The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio (also known as MGM Cartoons) was the in-house division of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) film studio in Hollywood, responsible for producing animated shorts to accompany MGM feature films in Loew's Theaters. Founded in 1937 as a replacement for Harman-Ising Productions although both men eventually became employees, the cartoon studio created some popular cartoon characters, including Tom and Jerry, Droopy and Barney Bear. It went defunct in 1957, as most of the staff were moving to a another studio known as H-B Enterprises (the leftovers of the complete CinemaScope MGM cartoons were released for theatrical release until August 1958). The Tom and Jerry series went on hitaus for 2 years until Gene Deitch revived the cat and mouse team in 1960. The studio would be succeeded by Sib Tower 12 Productions (renamed MGM Animation/Visual Arts in 1966), founded in 1962 by Chuck Jones, a former Warner Bros. Cartoons employee.
Although the studio went defunct in 1957, MGM continued to use the "MGM Cartoons" name onscreen until 1967.
1st Logo (August 16, 1930-July 18, 1942)
Nicknames: "Jackie the Lion", "Coffee the Lion", "Tanner the Lion", "Gold MGM"
Logo: Just the standard MGM live-action lion logo used at the time.
- Starting in 1939 with "The Little Goldfish", the logo is followed by a screen saying "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents AN MGM CARTOON IN TECHNICOLOR" with the copyright disclaimer below on a blue background. Starting in 1942 with the Tom and Jerry cartoon "Dog Trouble", the title is put on a red background with "IN TECHNICOLOR" in blue.
- On the Captain and the Kids series, "Jitterbug Follies" and "Wanted: No Master", the end title is in black & white.
- On "Peace on Earth", a slightly different end title was used. On a sky background, the words "The End" don't appear at all. Instead, the cartoon's title appears in majestic letters.
- On "Swing Social", the end title is on an orange background. Same goes with the "AN MGM CARTOON" title.
- On "The Homeless Flea", the end title is on an animation background with Homer the Flea singing.
- On "Papa Gets the Bird", the end title is on an animation background with Papa Bear falling in the well.
- On "Home on the Range", the end title has the words "The End" written in ropecast.
- On "Dance of the Weed", the end title is on an orange pound background with the words "The End" written differently.
- On "Abdul the Bulbul-Ameer", the end title is on a book cover with the red words "THE END" written in a bold Algerian font.
- On the Tom and Jerry cartoon "The Night Before Christmas", the end title is on a red background with green Christmas bells surrounding it.
- On "The First Swallow", the end title is on a shot of a medieval village with the red words "The End" written in medieval letters.
- On the Barney Bear cartoon "The Bear and the Beavers", the end title is in the form of a page. Then the WWII disclaimer fades onto the screen.
Closing Title: On a customized background, we see the words "The End" in white (later yellow with a "shadow" effect starting on September 7, 1940) script above the MGM pseudo logo saying "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer PICTURE". During WWII, the "The End" words were moved to the top of the screen and the pseudo logo was moved to the bottom, to give space for the following advertisement:
"AMERICA NEEDS YOUR MONEY
BUY DEFENSE BONDS AND STAMPS
EVERY PAY DAY"
The background was blue (later changed to red on April 18, 1942).
Early Closing Titles:
- 1930-1933: TBA.
- 1933-1934: TBA.
- 1934: TBA.
- 1934-1935: On a red background with musical notes swirling, the Harman-Ising Productions logo appears on the top of the screen. Below it are the big words "The End", in white, and on the bottom of the screen are the words "Recorded by RCA Victor "HIGH FIDELITY" Sound System". After a few seconds, the "The End" text fades to the MGM marquee.
- 1935-1938: Now, on a blue background, the MGM marquee is tacked on the top of the screen and the Harman-Ising logo in the middle with the words "IN TECHNICOLOR" below it. The "RCA Victor" words remain at the bottom of the logo. After a few seconds, all of this fades to the words "The End".
FX/SFX: Just the lion.
Music/Sounds: Originally, this logo did not have music at first, just the soundbite of Coffee, Telly or Tanner's roar. Starting with the 1939 cartoon "The Little Goldfish", Tanner's roar is accompanied by a fanfare (a la the Alfred Newman-composed 20th Century Fox Fanfare) composed by Scott Bradley, MGM's principal cartoon conductor. This music would be modified as the years went on.
Music/Sounds Variants: On the Captain and the Kids series, "Swing Social" and "The Bear and the Beavers", the theme of the cartoon is played over the logo.
