10 Lesser-known Tom and Jerry Facts – the Favorite Cartoon Series
Don’t you miss the days when you can just crawl up in bed and spend your time watching Tom and Jerry terrorize each other? Well, for many, they have been the most beloved characters of our childhood. There’s no doubt that we immensely love them, but there are still few Tom and Jerry facts that we bet you didn’t know. Well, go ahead and read to discover some lesser-known Tom and Jerry facts.
1 The Tom and Jerry series was made in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, who also created beloved shows like Yogi Bear, Top Cat, Scooby-Doo, The Smurfs, The Flintstones, etc.
One of the most famous and the most loved cartoon series globally, Tom and Jerry never cease to amaze its fans even today. Many of you might not know this but Tom and Jerry started a long time ago. The animated series was created in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
Hanna and Barbera were part of the MGM cartoon studio since the early 1930s. When MGM took a hit with their Captain and the Kids comic strip, Barbera and Hanna were brought together to direct films for the unit. Barbera, being the storyteller, suggested a cat-and-mouse cartoon comedy and named it Puss Gets the Boot. Even though the other members of the unit didn’t think of this as an original idea, Barbera and Hanna went ahead with it.
As they never believed Puss Gets the Boot to be a good idea, Hanna and Barbera went ahead to direct non-cat-and-mouse shorts like the Gallopin’ Gals (1940) and Officer Pooch (1941). But everything changed when Puss Gets the Boot began to be constantly shown in theaters and also received a nomination for the “Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons” (1941). Even though it didn’t receive the award, MGM animation studio urged Hanna and Barbera to continue with their cat-and-mouse idea. They directed and produced 115 shorts for the animated series during its first run. Moreover, Hanna also went on to offer the vocal effects of the comic duo, Tom and Jerry, who didn’t speak much except occasionally.
Hanna and Barbera went on to create numerous beloved shows other than Tom and Jerry. Some of these shows include Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, Wacky Races, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, and The Smurfs. Together they won seven Academy Awards, eight Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a Governor’s Award, and a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star for their life-long achievements. (1,2)
2 Tom and Jerry were originally called Jasper and Jinx.
When the first animated short for the series was released to theatres, the cat and mouse duo were actually named Jasper and Jinx. The episode features Jasper, a tomcat, driving extreme pleasure in harassing a mouse by the name of Jinx. It also features Mammy Two Shoes, Jasper’s owner, scolding and punishing Jasper for his notoriety.
After the successful run of the first episode of the animated series, the creators, Hanna and Barbera, wanted to change the names of the two protagonists. For this, they organized an intra-studio competition whereby employees suggested new names for the dynamic duo. John Carr, an animator, suggested the names Tom and Jerry and won $50 for it. At that time, Tom and Jerry was the name of a Christmas time mixed drink. (source)
3 The cartoon series has a total of 163 episodes and was first released on February 10, 1940. It continued until September 27, 2005.
The Tom and Jerry series had three runs. The original first run, created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, had 114 episodes in total. They were theatrical releases and started from February 10, 1940, and continued until August 1, 1958.
The next run for the series was directed by Gene Deitch. He directed 13 episodes, which unfortunately came to be known as the worst Tom and Jerry shorts. These episodes were first released on September 7, 1961, and continued until December 21, 1962.
The third and final run of the animated series was produced by Chuck Jones. He produced 34 episodes in total and they aired from July 27, 1963, until September 8, 1967. Hence, the three runs of the show gave a total of 161 episodes.
On April 6, 2001, a short was made only for TV known as “The Mansion Cat.” It was directed by Karl Toerge. The last Tom and Jerry short was released on September 27, 2005, and was called “The Karate Guard,” directed by Joseph Barbera and Spike Brandt.
It’s surprising that even though the show had 163 animated shorts in total, the first episode known as the “Puss Gets the Boot” is the longest episode to date with a runtime of nine minutes and eight seconds (9:08). (source)
4 MGM studio almost discontinued the show after the first episode as they believed that the concept of a cat and mouse duo was too common in cartoons.
When Barbera pitched the idea of a cat-and-mouse comic series, none of the employees of the MGM animation studio showed much enthusiasm. They felt the idea was not original and was too common when it came to cartoons. So. after the first episode was released in theatres, both Barbera and Hanna went ahead to work on other, non-cat-and-mouse projects. It was only a year later that the first animated short of Tom and Jerry gained some popularity, and after that, Barbera and Hanna were brought back to work on Tom and Jerry. (source)
5 The face of Tom’s owner, Mammy Two Shoes, was shown only once, and that too very briefly, during the entire series.
Mammy Two Shoes, who is depicted as the owner of Tom in the series, is mostly known by her legs rather than by her face. In the entire run of the series, her face was shown only once. It was shown, very briefly, in the episode named “Saturday Evening Puss” released on January 14, 1950.
Mammy Two Shoes was also the most controversial element of the series as she was depicted as a poor black maid who speaks in a stereotypical “black accent.” This was seen as being racist by some people. Later, her voice was dubbed to make her sound less stereotypical. She was also replaced with a slim white woman. But the mammy archetype, however stereotyped, was restored in the DVD releases and Whoopi Goldberg was brought it to provide a statement on how important African-American representation is for the series. (1,2)
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