Tuesday, January 14, 2014

History Of Tom & Jerry

Tom and Jerry, two of the most honored cartoon characters in motion pictures, were created by William
Hanna and Joseph Barbera for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Their plot centered on a never-ending battle, in other words, a chase between a housecat and a brown mouse. The Hanna- Barbera duo had written and directed 114 Tom and Jerry cartoons from 1940 to 1957, at the MGM cartoon studio in Hollywood. The pair won a total of 7 Oscar awards for Best Animated Short Subject, more than any other character-based theatrical animated series. The series has also been named as the ‘Greatest Television Shows of All Time’ by TIME, in 2000. Tom and Jerry was also placed at the 66th position, in the ‘Top 100 Animated TV Shows’ by IGN, in January 2009. Read on to know interesting and amazing information on the history, origin and background of Tom and Jerry.

Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Tom & Jerry

Joseph Barbera, a storyman and character designer, paired up with an experienced director, William Hanna to create a cat-and-mouse cartoon. The first cartoon was titled ‘Puss Gets the Boot’ and it released in theatres on February 10, 1940. Having lost to another MGM cartoon at the Academy Awards, Hanna and Barbera held a contest to give the cat and mouse a new name and look. Animator John Carr won the contest, with his suggestion of Tom and Jerry. The series went into production and eventually, Hanna and Barbera went on to direct only the cat-and-mouse cartoon, for the rest of their tenure at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).

The main protagonist, Tom was a blue-grey longhair cat while Jerry, the second protagonist, was a small & brown, house mouse. The physical appearances of both Tom and Jerry were evolved over the years. The series developed into a quicker, more energetic tone. Though the original theme of the series, cat chases mouse, remained the same, Hanna and Barbera came up with numerous variations on this theme. The final shot of Hanna and Barbera was ‘Tot Watchers’, which released on August 1, 1958, after the MGM cartoon studio closed down in 1957. Later, Hanna and Barbera opened up their own television studio, Hanna-Barbera Productions, in 1957 and went on to produce various famous TV shows and movies.

In 1960, Czech-based animation director, Gene Deitch from Rembrandt Films was contracted by MGM to

produce new Tom and Jerry shorts. A total of 13 shorts were released under this contract. These episodes were not very favorably received by the general audience. In the early 1963, Chuck Jones, who was fired from Warner Bros. Cartoons, started his own animation studio and produced a total of 34 Tom and Jerry shorts. The main characters were given a changed appearance, with Tom getting thicker eyebrows, a less complex look, sharper ears and furrier cheeks. Jerry got larger eyes and ears, a lighter brown color and a sweeter Porky Pig-like expression. The year 1965 saw the Hanna and Barbera cartoon series airing on television, in heavily edited form.

The Jones series featured Mammy Two-Shoes. Eventually, she was replaced by a fat White Irish woman, as in ‘Saturday Evening Puss’. The series were translated into various foreign languages, since it had almost no dialogues. It started broadcasting in Japan in 1964. Since then, Tom and Jerry cartoons have been airing on television everyday in India, Germany, South East Asia, the Middle East, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Argentina, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Venezuela, other Latin American countries and in eastern European countries. Various Tom and Jerry movies have also been released such as ‘Tom and Jerry: The Movie’, ‘Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring’, ‘Tom and Jerry: Blast Off To Mars’, ‘Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry’ and ‘Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale’.


Tom and Jerry together form an Academy Award winning pair of a cat (Tom) and a mouse (Jerry). The shorts of Tom & Jerry were written, and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer).  Their first appearance was in “Puss Gets the Boot”.

In each short Tom is shown trying unsuccessfully trying to catch Jerry. In some shorts they both are seen as going along very well and there is no particular reason shown as to why Tom is always desperately chasing Jerry all the time but irrespective of the reason the chase given by Tom to Jerry has always been admired by viewers. In most cases Tom is unable to catch Jerry simply because Jerry is smarter and more cunning than Tom. The shorts of Tom & Jerry have had the most violence ever in he field of animation though it never involved blood or gore in any scenes. In several shorts Tom and Jerry are shown trying to murder each other with axe, pistols, and explosives along with using whatever is handy as a weapon to hit each other. Music has always played a very important role in all the Tom and Jerry shorts enhancing the emotions in the scenes. The music for the shorts was created by music director Scott Bradley.

While Tom is depicted as bluish-grey housecat, Jerry is shown as a small brown mouse living in the same 

house. Even though Tom is very energetic he is unable to catch Jerry as Jerry is too smart for Tom. In most of the shorts Jerry is shown as winning in end but in some rare shorts Tom wins and Jerry loses. Even though both take pleasure in hurting each other they help out each other when one of them is in serious danger and then they end up being friends. Tom and Jerry are rarely, if ever, shown speaking. Most of the sound effects for the pair were provided by William Hanna also the co-director of the series.  A vicious bulldog is the protector and guarding angel of Jerry in some shorts. He is friendly towards the mouse but is aggressive towards the cat

Early shorts showed that Mammy Two Shoes was the housemaid of the house where Tom lives. Her face is
never shown, only her voice is heard and she punishes Tom whenever he misbehaves. She appeared in many shorts till 1952 when Tom was shown living with a couple. After this Tom’s ownership again changes to a woman who is very strict, adores mice and punishes Tom for chasing Jerry.

