While this week saw two of the entertainment industry’s superstars mark the 80th anniversary of their first starring roles, the milestone has not quelled their personal and creative differences with those who made them famous if not rich.
Tom and Jerry shot to fame soon after their first short feature Puss Gets the Boot was released by MGM in 1940.
The pair went on to fame and fortune as fans quickly warmed to their loveable antics that invariably involved Tom, the cat, trying unsuccessfully to capture Jerry, the mouse, with the aim of eating him.
Over the next 20 years Tom and Jerry repeated the same storyline in more than 100 theatrical features before moving to television with the Hanna-Barbera production company.
But this week their 80th anniversary went unremarked by both Tom and Jerry who are both still critical of the double standards they say were applied by the studios and high-flying executives and producers behind their success.
I tracked down Tom to a Los Angeles nursing home and found him frail, explosively incontinent, but still mentally alert (at left, main picture above).
He did not hold back in his attacks on the big players in the Hollywood machine that he said “chewed us up and spat us out”.
“Jerry and I busted our guts, sometimes literally, to get those films and TV shows made,” Tom said.
“Yet we got paid fuck all while the studios and producers had contracts that have seen them rake in millions and millions of bucks in residuals and royalties and merchandising deals for 80 years.
“We did all out own stunts. All those weapons we used on each other (pictured) and all the anvils and axes and bricks and kitchen sinks that were dropped on my head or Jerry’s were real.
“I lost count of the times one or both of us ended up in hospital overnight, but they still demanded we were on set in the morning when the cameras rolled. Bastards.
“Now there’s a Tom and Jerry movie coming out this year but we won’t see a cent out of that either.
“So don’t talk to me about 80th anniversaries and the like. I’ve got nothing to celebrate.”
When I cornered Jerry leaving a West Hollywood nightclub septic tank outlet (at right, main picture above) he refused to be interviewed.
Jerry stopped only long enough to say: “We gave more than half our lives to make hundreds of films which won seven Academy Awards.
“But I don’t have a single Oscar on my bookcase and neither does Tom.
“Those selfish, talentless bastards who made all the money out of us have those too,” he said before scurrying off into the night.