This Week in History

The Birth of Tom and Jerry
Thu February 08, 2018 at 10:37 AM PST

 

William Hanna and Joseph Barbera discuss 1952's The Two Mouseketeers, which would go on to win the sixth of seven Academy Awards for Tom and Jerry.
William Hanna and Joseph Barbera discuss 1952's The Two Mouseketeers, which would go on to win the sixth of seven Academy Awards for Tom and Jerry. 

 

This Saturday marks the 78th anniversary of the very first Tom and Jerry cartoon, Puss Gets the Boot, from the imaginative minds of Joseph Barbera and William Hanna. Who would have thought then that this one-off cat-and-mouse theatrical short—the first production from the newly formed Hanna-Barbera team at MGM—would lead to an Oscar nomination, followed by more than 100 shorts over the ensuing 17 years resulting in seven Academy Awards (among its 14 nominations)?

 

The success of this single cartoon—although its two stars were not yet named in this first short—eventually led to the formation of Hanna-Barbera Productions in 1957. After the two animation legends broke away from MGM that same year, and the creative duo would go on to create such iconic characters as Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear, The Flintstones and The Jetsons, and, believe it, that’s a very short list.

1943's The Yankee Doodle Mouse garnered Hanna and Barbera the first Academy Award for the Tom and Jerry cartoons.
1943's The Yankee Doodle Mouse garnered Hanna and Barbera the first Academy Award for the Tom and Jerry cartoons.

 

Mouse Trouble was the second of four consecutive Oscar wins for Tom and Jerry between 1943-46.
Mouse Trouble was the second of four consecutive Oscar wins for Tom and Jerry between 1943-46.

 

As for the feline and rodent who started this creative empire, Tom and Jerry have gone through a plethora of mediums and evolutions over the last seven decades, including a handful of TV shows that continue to this day with the current The Tom and Jerry Show and more than a dozen full-length features from Warner Bros. Animation since 2002, most recently with last year’s Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

 

 

William Hanna passed away in 2001, followed by Joseph Barbera in 2006, but thankfully their legacy continues to live on and entertain millions around the world as part of the Warner Bros. family.

Joseph Barbera and William Hanna pictured during the very early days of their collaboration when they were working for MGM.
Joseph Barbera and William Hanna pictured during the very early days of their collaboration when they were working for MGM.