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Cat, Mouse Hold Oscar Honor Record

By
Vernon Scott, United Press

Hollywood (UP) -- Which performers have won the most Academy Awards?

Nope, not Bette Davis, Fredric March, or any other living ' actor.

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The champs are a cat and mouse "Tom and Jerry."

These cartoon characters have copped seven golden statuettes more than any performers in the business.

Behind this game of cat and mouse are a couple of easy-going, good-natured guys named Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera who have worked together for 17 years. During that time they have turned out 125 "Tom and Jerry" rib-ticklers for MGM.

"We've been working across a desk all that time and never had a beef," Joe said happily. "I don't think there's another team in town who can say that."

"When we started out with Tom and Jerry mice and cats were strictly passe," Bill put in. "Thanks to Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat, the public had it up to here."

"Yeah," Joe laughed. "Cartoonists were going crazy looking for other animals to use-giraffes, zebras, dodo birds and gosh knows what."

"We decided to stick with the cat and mouse idea because you don't have to waste time getting into the story. The minute the cartoon starts with the cat chasing Jerry the audience understands the situation." ft

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"WHAT'S MORE," Bill added, "The mouse is the eternal 'little guy' getting picked on by everyone. Besides, mice and cats are known the world over. We never use much dialogue and foreign markets are as good as domestic releases."

Barbera and Hanna take 18 months to turn out a single seven-minute picture.

"Of course," Bill said, "we have several in production at once. Each film contains about 57,000 drawings, which means a total output of a million and a half individual drawings a year."

How do cartoonists dream up their laugh-getters?

"We sit across from one another and kick around ideas until we get something of a story line, Then as we go along we make faces and expressions we want the characters to have while one of us makes a face the other pencils it down."

"People think we're crazy when they come into the office. They find a couple of grown men making faces one-another and speaking sound effects," Joe said.

The boys demonstrated emitting a series of screeches, honks, howls, gunshots and squeaks.

Beginning this year Bill and Joe are branching out for the first time. They've already completed a serious Christmas cartoon titled "Good Will to Men."

"Tom and Jerry" will get competition in the future from a couple of dogs named Spike and Tyke who have had "bit" parts in the "Tom & Jerry" shows.

Spike is the massive bulldog who protects Jerry in the series, and Tyke is his puppy. Hanna and Barbera figure their new stars will be pushing the cat and mouse for Academy Award honors by this time next year.

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