Tom and Jerry
During its original run, Hanna-Barbera and Fred Quimby produced 114 shorts for MGM from 1940 to 1958. Seven of these cartoons won an Academy Award for Animated Short Film. In 1961 to 1962, Gene Deitch (known for his works on Terrytoons) directed 13 additional shorts, followed by Chuck Jones (of Looney Tunes fame) and Abe Levitow in 1963 to 1967, who directed 34 more shorts for MGM. Three more shorts were produced in 2001 (The Mansion Cat), 2005 (The Karate Guard), and 2014 (A Fundraising Adventure).
Why It Rocks
- Phenomenal animation, which is MGM's animation in its purest form.
- One of the original slapstick duos of the animated world.
- Memorable, funny, and likable characters such as Tom, Jerry, and a few other characters such as Spike, Tyke, Mammy Two-Shoes, Joan, George, Quacker, Butch, Lightning Meathead, Topsy, and Nibbles/Tuffy.
- Despite them almost never talking, it's very easy to understand both Tom and Jerry's personalities through their facial expressions and body language.
- Tom and Jerry's friendship/rivalry is one of the most iconic relationships in cartoon history.
- Practically invented cartoon violence.
- Clever use of squash and stretch to make the pain more credible.
- Great humor with excellent timings.
- Spawned several spin-offs including The Tom and Jerry Show, The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show, Tom and Jerry Kids, Tom and Jerry Tales, and The Tom and Jerry Show (2014).
- Funny gags.
- Tom and Jerry Kids is a puppy version of the classic cartoons.
- Tom's famous screaming sound effect (which was done by William Hanna himself).
- The theme tune is catchy and memorable for kids and adults alike.
- Tom and Jerry Tales and The Tom and Jerry Show (2014) stay true to the original cartoon shorts.
- In several episodes, Tom and Jerry put their differences aside to achieve a certain goal (such as rescuing someone and defeat evil villains who antagonize both of them), but only to go back being frenemies again.
- Many hilarious chases involving not only Tom and Jerry, but with Spike and other characters as well.
- The formula of slapstick and a cat and a mouse chasing and beating each other is handled very well.
- The Chuck Jones-era (1963-1967) is a unique era for Tom and Jerry, as it has a Looney Tunes style. It also uses some of the Looney Tunes gags.
- Tom's design is very nice and Jerry's design is very cute both in the Chuck Jones-era.
- Several great and memorable shorts such as
- Puss Gets the Boot
- The Night Before Christmas
- The Bowling Alley Cat
- The Lonesome Mouse
- The Yankee Doodle Mouse
- The Bodyguard
- Designs On Jerry
- The Million Dollar Cat
- Old Rockin' Chair Tom
- The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit
- Duel Personality
- The Cat Above and The Mouse Below
- It's very dynamic, as it usually relies on its otherwise phenomenal animation and soundtrack to tell the stories for you, which makes it stand out in its idea of not every cartoon having to require dialogue to make it feel entertaining.
- Unfortunately, after the success of the very first Tom and Jerry cartoon, Puss Gets the Boot, the executive producer of MGM animation, Fred Quimby, did not like the cat and mouse duo. He told William Hanna and Joseph Barbera not to create any more cartoons involving both half-pint roughhousing and rampaging wild animals. But the following year, Quimby received the letter from the film distributor in Texas, saying that new cartoons should be created with the cat and mouse duo. Fred Quimby quickly changed his mind about cartoons.
- The quality has fluctuated over the years.
- The classic era declined in quality from late 1955 to 1958, mostly due to budget cuts. As a result, the animation started looking cheaper and the overall quality of the shorts become increasingly stale.
- The quality then took a complete nosedive in the Gene Deitch-era.
- The quality improved tremendously once again during the Chuck Jones-era, except the only problem with this era is that the slapstick can often times play it safe.
