Tom and Jerry is a series of theatrical musical cartoon shorts created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that centered on a never-ending rivalry between a housecat (Tom) and a mouse (Jerry) whose chases and battles often involved comic violence. Hanna and Barbera ultimately wrote and directed one hundred and fourteen Tom and Jerry cartoons at the MGM cartoon studio in Hollywood, California between 1940 and 1957, when the animation unit was closed down. The original series is notable for having won the Academy Awards for Best Short Subject seven times, tying it with Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies as the most-awarded theatrical animated series. The series has also won more Oscars than any other animated series.
Beginning in 1960, in addition to the originals, MGM had new shorts produced by Rembrandt Films, led by Gene Deitch in Eastern Europe. Production of Tom and Jerry shorts returned to Hollywood under Chuck Jones' Sib-Tower 12 Productions in 1963; this series lasted until 1967, making it a total of 161 shorts.
The cat and mouse stars later resurfaced in their own television cartoons produced by Hanna-Barbera and Filmation Studios during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, a feature film, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, in 1992 and released domestically in 1993 and in 2000, their first TV special, Tom and Jerry in: The Mansion Cat for Cartoon Network.
Today, Warner Bros. (via its Turner Entertainment division) owns the rights to Tom and Jerry, and also produced the series, Tom and Jerry Tales for The CW's Saturday morning "The CW4Kids" lineup, as well as the recent Tom and Jerry short, The KarateGuard, in 2005 and a string of Tom and Jerry direct-to-video films.
Plot and format
The plots of each short usually center on Tom's (the cat) numerous attempts to capture Jerry (the mouse) and the mayhem and destruction that ensues. Since Tom rarely attempts to eat Jerry and because the pair actually seem to get along in some cartoon shorts it is unclear why Tom chases Jerry so much. Some reasons given may include normal feline/murine enmity, duty according to his owner, Jerry's attempt at ruining a task that Tom is entrusted with, revenge, Jerry saving other potential prey (such as ducks, canaries, or goldfish) from being eaten by Tom or competition with another cat, among other reasons.
Tom rarely succeeds in catching Jerry, mainly because of Jerry's cleverness, cunning abilities, and luck and sometimes due to Tom's own stupidity. Interestingly enough, many of the title cards show Tom and Jerry smiling at each other which seems to depict a love-hate relationship rather than the extreme annoyance each displays towards the other in each cartoon. There are also several instances within the cartoons where they display genuine friendship ("Springtime for Thomas") and concern for each other's well-being (such as in "Jerry and the Lion" where Jerry in one instance tricks Tom into thinking he has shot Jerry and subsequently comes running with the first aid kit).
The shorts are famous for some of the most violent gags ever devised in theatrical animation: Jerry slicing Tom in half, shutting his head in a window or a door, Tom using everything from axes, pistols, explosives, traps and poison to try to murder Jerry, Jerry stuffing Tom's tail in a waffle iron, kicking him into a refrigerator, plugging his tail into an electric socket, pounding him with a mace, club or mallet, causing a tree to drive him into the ground, and so on. Despite all its popularity, Tom and Jerry has often been criticized as excessively violent. Despite the frequent violence, there is no blood or gore in any scenes. A recurring gag involves Jerry hitting Tom when he's preoccupied, with Tom initially oblivious to the pain—and only feeling the effects moments later, and vice versa; and another involves Jerry stopping Tom in midchase (as if calling for a time-out), before he does something, usually putting the hurt on Tom.
The cartoon is also noteworthy for its reliance on stereotypes, such as the blackening of characters following explosions and the use of heavy and enlarged shadows (e.g., Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse). Resemblance to everyday objects and occurrences is arguably the main appeal of visual humor in the series. The characters themselves regularly transform into ridiculous but strongly associative shapes, most of the time involuntarily, in masked but gruesome ways.
Music plays a very important part in the shorts, emphasizing the action, filling in for traditional sound effects, and lending 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, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Wizard of Oz and Meet Me In St. Louis. Generally, there is little dialogue as Tom and Jerry almost never speak, however minor characters are not similarly limited. For example, the character Mammy Two Shoes has lines in every episode in which she appears (except for the exception of The Little Orphan). Most of the dialogue from Tom and Jerry are the high-pitched laughs and gasping screams, which may be provided by a horn or other musical instrument.
