Tom enters from stage left in white tie and tails, sits at the piano, gets his focus as the orchestra in the pit beneath him warms up, and begins to play Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody.” Unbeknownst to Tom and the audience, Jerry is asleep across several of the high-note keys inside the instrument, so Tom’s playing eventually wakes him. Jerry is pummeled by hammers, bounced by wires, and squeezed by Tom as the cat tries to play the concerto while dispensing with Jerry. Jerry’s defensive antics add to the brio of the program and answer Tom with Jerry’s own skillful musical attack. By the concerto’s end, the duet leaves only one animal standing for the audience’s applause. —IMDb.com
For over four decades, Joseph Barbera reigned, along with his partner William Hanna, as one of the princes of American animation, second only to Walt Disney in infamy. Over the years, Hanna and Barbera created so many inimitable cartoon legends that their resumé reads like a laundry list of American television icons: Tom & Jerry, Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear, the Jetsons, the Flintstones, Top Cat, Jonny Quest, Huckleberry Hound, the Smurfs, and many, many others, far too numerous to mention. Working together, the men indelibly altered the landscape of American entertainment.
Born on March 24, 1911, in Manhattan, the son of an Italian immigrant, Joseph Roland Barbera came of age in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He demonstrated an incredible propensity for artistry as a young man, and spent hours at a time honing his skills by exhaustively copying magazine illustrations. After high school, Barbera studied at the American Institute of Banking, then spent time alternately working as an accountant… read more
The son of a construction superintendent for the Sante Fe railway stations, William Hanna was obliged to move around quite a bit as a youngster. Influenced by the preponderance of professional writers on his mother’s side of the family, Hanna gravitated towards the creative arts in high school. He played saxophone in a dance band, then majored in journalism and engineering at Compton (California) Junior College. While looking for work in the early stages of the Depression, he landed a backstage engineering job at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre. Hanna’s brother-in-law, who worked for a Hollywood lab called Pacific Title, tipped him off to a job opening at the Harman-Ising cartoon studios. From 1931 onward, Hanna contributed story ideas to Harman-Ising’s Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series, produced on behalf of Leon Schlesinger and Warner Bros. He also wrote the music and lyrics for several of the catchy tunes heard in these animated endeavors. When Harman-Ising moved to MGM, they… read more