Availability: Extremely rare. Although Turner Entertainment Co. was very bad at colorization, they are quite good at logo preservation, and you can see these when cartoons from the period are rerun on TCM (mainly The Captain and the Kids). You might also see this logo on some tapes. The WWII end variant appeared on "The Hungry Wolf", "The Bear and the Beavers", "Dog Trouble", "Little Gravel Voice", "Puss n' Toots", "Bats in the Belfry" and "The Bowling Alley-Cat" (all released in 1942). The Jackie logo premiered on the Flip the Frog cartoon "Fiddlesticks", released on August 16, 1930 and made its final appearance on "Wanted: No Master , released on March 18, 1939. The Coffee logo premiered on the Happy Harmonies cartoon "The Discontented Canary", released on September 1, 1934 and made its final appearance on the Happy Harmonies cartoon "Barnyard Babies", released on May 25, 1935. The Tanner logo premiered on the Happy Harmonies cartoon "The Old Plantation", released on September 21, 1935 and made its final appearance on the Tom and Jerry cartoon "The Bowling Alley-Cat", released on July 18, 1942. This logo (with Tanner) was used on the earliest Tom and Jerry cartoons, but the much more common reissue prints replace this with the 3rd, 4th, or 5th logos, or on a few occasions, the 6th logo.
Editor's Note: Nothing much here, as it's just the regular MGM logo.
2nd Logo (August 22, 1942-August 3, 1946, 1947)
Nicknames: "Sunburst MGM", "Blue Ribboning", "Tanner the Lion II"
Logo: Tanner acts as usual, except the standard ribbon is maya blue, the drama mask is maroon and is placed on a red/golden yellow sunburst background with a large grin. Below the lion ribboning is "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer" in its signature font, and then "CARTOON" in a big maya blue bold font. "IN TECHNICOLOR" appears underneath. "TRADE MARK" has been removed.
Closing Title: After the "The End" card is shown in yellow script on a blue background, it fades to "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Cartoon" in the same script font. The pseudo "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer PICTURE" logo is shown below.
Tom and Jerry Closing Title: Starting with "Baby Puss", a special closing title was instituted for the Tom and Jerry cartoons (which would become popular over the years). On a red background with an orange sunburst are the words "The End", written in white with a turquoise outline. This then fades to the words "An M.G.M Tom and Jerry CARTOON". Also, the MGM pseudo logo is absent.
- On the first few cartoons with this logo (except for "Blitz Wolf"), the words "The End" were moved to the top of the screen and the pseudo logo was moved to the bottom, to give space for the following advertisement:
"AMERICA NEEDS YOUR MONEY
BUY WAR BONDS AND STAMPS
AT THIS THEATRE"
like on the previous logo and the "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Cartoon" secondary end title doesn't appear. The background is red with a shadowy statue of a Continental soldier behind the titles.
- A special end title was used on "Blitz Wolf". After the cartoon ends, the pictures irises out to a blue circle, a white one and a red one. Then, a more humorous version of the WWII text is used (adding "of Adolf" to "The End" in reference to the end of that short). Due to the mean-spirited nature of the reworded "bond" text, a result of America's extreme patriotism, this end title is cut from most TV airings.
- On the Barney Bear cartoon "Wild Honey", the end title is on a red background.
- On "The Boy and the Wolf", the end title is on a rainbow-like background.
- On "The Shooting of Dan McGoo", the end title is on a mountain background.
- On the public domain print of "Jerky Turkey", "IN TECHNICOLOR" is blacked out.
- On the Barney Bear cartoon "Bear Raid Warden" and the Screwy Squirrel cartoon "Big Heel-Watha" (both 1944), the MGM pseudo logo is dropped on the "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Cartoon" secondary end title due to an error.
- Two Screwy Squirrel cartoons, "Happy-Go-Nutty" and "The Screwy Truant", have end title card gags:
- "Happy-Go-Nutty": Screwy Squirrel and Meathead are chasing when they stop in front of an end title card on a black background, with the words "The End" in green. They realize that it is the end of the picture. They say goodbye to each other and Screwy says "Hey! Before you leave, just what was the idea chasing me over the picture?". Meathead says "Because you're crazy. You take your appointment. But your ace. I'm crazy." Then Meathead begins to "screw" himself and runs from the cartoon breaking the title card. Then the screen zooms in to Screwy, who says "You know, I like this ending. It's silly". Then the cartoon ends and the typical "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Cartoon" card appears.
