Tom and Jerry
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Tom and Jerry is an American animated series of theatrical shorts, television shows and specials, feature film, home films created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that centered on a never-ending rivalry between a cat ( Tom) and a mouse ( Jerry) whose chases and battles often involved comic violence. Hanna and Barbera ultimately wrote and directed one hundred and fourteen Tom and Jerry cartoons at the MGM cartoon studio in Hollywood, California between 1940 and 1957, when the animation unit was closed. The original series is notable for having won the Academy Award for Animated Short Film seven times, tying it with Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies as the theatrical animated series with the most Oscars. Tom and Jerry has a worldwide audience that consists of children, teenagers and adults, and has also been recognized as one of the most famous and longest-lived rivalries in American cinema. In 2000, TIME named the series one of the greatest television shows of all time.
Beginning in 1960, in addition to the original 114 H-B cartoons, MGM had new shorts produced by Rembrandt Films, led by Gene Deitch in Eastern Europe. Production of Tom and Jerry shorts returned to Hollywood under Chuck Jones's Sib-Tower 12 Productions in 1963; this series lasted until 1967, making it a total of 161 shorts. The cat and mouse stars later resurfaced in television cartoons produced by Hanna-Barbera and Filmation Studios during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s; a feature film, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, in 1992 (released domestically in 1993); and in 2000, their first made-for TV short, Tom and Jerry: The Mansion Cat for Cartoon Network. The most recent Tom and Jerry theatrical short, The Karate Guard, was written and co-directed by Barbera and debuted in Los Angeles cinemas on September 27, 2005.
Today, Time Warner (via its Turner Entertainment division) owns the rights to Tom and Jerry (with Warner Bros. handling distribution). Since the merger, Turner has produced the series, Tom and Jerry Tales for The CW's Saturday morning " The CW4Kids" lineup, as well as the recent Tom and Jerry short, The Karate Guard, in 2005 and a string of Tom and Jerry direct-to-video films - all in collaboration with Warner Bros. Animation. In February 2010, the cartoon celebrated its 70th anniversary and a DVD collection of 30 shorts, Tom and Jerry Deluxe Anniversary Collection, was released in late June 2010 to celebrate the animated duo's seventh decade. It then had a rerun on Cartoon Network.
Plot and format
The popular series features comedic fights between an iconic set of enemies, a house cat and mouse. The plots of each short usually centre on Tom's numerous attempts to capture Jerry and the mayhem and destruction that ensues. Since Tom rarely attempts to eat Jerry and because the pair actually seem to get along in some cartoon shorts, it is sometimes unclear why Tom chases Jerry so much. Some reasons given may include normal feline/murine enmity, duty according to his owner, Jerry's attempt at ruining a task that Tom is entrusted with, Jerry eating Tom's master's food which Tom has been entrusted with safeguarding, revenge, Jerry saving other potential prey (such as ducks, canaries, or goldfish) from being eaten by Tom, competition with another cat, and Jerry ruining Tom's attempts to seduce feline femme fatales, which Jerry does either out of disgust, jealousy, or just to be mean. Despite the sometimes heavy amount of fantasy violence, most Tom and Jerry episodes now carry a TV-G rating, although it was originally rated TV-Y. Tom rarely succeeds in catching Jerry, mainly because of Jerry's cleverness, cunning abilities, and luck. Interestingly enough, many of the title cards show Tom and Jerry smiling at each other which seems to depict a love-hate relationship rather than the extreme annoyance each displays towards the other in each cartoon. There are also several instances within the cartoons where they display genuine friendship (e.g., Springtime for Thomas) and concern for each other's well-being (such as in "Jerry and the Lion", where Jerry in one instance tricks Tom into thinking that he has shot Jerry, and Tom comes running with the first aid kit).
The short episodes are infamous for some of the most comically gory gags ever devised in theatrical animation, such as Jerry slicing Tom in half, shutting his head in a window or a door, Tom using everything from axes, firearms, explosives, traps and poison to try to murder Jerry, Jerry stuffing Tom's tail in a waffle iron and a mangle, kicking him into a refrigerator, plugging his tail into an electric socket, pounding him with a mace, club or mallet, causing a tree or an electric pole to drive him into the ground, sticking matches into his feet and lighting them, tying him to a firework and setting it off, and so on. Despite all its popularity, Tom and Jerry has often been criticized as excessively violent. Despite the frequent violence, there is no blood or gore in any scenes of the original cartoons, and neither of the pair are ever (seriously) injured. In a very rare instance, when Tom gets sliced into pieces in the opening credits of Tom and Jerry: The Movie, blood is clearly visible, and Heavenly Puss deals with Tom dying after being crushed by a piano, although later it is revealed to be a dream. A recurring gag involves Jerry hitting Tom when he's preoccupied, with Tom initially oblivious to the pain and only feeling the effects moments later, and vice versa; and another involves Jerry stopping Tom in mid-chase (as if calling for a time-out), before he does something, usually putting the hurt on Tom.
