On the 19th of July 1941 Tom and Jerry first appeared under their own names in the cartoon “The Midnight Snack” by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
There were 114 Tom, the cat, and Jerry, the mouse, shorts for MGM from 1940 to 1958.
The cartoon violence was often the subject of criticism by those who thought it would damage the mental health of the children watching it. See also Itchy and Scratchy in The Simpsons for a take on that.
The cartoons, however, were extremely popular with children and adults alike resulting in several spin offs and modern takes on the original format.