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January 2, 2015

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Page 6 POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 2, 2015 THOUGHTS BY DAN ABOUT THIS 8< THAT with Daniel A. DiCenso e(J'(, (- by John Christoforo 00abb00onno A Nostalgic Remembrance THE HISTORY OF ANIMATION: Tom & Jerry There was one franchise at M-G-M animation studio that Tex Avery, otherwise king of the cartoon studio, especially after he intro- duced the world to Droopy, didn't tough. That was Will- iam Hanna and Joseph Barbera's Tom & Jerry, who brought comic cartoon vio- lence, slapstick, and panto- mime to all new levels, es- sentially monopolizing the Oscar for Best Animation Short after years of devotion to Disney. For the Tom & Jerry cartoons, Hanna & Barbera won a total of seven awards from 1943-53 The Yankee Doodle Mouse, Mouse Trouble, Quiet Please!, The Cat Concerto, The Little Orphan, The Two Mouse- keteers, and Johann Mouse) and were nominated six times (Puss Gets the Boot, The Night Before Christmas, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse, Hatch Up Your Troubles, Jerry's Cousin, and Touch6, Pussy Cat!). The team started out with a simple enough conc'ept. Jerry was a mouse going through all the daily struggles of a mouse, namely stealing food from a house- hold. Tom was the bullying gray cat, doing his job as the domestic feline keeping the pest away but usually became a victim of his own Machiavellian schemes when he began enjoying his job too much, becoming more interested in revenge and sadism than simply being a cat. The first cartoon, 1940's Puss Gets the BooL is a pro- totype, Tom (then referred to as Jasper) chases Jerry around the house, meeting pratfall after pratfall, until the maid discovers the mess, blames the framed cat, and throws him out of the house. In this car- toon Tom was more or less a regular looking cat, walking on all fours and hissing and growl- ing like a common tabby. The character designs evolved as dif- ferent variations were tried on the storyline. Yankee Doodle Mouse, Night Before Christmas, and Mouse Trouble are essentially pro- totypes with a single gim- mick in the works (one is a parable of WWII, one set on Christmas Eve, and the other a spoof of guidebooks). Eventually, the cat and mouse developed into the icons recognized all over the world (Tom walking upright and screaming in pain much like a human), while the storylines became more and more original. Baby Puss in- volved Tom being strapped to a nursery when a little girl takes him for her doll. The Million Dollar Cat has Tom inheriting a fortune and a Park Avenue apartment on the condition he doesn't hurt any mice (of course, Jerry takes full advantage of the situation). Puttin' on the Dog is set entirely in a dog pound. The Cat Concerto is set in a concert hall and virtu- ally all the gags revolve around a piano. Mouse in Manhattan was entirely dominated by Jerry when he leaves home for New York City. And Heavenly Puss is unlike anything they did before, a satire on the afterlife and penance. Most ambitiously the cat and mouse were transported to 17 th century Paris in the literary lam- poon trilogy, The Two Mouseketeers, Touch@, Pussy CatL and Tom & Cherie. Finally, in one of their most un- usual shorts, Johann Mouse, the duo reside in mid- 19 th century Vienna with Johann Strauss and become musical legends in their own way. Adding to the fun and ideas was the introduction of a cast of co-stars such as Butch the bulldog (who first appeared in 1942's Do 9 Trouble, forcing the battling cat and mouse to form a truce but by 1944 had be- come an ally of Jerry's in 7he Bodyguard), who was later replaced by Spike and was given a son Tyke. Tom formed a gang of alley cat friends who often became competition especially when a female kitty caught Tom's eye, such as in Springtime for Thomas, in which Butch the (Continued on Page 9) It was Christmas Day and I was a child. Santa had brought the electric trains I had asked him for and I was up at the crack of dawn assembling the tracks, con- necting the transformer and placing the wheels of the engine and cars in the right places on the tracks. When I began operating the train, the noise awakened my folks, but they didn't mind, it was Christmas day. Not long after, Dad told me to get dressed. He was play- ing a Christmas party aboard the USS Vulcan, an aircraft repair ship that was sta- tioned in Boston. Each year since WVglI ended, he and a few of his fellow musicians played on the ship for the officers, crew and their fami- lies, most of whom were from this area. Santa would show up just as dessert was being served. I was told that he made the stop while he was on his way back to the North Pole. All the children of the sailors were happy about this fact and none of them were left out when Santa distributed presents. When we returned home, Nanna and my mother were busy preparing the Christ- mas dinner. The smell of the seven fishes from the night before was being replaced by the smell of Nanna's gravy and the meats that were being saut6ed in garlic and oil before they were placed in the gravy pot. Babbononno was setting up a table with bottles of wine, aperitifs and what ever else had flavored alcohol. These bottles were carefully placed behind the dishes that contained the antipasti he would serve the family when they all arrived. As the afternoon rolled in, the family began arriving and Christmas dinner became a remlity. Uncle Paul, his wife, Aunt Eleanor showed up with their two daughters, my cous- ins, Paula and Ellie. Uncle Nick arrived alone. He had not yet married Aunt Dor- othy. Uncle Gino and Aunt Ninna were the last of the immediate family to arrive. At this point, their children hadn't been born yet. Once we were all seated, Babbo- nonno toasted the holiday and Nanna served the first of the many courses that would keep us at the dinner