1967: Tom and Jerry exploit the spy craze

In the 1960s, it seemed like everybody wanted to exploit the spy craze — even Tom and Jerry.

The cartoon cat and mouse made their debut in a 1940 MGM theatrical cartoon, Puss Gets the Boot. The featurette marked the first collaboration of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and the duo would concentrate their efforts on Tom and Jerry for the next 15 years, until they took over control of MGM’s cartoon department at the end of 1955. They still directed Tom and Jerry shorts until MGM shut down the department in 1957. MGM later thought better of the move and hired contractors to do cartoons but Hanna and Babera moved on, starting their own company in 1957 to make cartoons for television.

MGM ended up hiring acclaimed cartoon director Chuck Jones to do a new series of Tom and Jerry shorts in the 1960s. By tht time, spies were a big deal in movies. So Jones & Co. in 1967 made The Mouse From H.U.N.G.E.R., a takeoff on MGM’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. television series in which agent Jerry-akin tries to steal a refrigerator full of cheese from villain Tom Thrush.

Here it is. For this cartoon, Jones was producer only, leaving the directing chores to Abe Levitow.

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