Before 1954, all Tom and Jerry cartoons were produced in the standard Academy ratio and format; from late 1954 to 1955, some of the output was dually produced in both Academy format and the widescreen CinemaScope process. From 1956 until the close of the MGM cartoon studio a year later, all Tom and Jerry cartoons were produced in CinemaScope, some even had their soundtracks recorded in Perspecta 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 Russian Blue cat, who lives a pampered life, while Jerry is a small brown house mouse who always lives in close proximity to him. "Tom" is a generic name for a male cat or tomcat (the Warner Bros. cartoon character Sylvester was originally called "Thomas"). Tom was originally called "Jasper" in the very first short, Puss Gets the Boot, while Jerry was unnamed, though the animators gave him the nickname "Jinx".
Tom is very quick-tempered and thin-skinned, while Jerry is independent and opportunistic. Jerry also possesses surprising strength for his size, lifting items such as anvils with relative ease and withstanding considerable impacts with them. Despite being very energetic and determined, Tom is no match for Jerry's brains and wits. By the "iris-out" of each cartoon, Jerry usually emerges triumphant, while Tom is shown as the loser. However, other results may be reached; on rare occasions, Tom triumphs, usually when Jerry becomes the aggressor or when he crosses some sort of line. Sometimes, usually ironically, they both lose or they both end up being friends (only for something to happen so that Tom will chase Jerry again). 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 (in a dangerous situation or by a third party), the other will develop a conscience and save him. Sometimes, they bond over a mutual sentiment towards an unpleasant experience and their attacking each other is more play than serious attacks. Multiple shorts show the two getting along with minimal difficulty, and they are more than capable of working together when the situation calls for it, usually against a third party who manages to torture and humiliate them both. In one short, Tom shows genuine concern for Jerry when he believes that he has accidentally shot him and immediately rushes to get a first-aid kit.
Despite several shorts depicting Tom's apparent "death" at the end of the short, he never actually dies throughout the series, and even reads about a flashback of his own apparent death in Jerry's Diary.
Although many supporting and minor characters speak, Tom and Jerry rarely do so themselves. Tom, most famously, sings while wooing female cats; for example, Tom sings Louis Jordan's "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby" in the 1946 short Solid Serenade. In a couple of shorts, Tom, when romancing a female cat, woos her in a French-accented voice similar to that of screen actor Charles Boyer.
Co-director William Hanna provided most of the squeaks, gasps, and other vocal effects for the pair, including the most famous sound effects from the series, Tom's leather-lunged scream (created by recording Hanna's scream and eliminating the beginning and ending of the recording, leaving only the strongest part of the scream on the soundtrack) and Jerry's nervous gulp. The only other reasonably common vocalization is made by Tom when some external reference claims a certain scenario or eventuality to be impossible, which inevitably, ironically happens to thwart Tom's plans - at which point, a bedraggled and battered Tom appears and says in a haunting, echoing voice "Don't you believe it!", a reference to some famous World War II propaganda shorts of the 1940's. In one episode, Tom hires a mouse exterminator who, after several failed attempts to dispatch Jerry, changes profession to Cat exterminator by crossing out the "Mouse" on his title and writing "Cat", resulting in Tom spelling out the word out loud before reluctantly pointing at himself. One short, 1956's Blue Cat Blues, is narrated by Jerry in voiceover (voiced by Paul Frees). Both Tom and Jerry speak more than once in the 1943 short The Lonesome Mouse. Tom and Jerry: The Movie is the first (and so far only) installment of the series where the famous cat-and-mouse duo regularly speak to both humans and other anthropomorphic animals; it is possible that Tom and Jerry do have full speech capabilities, but choose not to use them aside from a few short phrases, preferring to leave the talking to other characters.
In his attempts to catch Jerry, Tom often has to deal with the intrusions of Butch, a scruffy black alley cat who wants to catch and eat Jerry, and Spike (sometimes billed as "Killer" or "Butch"), an angry, vicious guard bulldog who tries to attack Tom for bothering his son Tyke while trying to get Jerry. Spike spoke often, using a voice and expressions (performed by Daws Butler) modeled after comedian Jimmy Durante. Spike's coat has altered throughout the years between grey and creamy pink. The addition of Spike's son Tyke in the late 1940s led to both a slight softening of Spike's character and a short-lived spin-off theatrical series (Spike and Tyke).