table for several hours, Later in the day, a few of Nanna's relatives dropped by with their families and then a few paesani who always celebrated holidays with my grandparents. On this Christmas day, and many more that followed, there were visits from friends of my grandparents who were alone in America. They were lonely and this was the closest they could get to a family experience on an international holiday. Even as a child I wondered how lonely it might have been for these people if it had not be.en for my grandparents and their old fashioned hos- pitality. My young mind de- termined that the worst thing on a holiday as impor- tant as Christmas must be the feeling of loneliness. In my own youthful way, I con- sidered myself quite lucky. Well, here we are many decades later and my cousin, Ralph Pepe, and I try to continue the traditions we remembered from our childhood experiences. We combine families on holi- days, Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. His grand- father, Zi'Antonio Ceruolo and my grandmother (Nanna) were brother and sister, plus, my great uncle and Babbononno were the best of friends. He and his wife had, I believe, 11 children of their own, but always showed up even if it was just for a "cup of coffee and dessert. Christmas day, Loretta and I made the trek to Ralph and Angela's home to continue the family tradition started two generations ago by our transplanted grandparents. We combined families for yet another holiday. Before Ralph and Angela's children and grandchildren began arriving, Ralph and I were sitting in the kitchen as Angela and their daugh- ter, Kristen, set up the kitchen table with antipasti. Ralph and I began sipping the drinks he poured and both of us began reminisc- ing about those long-gone days when our grandparents were the elders of the fam- ily. As our conversation con- tinued about the old days, Ralph and I both admitted that we were now the family elders. Hopefully, what we have attempted to continue as a family tradition, has rubbed off on our off springs. Years ago, the entire fam- ily lived within blocks of each other in East Boston. Our generation moved to the sub- urbs and were within local towns outside the old neigh- borhood. Our kids are part of this type of exodus. My son LEGAL NOTICE NOTICE OF SALE Notice is hereby given by TODISCO TOWING OF 94 CONDOR STREET, EAST BOSTON, MA pursuant to the provisions of Mass G.L. c 255, Section 39A that they will sell the following vehicles. Vehicles are being sold to satisfy their garage keeper's lien for towing, storage and notices of sale: 2002 FORD 1=-i50 PICKUP VIN #1 FTRX18W12NB63733 1997 MAZDA MPV VIN #JM3LV5238V0819078 2000 FORD EXPEDITION VIN #1FMPU16L8YLC28263 1999 PLYMOUTH BREEZE ViN #1P3EJ46X5XN608852 1992 TOYOTA TERCEL VIN #JT2EL44AXN0187819 1993 HONDA CiViC VIN #1HGEG8552PL007725 The above vehicles will be sold at auction online only at TOWLOT.COM MONDAY, JANUARY 12, 2015 at IO:OOAM at Run dates: 12/26, 2014, 1/2, 1/9, 2015 John and his wife Beth, live in Harvard -- work in Bos- ton, and my son, Michael, lives and performs in New York City. Who knows where the next generation will be found living. But, hope- fully, they will follow our lead and get together on special holidays. I've spoken so much about my cousin, Ralph Pepe, and his family. My wife, using her cell phone, took a dozen or so pics of the three gen- erations of his family while we were all together. I don't know if my boys will ever produce children, but if they do, I wonder if I will ever experience the pleasures I saw expressed on Ralph's face as he watched everyone celebrate Christmas. Well, Christmas 2014 is over and it's New Year's Eve. Loretta and I will be joining forces with Dean Saluti, Margie Cahn and a group of friends. I stopped playing on New Year's Eve after 50 something years and spend the time with my wife and closest friends. Our kids are on their own, John and Beth with their friends locally and Michael and his girl- friend, Abby, staying in New York. For us, being together at Christmas was more important. It's tough getting old. Each day, I read the obituaries and, unfortunately, see too many names that I remem- ber from the old neighbor- hoods of East Boston and the North End, but, that's life, I guess. Permit me to stop, I'm starting to sound morbid. Considering what we expe- rience at holiday time, I quote the title of an old song, "Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think." So, from all of us to all of you, a very Happy New Year, or should I say, "Felice Capo d'Anno a tutti." And once more, may GOD BLESS AMERICA. LEGAL NOTICE Commonwealth of Massachusetts The Trial Court Middlesex Probate and Family Court 206 Cambridge Street Cambridge, MA 02141-0005 (617) 768-5800 Docket No. MI10P2098EA Estate of ELIE J. BAGHDADY Date of Death November 29, 2009 CITATION ON PETITION FOR ORDER OF COMPLETE SETTLEMENT To all interested persons: A Petition has been filed by Virginia R. Baghdady requesting that an Order of Complete Settlement of the estate issue approve an accounting, compel or approve a distribution, adjudicate a final settlement and other such relief as may be requested in the Peon. You have the right to obtain a copy of the Petition from the Petitioner or at the Court. You have a right to object to this proceeding. To do so, you or your attorney muat file a written appearance and objection at this Court before 10:00 a.m. on January 19, 2015. This is NOT a hearing date, but a deadline by which you must file a whtten appearance and objection if you object to this IXoceedlng. If you fail to file a timely written appearance and objection followed by an Affidavit of Objections within thirty (30) days of the return date, action may be taken without further notice to you. WITNESS, HON. EDWARD F. DONNELLY, JR., First Justice of this Court. Date: December 12, 2014 Tara E. DeCristofaro, Register of Probate Run date: 1/2/15