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The History and Legacy of Tom y Jerry | How They Became Iconic Animated Characters

Tom y Jerry: The Classic Cartoon Duo

If you are a fan of animation, comedy, or cats and mice, chances are you have watched or heard of Tom y Jerry. This iconic cartoon series has been entertaining audiences for over 80 years, with its hilarious slapstick humor, memorable characters, and catchy music. But what makes Tom y Jerry so special? How did it start and evolve over time? And what is its impact and legacy on the world of animation and beyond? In this article, we will explore the history, production, characters, voice actors, influence, and achievements of this classic cartoon duo.

tom y jerry


Who are Tom and Jerry?

Tom y Jerry are the titular characters of a series of comedy short films created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera in 1940. Tom is a blue-gray domestic cat who is always trying to catch Jerry, a brown house mouse who is always outsmarting him. The cartoon revolves around their endless chase and prank war, which often involves other characters such as Spike the bulldog, Tyke the puppy, Butch the black cat, Tuffy the mouse nephew, Quacker the duckling, and Mammy Two Shoes the maid.

What is the plot of the cartoon?

The plot of Tom y Jerry is simple: Tom wants to catch Jerry, but Jerry always escapes or fights back. The cartoon relies on visual gags, physical comedy, exaggerated expressions, sound effects, and music to create humor. The cartoon rarely uses dialogue, except for occasional screams, laughs, or words from secondary characters. The cartoon also does not follow a strict continuity or logic, as Tom and Jerry can survive any injury or situation, and their roles can change from enemies to friends to rivals depending on the episode.

Why is it so popular?

Tom y Jerry is popular because it appeals to a wide range of audiences, regardless of age, culture, or language. The cartoon is universal in its humor, as anyone can relate to the cat-and-mouse rivalry, the clever tricks, and the funny reactions. The cartoon is also timeless in its style, as it uses classic animation techniques, colorful backgrounds, expressive characters, and catchy music to create a charming atmosphere. The cartoon is also versatile in its format, as it can be adapted to different media, genres, and settings without losing its essence.

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History and Production

How did Tom y Jerry come to be?

Tom y Jerry was born out of necessity. In 1939, MGM's animation department was struggling to compete with Disney's cartoons. The studio needed a new hit series that could attract audiences and profits. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera were two young animators who had an idea for a cat-and-mouse cartoon. They pitched their idea to Fred Quimby, the head of MGM's animation unit. Quimby liked their idea and gave them a budget of $6,500 to produce a pilot episode.

Who created and directed the cartoon?

The pilot episode was titled "Puss Gets the Boot" and was released in 1940. It featured a cat named Jasper (later renamed Tom) who tries to catch a mouse named Jinx (later renamed Jerry) in a house owned by Mammy Two Shoes. The episode was a success with critics and audiences alike. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film but lost to Disney's "The Ugly Duckling The success of the pilot episode convinced Quimby to greenlight a series of Tom y Jerry cartoons. Hanna and Barbera became the creators, directors, writers, and producers of the series. They worked with a team of animators, background artists, composers, and sound editors to create the cartoons. They also came up with the name Tom y Jerry, which was inspired by a popular cocktail at the time.

How many episodes and movies are there?

From 1940 to 1958, Hanna and Barbera produced 114 Tom y Jerry cartoons for MGM. These cartoons are considered the golden age of the series, as they won seven Academy Awards for Best Animated Short Film and became one of the most popular and acclaimed cartoons of all time. After MGM closed its animation department in 1957, Tom y Jerry moved to different studios and directors, such as Gene Deitch, Chuck Jones, and Hanna-Barbera Productions. These cartoons are considered the silver age of the series, as they introduced new characters, styles, and themes to the series. From 1961 to 2005, there were 162 Tom y Jerry cartoons produced by various studios and directors. These cartoons are considered the bronze age of the series, as they experimented with different formats, genres, and settings for the series.

In addition to the short films, there have been several Tom y Jerry movies and specials over the years. The first feature-length film was Tom y Jerry: The Movie, released in 1992. It was followed by several direct-to-video films, such as Tom y Jerry: The Magic Ring, Tom y Jerry: Blast Off to Mars, Tom y Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale, and Tom y Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The most recent film was Tom y Jerry, released in 2021. It was a live-action/animation hybrid film that featured Tom y Jerry in a modern-day New York City.

Characters and Voice Actors

Who are the main characters of Tom y Jerry?

The main characters of Tom y Jerry are:

  • Tom: A blue-gray domestic cat who is always chasing Jerry. He is smart, cunning, and determined, but also clumsy, unlucky, and easily frustrated. He often uses various traps, weapons, and gadgets to catch Jerry, but they usually backfire on him. He sometimes works with other cats or allies to catch Jerry, but they often betray him or compete with him. He also has a soft side, as he can be friendly or romantic with other characters.

  • Jerry: A brown house mouse who is always escaping or fighting back against Tom. He is clever, witty, and resourceful, but also mischievous, cheeky, and adventurous. He often uses his speed, agility, and intelligence to outsmart Tom or sabotage his plans. He sometimes teams up with other mice or friends to help him or have fun with him. He also has a kind side, as he can be sympathetic or helpful to other characters.

Who are the supporting characters of Tom y Jerry?

The supporting characters of Tom y Jerry are:

  • Spike: A brown bulldog who is often annoyed by Tom's antics. He is strong, tough, and protective of his son Tyke. He often threatens or attacks Tom if he disturbs him or harms Tyke. He sometimes helps or befriends Jerry if he is in trouble or shares a common enemy with him.

  • Tyke: A gray puppy who is Spike's son. He is cute, innocent, and playful. He often follows his father's footsteps or learns from him. He sometimes interacts or plays with Jerry if he is friendly or harmless to him.

  • Butch: A black cat who is Tom's rival. He is greedy, arrogant, and aggressive. He often competes with Tom for food, territory, or love interests. He sometimes allies with Tom to catch Jerry or face a bigger threat.

  • Tuffy: A gray mouse who is Jerry's nephew. He is naive, curious, and loyal. He often visits his uncle Jerry or accompanies him on his adventures. He sometimes helps or hinders Jerry's plans depending on his mood or situation.

  • Quacker: A yellow duckling who is Jerry's friend. He is cheerful, optimistic, and talkative. He often hatches from an egg near Jerry's home or wanders around looking for his mother. He sometimes assists or annoys Jerry with his actions or words.

  • Mammy Two Shoes: A black maid who works in the house where Tom and Jerry live. She is strict, boss y with Tom and Jerry. She often scolds or punishes Tom if he makes a mess or fails to catch Jerry. She sometimes rewards or praises Tom if he does a good job or behaves well. She rarely appears on screen, except for her legs and feet.

Who voiced the characters of Tom and Jerry?

Since Tom and Jerry rarely speak, most of their voices are provided by sound effects, such as screams, laughs, grunts, or squeaks. These sound effects were mostly created by William Hanna, who also voiced Tom's singing voice in some episodes. Other voice actors who contributed to the sound effects include Clarence Nash, Mel Blanc, June Foray, Frank Welker, and Dee Bradley Baker.

For the secondary characters who do speak, there have been several voice actors who voiced them over the years. Some of the most notable ones are:

Lillian Rando


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