Tom and Jerry is a series of theatrical animated cartoon films created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, centering on a never-ending rivalry between a cat (Tom) and a mouse (Jerry) whose chases and battles often involved comic violence (despite this they sometimes become allies to defeat a 'greater enemy' such as Spike the bulldog). Hanna and Barbera ultimately wrote, produced and directed 114 Tom and Jerry shorts at the MGM cartoon studio in Hollywood between 1940 and 1957, when the animation unit was closed. The original series is notable for having won the Academy Award for Animated Short Film seven times, tying it with Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies as the theatrical animated series with the most Oscars. A longtime television staple, Tom and Jerry has a worldwide audience that consists of children, teenagers and adults, and has also been recognized as one of the most famous and longest-lived rivalries in American cinema. In 2000, TIME named the series one of the greatest television shows of all time.
Beginning in 1961, in addition to the original 114 Hanna-Barbera cartoons, MGM had new shorts produced by Rembrandt Films, led by Gene Deitch in Eastern Europe. Production of Tom and Jerry shorts returned to Hollywood under Chuck Jones's Sib-Tower 12 Productions in 1963; this series lasted until 1967, making it a total of 161 shorts. The cat and mouse stars later resurfaced in television cartoons produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and Filmation Studios during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s; a feature film, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, in 1992 (released domestically in 1993); and in 2001, their first made-for TV short, Tom and Jerry: The Mansion Cat for Boomerang. The most recent Tom and Jerry theatrical short The Karate Guard (2005), was written and co-directed by Barbera.
Today, Time Warner (via its Turner Entertainment division) owns the rights to Tom and Jerry (with Warner Bros. handling distribution). Since the merger, Turner has produced the series Tom and Jerry Tales for The CW's Saturday morning "The CW4Kids" lineup, and a string of Tom and Jerry direct-to-video films — all in collaboration with Warner Bros. Animation.