The 1930S Tom And Jerry War Of The Whiskers


Before the Cat and Mouse:

Van Beuren’s Tom and Jerry

Filmography compiled by David Gerstein & Pietro Shakarian Special thanks to lớn Jerry Beck, Cole Johnson, and Mark Kausler


Almost a decade before MGM’s famed cat-and-mouse team, Amadee J. Van Beuren’s thành phố new york studio had another pair of stars named Tom and Jerry.

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Van Beuren, who’d lost Paul Terry and other creative staffers in 1929, needed breakthrough cartoon characters to lớn put his studio on the map. Terry’s directorial replacement, John Foster, first singled out a pair of mice, but their resemblance to Disney’s Mickey was too close for comfort. A better Foster decision was to develop a Mutt & Jeff-like cat & dog pair, but success still eluded Van Beuren. The turning point came only when Foster was joined by thủ đô new york artists George Stallings & George Rufle — who brought with them the idea of turning the cat và dog into humans.

At first, Tom và Jerry — the pair’s new name — were drawn in a literal style that directly recalled Mutt và Jeff. By mid-1932, though, they were streamlined khổng lồ incorporate an increasingly rubbery graphical style.

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The first Tom and Jerry short was 1931’s WOT A NIGHT, similar in style to lớn the earlier cat và dog cartoons. As the series progressed, though, the films became increasingly bawdy, boozy & bizarre. Van Beuren was second only to Fleischer in depicting surreal, impossible feats on screen; Tom, Jerry, and their surroundings did it all. Inanimate objects came to lớn life; two singers could giới thiệu a single mouth. Old houses hid evil dancing skeletons; seas concealed fish rabbis dressed in spy-drag black. In PIANO TOONERS, Jerry flushes a humanized “sour note” down the toilet. In A SWISS TRICK, eating too much swiss cheese causes our heroes lớn grow holes in their bodies.

In 1933, Van Beuren fired Foster và promoted Stallings to his position. Under Stallings, the Tom & Jerry series seemed to thua trận much of its earlier charm. The last cartoon khổng lồ star the original Tom và Jerry would be 1933’s THE PHANTOM ROCKET.

Over the years the original Tom & Jerry drifted into obscurity. On TV they were first renamed Dick & Larry, then put entirely on the shelf. Today, however, they’re back on DVDs — & on this website, as we invite you to explore their development with us, film by film. Let’s go!

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