Tom and Jerry



Tom and Jerry were an animated cat (Tom) and mouse (Jerry) team who formed the basis of a successful series of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) theatrical cartoon shorts created, written and directed by animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera (later of Hanna-Barbera fame). The series was produced by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio in Hollywood from 1940 until 1957, when the animation unit was closed down.

In 1960, MGM outsourced the production of Tom and Jerry to Rembrandt Films (led by Gene Deitch) in Eastern Europe. In 1963, production of Tom and Jerry shorts returned to Hollywood with Chuck Jones' Sib-Tower 12 Productions; this series lasted until 1967. Tom and Jerry later resurfaced in TV cartoons produced by Hanna-Barbera (1975 - 1977; 1990 - 1993) and Filmation Studios (1980 - 1982). The original MGM shorts helmed by Hanna and Barbera shorts are notable for having won seven Academy Awards, tying it with Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies as the most-awarded theatrical animated series.

The plots of each short usually center on Tom's frustrated attempts to catch Jerry, and the mayhem and destruction that ensues. Because they seem to get along in some cartoon shorts (at least in the first minute or so), it is unclear why Tom chases Jerry so much, but some reasons given may include:

* normal feline hunger

* his duty according to his owner (often it is Tom's job, as a house cat, to catch mice and failure would equal eviction)

* the simple enjoyment of tormenting him

* revenge

* Tom's dark, evil plans (like cooking ducks or fishes) getting ruined

* a misunderstanding (especially in shorts that start with them ambivalent or friendly to each other)

* a conflict when both of them want the same thing (usually food)

* a need to have Jerry out of the way (particularly when seeking a girlfriend)

* a game enjoyed by both of them

The shorts are famous for using some of the most destructive and violent gags ever devised for theatrical animation: Jerry slicing Tom in half, Tom using everything from axes, pistols, rifles, dynamite, and poison to try and murder Jerry, Jerry stuffing Tom's tail in a waffle iron, and so on. A well-used and favoured joke is when Tom hits Jerry with something such as a hammer when he is occupied (usually eating) and is initially perplexed as he continues unaffected- and he then feels the effects moments later. Usually, neither Tom nor Jerry speak in the cartoons, with rare and brief exceptions to these rules. Facial expressions and gestures easily convey the characters' feelings and intentions.

Music plays a very important part in the shorts, emphasising the action, filling in for traditional sound-effects, and lending appropriate 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 such as The Wizard of Oz and Meet Me In St. Louis.

Before 1953, all Tom and Jerry cartoons were produced in the standard Academy ratio and format; from 1953 to 1956 some of the output was dually produced in both Academy format and the widescreen CinemaScope process. From 1956 until the close of the MGM animation studio a year later, all Tom and Jerry cartoons were produced in CinemaScope; some even had their soundtracks recorded in stereo. 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 is a bluish-grey housecat, depending on the short (his fur color is close to that of the Russian Blue breed of cats), who lives a pampered life, while Jerry is a small brown mouse who always lives in close proximity to him. Tom is very quick-tempered and thin-skinned, while Jerry is independent and opportunistic. Though very energetic and determined, Tom is no match for Jerry's brains and wits. By the iris-out of each cartoon, Jerry is usually shown triumphant, while Tom is shown as the loser. At times, Tom triumphs, both characters lose, or Tom and Jerry end the cartoon as friends. 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, the other will develop a conscience and save him.

Although many supporting and minor characters speak, Tom and Jerry rarely do so. Tom, most famously, sings while wooing female cats; for example, he sings a cover of Louis Jordan's "Is You is or is You Ain't My Baby" in the 1946 short Solid Serenade. Co-director William Hanna provided most of the squeaks, gasps, and other vocal effects for the pair, including the most famous sound effect from the series, Tom's leather-lunged scream (created by recording Hanna's scream and chopping the head and tail off the recording, leaving only the strongest part of the scream on the soundtrack).

In his attempts to catch Jerry, Tom often has to deal with the intrusions of characters such as Meathead, later renamed Butch, a scruffy black alley cat who also wants to catch and eat Jerry; Spike (sometimes billed as Killer or Butch), an angry, vicious guard bulldog who tries to beat up the cat; and Mammy-Two-Shoes, a stereotyped African-American domestic (voiced by Lillian Randolph), whose face is never seen, and usually wallops the cat with a broom when he misbehaves. Mammy would appear in many cartoons until 1952; later cartoons would instead show Tom and Jerry living with a 1950s Yuppie-style couple: a tall, lanky man with glasses, and a doting housewife with black hair.

