unofficial Site : TOM AND JERRY DVD/VHS::." Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  7. ^ "Tom & Jerry's The Night Before Christmas - The Internet Animation Database". Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  8. ^ "LaserDisc Database - Art of Tom & Jerry, The: Volume I [ML102682]". Retrieved 14 February 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 25 September 2022, at 00:39
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