Tom and Jerry
|Tom and Jerry|
William Hanna (1940–58)|
Joseph Barbera (1940–58)
Gene Deitch (1961–62)
Eli Bauer (1961–62)
Larz Bourne (1961–62)
Michael Maltese (1963–67)
Jim Pabian (1965)
Bob Ogle (1966–67)
John W. Dunn (1965–67)
William Hanna (1940–58)|
Joseph Barbera (1940–58)
Gene Deitch (1961–62)
Chuck Jones (1963–67)
Maurice Noble (1964–67)
Abe Levitow (1965–67)
Tom Ray (1966–67)
Ben Washam (1966–67)
Harry E. Lang|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||164 shorts (list of episodes)|
Rudolf Ising (1940)|
Fred Quimby (1940–55)
William Hanna (1955–58)
Joseph Barbera (1955–58)
William L. Snyder (1961–62)
Chuck Jones (1963–67)
Walter Bien (1963–65)
Les Goldman (1963–67)
Earl Jonas (1965–67)
|Running time||6–10 minutes (per short)|
Turner Entertainment Co. (1986–current)
Warner Bros. Entertainment (1996–current)
|Original release||February 10, 1940|
Tom and Jerry is an American animated series of short films created in 1940, by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. It centers on a rivalry between its two title characters, Tom and Jerry, and many recurring characters, based around slapstick comedy.
In its original run, Hanna and Barbera produced 114 Tom and Jerry shorts for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1940 to 1958. During this time, they won seven Academy Awards for Animated Short Film, tying for first place with Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies with the most awards in the category. After the MGM cartoon studio closed in 1958, MGM revived the series with Gene Deitch directing an additional 13 Tom and Jerry shorts for Rembrandt Films from 1961 to 1962. Tom and Jerry then became the highest-grossing animated short film series of that time, overtaking Looney Tunes. Chuck Jones then produced another 34 shorts with Sib-Tower 12 Productions between 1963 and 1967. Three more shorts were produced, The Mansion Cat in 2001, The Karate Guard in 2005, and "A Fundraising Adventure" in 2014, making a total of 164 shorts. Various shorts have been released for home media since the 1990s.
A number of spin-offs have been made, including the television series The Tom and Jerry Show (1975), The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show (1980–82), Tom and Jerry Kids (1990–93), Tom and Jerry Tales (2006–08), and The Tom and Jerry Show (2014–present). The first feature-length film based on the series, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, was released in 1992, and 12 direct-to-video films have been produced since 2002.
Numerous Tom and Jerry shorts have been subject to controversy, mainly over racial stereotypes which involves the portrayal of the recurring black character Mammy Two Shoes and characters appearing in blackface. Other controversial themes include cannibalism and the glamorization of smoking.
The series features comic fights between an iconic set of adversaries, a house cat (Tom) and a mouse (Jerry). The plots of each short usually center on Tom's numerous attempts to capture Jerry and the mayhem and destruction that follows. Tom rarely succeeds in catching Jerry, mainly because of Jerry's cleverness, cunning abilities, and luck. However, there are also several instances within the cartoons where they display genuine friendship and concern for each other's well-being. At other times, the pair set aside their rivalry in order to pursue a common goal, such as when a baby escaped the watch of a negligent babysitter, causing Tom and Jerry to pursue the baby and keep it away from danger.
The cartoons are known for some of the most violent cartoon gags ever devised in theatrical animation such as Tom using everything from axes, hammers, firearms, firecrackers, explosives, traps and poison to kill Jerry. On the other hand, Jerry's methods of retaliation are far more violent due to their frequent success, including slicing Tom in half, decapitating him, shutting his head or fingers in a window or a door, stuffing Tom's tail in a waffle iron or a mangle, kicking him into a refrigerator, getting him electrocuted, pounding him with a mace, club or mallet, causing trees or electric poles 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. Because of this, Tom and Jerry has often been criticized as excessively violent. Despite the frequent violence, there is no blood or gore in any scene.:42:134
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 which both starred Judy Garland in a leading role. Generally, there is little dialogue as Tom and Jerry almost never speak; however, minor characters are not similarly limited, and the two lead characters are able to speak English on rare occasions and are thus not mute. For example, the character Mammy Two Shoes has lines in nearly every cartoon in which she appears. Most of the vocal effects used for Tom and Jerry are their high-pitched laughs and gasping screams.
