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5 less known amazing facts of Tom and Jerry

by Sangam Adhikari

Probably one of the most prominent memories of our childhood, Tom and Jerry is definitely one cartoon that made our childhood happy and enjoyable, as well as being a name which we all will not forget for the rest of our lives.

When I was a child, I remember spending hours the antics Tom and Jerry do and laughing my butt off at the same time. Maybe you guys have similar memories, but in any case, as much as we all loved Tom and Jerry, not many of us would know these 5 facts about every child’s favourite cat and mouse.

1. The show has won at least 7 oscars

According to Academy Award history, there was one occasion whereby 13 entries in the Tom and Jerry cartoon were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons. Guess what? Out of these 13 entries, seven of them won Academy Awards, breaking the Disney studio’s winning streak.

In fact, Tom and Jerry won more awards than any other character-based theatrical animated series in Academy Award history. Talk about sweeping academy awards.

2. Tom and Jerry originally were called Jasper and Jinx

Tom” and “Jerry” sound like two perfectly generic, ethnically vague, mid-20th century American male names. In other words, they were perfect for the names of a stylistically simple cartoon cat and mouse.

But creators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera didn’t come up with those names — the ones for their iconic, undying creations — until after they’d already produced a cartoon about the pair.

The first Tom and Jerry cartoon, 1940’s “Puss Gets the Boot,” is actually a “Jasper and Jinx” toon. Jasper was the name of the cat and Jinx the name of the mouse. Hanna and Barbera just didn’t think those monikers suited their creations, and seeking ideas from crew members, they went with animator John Carr’s suggestion of Tom and Jerry.

Carr didn’t invent that pairing of words that just happen to sound good together. “Tom and Jerry” was a phrase floating around the English language for more than a century. In 1821, British writer Pierce Egan wrote Life in London, the stories of a couple of roustabout toughs named, you guessed it, Tom and Jerry.

The book was so successful that it inspired a stage play and a boozy eggnog cocktail called the Tom and Jerry that would ultimately outlast the popularity of the source material.

3.They apparently commit suicide in an episode

Despite a lack of evidence — and how a few minutes of internet research can easily prove or disprove most anything — urban legends and myths about pop culture persist. There’s even an especially dark one about Tom and Jerry.

Reportedly, the final Tom and Jerry cartoon ends with a real and disturbing finality, with both characters killing themselves by way of lying down on train tracks and getting run over. Yep, Tom and Jerry commit suicide.

However, like about 99 percent of urban legends, this isn’t true, but some nuggets of truth have been exaggerated. In the 1956 short “Blue Cat Blues,” Tom gets incredibly despondent when his girlfriend leaves him for another cat, and Jerry tries to pull him out of his funk, only to have his best mouse gal pal dump him, too.

The episode ends with them both sitting on tracks while a train approaches. But the cartoon doesn’t actually depict their deaths. Nor do they really die, because plenty more Tom and Jerry cartoons were produced after “Blue Cat Blues,” well into the ’60s. Still, that’s a pretty dark show for kids.

4.A main character was edited out decades ago

In the late 19th century and into the early 20th century, crude, broad, and terrible stereotypes of African-American characters were common in popular culture.

Holdovers from both the slavery-era South and vaudeville, this included things like white performers donning “blackface” and adopting certain vocal patterns to both embody and mock African-Americans, along with character archetypes like the one known as “mammy” — generally a heavyset, older African-American woman working as a cook, maid, or servant.

Such cultural norms persisted well into the 1940s and 1950s. And sadly, Tom and Jerry cartoons of that era featured a stereotypical character named Mammy Two Shoes, who worked in Tom and Jerry’s house and would show up to yell at Tom when she caught him doing something bad.

Mammy Two Shoes appeared in the first Tom and Jerry short, “Puss Gets the Boot,” and then showed up in 18 more. Fortunately, she was retired after the 1952 cartoon “Push-Button Kitty.”

But anyone who saw Tom and Jerry cartoons on TV likely never saw Mammy Two Shoes. As times progressed and the presence of characters like Mammy Two Shoes was scrutinized as both outdated and racist, the character was edited out of the prints shown on TV.

5. MGM studio almost discontinued the show after the first episode as they believed that the concept of a cat and mouse duo was too common in cartoons.

When Barbera pitched the idea of a cat-and-mouse comic series, none of the employees of the MGM animation studio showed much enthusiasm.

They felt the idea was not original and was too common when it came to cartoons. So. after the first episode was released in theatres, both Barbera and Hanna went ahead to work on other, non-cat-and-mouse projects.

It was only a year later that the first animated short of Tom and Jerry gained some popularity, and after that, Barbera and Hanna were brought back to work on Tom and Jerry.

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