Tom changes his love interest many times. The first love interest is Sheikie and speaks in a haughty tone in The Zoot Cat, and calls him "Tommy" in The Mouse Comes to Dinner. The second and most frequent love interest of Tom's is Toodles Galore, who never has any dialogue in Tom and Jerry cartoons.
From the beginning, Tom also has to deal with Mammy Two Shoes (voiced by Lillian Randolph), a stereotyped African-American domestic housemaid. In the earliest shorts, Mammy is depicted as the maid taking care of the often opulent home in which Tom and Jerry reside. Later Tom and Jerry shorts are set in what appears to be Mammy's own house. Her face is never seen (with the exception of 1950's Saturday Evening Puss, in which her face is very briefly seen as she runs towards the camera), and she usually wallops the cat with a broom when he misbehaves. When Mammy was not present, other humans would sometimes be seen, usually from the neck down as well. Mammy would appear in many cartoons until 1952's Push-Button Kitty. Later cartoons would instead show Tom and Jerry living with a 1950s Yuppie-style couple. Soon after, virtually all humans in the series had visible faces.
Jerry adopted a little gray mouse foundling named Nibbles (also later known as Tuffy), coming from a certain "Mrs. Bide-a-Wee Mouse Home." In Nibbles' earliest appearances, he is depicted as constantly hungry and he also wears a diaper. In later years, Nibbles lost the gluttonous element of his personality and often spoke, usually in a foreign accent or language keeping with the theme and setting of the short (for example, French in Touché, Pussy Cat!, British in Robin Hoodwinked). Another recurring character in the series was Quacker the duckling, who was later adapted into the Hanna-Barbera character Yakky Doodle. He appears in Little Quacker, The Duck Doctor, Just Ducky, Downhearted Duckling, Southbound Duckling, That's My Mommy, Happy Go Ducky and The Vanishing Duck. The last recurring character is a small unnamed green devil that looks like Jerry. He only appears in three episodes , Springtime for Thomas, and Smitten Kitten. Whenever Tom falls in love with a female cat, the devil advises Jerry to try to break the two apart. There is an unnamed mouse who appeared in Neapolitan Mouse, he beat up Tom and saved Jerry, then beat up a dog and saves Tom. He shows them the sights of Napoli.
History and evolution
Hanna-Barbera at MGM era (1940 – 1958)
William Hanna and Joseph Barbera were both part of the Rudolf Ising unit at the MGM cartoon studio in the 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 these 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 gray tabby cat trying to catch an unnamed rodent, but after accidentally breaking a houseplant and its stand, the African-American housemaid Mammy (Later Tom's owner) has threatened to throw Jasper out ("O-W-T, out!" [as Mammy spells it]) if he breaks one more thing in the house. Naturally, the mouse uses this to his advantage, and begins tossing wine glasses, ceramic plates, teapots, and any and everything fragile, so that Jasper will be 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 favorite 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.
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 by drawing suggested names out of a hat; animator John Carr won $50 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 rarely directed anything but the cat-and-mouse cartoons for 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- and looked like a realistic cat; in addition from his quadrupedal beginnings Tom became increasingly, and eventually almost exclusively, bipedal. By contrast, Jerry's design remained essentially the same for the duration of the series. By the mid-1940s, the series had developed a quicker, more energetic (and violent) tone, due to the inspiration from the work of the colleague in the MGM cartoon studio, Tex Avery, who joined the studio in 1942.
Even though the theme of each short is virtually the same - cat chases mouse - 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 MGM 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 cartoon studio 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 many famous TV shows and movies.
Gene Deitch era (1960 – 1962)
In 1960, MGM decided to produce new Tom and Jerry shorts, and had producer William L. Snyder arrange with Czech-based animation director Gene Deitch and his 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.
Since the Deitch/Snyder team had seen only a handful of the original Tom and Jerry shorts, the resulting films were considered unusual, and, in many ways, bizarre. The characters' gestures were often performed at high speed, frequently causing heavy motion blur. As a result, the animation of the characters looked choppy and sickly. The soundtracks featured sparse music, spacey sound effects, dialogue that was mumbled rather than spoken, and heavy use of reverb. Fans that typically rooted for Tom criticized Deitch's cartoons for having Tom never become a threat to Jerry, and the only time when Tom ever attempts to hurt Jerry is when he gets in his way. Tom's new owner, a corpulent white man, was also more graphically brutal in punishing Tom's mistakes as compared to Mammy. Surprisingly, the Gene Deitch Tom and Jerry cartoons are still rerun today on a semi-regular basis.
