This famous grey and white feline with a glint in his impish eyes was originally known as Jasper. He was part of a cat and mouse team created by master animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. They made their debut in 1939 in the animated cartoon, “Puss Gets The Boot” They soon became the focus of a series of short animated films produced from 1940 to 1948 by the Hollywood studio of Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer. Tom is fixated if not obsessed in modern terms) on the antics of his housemate, a little brown mouse named Jerry. Tom’s career, which consists basically of napping and eating, is often sacrificed by thoughts about how to capture his elusive nemesis. He never succeeds because Jerry may be smaller, but he is also smarter.
These shorts are famous for their gags, which are some of the most violent and destructive ever used for theatrical animation. Tom uses everything to try and kill Jerry; guns, axes, poison, and Jerry resorts to violence as well, often causing an explosive to blow up in Tom’s face causing not his death or maiming but rather a temporary blackface. If parents ever wondered why their children rarely think that falling off ledges and buildings are not dangerous, they might find an answer in some of the cartoons their children watch, which unintentionally depict pain, torture and suffering as not only temporary, but momentary.
Poor Jerry the mouse has his share of adversaries, which are usually situated in or around the kitchen. Besides Tom, there’s Butch, a black alley cat who has seen better days, and Spike, the vicious guard dog and his owner, Mamy Two-Shoes. Despite it all, this cheeky, little brown mouse wins all the time, proving that size has nothing at all to do with it.
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