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 pair won a total of 7 Oscar awards for Best Animated Short Subject, more than any other character-based theatrical animated series. 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. Read on to know interesting and amazing information on the history, origin and background of Tom and Jerry.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Tom & Jerry
Joseph Barbera, a storyman and character designer, paired up with an experienced director, William Hanna to create a cat-and-mouse cartoon. 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. The series went into production and eventually, Hanna and Barbera went on to direct only the cat-and-mouse cartoon, for the rest of their tenure at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).
The main protagonist, Tom was a blue-grey longhair cat while Jerry, the second protagonist, was a small & brown, house mouse. The physical appearances of both Tom and Jerry were evolved over the years. The series developed into a quicker, more energetic tone. Though the original theme of the series, cat chases mouse, remained the same, Hanna and Barbera came up with numerous variations on this theme. The final shot of Hanna and Barbera was ‘Tot Watchers’, which released on August 1, 1958, after the MGM cartoon studio closed down in 1957. Later, Hanna and Barbera opened up their own television studio, Hanna-Barbera Productions, in 1957 and went on to produce various famous TV shows and movies.
In 1960, Czech-based animation director, Gene Deitch from Rembrandt Films was contracted by MGM to produce new Tom and Jerry shorts. A total of 13 shorts were released under this contract. These episodes were not very favorably received by the general audience. In the early 1963, Chuck Jones, who was fired from Warner Bros. Cartoons, started his own animation studio and produced a total of 34 Tom and Jerry shorts. The main characters were given a changed appearance, with Tom getting thicker eyebrows, a less complex look, sharper ears and furrier cheeks. Jerry got larger eyes and ears, a lighter brown color and a sweeter Porky Pig-like expression. The year 1965 saw the Hanna and Barbera cartoon series airing on television, in heavily edited form.
The Jones series featured Mammy Two-Shoes. Eventually, she was replaced by a fat White Irish woman, as in ‘Saturday Evening Puss’. The series were translated into various foreign languages, since it had almost no dialogues. It started broadcasting in Japan in 1964. Since then, Tom and Jerry cartoons have been airing on television everyday in India, Germany, South East Asia, the Middle East, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Argentina, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Venezuela, other Latin American countries and in eastern European countries. Various Tom and Jerry movies have also been released such as ‘Tom and Jerry: The Movie’, ‘Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring’, ‘Tom and Jerry: Blast Off To Mars’, ‘Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry’ and ‘Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale’.