Thursday, January 8, 2009
Tom and Jerry Picture Gallery
Tom and Jerry is a series of animated theatrical 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. The original series is notable for having won the Academy Awards for Best Short Subject (Cartoons) seven times, tying it with Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies as the most-awarded theatrical animated series, considered[who?] to be magnum opus of American animation industry.
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's 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 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, Time Warner (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.
he 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, and attempts to seduce feline femme fatales, among other reasons.
Tom and Jerry title card used during the late 1940s and early 1950s, attached to many reissues of early and mid 1940s shorts.
Tom rarely succeeds in catching Jerry, mainly because of Jerry's cleverness, cunning abilities, and luck. 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 Tom 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.:42 :134 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 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 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.
om 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 final "iris-out" or "fade-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 (the best example of which occurs in The Million Dollar Cat where, after finding out that Tom's newly acquired wealth will be taken away if he harms any animal, including a mouse, he torments Tom until Tom finally loses his temper and attacks him). 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.(Wikipedia)