The cartoon is also noteworthy for its reliance on stereotypes, such as the blackening of characters following explosions and the use of heavy and enlarged shadows (e.g., Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse). Resemblance to everyday objects and occurrences is arguably the main appeal of visual humor in the series. The characters themselves regularly transform into ridiculous but strongly associative shapes, most of the time involuntarily, in masked but gruesome ways.
Music plays a very important part in the shorts, emphasizing the action, filling in for traditional sound effects, and lending emotion to the scenes. Musical director Scott Bradley created complex scores that combined elements of jazz, classical, and pop music; Bradley often reprised contemporary pop songs, as well as songs from MGM films, including The Wizard of Oz and Meet Me In St. Louis. Generally, there is little dialogue as Tom and Jerry almost never speak, however minor characters are not similarly limited. For example, the character Mammy Two Shoes has lines in every episode in which she appears except The Little Orphan. Most of the dialogue from Tom and Jerry are the high-pitched laughs and gasping screams, which may be provided by a horn or other musical instrument.
Before 1954, all Tom and Jerry cartoons were produced in the standard Academy ratio and format; from late 1954 to 1955, some of the output was dually produced in both Academy format and the widescreen CinemaScope process. From 1956 until the close of the MGM cartoon studio a year later, all Tom and Jerry cartoons were produced in CinemaScope, some even had their soundtracks recorded in Perspecta directional audio. The 1960s Gene Deitch and Chuck Jones shorts were all produced in Academy format, but with compositions that made them compatible to be matted to Academy widescreen format as well. All of the Hanna and Barbera cartoons were produced in three-strip Technicolor; the 1960s entries were done in Metrocolor.
Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse
Tom (called "Jasper" in his debut appearance) is a blue and white domestic shorthair cat. He is the main protagonist of the story, who usually lives a pampered life, although they usually live in several lifestyles, while Jerry is a small brown house mouse who always lives in close proximity to him and is the deuteragonist of the story. "Tom" is a generic name for a male cat (The Warner Bros. cartoon character Sylvester was originally named Thomas). Tom was originally in the very first short, Puss Gets the Boot, and Jerry was seen in the short also, although it was not billed as a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Jerry possesses surprising strength for his size, lifting items such as anvils with relative ease and withstanding considerable impacts with them. Despite the typical cat-eats-mouse scenario, it is surprisingly quite rare for Tom to actually try and consume Jerry. Despite being very energetic and determined, Tom is no match for Jerry's brains and wits. By the final "fade-out" of each cartoon, Jerry usually emerges triumphant, while Tom is shown as the loser. However, other results may be reached; on rare occasions, Tom triumphs, usually when Jerry becomes the aggressor or when he crosses some sort of line (the best example of which occurs in The Million Dollar Cat where, after finding out that Tom's newly acquired wealth will be taken away if he harms any animal, including a mouse, he torments Tom until Tom finally loses his temper and attacks him). Sometimes, usually ironically, they both lose, usually when Jerry's last trap potentially backfires on him after it affects Tom (An example is in Chuck Jones' Filet Meow short where Jerry orders a shark to scare Tom away from eating a goldfish. Afterwards, the shark scares Jerry away as well) or when Jerry overlooks something at the end of the course. Sometimes, they both end up being friends (only for something to happen so that Tom will chase Jerry again). Both characters display sadistic tendencies, in that they are equally likely to take pleasure in tormenting each other. However, depending on the cartoon, whenever one character appears to be in mortal danger (in a dangerous situation or by a third party), the other will develop a conscience and save him. Sometimes, they bond over a mutual sentiment towards an unpleasant experience and their attacking each other is more play than serious attacks. Multiple shorts show the two getting along with minimal difficulty, and they are more than capable of working together when the situation calls for it, usually against a third party who manages to torture and humiliate them both.
Tom changes his love interest many times. The first love interest is Toots who appears in Puss n' Toots, and calls him "Tommy" in The Mouse Comes to Dinner. He is also interested in a cat called Toots in The Zoot Cat although she has a different appearance to the original Toots. The most frequent love interest of Tom's is Toodles Galore, who never has any dialogue in Tom and Jerry cartoons.
Despite five shorts ending with a depiction of Tom's apparent death, his demise is never permanent; he even reads about his own death in a flashback in Jerry's Diary. He appears to die in explosions in Mouse Trouble (after which he is seen in heaven) and in Yankee Doodle Mouse, while in The Two Mouseketeers he is guillotined offscreen.