Before 1954, all Tom and Jerry cartoons were produced in the standard Academy ratio and format; in 1954 and 1955, some of the output was dually produced in dual versions: one Academy-ratio negative composed for a flat widescreen (1.75:1) format and one shot in the CinemaScope process. From 1955 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. All of the Hanna and Barbera cartoons were shot as successive color exposure negatives in Technicolor; the 1960s entries were done in Metrocolor. The 1960s entries also returned to the standard Academy ratio and format, too. The 2005 short The Karate Guard was also filmed in the standard Academy ratio and format.
Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse
Tom (named "Jasper" in his debut appearance) is a grey and white domestic shorthair cat. ("Tom" is a generic name for a male cat. He is usually but not always, portrayed as living a comfortable, or even pampered life, while Jerry (named "Jinx" in his debut appearance) is a small, brown, house mouse who always lives in close proximity to Tom. Despite being very energetic, determined and much larger, Tom is no match for Jerry's wits. Jerry also possesses surprising strength for his size, approximately the equivalent of Tom's, lifting items such as anvils with relative ease and withstanding considerable impacts. Although cats typically chase mice to consume them, it is quite rare for Tom to actually try to consume Jerry. Most of his attempts are just to torment or humiliate Jerry, sometimes in revenge, and sometimes to obtain a reward from a human for catching Jerry. 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 pushes Tom a little too far. In The Million Dollar Cat Jerry learns that Tom will lose his newly acquired wealth if he harms any animal, "including a mouse;" he then torments Tom a little too much until he retaliates. In Timid Tabby Tom's look-alike cousin pushes Jerry over the edge. Occasionally and usually ironically, they both lose, usually when Jerry's final trap or attack on Tom backfires or Jerry overlooks something. In Chuck Jones' Filet Meow, Jerry orders a shark from the pet store to scare Tom away from eating a goldfish, but finds himself entirely intimidated as well. Finally, they occasionally end up being friends, although within this set of stories, there is often a last minute event that ruins the truce. One story that has friendly ending is Snowbody Loves Me.
Both characters display sadistic tendencies, in that they are equally likely to take pleasure in tormenting each other, although it is often in response to a triggering event. However, when one character appears to truly be in mortal danger from an unplanned situation or due to actions by a third party, the other will develop a conscience and save him. Occasionally, 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. Sometimes this partnership is forgotten quickly when an unexpected event happens, or when one character feels that the other is no longer necessary. This is the case in Posse Cat, when they agree that Jerry will allow himself to be caught if Tom agrees to share his reward dinner, but Tom then reneges. Other times however, Tom does keep his promise to Jerry and the partnerships are not quickly dissolved after the problem is solved.
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 the 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), Yankee Doodle Mouse and in Safety Second, while in The Two Mouseketeers he is guillotined offscreen.
Tom and Jerry speaking
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 that one as well as Zoot Cat, 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 Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring, Jerry says, "No, no, no, no, no," when choosing the shop to remove his ring. In The Mouse Comes to Dinner Tom speaks to his girlfriend Toots while inadvertently sitting on a stove: "Say, what's cookin'?", to which Toots 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. 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 the then-popular 1940s radio show Don't You Believe It. In Mouse Trouble, Tom says "Don't you believe it!" after being beaten up by Jerry (this also happens in The Missing Mouse). In the 1946 short Trap Happy, Tom hires a cat disguised as 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, while Jerry was voiced by Sara Berner during his appearance in the 1945 MGM musical Anchors Aweigh. 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. In that movie, Tom was voiced by Richard Kind, and Jerry was voiced by Dana Hill.
Spike and Tyke
In his attempts to catch Jerry, Tom often has to deal with Spike (known as "Killer" and "Butch" in some shorts), an angry, vicious but extremely unintelligent bulldog who tries to attack Tom for bothering him or his son Tyke while trying to get Jerry. 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 him (effectively forcing Tom to take the blame) 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 does eventually wreck 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 that Tom is usually framed by Jerry and that Spike just doesn't like Tom). Off-screen, Spike does something to Tom and finally Tom is generally shown injured or in a bad situation while Jerry smugly cuddles up to Spike unscathed. Tom sometimes can get irritated with Spike on some occasions (example is in That's My Pup!, when Spike forced Tom to run up a tree every time his son barked, causing Tom to hang Tyke on a flag pole). 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 pussycat!" 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 lovable 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 is usually seen rivaling Tom over Toodles. Butch was also Tom's pal or chum as in some cartoons, where Butch is leader of Tom's alley cat buddies, who are mostly Lightning, Topsy, and Meathead. Butch talks more often than Tom or Jerry in most episodes.
