Tom & Jerry Originally Had Way Different Names & Other Fun Facts About the Cartoon

TOM AND JERRY, 1965-1972
Everett Collection

Like many people around the world, I grew up watching Tom and Jerry at my grandparent’s house, always wondering what those crazy animals were going to get into next. The cat and mouse duo, always trying to best each other, debuted over 80 years ago and still remains one of the most beloved cartoons in history. It was created by Hanna-Barbera and got its premiere in the MGM short Puss Gets the Boot on February 10, 1940. Despite their rivalry over the years, it has been shown that Tom and Jerry do have mutual respect for one another. If you’re a fan, keep reading to learn about some fun facts you might not yet know.

Tom & Jerry originally had other names

Tom and Jerry 19401968

Everett Collection

In the debut cartoon, the name of the cat was not Tom but Jasper. Although the name of the mouse was never given in the short, he was named Jinx in pre-production. Jasper and Jinx were supposed to be the names but an in-house contest led Hanna-Barbera to change them. An animator named John Carr won the $50 prize (which would be a little over $1,000 today) for coming up with the names. He came up with it based on the popular drink Tom and Jerry, which is eggnog with brandy and rum, usually served around Christmas time.

The cartoon won seven Oscars

THE YANKEE DOODLE MOUSE, from left: Tom and Jerry, 1943.

Everett Collection

Not only is the cartoon beloved but award-winning. The Hanna-Barbera Tom & Jerry cartoons earned Oscars for seven of the shorts and 13 nominations. The Yankee Doodle Mouse took home the first Oscar followed by Mouse Trouble, Quiet Please!, The Cat Concerto, The Little Orphan, The Two Mouseketeers and Johann Mouse.

Tom & Jerry appear in a couple of musicals

ANCHORS AWEIGH, Gene Kelly, Tom the Cat and Jerry the Mouse (of Tom and Jerry), 1945

Everett Collection

Do you remember their appearance in the 1945 musical comedy Anchors Aweigh featuring Gene Kelly? Kelly performs with Jerry for “The Worry Song” while Tom appears as a servant. Reportedly, the film wanted Mickey Mouse to appear but Disney said no. It worked out for the best because Tom and Jerry are delightful in this film!

Years later they appeared on the silver screen again alongside Esther Williams in a beautifully synchronized swimming routine in Dangerous When Wet (1953) The duo has also appeared in some other films over the years, and most recently had a feature film in 2021. Comment below and tell us which ones you remember!

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Kid Stuff

June 2018

Unleash your inner child by reliving your favorite kids TV shows, cartoons, toys and more!

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