Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tom and Jerry… An American or English Tale?

Most people imagine that the famous cartoon characters Tom and Jerry have their origin in the USA. In fact they have their origins in an earlier period on the other side of the Atlantic. The tale begins in 1821, during the Georgian epoch, when the British capital was enjoying a boom in publishing. It was a time when books, pamphlets and newspapers were being produced in great numbers as literacy and the want for reading material was increasing across society.

Among the most innovative of the new publishers was Pierce Egan, a sporting journalist, who began a new series of publications in 1821 entitled ‘Life in London or the Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorne Esq and his eloquent friend Corinthian Tom, accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian, in their Rambles and Sprees Through the Metropolis’.

This eventually became so popular that other publishers began producing various pirate versions of it. In a couple of months it had even turned into a stage play; however, the title changed to ‘Tom and Jerry or Life in London’. This same story found its way, through an entrepreneur émigré, who transformed it into the cartoon we all know today. The basic idea remains intact, in a new form of course, i.e. a cat and a mouse.  

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