These shorts are among the few Tom and Jerry cartoons not to carry the "Made In Hollywood, U.S.A." phrase at the end. Due to Deitch's studio being behind the Iron Curtain, the production studio's location is omitted entirely on it
Chuck Jones era (1963 – 1967)
After the last of the Deitch cartoons were released, 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). However, despite being animated by essentially the same artists who worked with Jones at Warner, these new shorts had 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 (resembling Jones' Grinch or Count Blood Count), a less complex look (including the color of his fur becoming gray), and furrier cheeks, while Jerry was given larger eyes and ears, a lighter brown color, and a sweeter, Porky Pig-like expression.
Some of Jones's Tom and Jerry cartoons are reminiscent of his work with Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, included the uses of blackout gags and gags involving characters falling from high precipices. 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. Various vocal characterisations were made by Mel Blanc and June Foray. MGM finally ended production on Tom and Jerry in 1967, by which time Sib Tower 12 had become MGM Animation/Visual Arts, and Jones had moved on television specials and the feature film, The Phantom Tollbooth.
Tom and Jerry hit television
Beginning in 1965, the MGM Tom and Jerry shorts created by Hanna and Barbera began to appear on television in heavily edited form: the Jones team was required to take the cartoons featuring Mammy (such as Saturday Evening Puss), rotoscope her out, and replace her with a thin white woman, with Lillian Randolph's original voice tracks replaced by June Foray. However, in local telecasts of the cartoons, and in the ones shown on Boomerang, Mammy, featured in the other shorts, could once again be seen, and more recently, with a new, less stereotypical black voice supplied, which is done by Thea Vidale. Much of the extreme violence in the cartoons were 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.
Tom and Jerry's new owners
In 1986, MGM was purchased by WTBS founder Ted Turner. Turner sold the company a short while later, but retained MGM's pre-May 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.
Tom and Jerry outside the United States
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 canceled due to an IRA bomb scare at BBC Television Centre - Tom and Jerry was shown instead, bridging the gap until the next programme. Recently, a mother has complained to OFCOM of the smoking scenes shown in the cartoons, since Tom often attempts to impress love interests with the habit, resulting in reports that the smoking scenes in Tom and Jerry films may be subject to censorship.
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 Asahi, sampling age groups from teenagers to adults in their sixties, 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 - the only non-Japanese animation on the list, and beating anime classics like Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, A Little Princess Sara, and the ultra-classics Macross, Ghost in the Shell, and Rurouni Kenshin (it should be noted that in Japan, the word "anime" refers to all animation regardless of origin, not just Japanese animation). Tom and Jerry is also well-known in Saudi Arabia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Mongolia, 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 and provides additional funny content. The different episodes are usually embedded in the episode Jerry's Diary (1949), in which Tom reads about past adventures.
In South East Asia, India, Pakistan, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Romania, Venezuela, and other Latin American countries Cartoon Network still airs Tom and Jerry cartoons everyday. In Russia, local channels also air the show in its daytime programming slot. Tom and Jerry was one of the few cartoons of western origin broadcast in Czechoslovakia (1988) before the fall of Communism in 1989.
In indonesia ANTV currently broadcasts Tom and Jerry and also Looney Tunes shorts with Indonesian Captions the show is rated ABO in Indonesian rating system by ANTV.
Like a number of other animated cartoons in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, Tom and Jerry was not considered politically correct in later years. There were at least twenty-four cartoons that featured either racism or with characters shown in blackface following an explosion, which are subsequently cut when shown on television today, although The Yankee Doodle Mouse blackface gag is still shown in other countries. The black maid, Mammy Two Shoes, is often considered racist because she is depicted as a poor black woman who has a rodent problem. Her 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, United Kingdom 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. It has also taken the U.S. approach by editing out blackface gags, though this seems to be random as not all scenes of this type are cut. Many say that this type of censoring is like cutting out history.
Later shows, specials and shorts
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 The Great Grape Ape Show and Mumbly cartoons, to create The Tom and Jerry/Grape Ape Show, The Tom and Jerry/Grape Ape/Mumbly Show, and The Tom and 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 Hanna-Barbera had to meet the stringent rules against violence for children's TV. The Tom and Jerry Show is still airing on the Canadian channel, TELETOON, and its classical counterpart, TELETOON Retro.
