The history of TOM and JERRY

The beautiful American Animated Series of short films created in 1940









Tom and Jerry, two of the most honored cartoon characters in motion pictures, were created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer



Their plot centered on a never-ending battle, in other words, a chase between a housecat and a brown mouse.



The Hanna- Barbera duo had written and directed 114 Tom and Jerry cartoons from 1940 to 1957, at the MGM cartoon studio in Hollywood. The series has also been named as the ‘Greatest Television Shows of All Time’ by TIME, in 2000. Tom and Jerry was also placed at the 66th position, in the ‘Top 100 Animated TV Shows’ by IGN, in January 2009.



The first cartoon was titled ‘Puss Gets the Boot’ and it released in theatres on February 10, 1940. Having lost to another MGM cartoon at the Academy Awards, Hanna and Barbera held a contest to give the cat and mouse a new name and look. Animator John Carr won the contest, with his suggestion of Tom and Jerry.



In each short Tom is shown trying unsuccessfully trying to catch Jerry. In some shorts they both are seen as going along very well and there is no particular reason shown as to why Tom is always desperately chasing Jerry all the time but irrespective of the reason the chase given by Tom to Jerry has always been admired by viewers. In most cases Tom is unable to catch Jerry simply because Jerry is smarter and more cunning than Tom.



Music has always played a very important role in all the Tom and Jerry shorts enhancing the emotions in the scenes. The music for the shorts was created by music director Scott Bradley. Music has always played a very important role in all the Tom and Jerry shorts enhancing the emotions in the scenes. The music for the shorts was created by music director Scott Bradley.



Even though both take pleasure in hurting each other they help out each other when one of them is in serious danger and then they end up being friends. Tom and Jerry are rarely, if ever, shown speaking. Most of the sound effects for the pair were provided by William Hanna also the co-director of the series



Early shorts showed that Mammy Two Shoes was the housemaid of the house where Tom lives. Her face is never shown, only her voice is heard and she punishes Tom whenever he misbehaves. She appeared in many shorts till 1952 when Tom was shown living with a couple. After this Tom’s ownership again changes to a woman who is very strict, adores mice and punishes Tom for chasing Jerry.



Tom and Jerry has won more Academy Awards than any other animated series.



After TV started making a dent in revenues of animated shorts, MGM executives decided to close the animation studio. The last of Hanna and Barbera Tom and Jerry shorts “Tot Watchers” was released on August 1, 1958. After Gene Deitch and chuck Jones took charge of Tom and Jerry in 1961 and 1963 respectively, the Hanna-Barbera Studio bought Tom and Jerry from MGM in 1975. They made 48 cartoons between 1975 and 1977 when the series finally ended.


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