Although many supporting and minor characters speak, Tom and Jerry rarely do so themselves. Tom, most famously, sings while wooing female cats; for example, Tom sings Louis Jordan's " Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby" in the 1946 short Solid Serenade. In a couple of shorts, Tom, when romancing a female cat, woos her in a French-accented voice similar to that of screen actor Charles Boyer. At the end of The Million Dollar Cat after beginning to antagonize Jerry he says "Gee, I'm throwin' away a million dollars... BUT I'M HAPPY!" In The Mouse Comes to Dinner Tom speaks to his girlfriend while inadvertently sitting on a stove: "Gee, what's cookin'?" (The girl replies "You are, stupid.") Another instance of speech comes in Solid Serenade and The Framed Cat, where Tom directs Spike through a few dog tricks in a dog-trainer manner. In Mouse Trouble, Tom says "Don't you believe it," after being beaten up by Jerry. Co-director William Hanna provided most of the squeaks, gasps, and other vocal effects for the pair, including the most famous sound effects from the series, Tom's leather-lunged scream (created by recording Hanna's scream and eliminating the beginning and ending of the recording, leaving only the strongest part of the scream on the soundtrack) and Jerry's nervous gulp. The only other reasonably common vocalization is made by Tom when some external reference claims a certain scenario or eventuality to be impossible, which inevitably, ironically happens to thwart Tom's plans - at which point, a bedraggled and battered Tom appears and says in a haunting, echoing voice "Don't you believe it!", a reference to some famous World War II propaganda shorts of the 1940s. In the 1946 short Trap Happy, Tom hires a mouse exterminator who, after several failed attempts to dispatch Jerry, changes profession to Cat exterminator by crossing out the "Mouse" on his title and writing "Cat", resulting in Tom spelling out the word out loud before reluctantly pointing at himself. One short, 1956's Blue Cat Blues, is narrated by Jerry in voiceover (voiced by Paul Frees) as they try to win back their ladyfriends. Both Tom and Jerry speak more than once in the 1943 short The Lonesome Mouse. Tom and Jerry: The Movie is the first (and so far only) installment of the series where the famous cat-and-mouse duo regularly speak.
Spike and Tyke
In his attempts to catch Jerry, Tom often has to deal with Spike (also known as "Killer" ), an angry, vicious but extremely dumb guard bulldog who tries to attack Tom for bothering his son Tyke while trying to get Jerry. While they are in the cartoons, Tom and Jerry appears always while chasing and bothering his son. Originally Spike was unnamed and mute (aside from howls and biting noises) as well as attacking indiscriminately, not caring whether it was Tom or Jerry though usually attacking Tom. In later cartoons Spike spoke often, using a voice and expressions (performed by Billy Bletcher and later Daws Butler) modeled after comedian Jimmy Durante. Spike's coat has altered throughout the years between grey and creamy tan. The addition of Spike's son Tyke in the late 1940s led to both a slight softening of Spike's character and a short-lived spin-off theatrical series ( Spike and Tyke). Most cartoons with Spike in it have a system; usually Spike is trying to accomplish something (such as building a dog house or sleeping) when Tom and Jerry's antics stop him from doing it, Spike then (presumably due to prejudice) singles out Tom as the culprit and threatens him that if it ever happens again he will do "something horrible" to Tom (effectively forcing Tom to take the blame of anyone else) while Jerry overhears, afterwards Jerry usually does anything he can to interrupt whatever Spike is doing while Tom barely manages to stop him (usually getting injured in the process), usually Jerry eventually wrecks whatever Spike is doing in spectacular fashion and leaving Tom to take the blame, forcing him to flee from Spike and inevitably lose (usually due to the fact the Tom is usually framed by Jerry and that Spike just doesn't like Tom) off-screen, finally Tom is generally shown injured or in a bad situation while Jerry smugly cuddles up to Spike unscathed. At least once however Tom does something that benefits Spike, who promises not to interfere ever again; causing Jerry to frantically leave the house and run into the distance (in Hic-cup Pup). Spike is well known for his famous "Listen pussy cat!" catchphrase when he threatens Tom, his other famous catchphrase is "That's my boy!" normally said when he supports or congratulates his son. Tyke is described as a cute, sweet looking, happy and a loveable puppy. He is Spike's son, but unlike Spike, Tyke does not speak and only communicates (mostly towards his father) by barking, yapping, wagging his tail, whimpering and growling. Tyke's father Spike would always go out of his way to care and comfort his son and make sure that he is safe from Tom. Tyke loves his father and Spike loves his son and they get along like friends, although most of time they would be taking a nap or Spike would teach Tyke the main facts of life of being a dog. Like Spike, Tyke's appearance has altered throughout the years, from grey (with white paws) to creamy tan. When Tom and Jerry Kids first aired, this was the first time that viewers were able to hear Tyke speak.
Butch and Toodles Galore
Butch is a black cat who also wants to eat Jerry. He is the most frequent adversary of Tom. However, for most of the episodes he appears in, he's usually seen rivaling Tom over Toodles. Butch also was Tom's pal or chum as in some cartoons, where Butch is leader of Tom's buddies, who are Meathead and Topsy. Butch talks more often than Tom or Jerry in most Episodes.
History and evolution
"Tom and Jerry" was a commonplace phrase for youngsters indulging in riotous behaviour in 19th-century London. The term comes from Life in London, or Days and Nights of Jerry Hawthorne and his elegant friend Corinthian Tom (1823) by Pierce Egan. However Brewer notes no more than an "unconscious" echo of the Victorian-era original in the naming of the cartoon.
