Tom the cat and Jerry the mouse, the stars of a long-running series of short theatrical cartoons produced by MGM during The Golden Age of Animation, were the first characters created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. In the duo's first short, "Puss Gets the Boot" (1940), the cat's name was Jasper and the mouse, though left unnamed onscreen, was dubbed Jinx by the animators.note
The characters acquired their permanent names after an in-house contest held by MGM, with animator John Carr submitting the winning entry. Carr may have been inspired by the names of the two young tearaways in the 19th Century Life in London stories by Pierce Egan, or perhaps by the eggnog-like beverage known as "Tom and Jerry" (itself named after Egan's characters), or possibly even by the earlier, human animated duo created by Van Beuren Studios (for which Barbera worked at the dawn of his career) in the '30s. In any event, the Tom and Jerry series went on to become one of the most popular and successful of all time, with seven of its shorts winning Academy Awards. The only other theatrical animated series to win as many Oscars was Disney's Silly Symphonies.
After MGM's animation unit closed in 1957, Hanna and Barbera started their TV animation studio. No new Tom and Jerry cartoons were produced until MGM revived the series in the early 1960s, contracting it to Czechoslovakian-based American Gene Deitch.
On September 25, 1965, CBS began broadcasting a Tom and Jerry Animated Anthology on Saturday mornings. Two years earlier, Chuck Jones had begun directing another series of theatrical Tom and Jerry shorts, taking over from Deitch and bringing production of the series back to Hollywood.
In 1975-77, Hanna-Barbera produced a less violent Tom and Jerry Animated Anthology series for ABC-TV, supported by a new character, the Great Grape Ape. This was followed in the early 1980s by Filmation's version on CBS, which used the classic slapstick formula. Another series, Tom and Jerry Kids, ran on the Fox network from 1990 to 1993. From 2006 to 2008, the CW network's animation block included Tom and Jerry Tales, which continued with the slapstick humor of the theatrical shorts, as did a series of direct-to-video films. Tom and Jerry Tales was canceled after 4KidsTV took over Kids WB, but the movies have continued.
Warner Bros. acquired the rights to Tom and Jerry after purchasing Turner Broadcasting System, which in 1986 had purchased MGM's entire pre-1986 library. Interestingly, since then it seems like Warner has been treating Tom and Jerry better than their own Looney Tunes (probably due, in part, to the commercial bombing of Looney Tunes: Back in Action). Tom and Jerry has been the only classic cartoon series to air consistently on Cartoon Network. Since acquiring the rights to Tom and Jerry, Warner has produced several direct-to-video movies - and Tom and Jerry Tales - which, for the most part, stay true to the classic Tom and Jerry form. After which came the 2014's version of The Tom and Jerry Show, which is made in Adobe Flash but otherwise continues the usual format of the series.
On a side note, a feature length Tom and Jerry film was released in 1992. There have also been some direct-to-video feature length Tom and Jerry films released since.
Oh, and don't confuse them with that Van Beuren's Tom & Jerry cartoons (which were renamed Dick & Larry in later home movie rereleases to avoid confusing them with the cat and mouse). It'll save you a lot of trouble. Or, for that matter, the musical duo that went by the name "Tom and Jerry" for 7 years before switching to their real names; and despite what their names might tell you, neither Tom or Jerry are British and German respectively.
Notable shorts include:
- Puss Gets the Boot (1940): The debut of the characters, and the short that establishes the series formula. Also the first of several Oscar-nominated shorts in the series.
- The Night Before Christmas (1941): Oscar nominee.
- The Yankee Doodle Mouse (1943): First T&J short to win an Oscar.
- Mouse Trouble (1944): Oscar winner.
- Mouse in Manhattan (1945)
- Quiet, Please! (1945): Oscar winner.
- The Cat Concerto (1947): One of The 50 Greatest Cartoons. Oscar winner.
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse (1947): Oscar nominee.
- Mouse Cleaning (1948): Runner-up on The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
- The Little Orphan (1949): Oscar winner.
- Hatch Up Your Troubles (1949): Oscar nominee.
- Jerry's Cousin (1951): Oscar nominee.
- The Two Mouseketeers (1952): Oscar winner.
- Johann Mouse (1953): Oscar winner.
- Pet Peeve (1954): The first T&J short in Cinemascope.
- Blue Cat Blues (1956): A surprisingly sad short and probably the only one with a truly tragic ending.
- Tot Watchers (1958): The last-ever T&J short made by both Hanna and Barbera.
- The Karate Guard (2005): The final T&J theatrical short to date, and the last T&J short made by Barbera.
- Puss Gets the Boot: Debut of Tom and Jerry, although they are called Jasper and Jynx in this meant-to-be oneshot cartoon.
