Tom and Jerry, the cartoon duo of cat and mouse, first appeared in 1940 in cartoons made at the MGM cartoon studio. That would make them both 69 years old in human years. In cat years, Tom would be about 276 years old and I'd hate to know how old Jerry would be in mouse years!
William Hanna and Joseph Barbera created more than 100 Tom and Jerry cartoons between 1940 and 1957. Tom, a house cat, and Jerry, a mouse, managed to destroy millions of animated vases, dishes, and homes over the course of more than 100 cartoons. The series won seven Academy Awards for Best Short Subject (Cartoons) during those 17 years, competing with the powerful animation house of Walt Disney.
In 1957, MGM closed their animation unit. And in 1960, 12 new Tom and Jerry shorts were created by Rembrandt Films and directed by Gene Deitch. Unfortunately Deitch didn't have the resources to keep the same smooth animation style and they lost the franchise.
Then in 1962, Chuck Jones entered the picture. Jones was one of the many behind the classic Warner Brothers cartoons in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, until WB closed their animation studio in '62. During his tenure at WB, he helped create many of the endearing characters of the age that have survived and even thrived in the years since - Michigan J. Frog, Pepe LePew, Road Runner, and Wile E. Coyote, among many others. He was also instrumental in changing Daffy Duck to the egomaniacal scene stealer he remains today.
When WB closed their animation department, Jones created his Sib-Tower 12 Productions company to continue creating cartoons for MGM, and that's how he came to be involved with the Tom and Jerry franchise. And though they were only involved for four years, they made more than 150 more shorts of this wacky duo of cat and mouse.
In June 2009, Warner Brothers has released Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection featuring 34 shorts. These cartoons have been restored to their full widescreen format, as they were originally seen on the big screen decades ago.
One thing I noticed in the early Tom and Jerry cartoons from Hanna-Barbera was that the violence had more consequences. At no time were blood or gore in any of the cartoons, but when Tom was beaten up, he'd get bruises, broken bones, and more. In the Chuck Jones era of Tom and Jerry, the characters were much more damage-proof, similar to the cartoon characters for WB. Tom and Jerry could be crushed by construction equipment, blown up, and smashed regularly and bounce back to continue the chase. As such, I think it lost a bit of the flair of the original shorts.