Hanna-Barbera era (1940–1958)
Willliam Hanna and Joseph Barbera were both part of the Rudolf Ising unit at the MGM cartoon studio in the late 1930s. Barbera, a storyman and character designer, was paired with Hanna, an experienced director, to start directing films for the Ising unit; the first of these was a cat-and-mouse cartoon called Puss Gets the Boot. Completed in late 1939, and released to theaters on February 10, 1940, Puss Gets The Boot centers on Jasper, a gray tabby cat trying to catch an unnamed rodent, but after accidentally breaking a houseplant and its stand, the African-American housemaid Mammy (Later Tom's owner) has threatened to throw Jasper out ("O-W-T, out!" as Mammy spells it) if he breaks one more thing in the house. Naturally, the mouse uses this to his advantage, and begins tossing wine glasses, ceramic plates, teapots, and any and everything fragile, so that Jasper will be thrown outside. Puss Gets The Boot was previewed and released without fanfare, and Hanna and Barbera went on to direct other (non-cat-and-mouse related) shorts. "After all," remarked many of the MGM staffers, "haven't there been enough cat-and-mouse cartoons already?"
The pessimistic attitude towards the cat and mouse duo changed when the cartoon became a favorite with theatre owners and with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which nominated the film for the Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons of 1941. It lost to another MGM cartoon, Rudolph Ising's The Milky Way.
Producer Fred Quimby, who ran the MGM animation studio, quickly pulled Hanna and Barbera off the other one-shot cartoons they were working on, and commissioned a series featuring the cat and mouse. Hanna and Barbera held an intra-studio contest to give the pair a new name by drawing suggested names out of a hat; animator John Carr won $50 with his suggestion of Tom and Jerry. The Tom and Jerry series went into production with The Midnight Snack in 1941, and Hanna and Barbera rarely directed anything but the cat-and-mouse cartoons for the rest of their tenure at MGM.
Tom's physical appearance evolved significantly over the years. During the early 1940s, Tom had an excess of detail—shaggy fur, numerous facial wrinkles, and multiple eyebrow markings, all of which were streamlined into a more workable form by the end of the 1940s—and looked like a realistic cat; in addition from his quadrupedal beginnings Tom became increasingly, and eventually almost exclusively, bipedal. By contrast, Jerry's design remained essentially the same for the duration of the series. By the mid-1940s, the series had developed a quicker, more energetic (and violent) tone, due to the inspiration from the work of their colleague in the MGM cartoon studio, Tex Avery, who joined the studio in 1942.
Even though the theme of each short is virtually the same - cat chases mouse - Hanna and Barbera found endless variations on that theme. Barbera's storyboards and rough layouts and designs, combined with Hanna's timing, resulted in arguably MGM's most popular and successful cartoon series. Thirteen entries in the Tom and Jerry series (including Puss Gets The Boot) were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons; seven of them went on to win the Academy Award, breaking the Disney studio's winning streak in that category. Tom and Jerry won more Academy Awards than any other character-based theatrical animated series.
Tom and Jerry remained popular throughout their original theatrical run, even when the budgets began to tighten somewhat in the 1950s and the pace of the shorts slowed slightly. However, after television became popular in the 1950s, box office revenues decreased for theatrical films, and short subjects. At first, MGM combated this by going to all-CinemaScope production on the series. After MGM realized that their re-releases of the older shorts brought in just as much revenue as the new films, the studio executives decided, much to the surprise of the staff, to close the animation studio. The MGM cartoon studio was shut down in 1957, and the final of the 114 Hanna and Barbera Tom and Jerry shorts, Tot Watchers, was released on August 1, 1958. Hanna and Barbera established their own television animation studio, Hanna-Barbera Productions, in 1957, which went on to produce famous TV shows and movies.
Gene Deitch era (1960–1962)
In 1960, MGM revived the Tom and Jerry franchise, and contacted European animation output Rembrandt Films to produce thirteen Tom and Jerry shorts overseas. All thirteen shorts were directed by Prague-based animator Gene Deitch and produced by company owner William L. Snyder in Czechoslovakia.
Deitch states that, being a member of the UPA, he has always had a personal dislike of Tom and Jerry, citing them as the "primary bad example of senseless violence - humor based on pain - attack and revenge - to say nothing of the tasteless use of a headless black woman stereotype house servant." Štěpán Koníček, a student of Karel Ančerl and conductor of the Film Symphony Orchestra, and Václav Lídl provided the musical score for the Deitch short, while Larz Bourne, Chris Jenkyns, and Eli Bauer wrote the cartoons. The majority of vocal effects and voices in Deitch's films were provided by Allen Swift.
For the purposes of avoiding being linked to Communism, Deitch altered the names for his crew in the opening credits of the shorts (e.g., Štěpán Koníček became "Steven Konichek", Václav Lídl became "Victor Little"). These shorts are among the few Tom and Jerry cartoons not to carry the "Made In Hollywood, U.S.A." phrase at the end. Due to Deitch's studio being behind the Iron Curtain, the production studio's location is omitted entirely on it. In the midst of production, Joe Vogel, the head of production, was fired from MGM, who ordered Deitch and his team to finish the shorts and rush them out to release. The contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer expired, and the final of the thirteen shorts, Carmen Get It!, was released on December 1, 1962.