- The Midnight Snack: First short where Tom and Jerry are dubbed as such. First official Tom and Jerry cartoon.
- The Night Before Christmas: Nominated for the 1941 Academy Award for cartoon short subjects.
- Fraidy Cat
- Dog Trouble: First appearance of Spike the Bulldog.
- Puss n' Toots
- The Bowling Alley Cat
- Fine Feathered Friend
- Sufferin' Cats!: First appearance of Meathead the Cat.
- The Lonesome Mouse: First T&J short in which they talk.
- The Yankee Doodle Mouse: First T&J short to win the Academy Award.
- Baby Puss: First appearance of Butch and Topsy the cats.
- The Zoot Cat
- The Million Dollar Cat: The first time Tom defeats Jerry.
- The Bodyguard: Spike speaks for the first time.
- Puttin' on the Dog: Shows up in the 1982 Alan Parker film Pink Floyd - The Wall.
- Mouse Trouble: Won the 1944 cartoon Academy Award.
- The Mouse Comes to Dinner
- Mouse in Manhattan: A Lower-Deck Episode centered solely on Jerry visiting Manhattan, New York, with Tom only appearing briefly in the opening and ending. Notably uses the song "Manhattan Serenade" for almost all of the picture.
- Anchors Aweigh: An otherwise unrelated theatrical film which includes a sequence featuring Tom and Jerry.
- Tee for Two
- Flirty Birdy
- Quiet, Please!: Won the 1945 cartoon Academy Award.
- Springtime for Thomas
- The Milky Waif: First appearance of Nibbles.
- Trap Happy
- Solid Serenade
- Cat Fishin'
- Part Time Pal
- The Cat Concerto: One of The 50 Greatest Cartoons. Won the 1947 Oscar.
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse: Nominated for the 1947 cartoon Academy Award.
- Salt Water Tabby
- A Mouse in the House
- The Invisible Mouse
- Kitty Foiled: First appearance of the Canary.
- The Truce Hurts
- Old Rockin' Chair Tom
- Professor Tom
- Mouse Cleaning: One of the two "banned" Tom and Jerry shorts. Jerry Beck claims that it will be included, restored, in a future collection to make up for its removal from the Spotlight Collections. The short is still aired on TV, albeit edited to remove the (fairly lengthy) scene of Tom in blackface.
- Polka-Dot Puss
- The Little Orphan: Won the 1949 Academy Award for cartoons.
- Hatch Up Your Troubles: Nominated for the Academy Award.
- Heavenly Puss
- The Cat and the Mermouse
- Love That Pup: First appearance of Tyke.
- Jerry's Diary: Compilation film containing footage from "Tee for Two", "Mouse Trouble", "Solid Serenade" and "The Yankee Doodle Mouse".
- Tennis Chumps
- Little Quacker: First appearance of Quacker.
- Saturday Evening Puss: Only time we get a chance to see the face of Mammy Two Shoes, but only as a freeze-frame bonus.
- Texas Tom
- Jerry and the Lion
- Safety Second
- Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl
- The Framed Cat
- Cue Ball Cat
- Casanova Cat: The second of the two "banned" shorts, although a future DVD release is planned. The short is still aired on TV, albeit edited to remove the (lengthy) scene of Jerry in blackface.
- Jerry and the Goldfish
- Jerry's Cousin: Nominated for the 1951 cartoon Academy Award.
- Sleepy-Time Tom
- His Mouse Friday
- Slicked-up Pup
- Nit-Witty Kitty
- Cat Napping
- The Flying Cat
- The Duck Doctor
- The Two Mouseketeers: Won the 1952 cartoon Academy Award.
- Smitten Kitten: Another compilation film, using footage from "Salt Water Tabby", "The Mouse Comes to Dinner", "Texas Tom" and "Solid Serenade".
- Triplet Trouble
- Little Runaway
- Fit to Be Tied
- Push-Button Kitty: Final appearance of Mammy Two-Shoes.
- Cruise Cat: Contains footage from Texas Tom.
- The Dog House
- The Missing Mouse
- Jerry and Jumbo
- Johann Mouse: Won the 1953 cartoon Academy Award. Last T&J to win the Academy Award.
- That's My Pup!
- Dangerous When Wet: An otherwise unrelated theatrical film which includes a sequence featuring Tom and Jerry.
- Just Ducky
- Two Little Indians
- Life With Tom: Yet another compilation film. Uses footage from "Cat Fishin", "The Little Orphan" and "Kitty Foiled". Final appearance of the Canary.
- Puppy Tale
- Posse Cat
- Hic-cup Pup
- Little School Mouse
- Baby Butch
- Mice Follies
- Neapolitan Mouse
- Downhearted Duck
- Pet Peeve: First T&J to be produced in Cinemascope.
