Cartoon History | Tom and Jerry in London
So you thought Tom and Jerry were American cartoon heroes through and through? WRONG! They actually began their lives in London, 1821, the Georgian Era…
It was a period where printing large volumes of material was becoming possible because those smashing inventors where getting pretty damn good at making the printing machines work faster. Mostly down to the steam powered engines they used – that’ll do it ey. Material could be printed more quickly and could spread further up and down the country. Of course, there was still a divide between people who could read and those that couldn’t so we can’t say this printing revolution was open to all quite yet, but it was a start. As it tends to go, when you get a taste of something you want more and society was growing hungry for more reading material.
One of the most famous journalists of the Georgian Era was Pierce Egan. By the time he was forty he had built his reputation as the leading reporter of sporting events; fights, horse racing and boxing matches were his specialty, but the hunger for success never ends. Once he had gained this accolade he could afford to have a play around and try his hand at something new. And thank god he did because he created a title called “Life in London or, the Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, esq., and his elegant friend, Corinthian Tom accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian, in their rambles and Sprees through the Metropolis” Obviously a punchy title wasn’t necessary for great success because people couldn’t get enough of it!
It was so popular other publishers produced pirated versions of it and it was turned into a stage play. By this point the extremely lengthy title had been stripped down to the bare bones and became “Tom and Jerry or Life in London.” It was just over a century later when the idea of two lovable rogues and their mis-adventures crossed the Atlantic and became another huge hit. Not as two men but as a cat and mouse; The Tom and Jerry we know and love today.
Thanks to Pierce Egan, the printing press inventors and the guy who had the bright idea to see those Georgian characters in a new light. Without you my childhood and many others just wouldn’t have been the same :p Thanks also to Tom Quinn from London’s Strangest Tales for bringing this intriguing fact to my attention!
Tell me your favourite cartoon character in the comment section below.
Thanks anilreddy for the gorgeous pics