Nibbles is a small grey mouse who often appears in episodes as Jerry's nephew. He is a carefree individual who very rarely understands the danger of the situation, simply following instructions the best he can both to Jerry's command and his own innocent understanding of the situation. This can lead to such results as "getting the cheese" by simply asking Tom to pick it up for him, rather than following Jerry's example of outmaneuvering and sneaking around Tom. Many times Nibbles is an ally of Jerry in fights against Tom, including being the second Mouseketeer. He is given speaking roles in all his appearances as a Mouseketeer, often with a high-pitched French tone. However, during an episode to rescue Robin Hood, his voice was instead more masculine, gruff, and cockney accented.
Mammy Two Shoes
Mammy Two Shoes is a heavy-set middle-aged mammy who often has to deal with the mayhem generated by the lead characters. Voiced by character actress Lillian Randolph, she is often seen as the owner of Tom. Her face was only shown once, very briefly, in Saturday Evening Puss. Mammy's appearances have often been edited out, dubbed, or re-animated as a slim white woman in later television showings, since her character is a mammy archetype now often regarded as racist. She was mostly restored in the DVD releases of the cartoons, with an introduction by Whoopi Goldberg explaining the importance of African-American representation in the cartoon series, however stereotyped.
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 Regency era original in the naming of the cartoon.
Hanna-Barbera era (1940–58)
William Hanna and Joseph Barbera were both part of the Rudolf Ising unit at the MGM cartoon studio in the late 1930s. After the financial disaster of a series of MGM cartoons based upon the Captain and the Kids comic strip characters, Barbera, a storyman and character designer, was paired (out of desperation) with Hanna, an experienced director, to start directing films for the Ising unit. In their first discussion for a cartoon, Barbera suggested a cat-and-mouse cartoon titled Puss Gets the Boot. "We knew we needed two characters. We thought we needed conflict, and chase and action. And a cat after a mouse seemed like a good, basic thought", as he recalled in an interview. Hanna and other employees complained that the idea wasn't very original; nevertheless, the short was 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 a mouse named Jinx (whose name is not mentioned within the cartoon itself), but after accidentally breaking a houseplant and its stand, the African American housemaid Mammy has threatened to throw Jasper out if he breaks one more thing in the house. Naturally, Jinx uses this to his advantage, and begins tossing 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 such as Gallopin' Gals (1940) and Officer Pooch (1941). "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 theater 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. Barbera would create the story for each short while Hanna would supervise production.
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. In addition, he also looked like a more realistic cat early on; evolving from his quadrupedal beginnings Tom to become increasingly and 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 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 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 cartoons brought in just as much money as the new cartoons did, the studio executives decided, much to the surprise of the staff, to close the animation studio. The MGM cartoon studio was shut down in 1958, and the last of the 114 Hanna-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 hit TV shows, such as The Flintstones, Yogi Bear and The Smurfs.
Gene Deitch era (1961–62)
In 1961, MGM revived the Tom and Jerry franchise, and contracted European animation studio Rembrandt Films to produce thirteen Tom and Jerry shorts in Prague, Czechoslovakia. All thirteen shorts were directed by Gene Deitch and produced by William L. Snyder. Deitch himself wrote most of the cartoons, with occasional assistance from Larz Bourne and Eli Bauer. Stěpan Koniček provided the musical score for the Deitch shorts. Sound effects were produced by Tod Dockstader. The majority of vocal effects and voices in Deitch's films were provided by Allen Swift.
Deitch states that, being a "UPA man", he was not a fan of the Tom and Jerry cartoons, thinking they were "needlessly violent." However, after being assigned to work on the series, he quickly realized that "nobody took [the violence] seriously", and it was merely "a parody of exaggerated human emotions." He also came to see what he perceived as the "biblical roots" in Tom and Jerry's conflict, similar to David and Goliath, stating "That's where we feel a connection to these cartoons: the little guy can win (or at least survive) to fight another day."