- Touché, Pussy Cat!: "Prequel" of "The Two Mouseketeers".
- Southbound Duckling
- Pup on a Picnic
- Mouse for Sale
- Designs on Jerry
- Tom and Cherie: A follow up to "Touche, Pussy Cat!"
- Smarty Cat: Compilation film, uses footage from "Solid Serenade", Cat Fishin" and "Fit to be Tied".
- Pecos Pest: Last T&J not in Cinemascope (until Gene Deitch).
- That's My Mommy
- The Flying Sorceress
- The Egg and Jerry: Shot-for-Shot Remake of "Hatch Up Your Troubles".
- Busy Buddies
- Muscle Beach Tom
- Down Bear Bear
- Blue Cat Blues
- Barbeque Brawl
- Tops With Pops: Shot-for-Shot Remake of "Love That Pup".
- Give and Tyke: A Tom and Jerry-less short, giving the spotlight to Spike and Tyke.
- Timid Tabby
- Feedin' the Kiddie: Shot-for-Shot Remake of "The Little Orphan".
- Scat Cats: Another Tom and Jerry-less short, once again giving the spotlight to Spike and Tyke.
- Mucho Mouse
- Tom's Photo Finish
- Happy Go Ducky
- Royal Cat Nap: A follow up to "Tom and Cherie"
- The Vanishing Duck
- Robin Hoodwinked
- Tot Watchers: Sequel to "Busy Buddies", and the last of the original Tom and Jerry cartoons produced before the MGM cartoon studio shut down.
- Switchin' Kitten: First of the Gene Deitch Tom and Jerry cartoons.
- Down and Outing
- It's Greek to Me-Ow
- High Steaks
- Mouse Into Space
- Landing Stripling
- Calypso Cat
- Dicky Moe
- The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit
- Tall in the trap
- Sorry Safari
- Buddies Thicker Than Water
- Carmen Get It!: Final Gene Deitch Tom and Jerry cartoon.
- Pent-House Mouse: First of the Chuck Jones Tom and Jerry shorts.
- The Cat Above and the Mouse Below
- Is There A Doctor In The Mouse?
- Much Ado About Mousing
- Snowbody Loves Me
- The Unshrinkable Jerry Mouse
- Ah, Sweet Mouse-Story of Life
- Tom-ic Energy
- Bad Day at Cat Rock
- The Brothers Carry-Mouse-Off
- Haunted Mouse
- I'm Just Wild About Jerry
- Of Feline Bondage
- The Year of the Mouse: Remake of a Hubey and Bertie cartoon Chuck made for Looney Tunes.
- The Cat's Me-Ouch!
- Duel Personality
- Jerry, Jerry, Quite Contrary
- Love Me, Love My Mouse
- Puss 'n' Boats
- Filet Meow
- Matinee Mouse
- The A-Tom-Inable Snowman
- Cat and Dupli-cat
- O-Solar Meow
- Guided Mouse-ille
- Rock 'n' Rodent
- Cannery Rodent
- The Mouse from H.U.N.G.E.R.
- Surf-Bored Cat
- Shutter Bugged Cat
- Advance and Be Mechanized
- Purr-Chance to Dream: Last Classic Tom and Jerry cartoon.
- The Tom and Jerry Show: TV series; ended in the same year.
- The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show: TV series; ended in 1982.
- Tom and Jerry's Funhouse debuts on TBS Superstation (WTBS-TV Atlanta). It features Tom and Jerry shorts, And it also features Looney Tunes, Popeye, Pink Panther, Droopy (and other MGM cartoons by Tex Avery), and the only live action short: The Three Stooges. Ended in 1995.
- Hanna-Barbera's 50th: A Yabba Dabba Doo Celebration: TV special featuring Tom and Jerry.
- Tom and Jerry Kids: TV series; ended in 1994.
- Tom and Jerry: The Movie: Theatrical film.
- Tom and Jerry: The Mansion Cat: Made-for-TV short.
- Tom And Jerry The Magic Ring: Direct-to-Video film.
- Tom and Jerry Blast off to Mars: Direct-to-Video film.
- The Karate Guard: Last Tom and Jerry theatrical short; last Tom and Jerry production by Joseph Barbera.
- Tom And Jerry The Fast And The Furry: Direct-to-Video film.
- Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers: Direct-to-Video film.
- Tom and Jerry Tales: TV series; ended in 2008.
- Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes: Direct-to-Video film.
- Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood And His Merry Mouse: Direct-to-Video film
- Tom and Jerry's Giant Adventure: Direct-to-Video film.
- The Tom and Jerry Show: Cartoon Network TV series
- Tom and Jerry: The Lost Dragon: Direct-to-Video film
- Tom and Jerry: Theatrical film. (Yes, they're gonna try again. Hopefully this one will be more faithful to the material.)