An old cartoon about a cat and a mouse, which many watched in childhood, seems rather cruel with age.
“Tom and Jerry” – a series of short cartoons with a rich history. The first episodes were released back in 1940, when the characters were called Jasper and Jinks – the names changed after the MGM studio offered $ 50 to think of better names. But even then the basis for the plots was formed, as was the main feature – cruel scenes with violence and shouts of pain.
For the 79-year history of the show in most of the episodes Tom is chasing Jerry. On the side of the cat size and strength, on the side of the mouse – the mind and wit. In essence, this is a rethinking of the classic game of cat and mouse, but with rather bloodthirsty elements. For example, in the very first series of 1940, Jerry smashes Tom in the eye with all his might, in 1943 Tom almost cuts Jerry with an ax, and in 1944 the mouse already cuts the opponent.
This is due to the demands of the audience of those times. American viewers who just emerged from the Great Depression liked adult and hard stories. At the same time, Disney was striving for softer cartoons: internal rules forbid poking characters with sharp objects. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, creators of “Tom and Jerry”, followed the path of graphic violence.
Saws, axes, swords, clubs, bits – all this appeared and was actively used in the cartoon. In short films, Jerry could shoot Tom in the head with a revolver, and the cat in response could blow up the enemy. At least several times, each of the characters died – this is the blog “The Dark Side of Tom and Jerry”.
Tom hardly perceives Jerry as food — rather, the characters just want to hurt each other. The tandem Hanna-Barbera worked on the cartoon for 17 years – this is considered to be the “golden age”. Then there was a period when the series was created behind the “iron curtain”: Czech animators had to draw episodes for pennies and sign with more “American” pseudonyms. There was a period when the creators of Looney Tunes were responsible for “Tom and Jerry”.
In 1975, Hannah and Barbera returned to work on the cartoon. Because of the new television standards, Tom and Jerry made friends, and the violent scenes almost disappeared. But a series of short films, which managed to get seven Oscars, was remembered not least by violence.
In February 2019, a “Tom and Jerry without context” profile appeared on Twitter, where the user was given to recall some cruel scenes with a cat and a mouse. In May, he was remembered in the “Disgusting Men” podcast.
But Tom and Jerry had classic scenes without cruelty – they can also be remembered in the account.