Since the Deitch/Snyder team had seen only a handful of the original Tom and Jerry shorts, and since Deitch and Snyder produced their cartoons on a tighter budget of $10,000, the resulting films were considered unusual, and, in many ways, bizarre. The characters' gestures were often performed at high speed, frequently causing heavy motion blur. As a result, the animation of the characters looked choppy and sickly. The soundtracks featured sparse music, futuristic sound effects, dialogue that was mumbled rather than spoken, and heavy use of reverb. Fans that typically rooted for Tom criticized Deitch's cartoons for having Tom never become a threat to Jerry. Most of the time, Tom only attempts to hurt him when he gets in his way. Tom's new owner, a corpulent and grumpy middle-aged white man (with serious temper problems, often going red in the face similar to Deitch's earlier "Clint Clobber" character at Terrytoons), was also more graphically brutal in punishing Tom's mistakes as compared to Mammy Two-Shoes, beating and thrashing Tom repeatedly, searing his face with a grill, and forcing Tom to drink an entire carbonated beverage. Despite these criticisms, the Gene Deitch Tom and Jerry cartoons are still rerun today on Cartoon Network on a semi-regular basis.
Deitch's Tom and Jerry shorts have seen limited release outside of Europe and Asia; all thirteen shorts are currently available in Japan, where they have been ported to the Tom and Jerry & Droopy laserdisc and VHS, and the United Kingdom, where the shorts are available on the B-side of the Tom and Jerry: Classic Collection volume 5 DVD. The only short to have seen DVD release in the United States is The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit, where it is included on the Paws for a Holiday DVD.
All thirteen shorts were commercial successes; in 1961, the Tom and Jerry series became the highest-grossing film series of all-time, dethroning the Looney Tunes series which had held the position for sixteen years; this success was repeated once more in 1962. However, unlike the Hanna and Barbera shorts, none of Deitch's films were nominated nor did they win an Academy Award. The episodes created by Deitch have generally been less favorably received by audiences. In his review for Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection, Paul Kupperberg of Comicmix called the shorts "perfectly dreadful" and "too often released", as well as a result of "cheap labor". Deitch has frequently defended his films; in an interview with the New York Times, when asked about working on the Tom and Jerry series, Deitch responded "All the experts say [my shorts are] the worst of the 'Tom and Jerry's, [...] I was a UPA man -- my whole background was much closer to the Czechs. 'Tom and Jerry' I always considered dreck, but they had great timing, facial expressions, double takes, squash and stretch," all of which the interviewer stated were "techniques the Czechs had to learn," adding, "The Czech style had nothing in common with these gag-driven cartoons."
Chuck Jones era (1963–1967)
After the last of the Deitch cartoons were released, Chuck Jones, who had been fired from his thirty-plus year tenure at Warner Bros. Cartoons, started his own animation studio, Sib Tower 12 Productions, with partner Les Goldman. Beginning in 1963, Jones and Goldman went on to produce 34 more Tom and Jerry shorts, all of which carried Jones' distinctive style (and a slight psychedelic influence). However, despite being animated by essentially the same artists who worked with Jones at Warners, these new shorts had varying degrees of critical success.
Jones had trouble adapting his style to Tom and Jerry's brand of humor, and a number of the cartoons favored full animation, personality and style over storyline. The characters underwent a slight change of appearance: Tom was given thicker eyebrows (resembling Jones' Grinch or Count Blood Count), a less complex look (including the color of his fur becoming gray), sharper ears, and furrier cheeks, while Jerry was given larger eyes and ears, a lighter brown colour, and a sweeter, Porky Pig-like expression.
Some of Jones' Tom and Jerry cartoons are reminiscent of his work with Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, included the uses of blackout gags and gags involving characters falling from high places. Jones co-directed the majority of the shorts with layout artist Maurice Noble. The remaining shorts were directed by Abe Levitow and Ben Washam, with Tom Ray directing two shorts built around footage from earlier Tom and Jerry cartoons directed by Hanna and Barbera, and Jim Pabian directed a short with Maurice Noble. Various vocal characteristics were made by Mel Blanc and June Foray. Jones' efforts are considered superior to the previous Deitch efforts (and most cartoons made during that time, albeit visually), and contain the memorable opening theme, in which Tom is trapped inside the "O" of his name.
Though Jones managed to recapture some of the magic from the original Hanna-Barbera efforts, MGM ended production on Tom and Jerry in 1967, by which time Sib Tower 12 had become MGM Animation/Visual Arts. Jones had moved on television specials and the feature film, The Phantom Tollbooth.
Tom and Jerry hit television
Beginning in 1965, the Hanna and Barbera Tom and Jerry cartoons began to appear on television in heavily edited form. The Jones team was required to take the cartoons featuring Mammy Two-Shoes and remove her by pasting over the scenes featuring her with new scenes. Most of the time, she was replaced with a similarly fat White Irish woman; occasionally, as in Saturday Evening Puss, a thin white teenager took her place instead, with both characters voiced by June Foray. However, in more recent local telecasts of the cartoons, and in the versions shown on Boomerang, Mammy could once again be seen; more recently with a new, less stereotypical black voice supplied, which is done by Thea Vidale..
Debuting on CBS' Saturday morning schedule on September 25, 1965, Tom and Jerry moved to CBS Sundays two years later and remained there until September 17, 1972.
