It all began back in 1939 when animators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera presented MGM with their pencil storyboard idea for a new short film about a cat and mouse who were constantly at war.
At first, it didn’t go well to the point where MGM executives considered firing the animators. But Hanna and Barbera pleaded with the bosses to give them a chance.
So on February 10th, 1940 the very first Tom & Jerry Cartoon debuted titled “ Puss Gets The Boot.”
The debut was a hit and won the studio an Oscar nomination for best animated short. Despite their work, the animators were not credited.
For the best part of the next two decades, Hanna and Barbera oversaw the production of more than 100 of these shorts. Each took weeks to make and cost up to $50,000 to produce, so only a handful could be made every year.
In the mid-50’s Hanna Barbera took over the cartoon department after the producer retired, but budget cuts would soon seen the department close.
In 1957 the animators went out on their own…After that, MGM tried to bring back the show using other animators including those responsible for Looney Tunes and Warner bros.
When all this was going on, Hanna and Barbera were busy creating other cartoons like Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear. The pair also created more hits like The Flintstones, Top Cat and Scooby Doo. The pair returned to Tom & Jerry in the 70’s…
Tom and Jerry, with its slapstick violence and dark comedy, remains extremely popular around the world today.
Hannah Barbara have since past, and now Warner Brothers, own the rights to Tom and Jerry, and will release a new live-action film just before Christmas this year.