Safety Second

Safety Second
Tom and Jerry series

The original 1950 title card of this cartoon.
Directed by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Produced by Fred Quimby
Story by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Music by Scott Bradley
Animation by Ray Patterson
Ed Barge
Kenneth Muse
Irven Spence
Effects Animation:
Al Grandmain
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) July 1, 1950
Color process Technicolor
Perspecta (reissue)
Running time 6:55
Language English
Preceded by Jerry and the Lion
Followed by Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl

Safety Second is a 1950 one-reel animated cartoon and is the 51st Tom and Jerry short directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and produced by Fred Quimby. The working title for this cartoon was F'r Safety Sake before Hanna and Barbera finally settled for Safety Second. The short was animated by Ray Patterson, Ed Barge, Kenneth Muse, Irven Spence and Al Grandmain, scored by Scott Bradley and released on July 1, 1950, three days before the American Independence Day celebrations of that year. The title is a pun on the phrase Safety First.


The cartoon short opens with Jerry and Nibbles asleep in their beds. Jerry looks at his calendar and seeing it's the 4th of July, he wakes up Nibbles. He instantly brings out firecrackers, but Jerry puts them back into the shed. The mouse gives his calendar a look again and sees his daily quotation: "Make it safe and sane", meaning that fireworks aren't allowed this year. Jerry and Nibbles then go outside and enjoy their holiday with noisemakers with Jerry showing him it's still the 4th of July without fireworks, before Nibbles (not one to follow the quotation from earlier) lights a firework from his diaper. Jerry grabs it and then fails to throw it off before the firecracker explodes on him. Jerry then holds out his hand as if to say, "Give me the rest of them." Nibbles hands him another tiny firework from his diaper and smiles before dashing away. Seeing through this, Jerry then picks up Nibbles and turns him upside down, and he finds that Nibbles had a sizable amount of fireworks hidden in his diaper. To punish him, Jerry gets him to stand in a corner, but no sooner does Nibbles repeat his transgression with a firework under the bed before leaving, and Jerry is blown up again before he can toss it out of the door. Nibbles then hides under his quilt.

Jerry then goes outside to relax in a hammock while Tom lights a firework underneath Jerry. The firework explodes and wakes up the mouse who, believing that the explosion was Nibbles' doing, walks around the tree to see if the little mouse was there but runs into Tom instead, who slaps Jerry with his own eyelid and traps him. When Tom lets go, Jerry is kneeling over a clenched fist. The mouse points at it, and Tom inspects it, and Jerry responds by using his other fist to punch the cat in the eye. Jerry jumps into a hole in the ground and Tom uses a pickaxe to try and dig the mouse out. Nibbles, who observes this event, loads a rocket into the drainpipe, which picks up the cat and sends him on a ride across the yard and into the clothesline.

Jerry hides from the raging cat in a barrel and Tom uses a garbage can lid to trap him. Nibbles, again watching from a distance, paints another firework with glue and "graciously" hands it to the cat. Tom lights the firework and tries to throw it into the barrel, but spots the situation before he runs too far away and continues to attempt to throw it, but fails as it is stuck to his hand. Tom now tries to soften the explosion by sitting on the firework, but made a bad choice as to where: under the flowerbox. The explosion propels Tom headfirst into the flowerbox, making him smash through it, and a pot fall on his head.

Now ready for revenge, Tom chases Nibbles who runs into the back end of a firework. Nibbles lights the firework, empties the gunpowder, and chases the cat. He corners Tom, but after the fuse runs out the ruse is exposed. Nibbles pops out and is caught. However, he throws a tiny firework at Tom and leaves as Tom takes it, believing it to be harmless, laughs at it, and balances it on his nose. At that point, the tiny firework explodes in his face.

Tom then loads a bunch of fireworks outside Jerry's front door and lays out the gunpowder, but Jerry breaks the connection to his door and lights the gunpowder. After he is finished laying out the gunpowder, Tom prepares to light it, but Jerry's flame does the work for him. Tom sees a big explosion of the gunpowder can is imminent, but cannot escape it in time. Tom chases both mice, and they use a firework to shoot colorful fireballs at Tom. Tom runs away through a barrel and the basement window and sneaks behind Jerry and Nibbles, who have lit another rocket firework and have loaded it into the barrel where Tom was. Tom grabs the firework from them, only to get launched into the air by it, resulting in a firework display of death.

Jerry then wipes his hands together and heads over to Nibbles and his noisemakers while Nibbles lights one more firecracker. With nowhere else to hide it, he stashes it into Jerry's noisemaker. Jerry pats Nibbles on the head and proceeds to blow his noisemaker. Knowing the consequences, Nibbles attempts to stop Jerry from doing so, but Jerry just pats him on the head again, then blows his noisemaker and the firecracker inside it explodes, giving him a blackface appearance. Jerry looks at Nibbles, annoyed, and Nibbles smiles innocently and plays with his noisemakers.



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