The intros of each episode shown on TV and DVD today are re-issues from the 1950s–1960s, with the exception of Puss Gets the Boot and The Night Before Christmas, which still retain their original opening and closing credits from the early 1940s.
Second Hanna-Barbera era (1975–1977)
In 1975, Tom and Jerry were reunited with Hanna and Barbera, who produced new Tom and Jerry cartoons for Saturday mornings. These 48 seven-minute short cartoons were paired with The Great Grape Ape and Mumbly cartoons, to create The Tom and Jerry/Grape Ape Show, The Tom and Jerry/Grape Ape/Mumbly Show, and The Tom and Jerry/Mumbly Show, all of which initially ran on ABC Saturday Morning between September 6, 1975 and September 3, 1977. In these cartoons, Tom and Jerry (now with a red bow tie), who had been enemies during their formative years, became nonviolent pals who went on adventures together, as Hanna-Barbera had to meet the stringent rules against violence for children's TV. The Tom and Jerry Show is still airing on the Canadian channel, Teletoon, and its classical counterpart, Teletoon Retro.
Filmation era (1980–1982)
Filmation Studios (in association with MGM Television) also tried their hands at producing a Tom and Jerry TV series. Their version, The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show, debuted in 1980, and also featured new cartoons starring Droopy, Spike (another bulldog created by Tex Avery), and Barney Bear, not seen since the original MGM shorts. The Filmation Tom and Jerry cartoons were noticeably different from Hanna-Barbera's efforts, as they returned Tom and Jerry to the original chase formula, with a somewhat more " slapstick" humor format. This incarnation, much like the 1975 version, was not as well received by audiences as the originals, and lasted on CBS Saturday Morning from September 6, 1980 to September 4, 1982. Its animation style bore a strong resemblance to that of The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle.
Tom and Jerry's new owners
In 1986, MGM was purchased by WTBS founder Ted Turner. Turner sold the company a short while later, but retained MGM's pre-1986 film library, thus Tom and Jerry became the property of Turner Entertainment (where the rights stand today via Warner Bros.), and have in subsequent years appeared on Turner-run stations, such as TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, The WB, Boomerang, and Turner Classic Movies.
Tom and Jerry Kids (1990–1994)
One of the biggest trends for Saturday morning television in the 1980s and 1990s was the "babyfication" of older, classic cartoon stars, and on March 2, 1990, Tom and Jerry Kids, co-produced by Turner Entertainment and Hanna-Barbera Productions (which would be sold to Turner in 1991) debuted on Fox Kids and for a couple of years, aired on British children's show, CBBC. It featured a youthful version of the famous cat-and-mouse duo chasing each other. As with the 1975 H-B series, Jerry wears his red bowtie, while Tom now wears a red cap. Spike and his son Tyke (who now had talking dialogue) and Droopy and his son Dripple, appeared in back-up segments for the show, which ran until November 18, 1994.
Individual episodes (2000 and 2005)
In 2000, a new television special entitled Tom and Jerry: The Mansion Cat premiered on Cartoon Network. It featured Joe Barbera (who was also a creative consultant) as the voice of Tom's owner, whose face is never seen. In this cartoon, Jerry, housed in a habitrail, is as much of a house pet as Tom is, and their owner has to remind Tom to not "blame everything on the mouse".
In 2005, a new Tom and Jerry theatrical short, entitled The Karate Guard, which had been written and directed by Barbera and Spike Brandt, storyboarded by Joseph Barbera and Iwao Takamoto and produced by Joseph Barbera, Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone premiered in Los Angeles cinemas on December 16, 2005. As part of the celebration of Tom and Jerry's sixty-fifth anniversary, this marked Barbera's first return as a writer, director and storyboard artist on the series since his and Hanna's original MGM cartoon shorts. Director/animator, Spike Brandt was nominated for an Annie award for best character animation. The short debuted on Cartoon Network on January 27, 2006.
Warner Bros. era (2006–2008)
During the first half of 2006, a new series called Tom and Jerry Tales was produced at Warner Bros. Animation. Thirteen half-hour episodes (each consisting of three shorts, some of them—like The Karate Guard—were produced and completed in 2003 as part of a 30-plus theatrical cartoon schedule aborted after the financial disaster of Looney Tunes Back in Action) were produced, with only markets outside of the United States and United Kingdom signed up. The show then came to the UK in February 2006 on Boomerang, and it went to the U.S. on The CW4Kids on The CW. Tales is the first Tom and Jerry TV series that utilizes the original style of the classic shorts, along with the violence. The series was canceled on March 22, 2008.
Tom and Jerry outside the United States
When shown on terrestrial television in the United Kingdom (from 1967 to 2000, usually on the BBC) Tom and Jerry cartoons were not cut for violence and Mammy was retained. As well as having regular slots (mainly after the evening BBC News with around 2 episodes shown every evening and occasionly shown on children's network CBBC in the morning), Tom and Jerry served the BBC in another way. When faced with disruption to the schedules (such as those occurring when live broadcasts overrun), the BBC would invariably turn to Tom and Jerry to fill any gaps, confident that it would retain much of an audience that might otherwise channel hop. This proved particularly helpful in 1993, when Noel's House Party had to be cancelled due to an IRA bomb scare at BBC Television Centre - Tom and Jerry was shown instead, bridging the gap until the next programme. In 2010, a mother complained to OFCOM of the smoking scenes shown in the cartoons, since Tom often attempts to impress love interests with the habit, resulting in reports that the smoking scenes in Tom and Jerry films may be subject to censorship.