Since the Deitch/Snyder team had seen only a handful of the original Tom and Jerry shorts, and since the team produced their cartoons on a tighter budget of $10,000, the resulting films were considered surrealist in nature, though this was not Deitch's intention. The animation was limited and jerky in movement, compared to the more fluid Hanna-Barbera shorts. Background art was done in a more simplistic, angular, Art Deco-esque style. The soundtracks featured sparse and echoic electronic music, futuristic sound effects, heavy reverb, and dialogue that was mumbled rather than spoken. According to Jen Nessel of The New York Times, "The Czech style had nothing in common with these gag-driven cartoons."
Whereas Hanna-Barbera's shorts generally took place in and outside of a house, Deitch's shorts opted for more exotic locations, such as a 19th-century whaling ship, the jungles of Nairobi, an Ancient Greek acropolis, or the Wild West. In addition, Mammy Two-Shoes was replaced as Tom's owner by Clint Clobber, a bald, overweight, short-tempered, middle-aged white man who was also much more brutal and violent in punishing Tom's actions as compared to previous owners, by beating and thrashing Tom repeatedly, stomping on his hand, searing his head with a grill, forcing him to drink an entire carbonated beverage, slamming his fingers with a lunchbox lid and even wrapping a shotgun over his head and firing it.
To avoid being linked to Communism, Deitch romanized the Czech names of his crew in the opening credits of the shorts (e.g. Stêpan Koniček became "Steven Konichek" and Vaclav Lidl became "Victor Little"). In addition, these shorts are among the few Tom and Jerry cartoons not to carry the "Made In Hollywood, U.S.A." phrase on the end title card; due to Deitch's studio being behind the Iron Curtain, the production studio's location is omitted entirely on it. After the thirteen shorts were completed, Joe Vogel, the head of production, was fired from MGM. Vogel had approved of Deitch and his team's work, but MGM decided not to renew their contract after Vogel's departure. The final of the thirteen shorts, Carmen Get It!, was released on December 21, 1962.
Deitch's shorts were commercial successes. In 1961, the Tom and Jerry series became the highest-grossing animated short film series of that time, dethroning Looney Tunes which had held the position for sixteen years; this success was repeated once more in 1962. However, unlike the Hanna-Barbera shorts, none of Deitch's films were nominated for nor did they win an Academy Award. In retrospect, these shorts are often considered the worst of the Tom and Jerry theatrical output. Deitch stated that due to his team's inexperience as well as their low budget, he "hardly had a chance to succeed", and "well understand[s] the negative reactions" to his shorts. He believes "They could all have been better animated – truer to the characters – but our T&Js were produced in the early 1960s, near the beginning of my presence here, over a half-century ago as I write this!" Despite the criticism, some fans wrote positive letters to Deitch, stating that his Tom and Jerry shorts were their personal favorites due to their quirky and surreal nature.
Chuck Jones era (1963–67)
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 (later renamed MGM Animation/Visual Arts), 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).
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, Count Blood Count or Wile E Coyote), a less complex look (including the color of his fur becoming gray), sharper ears, longer tail and furrier cheeks (resembling Jones' Claude Cat or Sylvester), while Jerry was given larger eyes and ears, a lighter brown color, 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. These shorts contain a memorable opening theme, in which Tom first replaces the MGM lion, then is trapped inside the "O" of his name.
Though Jones's shorts were generally considered an improvement over Deitch's, they nevertheless had varying degrees of critical success. MGM ceased production of Tom and Jerry shorts in 1967, by which time Jones had moved on to 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 versions. 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. Also, much of the violence was edited out. However, recent telecasts on Cartoon Network and Boomerang retain Mammy with new voiceover work performed by Thea Vidale to remove the stereotypical black jargon featured on the original cartoon soundtracks.
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.
Second Hanna-Barbera era: The Tom and Jerry Show (1975)
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 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. This 1975-styled format was no longer used in the newer Tom and Jerry entrees.
Filmation era (1980–82)
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 (from Tom & Jerry, and the same version also used in Droopy), Slick Wolf, 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.
