Tom and Jerry
Tom and Jerry are back. The animated cat-and-mouse duo known for their cartoon violence star in half-hour episodes that are split into two segments. Much of the plot what there is of it is familiar to people who have enjoyed Tom and Jerry since their earliest short films in 1940.
Background Of Tom and 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 theaters 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 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’s 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’s cartoons have been airing on television every day 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.
The Original “Tom and Jerry”
Actually, Tom and Jerry didn’t start out as a cat and mouse. From 1931 to 1933 there was a series of cartoons featuring two humans called “Tom” and “Jerry.” This series was produced by the Van Beuren studio in New York. The shorts were filled with wild surreal humor similar to the early Fleischer cartoons and silent Felix the Cat cartoons. When the cartoons were later sold to TV, the characters were renamed “Dick and Larry” to avoid confusion with the now famous cat and mouse. Of some interest was one of the writers on that old series. Joe Barbera.
Tom and Jerry Timeline
About Tom and Jerry Character
John Carr was an animator who won a competition to name the cat and mouse.
The real hero of the Tom and Jerry saga was a chap called John Carr. He was the humble animator who won a studio-wide competition to come up with permanent names for the cat and mouse. His suggestion of Tom and Jerry apparently won him $50 – and helped define two cartoon immortals. We hope he spent his winnings wisely.
Tom and Jerry are as American as apple pie. Except, that is, for a period in the 60s when the cartoons were made in Czechoslovakia. The 13 Czech episodes were very different in tone, with harder-edged violence, eerie, echoing sound effects and an often strange atmosphere that continues to divide opinion to this day. Though as lovers of the bizarre and surreal, we think they’re ace.
The Tom and Jerry show wasn’t the first time that Tom and Jerry appeared in a cartoon. Both had cameos in the Puss Gets the Boot cartoon. When the duo started together in Tom and Jerry, the premise of the show played off the adversarial relationships that cats and mice have in real life. Except in this story, Tom rarely ever tried to consume Jerry. That wasn’t really the point of the cartoon. The focus was always the chase and the comedy and entertainment that it provided for viewers.
Though Tom was the bigger animal of the two and a predator by nature, his size and basic instincts didn’t win out over Jerry’s smarts. Jerry would use his wits to out-duel Tom. Now, there would be times when Tom would get the best of Jerry but only rarely. There would also be times when neither would come out on top. These ended being draws but entertaining ones no less.
Even though Tom and Jerry were rivals, they had a soft place in each of their heart’s for each other. If either of them were ever truly in danger, the other would come to the rescue, although the chase would eventually resume.
Scene from the cartoon movie Casanova Cat with Toodles Galore and Tom
Throughout the series, there were several female characters that Tom was interested in romantically. They included Toots, from Puss n’ Toots and another character by the same name, who appeared in The Zoo Cat. Toodles Galore, however, was his most notable love interest.
There would be a few times when Tom would apparently die, only to show back up in the next episode. He would never stay dead for long.
Surprisingly, even though Tom and Jerry were the main characters of Tom and Jerry, they rarely ever spoke. The show’s supporting characters had much more to say then the show’s stars.
There were some people who felt that the Tom and Jerry show was too violent, although there were never any gruesome or gory scenes. What would pass for controversial then wouldn’t come close to doing so now? The show was popular amongst children, both older and younger. Many of today’s, older adults are still fans of the show. It holds a special place in their hearts. Younger children and teens are also being acquainted with the show via reruns and the most recent series, Tom and Jerry Kids.
Facts About Tom And Jerry
Did you know that Tom and Jerry were not called Tom and Jerry in their first outing in 1940? Tom was actually called Jasper and Jerry was called Jinx.
The name Tom and Jerry came up from an animator John Carr. He won a studio-wide competition to come up with permanent names for the cat and mouse. And for this, he was given a prize of $50.
Tom and Jerry have always been criticized because of having so much violence. But the truth is that there was never any blood or gore.
Tom and Jerry were never silent characters. They both uttered lines throughout the decades, and in the 1992 movie, they couldn’t keep their mouth shut.
Tom and Jerry became the highest-grossing animated short film series of that time, overtaking Looney Tunes.
Music plays a very important part in the shorts, emphasizing the action, filling in for traditional sound effects, and lending emotion to the scenes. It was because of this music that we understood everything even Tom and Jerry weren’t speaking anything.
Tom and Jerry began appearing in comic books in 1942, as one of the features in Our Gang Comics.
In 1975, Tom and Jerry became friends in a very special series in which we saw them traveling the world competing in sports, solving mysteries, etc. Luckily, it didn’t last.
On October 1, 1992, the first international release of Tom and Jerry: The Movie was held.
In the last episode of Tom and Jerry, they both end their lives. Tom is about to commit suicide on the railway track, and then he is joined by jerry.