Due to its lack of dialogue, Tom and Jerry was easily translated into various foreign languages. Tom and Jerry began broadcast in Japan in 1964. A 2005 nationwide survey taken in Japan by TV Asahi, sampling age groups from teenagers to adults in their sixties, ranked Tom and Jerry #85 in a list of the top 100 "anime" of all time; while their web poll taken after the airing of the list ranked it at #58 - the only non-Japanese animation on the list, and beating anime classics like Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, A Little Princess Sara, and the ultra-classics Macross and Ghost in the Shell (it should be noted that in Japan, the word "anime" refers to all animation regardless of origin, not just Japanese animation).
Tom and Jerry have long been popular in Germany. However, the cartoons are overdubbed with rhyming German language verse that describes what is happening onscreen, sometimes adding or revising information. The different episodes are usually embedded in the episode Jerry's Diary (1949), in which Tom reads about past adventures.
In India, South East Asia, the Middle East, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, other Latin American countries, and in eastern European countries (such as Romania), Cartoon Network still airs Tom and Jerry cartoons every day. In Russia, local channels also air the show in their daytime programming slot. Tom and Jerry was one of the few cartoons of western origin broadcast in Czechoslovakia (1988) and Romania (until 1989) before the fall of Communism in 1989.
In January 2009, IGN named Tom and Jerry as the 66th best in the Top 100 Animated TV Shows. In an interview found on the DVD releases, several MADtv cast members stated that Tom and Jerry is one of their biggest influences for slapstick comedy.
October 1, 1992Europe of that year and then domestically by Miramax Films in July 30, 1993 . Barbera served as creative consultant for the picture, which was produced and directed by Phil Roman. A musical film with a structure similar to MGM's blockbusters, The Wizard of Oz and Singin' in the Rain, the movie was criticized by reviewers and audiences alike for being predictable and for giving the pair dialogue (and songs) through the entire movie. As a result, it failed at the box office. In 2001, Warner Bros. (which had, by then, merged with Turner and assumed its properties) released the duo's first direct-to-video movie, Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring, in which Tom covets a ring which grants mystical powers to the wearer, and has become accidentally stuck on Jerry's head. It would mark the last time Hanna and Barbera co-produced a Tom and Jerry cartoon together, as William Hanna died shortly after The Magic Ring was released.saw the first international release of Tom and Jerry: The Movie when the film was released overseas to theaters in
Four years later, Bill Kopp scripted and directed two more Tom and Jerry DTV features for the studio, Tom and Jerry: Blast Off to Mars and Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry, the latter one based on a story by Barbera. Both were released on DVD in 2005, marking the celebration of Tom and Jerry's 65th anniversary. In 2006, another direct-to-video film, Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers, tells the story about the pair having to work together to find the treasure. Joe came up with the storyline for the next film, Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale, as well as the initial idea of synchronizing the on-screen actions to music from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. This DTV, directed by Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone, would be Joe Barbera's last Tom and Jerry project due to his passing in December 2006. The holiday-set animated film was released on DVD in late 2007, and dedicated to Barbera. A new direct-to-video film, Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes, was released on August 24, 2010. It is the first made-for-video Tom and Jerry movie produced without any of the characters' original creators.
Warner Bros. has plans for a theatrically-released film starring Tom and Jerry, slated for an 2011 release. The film will be, according to Variety, "an origin story that reveals how Tom and Jerry first meet and form their rivalry before getting lost in Chicago and reluctantly working together during an arduous journey home". So far Dan Lin will be producing the film, while screenwriter Eric Gravning is also hired on the project. Warner Bros., in their Variety review, replied they are using Tom and Jerry to create their own " Alvin and the Chipmunks family franchise".
Like a number of other animated cartoons in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, Tom and Jerry was not considered politically correct in later years. Many shorts featured racial stereotypes, such as characters shown in blackface following an explosion, which are subsequently cut when shown on television today, although The Yankee Doodle Mouse blackface gag as well as another blackface gag at the end of Safety Second, and a short scene from The Dog House remain intact, depending on the country. The black maid, Mammy Two Shoes, is often considered a racist stereotype because she is depicted as a poor black woman who has a rodent problem. Her voice was redubbed by Turner in the mid-1990s in hopes of making the character sound less stereotypical; the resulting accent sounded more Irish. One cartoon in particular, His Mouse Friday, is often completely out of television rotation due to the cannibals being seen as racist stereotypes. If shown, the cannibals' dialogue is edited out, although their mouths can be seen moving.
In 2006, United Kingdom channel Boomerang made plans to edit Tom and Jerry cartoons being aired in the UK where the characters were seen to be smoking in a manner that was "condoned, acceptable or glamorised." This followed a complaint from a viewer that the cartoons were not appropriate for younger viewers, and a subsequent investigation by UK media watchdog OFCOM. It has also taken the U.S. approach by editing out blackface gags, though this seems to be random as not all scenes of this type are cut.
