Jerry Mouse is a fictional character and one of the two main protagonists (alongside Tom Cat) in Metro-Goldwyn Mayer's series of Tom & Jerry theatrical cartoon short films. Created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, Jerry is a brown house mouse, who first appeared as an unnamed mouse in the 1940 MGM animated short Puss Gets the Boot. Hanna gave the mouse's original name as "Jinx", while Barbera claimed the mouse went unnamed in his first appearance.
Tom and Jerry cartoons
The name "Jerry" was chosen by MGM animator John Carr, who submitted "Tom and Jerry" as potential names for the duo after an important Loew's Inc.. distributor in Texas asked for follow-ups to Puss Gets the Boot. While the idea of a cat-and-mouse duo was considered shopworn by the 1940s, Hanna and Barbera decided to expand upon the standard expected cat and mouse relationship. Instead of being a "cowering victim" of Tom Cat's short-tempered aggression, he took delight in besting, and even torturing, his feline frenemy (even if Tom is just following orders or is even just minding his own business and is antagonized by Jerry). Hanna and Barbera considered Tom and Jerry "the best of enemies", whose rivalry hid an unspoken amount of mutual respect but in Tom and Jerry 1975, they were purely friends/best friends/buddies.
In later Tom and Jerry cartoons, Jerry acquired a young ward: a small grey mouse called "Tuffy" or "Nibbles" depending upon the cartoon, who was left on Jerry's doorstep as a foundling baby in the 1946 short The Milky Waif. Jerry and Tuffy were also featured together in a sub-series of Tom and Jerry cartoons set in 17th century France which featured the characters as musketeers. The first of these shorts, The Two Mouseketeers, won the 1951 Academy Award for the Best Short Subject: Cartoons.
Hanna and Barbera served as writer/directors of the Tom and Jerry cartoons until 1956, when they also became the producers. Fourteen Tom and Jerry cartoons between 1940 and 1954 were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons, with seven of the shorts winning that award. MGM shut down its animation department in 1957, but new Tom and Jerry cartoons were produced by Gene Deitch and later Chuck Jones during the 1960s. Jerry would also appear in later Tom and Jerry productions made for television, a series of direct-to-video features, and Tom and Jerry: The Movie, a 1992 theatrical film. Later productions eschewed much of the violence the 1940s and 1950s shorts were known for, and in several of the television shows Jerry was given a red bow tie and a kinder disposition.
On his own, Jerry Mouse appears in a fantasy sequence in the 1945 Gene Kelly MGM musical film Anchors Aweigh. Jerry appears as the ruler of a kingdom where music is banned because he feels he lacks talent, and Kelly persuades the mouse into performing a song-and-dance number with him. Kelly and MGM had originally wanted Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse as Kelly's dance partner for the sequence, but Disney was unwilling to license the character.
Hanna and Barbera achieved the effect of Kelly dancing with Jerry by rotoscoping: live-action plates of Kelly dancing alone were shot first, and the action traced frame by frame so that Jerry's movements would match. The success of the animated segment of Anchors Aweigh, which was noted as "stealing the show" in contemporary trade reviews, led to two more live-action/animated projects for Hanna and Barbera and MGM: an underwater ballet sequence featuring both Tom and Jerry in Esther William's 1953 film Dangerous When Wet, and the "Sinbad the Sailor" sequence of Kelly's 1956 film Invitation to the Dance.
In 1990, this version of Jerry wears a red bowtieform the 70's series, and has a tuft of hair on his head. He often taunts Tom (as a kitten) any chance he gets. Sometimes, in a few episodes, he is friends with Tom.
Jerry is primarily mute in most incarnations of Tom and Jerry, but on occasion he did have a voice.
- William Hanna: 1943 short: The Lonesome Mouse
- Sara Berner: speaking and singing voice for Jerry in Anchors Aweigh
- Lillian Randolph (voice of Mammy Two Shoes): 1946 short: The Milky Waif as Jerry and Nibbles disguise themselves as black people to fool Tom (see Censorship for information).
- Allen Swift: Vocal effects in the Gene Deitch era (1961–1962) shorts
- Mel Blanc: Vocal effects in the Chuck Jones era (1963–1967) shorts
- June Foray: 1965 shorts: Of Feline Bondage, Duel Personality
- John Stephenson: Tom & Jerry Kids
- Frank Welker: The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show, Tom & Jerry Kids, Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring
- Dana Hill: Tom and Jerry: The Movie
- Samuel Vincent: Tom and Jerry Tales
- Name: Jerry Mouse
- Gender: Male
- Species: Mouse
- Family: Nibbles (Nephew) Dinky (Non-canon Nephew)
- Likes: Cheese, escaping Tom
- Dislikes: Getting injured, being retaliated
- Friends: Tom Cat (sometimes), other mice, Spike
- Enemies: Tom (most of the time), Butch, Meathead, Topsy and any cat.