- "The Screwy Truant": Screwy Squirrel brings down a title card on a water blue background with the words "THE END" and says: "Well, that's that. Now that dumb officer never will know why I wasn't in school." Then the officer comes in and says: "Oh yeah? Come on, now! Why wasn't you in school?". Then Screwy replies "Because... I've got measles!" and kisses the officer, causing him to get the measles as well. Screwy laughs at him and we zoom up to the words "THE END", which also get the measles. This irises out and the regular "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Cartoon" card fades in.
- The final theatrical George and Junior cartoon, Half-Pint Pygmy, has the duo holding up guns to their head. George pulls a blue "The End" background down and two gunshots are heard, shaking the card.
FX/SFX: Tanner roaring.
Music/Sounds: A modified version of the 1st logo's fanfare.
Music/Sounds Variant: Several Tex Avery cartoons would have Tanner roar in-sync with the music called "Tiger Rag" a.k.a. "Hold That Tiger".
Music/Sounds Variant Trivia: The "Tiger Rag" that's played on several Tex Avery cartoons is based on the jazz music of the same name by Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars.
Availability: Rare. Seen on a few Tex Avery cartoons on TCM and MeTV. Again, MGM was so good with their logo editing and reissues, that many people can't even tell that the logo was changed! The WWII end variant appeared on "The Early Bird Dood It!", "Chips Off the Old Block" and "Fine Feathered Friend" (all released in 1942). It premiered on "Blitz Wolf", released on August 22, 1942 and made its final appearance on "Northwest Hounded Police", released on August 3, 1946. This logo was used on many Tom and Jerry cartoons, but the much more common reissue prints use the 3rd, 4th, and 5th logos.
Editor's Note: Just like in the editor's note for the 6th MGM logo, those who grew up on Tom and Jerry, consider Tanner a favorite.
3rd Logo (August 31, 1946-May 17, 1952)
Nicknames: "Red Ribboning", "Tanner the Lion III"
Logo: The standard lion logo as before, but the ribboning has been simplified and is now red; the "ARS GRATIA ARTIS" phrase is missing, along with the drama mask. Below the logo, we see "A METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER" in a bold bright yellow font, with a giant "CARTOON" below it in the same color. "COLOR BY Technicolor" (with "Technicolor" in script) follows, and the whole thing is on an upsdell red background. From 1946-1947, the words "In Technicolor" were seen below the logo.
Closing Title: A modified version of the 2nd logo, with a thicker font and a new placement for the word "CARTOON". Starting in 1950, the title was changed with "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer" now in white letters and in different font and "CARTOON" in red letters and in different font as well. "MADE IN HOLLYWOOD, U.S.A." also appears at the bottom of the screen in white letters. Also, the MGM pseudo is dropped.
Tom and Jerry Closing Title: Same as the previous logo. Around 1948-49, the end title has been slightly fixed to add a border to "and", and the dots in between "M.G.M". Starting in 1950 with "Safety Second", the words "MADE IN HOLLYWOOD, U.S.A." appear at the bottom of the screen. Shortly after, a drop shadow has been added to "An" and the Hollywood phrase.
FX/SFX: Tanner roaring, again.
Music/Sounds: An updated version of the fanfare from the 1st logo; by now, it began blending into the opening themes of the cartoons.
Availability: Easier to find than the previous logos, but is uncommon. It's tacked on to films it didn't originally appear on, as well. It premiered on the Tom and Jerry cartoon "Solid Serenade", released on August 31, 1946 and made its final appearance on "One Cab's Family", released on May 17, 1952. It's worth noting that edited appearances of "The Cat That Hated People" in Hollywood Studios' Sci-Fi Theater in Walt Disney World have the opening logo cut off (likely to avoid any mention of another film company in a Disney Park, even though Hollywood Studios was formerly known as Disney-MGM Studios) but retain the closing logo.
Editor's Note: Same as the previous logo.
4th Logo (March 15, 1952, June 14, 1952-September 18, 1954)
Nicknames: "Blue Ribboning II", "Tanner the Lion IV"
Logo: Almost exactly the same as the 3rd logo, but the background's just red, "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer" is now in script, "CARTOON" is in a bolder three-dimensional font and in a champagne color, the ribboning is baby blue and "COLOR BY TECHNICOLOR" is in a different font and in the same color as the ribboning. Otherwise the same.
Closing Title: Same as the 3rd logo.
Tom and Jerry Closing Title: Same as the previous logo. Starting in 1953, the "The End" text has a thicker border.
