A decade before Van Beuren’s Mutt & Jeff-like rubber-hose human pair, and many decades before Hanna-Barbera’s Oscar-winning cat and mouse, a comical duo named Tom and Jerry created mischief on movie screens in animated theatrical short subjects that have long been forgotten—and are perhaps lost for all time.
In the image above, Tom is the man and Jerry is the mule. This was a stop-motion Tom and Jerry series, filmed in Los Angeles in the 1920’s, modeled and animated by Joseph Leeland Roop, a stop-motion pioneer who today is just as forgotten as the films themselves. Lee Roop, his grandson, is presently preparing a book about the animator and provided Cartoon Brew with tantalizing information about the original Tom & Jerry films.
Lee says J.L. Roop worked on twelve shorts for producer Lloyd C. Haynes, released between 1923-1924. All are (as of this writing) lost films. If anyone has any clues to their whereabouts, please contact us. The titles are: