Tom and Jerry is an American animated series produced by MGM which tells the story of a cat (Tom) and a mouse (Jerry) who are always fighting. This animated series has won an Academy Award (Oscar) and forms the basis of the successful Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studio series. Their short story was created, written and directed by two animators named William Hanna and Joseph Barbera (they became known as Hanna-Barbera).
The animated series was produced by MGM Cartoon Studio in Hollywood from 1940 to 1957 when the studio's animation unit was closed. In 1960, MGM hired Rembrandt Films (led by Gene Deitch) in Eastern Europe to produce the Tom and Jerry series.
Production Tom and Jerry returned to Hollywood in 1963, done by Chuck Jones' Sib-Tower 12 Productions. This production series lasted until 1967.
Tom and Jerry reappeared in the television cartoon shows produced by Hanna-Barbera (1975-1977; 1990-1993) and Filmation Studios (1980-1982). Hanna and Barbera's MGM animated short film is known for winning seven Academy Awards, equal to the feat of Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies. These two works are the series' animated works that have received the most awards.
The plot of each short story usually centers on Tom's impossible attempts to catch Jerry, accompanied by various physical conflicts and material damage. They sometimes seem to coexist peacefully side by side in some episodes (at least in the first minutes), so it's sometimes unclear why Tom is so passionate about chasing Jerry. Some of the reasons may be the eternal feud of the cat and mouse, the duties assigned by the owner of the house, revenge, and competition against other cats.
Tom is rarely successful in catching Jerry, mainly because of Jerry's cleverness and agility and Tom's own stupidity. Tom usually beats Jerry when the mouse is causing trouble or when Jerry has gone too far.
Their short story is famous for the most sadistic jokes ever featured in an animated film: Jerry cuts Tom's body in half, Jerry sticks Tom's tail into the window, Jerry clamps Tom's head with a window or door, Jerry drops various heavy objects ranging from irons, iron clubs, oven covers, cups, plates, glass and other furniture to Tom's head. Tom uses everything from axes, pistols, dynamite bombs and poison in his attempt to kill Jerry, Jerry roasts Tom's tail into the toaster, sticks the cat's tail into an electric hole, hits Tom in the face with a baseball bat, and more. However, despite all these sadistic actions, no blood or terrible things appeared in their stories. The joke that is often repeated in this sadistic act is when Jerry hits Tom when the cat is doing something. Tom at first forgot the pain - but then felt it a moment later!
The cartoon series is also known for its reliance on cliches, such as the character's body turning jet black as a result of an explosion and the use of enlarged shadows (such as in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse"). The resemblance to real objects and events is perhaps the main attraction of this cartoon series' visual humor. Tom and Jerry characters used to take on nonsensical but highly immersive forms (mostly beatings or other forced situations) in closed but quite terrifying real-world imagery.
Music plays a very important role in each episode, emphasizing the character's actions, filling in the sound effects, and bringing emotions to the story. Music director Scott Bradley created an intricate piece of music combining jazz, classical and pop music for this series. He often uses contemporary pop songs and songs from MGM films such as "The Wizard of Oz" and "Meet Me In St. Louis".
Pre-1953, all Tom and Jerry animated films were produced in the ratio and standard format of the United States Film Academy (Academy). From 1953 to 1956, several films were produced in duplicate in both Academy format and the widescreen CinemaScope process. From 1956 until the closing of the MGM animation studio a year later, all Tom and Jerry animated films were produced on CinemaScope; some even recorded the accompaniment in stereo. In the 1960s, the works of Gene Deitch and Chuck Jones were all produced in Academy format, but with compositions that could be converted into widescreen format. Hanna-Barbera's works were originally produced as a three-strip Technicolor; while those produced in the 1960s used the Metrocolor format.
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