FX/SFX: Again, just Tanner roaring.
Music/Sounds: The updated fanfare from the 1st logo, blending into the opening theme for the cartoon.
Availability: Rare. It premiered on the Tom and Jerry cartoon "The Two Mouseketeers", released on March 15, 1952 (although the next three cartoons released, "Smitten Kitten", "Triplet Trouble" and "One Cab's Family" still used the previous logo, so that the logo officially premiered on the Tom and Jerry cartoon "Little Runaway", released on June 14, 1952) and made its final appearance on "The Farm of Tomorrow", released on September 18, 1954.
Editor's Note: Same as above.
5th Logo (1953-August 1, 1958)
Nicknames: "Blue Ribboning III", "Tanner the Lion V"
Logo: It's similar to the last few, but now the baby blue ribboning is moved to a blue background. "A METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER" has been moved from the bottom ribbon to be placed on the ribbon, with "CARTOON" in yellow and the Technicolor line underneath it in red.
- Sometimes, the registered trademark symbol is absent.
- The logo is modified for cartoons released in CinemaScope.
- On the Droopy cartoon "Dixieland Droopy", the end title is on a shoot of a night concert.
- A slightly different end title was used on "The Flea Circus". After the words "LE END" in a square scrolls from right to left to a pink background after a few seconds, the words "A METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER CARTOON MADE IN HOLLYWOOD U.S.A." are seen.
- On "Good Will to Men", it fades to a version of the secondary end title, written this way:
MADE IN HOLLYWOOD, U.S.A.
- In the Tom and Jerry short "Smarty Cat", The end title has Jerry Mouse holding the camera and the word "THE END" zooms at us, Then it fades to the regular blue "A Metro-Goldwyn Mayer CARTOON Made in Hollywood, U.S.A." end card instead of the normal Tom & Jerry end title. The reason why this likely happened was possibly due to an editing mistake.
Closing Title: Again, same as the 3rd logo. The titles have been modified for the CinemaScope cartoons.
Tom and Jerry Closing Title:
- The Academy version of the closing title is essentially the same as the previous versions, but this time the "An MGM" credit has been redrawn with thicker borders, and is noticeably smaller to accommodate flat widescreen ratios. Starting in 1956 (reissues only since the new CinemaScope cartoons were already using different closing titles), the "The End" text has been slightly redrawn again with even thicker borders to match the secondary closing titles. Also, "MADE IN HOLLYWOOD, U.S.A." is now in a different font.
- For the CinemaScope cartoons, there are three variants:
- First variant (November 20, 1954-November 19, 1955): Similar to the original title, but it's in widescreen and the background is orange. It was used on shorts from "Pet Peeve" to "That's My Mommy".
- Second variant (January 17-November 6, 1956): The "An M.G.M. Tom and Jerry CARTOON" secondary end title from before, now in different yellow fonts and put on a blue background. It was used on shorts from "The Flying Sorceress" to "Blue Cat Blues".
- Third variant (December 14, 1956-August 1, 1958): On a blue background, we see a pink square on the upper-left corner, an orange rectangle in the middle of the screen and a green square on the bottom-right corner. In the pink square is the word "an", on the orange rectangle are the words "M.G.M CARTOON", and on the green square are the words "made in Hollywood, U.S.A.". It was first used on "Barbecue Brawl" and its last appearance was on "Tot Watchers".
FX/SFX: Again, just Tanner's roar.
Music/Sounds: The updated 1st logo fanfare, again.
Availability: Common, can easily be seen on various cartoons as well as plastering previous logos on older cartoons on TCM, Boomerang, and MeTV (as Cartoon Network no longer airs classic Tom and Jerry cartoons as of January 2016). It premiered on the Tom and Jerry cartoon "Neapolitan Mouse", released on October 2, 1954 and, as told above, made its final appearance on the last Tom and Jerry cartoon by William Hanna and Joesph Barbera "Tot Watchers", released on August 1, 1958.
Editor's Note: Same as above.
6th Logo (1960-December 1, 1962, 1965)
Nickname: "Leo the Lion", "Leo Cardboard", "Gene Deitch Lion"
Logo: Essentially the new MGM lion design that was been put into use on films around this time, only with "CARTOON" tacked on to the bottom in red. One can only see the effort they put into this logo.
Closing Title: They varied with the cartoon. On a background depending on the cartoon, we see the words "THE END", with "AN MGM CARTOON" below. "Carmen Get It!", however, has a group of ants come on the musical notes book to form the words "THE END".
