Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer cartoon studio

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"A studio that created Tom and Jerry shorts".

The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio was the in-house division of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) motion picture studio in Hollywood, responsible for producing animated short subjects to accompany MGM feature films in Loew's Theaters from 1937 until 1957.

Why It Rocked

  1. During the Golden age of American animation, the cartoon studio produced some of the most popular cartoon series and characters in the world, including the famous cartoons Barney Bear, Droopy, Screwy Squirrel and George and Junior, but particularly its most important creation, Tom and Jerry.
  2. It was founded by the people William Hanna, Joseph Barbera, Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising, Tex Avery and Fred Quimby.
  3. Good animation and colorful visuals for its time by several top-notch animators such as Kenneth Muse, Preston Blair, Michael Lah, Pete Burness, Ray Patterson and many others.
  4. It has some heartwarming moments as well as some hilarious moments, like Tom's iconic screaming by William Hanna.
  5. Good use of slapstick humor with excellent timings, especially in the Tom and Jerry and Tex Avery cartoons.
  6. The voice acting is great, especially from Tex Avery, William Hanna, Harry E. Lang, Don Messick and Sara Berner.
  7. Memorable characters like Tom Cat, Jerry Mouse, Droopy, Red, Barney Bear, Screwy Squirrel, George and Junior, and Spike and Tyke.
  8. Most of the short films won an Academy Awards for Best Animated Short Film, such as The Milky Way, The Cat Concerto, Mouse Trouble, The Yankee Doodle Mouse, The Little Orphan and The Two Mouseketeers.
  9. The studio was a successor to Harman-Ising Productions, where it works for both Warner Bros. and MGM, before they closed down and being replaced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and MGM Animation/Visual Arts (which has been founded by Chuck Jones). Despite this, some of the MGM characters has been later appeared in Tom and Jerry for direct-to-video films or shows as cameos.

Bad Qualities

  1. The infamous Captain and the Kids series, which is the studio's weakest cartoon series, mainly due to its poor grasp of the original source material. It also somewhat briefly affected the quality of the Warner Bros. cartoons, since Friz Freleng directed them and his replacements at Warner (Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton) had a hit-and-miss track record.
  2. The 1955-1958 shorts produced in CinemaScope (specifically the Tom and Jerry and Droopy series), while not terrible, weren't that great due to budget cuts and Fred Quimby stepping down as producer. Speaking of which, "Tot Watchers" was the final Tom and Jerry cartoons to be produced by the studio, before it got closed down in 1958.
  3. Like many other American cartoons from the '40s-'50s, some shorts have racist stereotypes (with Blitz Wolf, His Mouse Friday, Uncle Tom's Cabana and Half-Pint Pygmy being the worst offenders), the most notable being the African-American maid Mammy Two-Shoes in Tom and Jerry, and the frequent use of blackface gags as comedic effect which is seen frequently in both the Tom and Jerry and Tex Avery cartoons. These are often removed when they are shown on TV after segregation against black people in America had come to an end in 1965 with the help of Martin Luther King Jr. in the time.
  4. While again not terrible, some of the Harman-Ising cartoons before "Puss Gets the Boot" (the first Tom and Jerry cartoon) were a little too much like that of Disney's fare (not unlike Chuck Jones’s early cartoons). Thankfully, their shorts would become funnier at this point.

Trivia

  • Turner Broadcasting System (via Turner Entertainment Co.) once took over the MGM library in 1986, which includes the MGM Cartoons. When it sold back the MGM/UA production unit, they kept the pre-1986 MGM library, until Turner Broadcasting System merged with Time Warner (now WarnerMedia) in 1996, with Warner Bros. now currently owns (and handling distribution) the rights to the MGM Cartoons.
  • The short films was currently aired on Boomerang and MeTV and streaming on Boomerang app and HBO Max.
  • While Tex Avery directed mostly one-shot cartoons, his most well-known cartoon character he produced for the studio was Droopy, given that he made more appearances than any of the cartoon characters Tex Avery created such as Red, Screwy Squirrel, George and Junior and Butch the Irish Dog, even appearing in several more theatrical cartoons following his departure from the studio.
  • Tex Avery absolutely hated Screwy Squirrel, going so far as to kill him off in the short "Lonesome Lenny". Supposedly, he threw away any fan-mail that had Screwy's face on it.