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 featured new cartoons starring Droopy, Spike (another bulldog created by Tex Avery), and Barney Bear, not seen since the original MGM shorts. The thirty Filmation Tom and Jerry cartoons were noticeably different from Hanna-Barbera's efforts, as they returned Tom and Jerry to the original chase formula, with a somewhat more "slapstick" humor format. This incarnation, much like the 1975 version, was not as well received by audiences as the originals, and 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 7, 1990, Tom and Jerry Kids, co-produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and Turner Entertainment Co. debuted on ABC. It featured a youthful version of the famous cat-and-mouse duo chasing each other. As with the 1975 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 November 19, 1993, then 1996 the show return to Kids' WB! on The WB until the show dropped Kids' WB! in 2000, then rerun again from 2002-2007.
In 2000, a new television special entitled, Tom and Jerry in: The Mansion Cat premiered on Cartoon Network. It featured Joe Barbera (who was also a creative consultant) 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".
In 2005, a new Tom and Jerry theatrical short, entitled The KarateGuard, which had been written and directed by Barbera and Spike Brandt, storyboarded by Joseph Barbera and Iwao Takamoto and produced by Joseph Barbera, Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone. also Jeff Bergman as the voices of Tom Cat/Jerry Mouse premiered in Los Angeles cinemas on September 27, 2005. As part of the celebration of Tom and Jerry's sixty-fifth anniversary, this marked Barbera's first return as a writer, director and storyboard artist on the series since his and Hanna's original MGM cartoon shorts. Director/animator Spike Brandt was nominated for an Annie award for best character animation. The short debuted on Cartoon Network on January 27, 2006.
During the first half of 2006, a new series called Tom and Jerry Tales was produced at Warner Bros. Animation. 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 U.K. in February 2006 on Boomerang, and it went to the U.S. on Kids' WB! on The WB. Tales is the first Tom and Jerry TV series that utilizes the original style of the classic shorts, along with the violence. This recently is the last Tom and Jerry-based cartoon show for television as the show ended on March 22, 2008.
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 short 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 big-screen musical, Dangerous When Wet. In the film, Tom and Jerry are chasing each other underwater, when they run into Esther Williams, with whom they perform an extended synchronized swimming routine. Tom and Jerry have to save Williams from a lecherous octopus, who tries to lure and woo her into (many of) his arms.
In 1988, the duo were lined-up to appear in the Oscar-winning Touchstone/Amblin Entertainment film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a homage to classic American animation, but their inclusion in the film was scrapped due to legal complications.
1992 saw the overseas release of Tom and Jerry: The Movie the film was released to theaters in Europe of that year and then by Miramax Films domestically in 1993. Joseph Barbera, co-creator of the characters served as creative consultant for the picture and was produced and directed by Phil Roman. A musical film with a structure similar to Metro Goldwyn Mayer's blockbusters, The Wizard of Oz and Singin' in the Rain, the movie was criticized by reviewers and audiences alike for being predictable and for giving the pair dialogue (and songs) through the entire movie. As a result, it failed at the box office.
In 2001, Warner Bros. (which had, by then, merged with Turner and assumed its properties) released the duo's first 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. It would mark the last time both Hanna and Barbera co-executive produced a Tom and Jerry, as William Hanna died shortly after The Magic Ring was released.
Four years later, Bill Kopp scripted and directed two more cat and mouse features for the studio, Tom and Jerry: Blast Off to Mars and Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry, the latter one based on a story by Barbera. Both were released on DVD in 2005, marking the celebration of Tom and Jerry's 65th anniversary. In 2006, another direct-to-video film, Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers, tells the story about the pair having to work together to find the treasure. Joe came up with the initial idea and storyline for the next feature, Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale, which would be his last Tom and Jerry due to his passing in December 2006. The holiday-set animated film was released on DVD in late 2007, and dedicated to Barbera.
It is rumored that the next direct-to-video feature, Tom and Jerry: A Little Learning, will be released. No release date has been announced and no plot made yet for the upcoming title.
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 having ceased production five years earlier, 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, spanning titles for systems from the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super NES to more recent entries for Playstation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo Gamecube.