- On "Switchin' Kitten" and "Down and Outing", the then-current MGM movie logo would play (without "CARTOON" at the bottom, and without the theme song accompanying it) followed by a screen saying "A METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER CARTOON", whose font and background vary depending on the cartoon. The theme song would start whenever this screen came up. While the standard movie logo also appeared on "Buddies Thicker Than Water" and "Carmen Get It!", the second screen was not shown and the opening music played over it.
- On the Academy Award-winning short "The Dot and the Line", the movie logo is used instead and is accompanied by a majestic horn fanfare composed and conducted by Eugene Poddany.
FX/SFX: Just the lion again.
Music/Sounds: The updated 1st logo fanfare, plus, with the lion roar, it had three roar tracks: the 1960 roar, another which sounded like a yawning roar, and on "Calypso Cat" a fierce-sounding roar. Both roars were made by Tod Dockstader.
Availability: Rare. Seen on Tom and Jerry cartoons (and others) produced by Gene Deitch and William Snyder in the former Czechoslovakia, which are still rerun on Boomerang on a semi-regular basis and on MeTV as part of its Toon In with Me and Saturday Morning Cartoons blocks (all of them have also been released on DVD.) Was also seen on current prints of "Rock-a-Bye Bear" on Boomerang, old television prints of some Tom and Jerry shorts (such as "Puss n' Toots" (appears on the Spotlight Collection DVD with that short), "The Bowling Alley-Cat", "Sufferin' Cats!", "The Lonesome Mouse", "The Zoot Cat", "Quiet Please!", "The Invisible Mouse" and "Saturday Evening Puss") and the Boomerang Germany print of the Barney Bear cartoon "Half-Pint Palomino". Like with the 3rd logo, Sci-Fi Theater-edited airings of "Mouse Into Space" cut off the opening logo, but keep the ending logo.
Editor's Note: Nothing special about the logo itself, as it's mostly just the regular MGM logo used at the time, but its association with the panned Gene Deitch era of Tom and Jerry makes it quite controversial.
7th Logo (July 27, 1963-December 31, 1967)
Nicknames: "Tom the Lion", "Tanner the Lion VI"
Logo: We start with a variation on the 6th logo. We have "CARTOON" in red below the logo, and "METROCOLOR" below that. It looks, as a whole, much nicer. Tanner roars twice in the logo.
Closing Title: "the end" appears on black, fading to "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer TOM AND JERRY CARTOON" on black, with "Made in Hollywood, USA" below it. In non-Tom and Jerry cartoons, It would just read "A METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER CARTOON" with "Made in Hollywood, USA" below it on the bottom right of the black screen. On Tom and Jerry cartoons where "The End" is seen within the final shot, the "the end" part is skipped and goes straight to "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer TOM AND JERRY CARTOON".
- Tom and Jerry Variant: After showing Tanner roaring, it later fades out to reveal none other than Tom in the circle, who meows pretty angrily in an attempt to imitate a lion's roaring, and hisses. Then, the ribboning fades into a simple blue circle and moves upwards as the black background changes to orange, Tom "roaring" all the while. "T" and "M" appear besides it, and "and" appears below. "JERRY" appears letter-by-letter below all that as Jerry drops into the "Y," smiling pleasantly, and waves his hand. Tom notices this and hisses.
- Closing Title Variant: On 1963's "Pent-House Mouse" (Chuck Jones's first T&J short), "The End" is in a completely different font. It also cuts to the "MGM Tom and Jerry Cartoon" screen instead of fading.
FX/SFX: Nice animation sequence from the Chuck Jones-led animation unit.
Music/Sounds: The updated 1st logo fanfare leading into the trademark Tom and Jerry music with the 1960 roaring soundtrack. For non-Tom and Jerry cartoons, a different fanfare is used.
Availability: Rare. Seen on the Chuck Jones-produced Tom and Jerry cartoons, which are still rerun on Boomerang on a semi-regular basis and on MeTV as part of its Toon In with Me and Saturday Morning Cartoons blocks, and all are available on DVD. The version that doesn't fade to Tom is featured on non-Tom and Jerry cartoons, such as "The Bear That Wasn't".
Editor's Note: The animated part in the Tom and Jerry variant makes the logo something special. It is a generally well liked logo, and a quite creative one as well, but this logo also has a fairly bad reputation for appearing on one of the most deeply polarizing eras of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoons, when production moved back in-house at Chuck Jones Studios with a mostly-new crew and substantially smaller budgets.