Third Hanna-Barbera era: Tom and Jerry Kids (1990–94)
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 few years, aired on British children's block, 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. Tom and Jerry Kids was the last Tom and Jerry cartoon series produced in 4:3 (full screen) aspect ratio.
One-off productions (2001; 2005)
In 2001, a new television special titled Tom and Jerry: The Mansion Cat premiered on Boomerang. 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, titled 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 September 27, 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, though he would die shortly after production ended. 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 (2006–08)
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 Kids' WB on The CW. Tales is the first Tom and Jerry TV series that utilizes the original style of the classic shorts, along with the slapstick. The series was canceled in 2008, shortly before the Kids' WB block shut down. In January 2012, the series returned and moved to Cartoon Network, but only reruns showed under the "new episodes" moniker. Tom and Jerry Tales was also the first Tom and Jerry cartoon series produced in 16:9 (widescreen) aspect ratio but cropped to 4:3 (full screen).
Second Warner Bros. era (2014–present)
Cartoon Network has announced a new series consisting of two 11-minute shorts per episode that will preserve the look, core characters and sensibility of the original theatrical shorts. Similar to other reboot works like Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and The Looney Tunes Show, the series will bring Tom and Jerry into a contemporary environment, telling new stories and relocating the characters to more fantastic worlds, from a medieval castle to a mad scientist's lab.
Titled The Tom and Jerry Show, the series is produced by Warner Bros. Animation, with Sam Register serving as executive producer in collaboration with Darrell Van Citters and Ashley Postelwaite at Renegade Animation. Originally slated for an undated 2013 Cartoon Network premiere before being pushed back to April 9, 2014, this is the second Tom and Jerry production presented in 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.
In November 2014, a two-minute sketch was shown as part of the Children In Need Telethon in the United Kingdom, the sketch was produced as a collaboration with Warner Bros.
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 edited 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 occasionally 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 2006, 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 1965. 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 also serve as long-time licensed mascots for Nagoya-based Juuroku Bank. Unlike some other Western cartoons such as Bob the Builder and Postman Pat, whose characters had to be doctored to have five fingers in each hand instead of the original four, Tom and Jerry aired in Japan without such edits, as did other series starring non-human protagonists such as SpongeBob SquarePants.
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 complemented with key scenes from Jerry's Diary (1949), in which Tom reads about past adventures.
The show was aired in Mainland China by CCTV in the late 1980s to early 1990s, and was extremely popular at the time. Collections of the show are still a prominent feature in Chinese book stores.
Even though Gene Deitch's episodes were created in Czechoslovakia (1960–1962), the first official TV release of Tom and Jerry was in 1988. It was one of the few cartoons of western origin broadcast in Czechoslovakia (1988) and Romania (until 1989) before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989.
The Pakistani ice cream brand OMORÉ has launched a chocolate bar ice cream based on the show.
October 1, 1992, saw the first international release of Tom and Jerry: The Movie when the film was released overseas to theatres in Europe of that year and then domestically by Miramax Films on July 30, 1993, with future video and DVD releases that would be sold under Warner Bros. which, following Disney's acquisition of Miramax and Turner's subsequent merger with Time Warner, had acquired the film's distribution rights. 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. 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.
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 film, directed by Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone, would be Joe Barbera's last Tom and Jerry project due to his death 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. The next direct-to-video film, Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz, was released on August 23, 2011 and was the first made-for-video Tom and Jerry movie made for Blu-ray. It had a preview showing on Cartoon Network. Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse was released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 2, 2012. Tom and Jerry's Giant Adventure was released in 2013 on Blu-ray and DVD. Tom and Jerry: The Lost Dragon was released on DVD on September 2, 2014. Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest was released on DVD on June 23, 2015. Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz was released on DVD on June 21, 2016.
In April 2015, it was reported that a new theatrical feature film is in development at Warner Bros.. It will be completely animated and will be "in the same vein" as the source material. Cate Adams and Jesse Ehrman will oversee the movie.