In the late 1940s, Jerry adopted a little gray mouse foundling named Nibbles (also later known as Tuffy). Unlike Jerry, Nibbles could speak, but usually in a foreign language in keeping with the theme and setting of the short. During the 1950s, Spike is shown to have a son of his own named Tyke, an addition that led to both a slight softening of Spike's character and a short-lived spin-off theatrical series (Spike and Tyke). Spike spoke occasionally, using a voice and expressions modelled after comedian Jimmy Durante. Another recurring character in the series was Quacker the duckling, who was later adapted into the later Hanna-Barbera character Yakky Doodle.

William Hanna and Joseph Barbera were both part of the Rudolf Ising unit at MGM's animation studio in 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 which was a cat-and-mouse cartoon called Puss Gets the Boot. Completed in late 1939, and released to theatres on February 10, 1940, Puss Gets The Boot centers on Jasper, a grey tabby cat trying to catch an unnamed rodent, but without breaking anything; Jasper's owner Mammy has threatened to throw Jasper out ("O-U-W-T, out!") if he breaks one more thing in the house. Naturally, the mouse uses this to his advantage, and begins tossing wine glasses, ceramic plates, tea pots, and any and everything fragile, so that Jasper will get 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 favourite 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.

However, 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; animator John Carr won 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 never directed anything but the cat-and-mouse cartoons for much of 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; Jerry stayed essentially the same for the duration of the series. By the mid-1940s, the series had developed a quicker, more energetic (and violent) tone, thanks to inspiration from the work of MGM Animation colleague Tex Avery, who joined the studio in 1942.

Even though the basic theme of each short is virtually the same, 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 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 the MGM accountants 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 animation department 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 such popular shows as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Scooby-Doo.

In 1960, MGM decided that they wanted to produce new Tom and Jerry shorts again, and had producer William L. Snyder make an arrangement with Czech based animation director Gene Deitch and Deitch's studio, Rembrandt Films, to make the films overseas in Prague, Czechoslovakia. The Deitch/Snyder team turned out 13 shorts, many of which have a surrealistic quality to them.

Since the Deitch/Snyder team only saw a handful of the original Tom and Jerry shorts, the films that resulted from the arrangement were considered unusual and, in many ways, bizarre. The characters' gestures were often performed at high speed, often resulting in heavy motion blur. The soundtracks featured sparse music, spacey sound effects, dialogue that was mumbled rather than spoken, and heavy uses of reverb.

Also notable is the fact that these shorts are the only Tom and Jerry cartoons not to carry the phrase "Made In Hollywood, U.S.A." at the end. Due to Deitch's studio being behind the Iron Curtain, the production studio's location is omitted entirely.

After the last of the Deitch cartoons were released, MGM turned to American director Chuck Jones, famous for his work on Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the Road Runner and Coyote, among others. Jones had just ended his thirty-plus year tenure at Warner Bros. Cartoons and 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), but with 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 poses, personality, and style over storyline. The characters underwent a slight change of appearance: Tom was given thicker, Boris Karloff-like eyebrows, given a less complex look, and furrier cheeks, while Jerry was given larger eyes and ears, and a sweeter expression. 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. MGM ceased production of animated shorts in 1967, by which time Sib Tower 12 had become MGM Animation/Visual Arts, and Jones had already begun to move on to television specials and the feature film The Phantom Tollbooth.

Beginning in 1965, the Hanna and Barbera Tom and Jerry films began to appear on television in heavily edited form: the Jones team was required to take the shorts that featured Mammy, rotoscope her out, and replace her with a thin white woman. Lillian Randolph's original voice tracks were replaced with June Foray performing in an Irish accent. Much of the extreme violence in the cartoons was also edited out. Starting out 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.

In 1986, MGM was purchased by 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, Boomerang, and Turner Classic Movies.

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, 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.

Due to its lack of dialog, 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 Asashi, sampling age groups from teenagers to adults in their sixties, in 2005 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. Tom and Jerry is also well-known in Indonesia, China and South Korea.

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. The different episodes are usually embedded in the episode Jerry's Diary (1949), in which Tom reads about past adventures.

In Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, India, and Pakistan, Cartoon Network still airs Tom and Jerry cartoons nearly everyday.

Like a number of other animated cartoons in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, Tom and Jerry was not considered politically correct in later years. Some cartoons featured either Tom or Jerry in blackface following an explosion, which are subsequently cut when shown on television today. Other ethnic stereotypes are also omitted, particularly the black maid, Mammy Two-Shoes, whose voice was redubbed by Turner in the mid-1990s in hopes of making the character sound less stereotypical. One cartoon in particular, His Mouse Friday, is often banned from television 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, UK 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.

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 New Tom & Jerry/Grape Ape Show, The Tom & Jerry/Grape Ape/Mumbly Show, and The Tom & Jerry/Mumbly Show, all of which ran on ABC Saturday Morning from September 6, 1975 to 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 H-B had to meet the stringent rules against violence for children's TV.

