I should imagine many of us know exactly who we are referring to when we hear the words Tom and Jerry. I enjoyed their antics both as a child and an adult. A mouse and a cat in constant battles with each other and causing some terrible injuries on each other, but the next second, they’re back as though nothing has happened. We have to hand it to the studios in Hollywood for coming up with another great set of animated characters we love to watch and laugh at.
Tom and Jerry did not originate in California or even in the United States. And they certainly were not a recent invention. In fact, they owe their origin to the early nineteenth century and to London not Los Angeles. We need to go back to 1821, where we find London suddenly exploding with books, pamphlets and comics as publishing to the masses became realistic. New publishers appeared on the market ready to feed the minds of the curious and to entertain.
Tom & Jerry – Who Else?
One particular publisher was Pierce Egan who in 1821 published a book entitled…now I must warn you that many book titles in those days were quite wordy. Indeed, I think in most cases, you were left in no doubt exactly what the book was about before you even opened it. This particular title was “Life in London or the Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorne Esq and his elegant friend Corinthian Tom, accompanied by Bob Logic the Oxonian, in their Rambles and Sprees Through the Metropolis.” Quite a mouthful, don’t you think?
It was a big success and with such success, comes imitators of the idea. Soon, there was a stage play entitled “Tom and Jerry.” Now, that’s much better. And others agreed, it was a catchy title. One of those who thought as much, emigrated to the USA where he turned the original idea and title into the feuding cat and mouse we know and love today.