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.
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.