When “Puss Gets the Boot” was released to theatres on February 10, 1940 no one had imagined that this cat and mouse pair will become so famous. In this short the mouse breaks every fragile thing he can gets his hands so that the cat will be blamed and thrown out of the house. Hanna and Barbera started working on other shorts. The attitude towards the short changed only when it became a favorite with theater owners and was nominated for Academy award for best Short subject ultimately losing out to another MGM cartoon “The Milky Way”.  Realizing the potential of the cat and mouse short, Fred Quimby, asked Hanna and Barbera to drop other cartoons they were working on and asked them to work on a series featuring the cat and mouse. It was animator John Carr who suggested the name of “Tom and Jerry”. Since the Tom & Jerry went into production in 1941 with the release of “The Midnight snack” Hanna and Barbera directed nothing else except for the Tom and Jerry series.

Shorts of Tom and Jerry were nominated thirteen times for the Academy Award for Best Short Subjects: Cartoons category and went on to win the award seven times. Tom and Jerry has won more Academy Awards than any other animated series. The shorts which won the Academy Awards are “Yankee Doodle Mouse” (1943), “Quiet, Please”(1945), “The Cat Concerto” (1947), “Mouse Cleaning” (1948), “Two Mouseketeers” (1952), and “Johann Mouse” (1953).

After TV started making a dent in revenues of animated shorts, MGM executives decided to close the animation studio. The last of Hanna and Barbera Tom and Jerry shorts “Tot Watchers” was released on August 1, 1958. After Gene Deitch and chuck Jones took charge of Tom and Jerry in 1961 and 1963 respectively, the Hanna-Barbera Studio bought Tom and Jerry from MGM in 1975. They made 48 cartoons between 1975 and 1977 when the series finally ended.

Indian Railway

By the word run a train we mean a vehicle with motive power running on metal rails.

" The Stockholm and Darlington Railway" (1825) is recognised as  the starting of railway age, because they were the first "Railway" to use a steam locomotive and iron rails to haul a load. It was a load of 38 carriages laden with passengers and goods ran between Stockton and Darlington. The railway line was actually commenced in 1821, but it took 4 years to complete construction.

Prior to this in 1801 Richard Trevithick made the steam carriage and in 1804 constructed a locomotive to haul a 10-ton load not on the rails but on the roads.

For other countries the list is as follows:

Now let us see about India.

       The core of the pressure for building railways in India came from London in 1840s. For a century thereafter the basic policies and ultimate management of the Indian Railways were issued from London. The British built railways in India in order to intermesh the economies of the two countries. The building of railways in India brought about unintended as well as hoped for consequences in economic, political and military front. The new railways tied the the different parts of India together more closely than ever before.

       Some mention should be made of the role of Indian businessmen played in the early years. There were Indian merchants , both in Calcutta and Bombay who took an interest in founding of the railways. The most prominent of these was a remarkable Bengali merchant Prince Dwarkanath Tagore , grandfather of Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. Dwarkanath's firm Carr, Tagore & Company, is reported to have offered in 1844, to raise one-third of the capital required for a railway from Calcutta northwest to the coalfields above Burdwan. After Dwarkanath's premature death a few tears later the other Indian businessmen played only a passive role. The conception, promotion and launching of India's railways were all British. ( Daniel Thorner 1955)    

The Railway Age dawned in India on 16th. April 1853, when the first train ran from Bombay to Thana, a distance of 21 miles(33.81 Km.) For some years before that the idea of building railways in India had taken concrete shape with the Court of Directors of the East India Company in London. The East India Company had obtained a foothold in India as a trading company, but gradually lost most of its privileges it had enjoyed as an instrument of commerce. It had , however been made responsible for the governance of India under the supervision of a Court of Directors in London. The final authority lay , of course , with the British Cabinet, who acted on the advice of its special Board of \control for Indian Affairs. There was a Governor General at Fort William in Calcutta, having superintending authority over the administration of India. 
       The first proposals for construction of railways in India were presented in 1844 to East India Company in London by, (a) East Indian Railway Company headed by R.McDonald Stephenson, and (b) Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company.

George Stephenson the great British Locomotive inventor was one the first Directors of GIPR and his son Robert Stephenson was appointed as the consulting engineer based at London.

        Both E.I.R. and G.I.P.R were incorporated in England for the purpose of constructing railway lines in Calcutta and Bombay presidencies respectively. Though GIPR company was formed in 1844. George Stephenson could not see his Locomotives run on Indian soil as he died in 1848. 