Like a number of other animated cartoons from the 1930s to the early 1950s, Tom and Jerry featured racial stereotypes. After explosions, for example, characters with blasted faces would resemble stereotypical blacks, with large lips and bow-tied hair. Perhaps the most controversial element of the show is the character Mammy Two Shoes, a poor black maid who speaks in a stereotypical "black accent" and has a rodent problem. Joseph Barbera, who was responsible for these gags, claimed that the racial gags in Tom and Jerry did not reflect his racial opinion; they were just reflecting what was common in society and cartoons at the time and were meant to be humorous. Nevertheless, such stereotypes are considered by some to be racist today, and the blackface gags are often censored when these shots are aired. Mammy Two-Shoes' voice was redubbed by Turner in the mid-1990s to make the character sound less stereotypical; the resulting accent sounds more Irish. Three episodes in particular, His Mouse Friday, the depiction of cannibals, in Casanova Cat, a scene where the face of Jerry is blackened by Tom with cigar smoke and Mouse Cleaning where Tom is shown as blackface has been removed from the Blu-ray DVD edition.
In Tom and Jerry's Spotlight Collection DVD, a disclaimer by Whoopi Goldberg warns viewers about the potentially offensive material in the cartoons and emphasizes that they were "wrong then and they are wrong today", borrowing a phrase from the Warner Bros. Golden collection. This disclaimer is also used in the Tom and Jerry Golden Collection: Volume 1 on iTunes.
In 2006, the British version of the Boomerang channel 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 glamorized." This followed a complaint from a viewer who thought that smoking was wrong and that the cartoons were not appropriate for younger viewers. There was a subsequent investigation by UK media watchdog OFCOM. It has also taken the U.S. approach by censoring blackface gags, though this seems to be random as not all scenes of this type are cut.
In 2013, it was reported that Cartoon Network of Brazil censored 27 shorts on the grounds of being "politically incorrect". In an official release, the channel confirmed that it had censored only 2 shorts "by editorial issues and appropriateness of the content to the target audience—children of 7 to 11 years".
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 for the Sega Genesis plus also Sega Game Gear and the Sega Master System and their rival console around the 1990s, Nintendo Entertainment System and Super NES and Nintendo 64 to more recent entries for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube and also on the portable Nintendo consoles, Game Boy and Nintendo DS.
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 was not the more powerful Tom who usually came out on top.
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
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. This sequence was later lifted and reanimated frame-for-frame in the Family Guy episode "Road to Rupert", where Jerry was replaced with Stewie Griffin, although the reflection of Jerry can still be seen on the floor. Tom is briefly seen in Anchors Aweigh. He appears as a servant, offering King Jerry some food on a tray.
In 1988, the duo were lined up to appear in the Oscar-winning Disney/Amblin film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a homage to classic American animation. However, when the executive producer Steven Spielberg went to acquire the rights in 1986, MGM's pre-1986 library (which Tom and Jerry were a part of) was being purchased by Turner Entertainment which created a series of legal complications. Due to this Spielberg was unable to acquire the rights and Tom and Jerry's inclusion in the film was scrapped. Despite Tom and Jerry's absence from the film, Spike the Bulldog did make two cameos in the film.
In The Simpsons, The Itchy & Scratchy Show is a spoof of Tom and Jerry—a "cartoon within a cartoon." In an episode of the series titled "Krusty Gets Kancelled", Worker and Parasite, a replacement cartoon for Itchy & Scratchy, is a reference to Soviet-era animation.
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. Also in the Cartoon Network show MAD, Tom and Jerry appear in three segments "Celebrity Birthdays", "Mickey Mouse Exterminator Service", and "Tom and Jury". Johnny Knoxville from Jackass has stated that watching Tom and Jerry inspired many of the stunts in the movies.
MGM/UA released a series of Tom & Jerry laserdisc box sets in the 1990s. The Art of Tom & Jerry volumes 1 and 2, contain all the MGM shorts up to (but not including) the Deitch Era, including letterboxed versions of the shorts filmed in CinemaScope. The cartoons are all intact save for His Mouse Friday (dialogue has been wiped) and Saturday Evening Puss which is the re-drawn version with June Foray's voice added. A third volume to The Art of Tom & Jerry was released and contains all of the Chuck Jones-era Tom and Jerry shorts.