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 featuring new cartoons starring Droopy Dog, Spike, and Barney Bear, not seen since the original MGM shorts. Although they returned Tom and Jerry to the original chase formula, the 30 Filmation Tom and Jerry cartoons were of noticeably lesser quality than Hanna-Barbera's efforts; this incarnation lasted on CBS Saturday Morning from September 6, 1980 to September 4, 1982.

One of the biggest trends for Saturday morning television in the 1980s and 1990s was the "babyfication" of older, classic cartoon stars, and on September 8, 1990, Tom and Jerry Kids Show, produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions in association with Turner Entertainment, debuted on FOX. It featured a youthful version of the famous cat-and-mouse duo chasing each other. As with the 1970s H-B series, Jerry wears his red bowtie, while Tom now wears a red cap. Spike and his son Tyke, and Droopy and his son Dripple, appeared in back-up segments for the show, which ran until October 2, 1993.

In 2000, a new Tom & Jerry cartoon entitled The Mansion Cat premiered on Cartoon Network. It featured Joseph Barbera as producer and 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".

A new Tom & Jerry short, entitled The Karateguard, which had been written by Joseph Barbera, directed by Barbera and Spike Brandt, storyboarded by 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 & Jerry's sixty-fifth anniversary, this marked Joe Barbera's first return as a writer, director and story board artist on the series since his and Hanna's original cartoon shorts from 1940-58. Director/animator Spike Brandt was nominated for an Annie award for best character animation. On Friday, January 27, 2006, the short debuted on Cartoon Network.

During the first half of 2005, a new series called Tom and Jerry Tales was produced at Warner Bros.. Thirteen half-hour episodes (each consisting of three shorts) 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 is set to air on Kids' WB! (which will air on The CW) in the US in fall 2006. Tales is the first Tom and Jerry TV series that utilizes the original style of the classic shorts, along with the violence.

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 honor. 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 film; his voice is performed by Sara Berner. Tom has a cameo in the sequence as one of Jerry's servants.

Both Tom and Jerry appear with Esther Williams in a dream sequence in another MGM musical, Dangerous When Wet (1953). In the film, Tom and Jerry are chasing each other underwater, when they run into Esther Williams, with whom they do an extended synchronized swimming routine. Tom and Jerry have to save Esther from a lecherous octopus, who tries to lure and woo Esther into his (many) arms.

1992 saw the overseas release of Tom and Jerry: The Movie, produced by Phil Roman. The film was released to United States theatres in 1993. A musical in the typical Disney-esque vein, Tom and Jerry: The Movie was criticized by reviewers and audiences alike for being unoriginal, predictable, and for giving Tom and Jerry dialogue (and songs) through the entire film. The movie did poor business in America. In 2001, Warner Bros., which had by then merged with Turner and assumed its properties, released the 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. Four years later, Bill Kopp scripted and directed two more feature films for Warner Bros.: Tom & Jerry Blast Off to Mars and Tom and Jerry: The Fast and The Furry, the latter one based on a story by Joseph Barbera. Both were released on DVD in 2005, starting the celebration of Tom and Jerry's sixty-fifth anniversary. Tom and Jerry: The Fast and The Furry was released theatrically on June 3-June 25, 2006 by Kidtoon Films. In 2006, another direct-to-video movie Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers tells a story about Tom and Jerry have to work together to get treasure.

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 long out of production, 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, including:

* Tom and Jerry for Nintendo Entertainment System
* Tom and Jerry: The Movie for the Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear
* Tom and Jerry for Super Nintendo & Sega Genesis
* Tom and Jerry: Mouse Attacks for Game Boy Color
* Tom and Jerry: Infurnal Escape for the Game Boy Advance
* Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring for the Game Boy Advance
* Tom and Jerry: War of the Whiskers for the PS 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube
* Tom and Jerry: House Trap for the PlayStation
* Tom and Jerry: Fists of Furry for Nintendo 64 and PC

* The Simpsons characters Itchy & Scratchy, of the self-named cartoon on the Krusty the Clown Show, are spoofs of Tom and Jerry. The extreme cartoon violence of the Tom and Jerry is parodied and intensified, as Itchy (the mouse) dispatches Scratchy in many gratuitous, gory fashions. Scratchy has never won aside from one episode which was not fully shown (someone unplugged the Simpson's tv) causing Bart and Lisa to miss the end.

* Tom and Jerry were also parodied in the original Sally the Witch anime (1966), and the Fairly Oddparents movie Channel Chasers (2005).

* Tom and Jerry were recently in an episode of the webcomic VGCats, showing the side of the episode after Tom gets his typical smash with the mallet. Lost Episode of Tom and Jerry.

The following cartoons won the Academy Award (Oscar) 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 (Oscar) 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!Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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