       Lord Hardinge was the Governor General of India at this point of time. He considered the proposals from political, military and commercial point of view and thought that Court Of Directors of East India Company should liberally give assistance to private capitalists, willing to make railways in India , without waiting for proof that the construction of railways in India should yield reasonable profit. The Court of Directors in their suggestion that the first attempt should be made on a limited scale due to some difficulties, deliberated as under,

1. Periodical rains and inundations;
2. The continued action of violent winds, and influence of a vertical
3. The ravages of insects and vermin upon timber and earth work;
4. The destructive effect of spontaneous vegetation of Underwood
     upon earth and brick  work;
5. The unenclosed and unprotected tracts of the country though which 
     railroads would pass; 
6. The difficulty and expenses of securing the services of competent
     and trustworthy engineers.  

How do you feel about these apprehensions about 150 years ago ?

The development of railways in India started on all sides after successful initial projects in the west and the east.

West : On 16th April, 1853 the first railway on Indian sub-continent ran over a stretch of 21 miles from Bombay to Thane . The idea of a railway to connect Bombay with Thane, Kalyan and with the Thal and Bhore Ghats inclineFirst train run in Bombay first occurred to Mr. George Clark, the Chief Engineer of the Bombay Government, during a visit to Bhandup in 1843.The first Indian train steamed off from Bombay(Bori Bunder) to Thane  on 16th. April 1853, at 3:30 P.M. "amidst the loud applause of a vast multitude and to the salute of 21 guns." The train consisting of 14 carriages was hauled by three locomotives named Sultan, Sindh and Sahib with 400 VVIPs The formal inauguration ceremony was performed on 16th April 1853, when 14 railway carriages carrying about 400 guests left Bori Bunder at 3.35 PM. 

     In the East : 

       The Survey from Calcutta to Delhi was carried out by Mr. Stephenson during 1845-46. The construction of railway line from Howrah to Raniganj was sanctioned only after 3 years. But by the end of 1853 61 kms. of line was ready upto Pandooah. Two historical incidents denied  EIR , the first position in history of railways in India.. The Locomotive Engine and the carriages for both the  trains of Bombay and Howrah were despatched from England almost at the same time, but the ship carrying the loco for E.I.R. (HMS Goodwin) was misdirected to Australia and the other carrying the carriages for Howrah  sank  at Sandheads. Otherwise Howrah would have had the legacy of running the first train in India. The Locomotive Engine and the carriages for both the  trains of Bombay and Howrah were despatched from England almost at the same time, but the ship carrying the loco for E.I.R. (HMS Goodwin) was misdirected to Australia and carriages for Howrah  sank  at Sandheads.  The other problem faced was that the line was aligned through Chandernagore (Chandannagar) which was a French territory at that time. The settlement of this dispute with french rulers of Chandernagore also took considerable time. The Locomotive reached Calcutta via Australia and a trial run was made on 28th. June 1854. The coaches for the first train was however manufactured by two Calcutta based companies Steward & Company and Seton & Company. Otherwise Howrah would have had the legacy of running the first train in India.  

           The first passenger train steamed out of Howrah station destined for Hooghly, (click) a distance of 24 miles, on 15th August, 1854. Thus the first section of the East Indian Railway was opened to public traffic, inaugurating the beginning of railway transport on the Eastern side of the sub-continent.  

          From 15th August 1854, the company ran regular services, morning and evening, between Howrah and Hugli with stops at Bally, Srerampore and Chandannagar. The fare ranged from Rs.3 by first class to 7 annas by third class. The main booking office was on the Calcutta bank, at the Armenian Ghat, and the fare covered the ferry to the station. At the Howrah end, the station consisted of a tin shed and a single line flanked by narrow platforms, somewhat to the south of the present station building constructed between 1901 and 1906.

       In the South the first line was opened on Ist July, 1856 by the Madras Railway Company. It ran between Veyasarpandy and Walajah Road (Arcot), a distance of 63 miles. the first line was opened on Ist July, 1856 by the Madras Railway Company. It ran between Veyasarpandy and Walajah Road (Arcot), a distance of 63 miles.

      In the North a length of 119 miles of line was laid from Allahabad to Kanpur on 3rd March 1859. The first section from Hathras Road to Mathura Cantonment was opened to traffic on 19th October, 1875.

         The first locomotive built in India : The F-734 built in 1895 by the Ajmer workshop of the Rajputana Malwa Railway. Earlier some locomotives were assembled using spares supplied with fully assembled locomotives which were imported. This locomotive with outside connecting and side rods was used on Rajputana Malwa & Bombay Baroda & Central India Railway systems.

          These were the small beginnings which is due course developed into a network of railway lines all over the country. By 1880 the Indian Railway system had a route mileage of about 9000 miles.
( Source : Old Eastern Railway Magazines of 1953)

Here are some of the many commemorative postage issued in India for different occasions of Indian Railways.