It was with great joy tonight that I sat with Ben and Ellie, watching old Tom & Jerry shorts on Boomerang. I sometimes try and guess the year of release in some of them.

We joined the programme mid-way through a short whereupon I said “Ahh, this is an old one”. Ellie looked at me in askance, asking how I knew that. As I explained, it’s fairly simple even if you don’t know Tom & Jerry too much: early cartoons showed the pupils of the eyes with a white flash, or as one Disney animator suggested “a pie with a slice cut out of it”. Another key is the fur on Tom – 1940s versions had a lot more detail. And if you really want to show off, Tom wasn’t called Tom in the first cartoon, he was called Jasper (in “That Darn Cat”).

So now you know as well!