Tom and Jerry began appearing in comic books in 1942, as one of the features in Our Gang Comics. In 1949, with MGM's live-action Our Gang shorts having ceased production five years earlier, the series was renamed Tom and Jerry Comics. The pair continued to appear in various books for the rest of the 20th century.
The pair have also appeared in a number of video games as well, spanning titles for systems from the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super NES and Nintendo 64 to more recent entries for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube.
Throughout the years, the term and title Tom and Jerry became practically synonymous with never-ending rivalry, as much as the related "cat and mouse fight" metaphor has. Yet in Tom and Jerry it wasn't the more powerful (Tom) that usually came out on top. Palestinian President Yassar Arafat noted this fact and loved the cartoon show because "the little guy--the mouse and not the cat--always won"
Author Steven Millhauser wrote a short story called Cat 'n' Mouse which pits the duo against one another as antagonist and protagonist in literary form. Millhauser allows his reader access to the thoughts and emotions of the two characters in a way that wasn't done in the cartoon.
In popular culture
The Simpsons characters, Itchy & Scratchy, the featured cartoon on the Krusty the Clown Show, are spoofs of Tom and Jerry – a "cartoon within a cartoon." The cartoon violence of Tom and Jerry is parodied and intensified, as Itchy (the mouse) dispatches Scratchy in a variety of gratuitous, gory methods.
In another episode, " Krusty Gets Kancelled", the short cartoon "Worker and Parasite", is a reference to the Eastern European Tom and Jerry cartoons directed by Gene Deitch. To produce the animation, director David Silverman photocopied several drawings and made the animation very jerky.
In 1945, Jerry made an appearance in the live-action MGM musical feature film Anchors Aweigh, in which, through the use of special effects, he performs a dance routine with Gene Kelly. In this sequence, Gene Kelly is telling a class of school kids a fictional tale of how he earned his Medal of Honour: Jerry is the king of a magical world populated with cartoon animals, whom he has forbidden to dance as he himself does not know how. Gene Kelly's character then comes along and guides Jerry through an elaborate dance routine, resulting in Jerry awarding him with a medal. Jerry speaks and sings in this short film; his voice is performed by Sara Berner. Tom has a cameo in the sequence as one of Jerry's servants. This sequence was later lifted and reanimated frame-for-frame in an episode of Family Guy, where Jerry was replaced with Stewie.
Both Tom and Jerry appear with Esther Williams in a dream sequence in another big-screen musical, Dangerous When Wet. In the film, Tom and Jerry are chasing each other underwater, when they run into Esther Williams, with whom they perform an extended synchronized swimming routine. Tom and Jerry have to save Williams from a lecherous octopus, who tries to lure and woo her into his (many) arms.
In 1988, the duo were lined up to appear in the Oscar-winning Touchstone/ Amblin Entertainment film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a homage to classic American animation, but their inclusion in the film was scrapped due to legal complications.
Johnny Knoxville from Jackass has stated that watching Tom and Jerry inspired many of the stunts in the movies.
The following cartoons won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons:
- 1943: The Yankee Doodle Mouse
- 1944: Mouse Trouble
- 1945: Quiet Please!
- 1946: The Cat Concerto
- 1948: The Little Orphan
- 1951: The Two Mouseketeers
- 1952: Johann Mouse
These cartoons were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons, but did not win:
- 1940: Puss Gets the Boot
- 1941: The Night Before Christmas
- 1947: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse
- 1949: Hatch Up Your Troubles
- 1950: Jerry's Cousin
- 1954: Touché, Pussy Cat!
These cartoons were nominated for the Annie Award in the Individual Achievements Category: Character Animation, but did not win:
- 1946: Springtime for Thomas
- 1955: That's My Mommy
- 1956: Muscle Beach Tom
- 2005: The Karate Guard
- The Tom and Jerry Show (ABC, 1975)
- The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show (CBS, 1980–1982)
- Tom & Jerry Kids (FOX, 1990–1994)
- Tom and Jerry Tales (The CW, 2006–2008)
Packaged shows and programming blocks
- Tom and Jerry (1960s packaged show) (CBS, Mid-1960s)
- Tom and Jerry on BBC One (BBC, 1967–2000)
- Tom and Jerry's Funhouse on TBS (TBS, 1986–1989)
- Cartoon Network's Tom and Jerry Show (Cartoon Network, 1992–present)
- Hanna-Barbera's 50th: A Yabba Dabba Doo Celebration (TNT, 1989)
- Tom and Jerry: The Mansion Cat (Cartoon Network, 2000)
- Tom and Jerry: The Movie (Turner Pictures/ Film Roman/WMG, 1993)
- Tom and Jerry ( Warner Bros., 2011)
- Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring (Warner Home Video, 2001)
- Tom and Jerry: Blast Off to Mars (Warner Home Video, 2005)
- Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry (Warner Home Video, 2005)
- Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers (Warner Home Video, 2006)
- Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale (Warner Home Video, 2007)
- Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes (Warner Home Video, 2010)