- The two television adaptions, The Tom and Jerry Show (1975) and The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show took the quality to new levels of low, due to said shows not staying that true to the original source material and were produced on low budget animation.
- Thankfully, the following television adaptions, Tom and Jerry Kids, Tom and Jerry Tales, and The Tom and Jerry Show (2014) have ended the decline in quality as they stay faithful to the original source material.
- Like many other American cartoons from the '40s-'50s, some shorts have racist stereotypes (with His Mouse Friday being the worst offender), the most notable being the African-American maid Mammy Two-Shoes. 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.
- The opposite effect also happens... by whitewashing Mammy Two-Shoes. Combating racism with racism is not really a thing kids television does post-MLK's death.
- Some shorts with Mammy Two-Shoes were redubbed by a different voice actor when these shorts are run on syndication and many countries go as far to ban certain shorts with these stereotypes.
- Some other bad shorts, even in the classic 1940s-1950s and the Chuck Jones-era such as:
- His Mouse Friday
- Baby Puss
- Blue Cat Blues, where Tom and Jerry commit suicide by letting a train run over them on railroad tracks because of the losses of their girlfriends. It was so bad that Cartoon Network and Boomerang rarely aired this short (although it once aired on NBC). It also gave birth to an urban legend that was originally supposed to be the final short of the original series, but that was really a Creepypasta based on the cartoon.
- In fact, some of the shorts actually had Tom die. Thankfully, there was no gore. (The Two Mouseketeers is an example since at the end, Tom is executed by a guillotine offscreen due to being held responsible for the dinner that he was supposed to guard being ruined, mainly because Jerry and Nibbles tried to take some of the food. This episode was banned from Brazil due to that reason.)
- Tot Watchers, which ended the classic 1940-1958 era on a sour note.
- Smitten Kitten
- The Egg and Jerry
- Busy Buddies
- Tops with Pops
- Feedin' The Kiddie
- Shutter Bugged Cat
- The Karate Guard
- The episode Heavenly Puss had a dark concept where Tom gets banished to Hell, leading to the episode getting banned from Brasil, just like The Three Mouseketeers as mentioned above.
- Some characters are not very likable. Aside from Tom's notorious owner from the Gene Deitch-era, there were other bad characters like Jeannie the Babysitter and Nancy (The girl from Baby Puss).
- The animation started to go downhill around 1955 of the classic era and took an absolute nosedive during the Gene Deitch-era (MGM was going through a financial crisis, before eventually filing for bankrupcy). Thankfully, it massively improved again during the Chuck Jones-era.
- Tom's slapstick-prone nature can get carried away, downright atrocious in the Gene Deitch-era.
- Tom and Jerry was not only popular in the United States of America, it was also popular in Germany, in Italy, in France and the United Kingdom, too. In fact, the Japanese shorts had their own intro!.
- The Karate Guard is currently the last short to be shown theatrically. The Mansion Cat and A Fundraising Adventure are both television shorts, with the former being the last Tom and Jerry short released in William Hanna's lifetime and the latter being based off the 2014 television series.
- The cartoon shared the same name to a cartoon created by Van Beuren and was produced in 1931 and ended in 1933 (which was years before this cartoon was released), which focused on two human men named Tom and Jerry. It was then renamed "Dick and Larry" to avoid confusion with the cat-and-mouse duo, but is currently referred to as "Van Beuren's Tom and Jerry" since it wouldn't entirely erase what it was called before.
- When Tom and Jerry first premiered with the episode Puss Gets The Boot, it showed that Tom was formerly named "Jasper", while Jerry was unnamed (although he was referred to the animators as Jinx).
- Chuck Jones admitted that he didn't care much for the shorts that he directed, but felt that they were good practice for his take on How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Tom and Jerry is one of the most popular cartoon franchise in existence and is still widely popular today.
The classic series won 7 Academy Awards/Oscars, tying at first place with Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies as the series that won the most Academy Awards/Oscars.