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Tom And Jerry Were Slinging Memes Back In The 1940s

Similar to cartoon television series like "Looney Tunes" and "The Flintstones," many people, young and old, have grown up on "Tom and Jerry." The series has been around since 1940 but began its first episode, "Puss Gets the Boot," as a short film from MGM before being developed further (via IMDb). Since then, the show has gone through many different iterations but has kept the same premise of Tom the cat always wanting to catch and get the best of Jerry the mouse. Usually, Tom is hilariously outsmarted by Jerry, who causes him plenty of trouble and injury. Tom does sometimes manage to do the same to Jerry but usually is bested in the end, keeping the chase ongoing. It is undoubtedly impressive that "Tom and Jerry" has managed to last as long as it has, putting Tom and Jerry in the same company as iconic Warner Bros. characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

"Tom and Jerry" were created by animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, and the duo has produced over 100 episodes worth of content featuring the characters (via Comic Years). Despite making the show hilarious, Hanna and Barbera have never failed to address the care that both Tom and Jerry had for one another despite their constant fighting. They often even work together to fend off dogs. 

Of course, the episodes still almost always come back to comedic endings, and you might not know that Tom and Jerry were some of the first to make memes decades ago.

Tom used to speak a line that directly called out an old 1940s radio show

Although Tom and Jerry usually never speak aside from a few screams, grunts, and laughs, Tom specifically has spoken briefly during episodes of the show. However, you might not know that one line Tom used to say directly referenced a radio show from the 1940s called "Don't You Believe It." Producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera were effectively creating a meme from "Tom and Jerry" way back when. Tom usually spoke the line during situations after he thought he could get the better of Jerry, and it turned out to backfire painfully. For example, during the 1944 episode "Mouse Trouble," Tom tries to attack Jerry after reading a tip from a book about catching mice that proves to be false (via Norsk on YouTube). He then looks directly into the camera and says, "Don't you believe it." Tom would do that again in similar situations throughout the 1950s too.

"Don't You Believe It" focused on popular myths or supposed facts that turned out to be false. The hosts of the show were Alan Kent and then, later down the road, Tobe Reed (via Newspapers.com). The two debunked theories and popular ideas. It is interesting that "Tom and Jerry" would reference the program, but it was always funny when Tom would turn to the screen to say it.

The latest project featuring Tom and Jerry came in 2021 with the "Tom & Jerry" feature film where the two enter the live-action world.