History of Tom and Jerry
“Tom and Jerry” is the title of the highly successful American cartoon series of short films, which was created back in 1940 by Joseph Barbera and William Hanna. The show is centered on the rivalry between the two main characters, Tom the Cat and Jerry the Mouse. Many other recurring characters are included and the series is based on the concept of slapstick comedy.
During its original run, Hanna and Barbera were able to produce one hundred and fourteen episodes of Tom and Jerry for MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) over the course of seventeen years, from 1940 to 1957. During its original airing, Tom and Jerry won an incredible seven Academy Awards in the Animated Short Film category. Tom and Jerry still holds the record of most awards in the Animated Short Film category, which is tied with the Walt Disney production Silly Symphonies.
MGM produced another 13 episodes of Tom and Jerry with Gene Deitch for the Rembrandt Films during the years 1960 to 1962, after the closing of MGM Cartoon Studio. Tom and Jerry eventually took over Looney Tunes as the highest grossing animated series during its run. The animated series has been regularly revived for new episodes ever since then. Spinoffs of the successful animated series have been made as well. One of its spinoffs, The Tom And Jerry Show, is still being produced.
Plot and Concept
The animated series Tom and Jerry has regularly featured comedic fights between the iconic set of adversaries, the house cat Tom and the mouse Jerry. The plots of most of the episodes are centered on Tom’s attempts to capture Jerry as well as the destruction and mayhem that usually follow. Tom is rarely successful in his attempts to catch Jerry, mainly due to Jerry’s cunning abilities and luck. However, there have also been occasions in the episodes where both the characters have displayed genuine friendship as well as concern for each other’s safety and well-being. On other occasions, the two characters have put aside their rivalry to pursue a common goal, such as the episode when a baby escapes the watch of a babysitter, which causes Tom and Jerry to chase the baby and attempt to keep it away from danger.
The animated series is popular for devising some of the most hilarious and violent cartoon gags ever in theatrical history. These scenes include Tom using various weapons such as axes, hammers, firecrackers, firearms, explosives, traps as well as poison to kill Jerry. Similarly, Jerry’s retaliation methods are far more violent, mainly because they are mostly successful. These methods include slicing Tom in half, shutting his head or fingers in a door or window, decapitating him or stuffing Tom’s tail in objects such as a mangle or waffle iron. Due to these and many other violent scenes, Tom and Jerry has received criticism for being too violent, although none of the scenes feature any blood or gore.
Music also plays an important role in the episodes, emphasizing the action and lending to the emotional endings in some episodes.