There have been several Tom and Jerry DVDs released in Region 1 (the United States and Canada), including a series of two-disc sets known as the Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection. There have been negative responses to Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, due to some of the cartoons included on each having cuts and redubbed Mammy Two-Shoes dialogue. A replacement program offering uncut versions of the shorts on DVD was later announced. There are also negative responses to Vol. 3, due to Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat being excluded from these sets and His Mouse Friday being edited for content with an extreme zooming-in towards the end to avoid showing a particularly race-based caricature.
There have been two Tom and Jerry DVD sets in Region 2. In Western Europe, most of the Tom and Jerry shorts have been released (only two, The Million Dollar Cat and Busy Buddies, were not included) under the name Tom and Jerry: Classic Collection. Almost all of the shorts contain re-dubbed Mammy Two-Shoes tracks. Despite these cuts, His Mouse Friday, the only Tom and Jerry cartoon to be completely taken off the airwaves in some countries due to claims of racism, is included, unedited with the exception of zooming-in as on the North American set. These are regular TV prints sent from the U.S. in the 1990s. Shorts produced in CinemaScope are presented in pan and scan. Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat are presented uncut as part of these sets.
Tom and Jerry: Classic Collection is available in 6 double-sided DVDs (issued in the United Kingdom) and 12 single-layer DVDs (issued throughout Western Europe). Another Tom and Jerry Region 2 DVD set is available in Japan. As with Tom and Jerry:Classic Collection in Western Europe, almost all of the shorts (including His Mouse Friday) contain cuts. Slicked-up Pup, Tom's Photo Finish, Busy Buddies, The Egg and Jerry, Tops with Pops and Feedin' the Kiddie are excluded from these sets. However, most of these cartoons are included in the UK version. Most shorts produced in CinemaScope are presented in pan and scan for showing on the 4:3 aspect ratio television screen.
Prior to 2015, the Gene Deitch-era shorts saw limited home media release outside of Europe and Asia. In Japan, all thirteen shorts were released on the Tom and Jerry & Droopy laserdisc and VHS, as well as on the bonus DVD for those who have purchased all the ten titles of the DVD collection series at its initial release. In the United Kingdom, the shorts are available on the second side of the Tom and Jerry Classic Collection: Volume 5 DVD. In the United States, The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit, Down and Outing, and Carmen Get It! were included on the Paws for a Holiday VHS and DVD, the Summer Holidays DVD, and the Musical Mayhem DVD, respectively. On June 2, 2015, Tom and Jerry: The Gene Deitch Collection DVD was released in the United States, with all thirteen shorts as well as special features.
The Chuck Jones-era Tom and Jerry shorts were released in a two-disc set titled Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection on June 23, 2009. On October 25, 2011, Warner Home Video released the first volume of the Tom and Jerry Golden Collection on DVD and Blu-ray. This set featured newly remastered prints and bonus material never before seen. The sets were aimed at the collector in a way that the previous "Spotlight" DVD releases were not. A second set was due for release at June 11, 2013. in February 2013, it was announced by TVShowsOnDVD.com that Mouse Cleaning was not part of the list of cartoons on this release, as well as the cartoon Casanova Cat that was also skipped over on the 2007 DVD release. Many collectors and fans have posted negative reviews of the product on Amazon and other various websites to make Warner put Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat on the release.
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
- 1952: The Two Mouseketeers
- 1953: 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!
- 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, Cartoon Network, 2006–2008)
- The Tom and Jerry Show (Teletoon, Cartoon Network, 2014–present)
Packaged shows and programming blocks
- Tom and Jerry (1960s packaged show) (CBS, 1965–1972)
- 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 (Boomerang, 2001)
- Tom and Jerry: Santa's Little Helpers (Warner Home Video, 2014)
- Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring (Warner Home Video, 2002)
- 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)
- Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz (Warner Home Video, 2011)
- Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse (Warner Home Video, 2012)
- Tom and Jerry's Giant Adventure (Warner Home Video, 2013)
- Tom and Jerry: The Lost Dragon (Warner Home Video, 2014)
- Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest (Warner Home Video, 2015)
- Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz (Warner Home Video, 2016)
- Tom and Jerry: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Warner Home Video, coming 2017)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tom and Jerry.|
- Tom and Jerry filmography
- List of Tom and Jerry Tales episodes
- List of Tom and Jerry characters
- Golden Age of American animation
- Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio and MGM Animation/Visual Arts
- List of works produced by Hanna-Barbera
- List of Hanna-Barbera characters
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