Throughout the years, the term and title Tom and Jerry became practically synonymous with never-ending rivalry, as much as the related "cat and mouse fight" metaphor has.
The Simpsons characters, Itchy & Scratchy, of the eponymous cartoon on the Krusty the Clown Show, are spoofs of Tom and Jerry--a "cartoon within a cartoon." The extreme cartoon violence of the Tom and Jerry is parodied and intensified, as Itchy (the mouse) dispatches Scratchy in various gratuitous, gory fashions. In The Simpsons episode, Itchy and Scratchy and Marge Marge gets violence banned from TV and Itchy and Scratchy became friends (that whacking intro of theirs is replaced by gift-exchanging), causing the downfall of the series. It was later changed back to the way it used to be because Marge decides that you shouldn't censor art because she didn't want Michaelangelo's David's nudity to be covered up. The Simpsons also parodied the Gene Deitch era cartoons. In the episode Krusty Gets Kancelled, the Itchy & Scratchy characters are replaced with the badly drawn Worker & Parasite.
The duo are also parodied in the original Sally the Witch anime (1966), the Fairly Oddparents TV movie, Channel Chasers (2004), and two episodes of Garfield and Friends.
Tom and Jerry were mentioned in Baby Mama when Angie mentions Tom and Jerry as a partnership she and Kate should aim to work together like, and Kate points out that Tom and Jerry hate each other.
Tom and Jerry on DVD
There have been several Tom and Jerry DVDs released in Region 1 (the United States and Canada), including a series of two-disc sets known as the Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection. There have been negative responses to Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, due to some of the cartoons included on each having cuts and redubbed Mammy Two-Shoes dialogue. A replacement program offering uncut versions of the shorts on DVD was later announced. There are also negative responses to Vol. 3, due to Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat being excluded from these sets and His Mouse Friday having an extreme zooming-in towards the end, no replacement program for Vol. 3 is announced.
There have been two Tom and Jerry DVD sets in Region 2. In Western Europe, most of the Tom and Jerry shorts have been released (only two, namely The Million Dollar Cat and Busy Buddies, were not included, for unknown reasons) under the name Tom and Jerry - The Classic Collection. Almost all of the shorts contain re-dubbed Mammy Two-Shoes tracks. Despite these cuts, His Mouse Friday, the only Tom and Jerry cartoon to be completely taken off the airwaves in some countries due to racism, is included, unedited with the exception of extreme zooming-in towards the end to avoid showing a particularly racist caricature. One must note, though, that these are regular TV prints sent from the U.S. in the 1990s. Shorts produced in CinemaScope are presented in pan and scan. Fortunately Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat are presented uncut on as part of these sets. Tom and Jerry - The Classic Collection is available in 6 double-sided dvds (issued in the United Kingdom) and 12 single-layer dvds (issued in whole Western Europe, including the United Kingdom).
The other Tom and Jerry Region 2 DVD set is available in Japan. Same as Tom and Jerry - The Classic Collection in Western Europe, Almost all of the shorts (including His Mouse Friday) contain cuts. Slicked-up Pup, Tom's Photo Finish, Busy Buddies, The Egg and Jerry, Tops with Pops and Feedin' the Kiddie are excluded from these sets. Shorts produced in CinemaScope are presented in pan and scan.
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 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!
These cartoons were nominated for the Annie Award in the Individual Achievements Category: Character Animation, but did not win:
- 1946: Springtime for Thomas
- 1955: That's My Mommy
- 1956: Muscle Beach Tom
- 2005: The KarateGuard
- The Tom and Jerry Show (ABC, 1975)
- The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show (CBS, 1980–1982)
- Tom and Jerry Kids (ABC, 1990–1993)
- Tom and Jerry Tales (The WB, 2006–2008)
- Tom and Jerry in: The Mansion Cat (Cartoon Network, 2000)
- Tom and Jerry: The Movie (Miramax Films/Turner Pictures Worldwide/Film Roman/Turner Entertainment/Live Entertainment/WMG, 1992)
- Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring (Warner Home Video, 2001)
- Tom and Jerry: Blast Off to Mars (Warner Home Video, 2004)
- Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry (Warner Home Video, 2005)
- Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers (Warner Home Video, 2006)
- Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale (Warner Home Video, 2007)
- Tom and Jerry: A Little Learning (Warner Home Video, TBA)