Giacchino Scores a New Tom and Jerry

Posted on September 2, 2005 by Dan Goldwasser

Everyone’s favorite cat-and-mouse duo, Tom and Jerry, are back in a new animated short film called "The Karateguard". Produced by legendary animator Joseph Barbera, and directed by Tony Cervone and Spike Brandt of "Duck Dodgers" fame, the short film retains the original look and feel of the 1940s "Tom and Jerry" animated shorts. For the past few years, the film has been slowly animated, until it got to the point where they were able to secure funding to finish it up. Composer Scott Bradley has long since passed on, and stepping in to fill his musical shoes was Michael Giacchino.

Giacchino is in the middle of a very busy year. In addition to the hit television shows "Alias" and "Lost", the composer of The Incredibles somehow found time to score Sky High, the Albert Brooks film Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, a computer game sequel to The Incredibles, and the romantic-comedy, The Family Stone.

Orchestrator Jack Hayes and Composer Michael Giacchino

Yesterday at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Brothers, Giacchino and his team (including music editor Mike Andreas, score mixer Dan Wallin, conductor Tim Simonec, and Digital Performer master Chris Tilton) recorded music for the animated short. Barbera was unable to attend, but seeing as he’s 94 years old, that’s perfectly understandable. However, legendary orchestrator Jack Hayes (who has worked with Giacchino on a few projects) was in attendance to lend his expert advice.

Musically, it was like a time warp. The orchestra was set up in a 1940s layout, and it seemed that the percussionists had the most fun – hitting all of the right beats, making crashes, using slide whistles, and much more. At Giacchino’s request, the entire team was dressed up in shirts and ties, much like in the old days of scoring. When asked if he watched a lot of the original short films in preparation for this assignment, Giacchino – a huge Tom and Jerry fan himself – said, "Not really – I watched a few with my kids, but it’s really all just from my memory of the show."

Stage Engineer Ryan Robinson helps score mixer Dan Wallin figure out a problem as Michael Giacchino listens to a cue from "The Karateguard"

As of right now, it is unsure where the short film will play – but there are hopes to get it out in theaters (attached to a film, or as part of a short film festival) so that it will be eligible for Academy Award consideration. Giacchino isn’t wasting any time, though – next week he scores The Family Stone at Fox, as well as the season premiere of "Lost". And yes, he’s even doing a little work for next year’s Mission: Impossible 3.