Tom Cat

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Tom
Tom and Jerry character
Tom Tom and Jerry.png
Tom's design in the Hanna-Barbera shorts.
First appearancePuss Gets the Boot (as Jasper)
February 10, 1940
The Midnight Snack (as Tom)
July 19, 1941
Created byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voiced byClarence Nash (1940–1943)
Harry E. Lang (1941–1953)
William Hanna (1941–1958)
Allen Swift (1961–1962)
Mel Blanc (1963–1967)
John Stephenson (1975)
Frank Welker (1980–1993)
Richard Kind (1992)
Jeff Bennett (2002)
Bill Kopp (2005)
Don Brown (2006–2008)
Jim Cummings (2014-present)
Shun Yashiro (Japanese dub)
Kazue Takahashi (Japanese dub)
Kaneta Kimotsuki (Japanese dub)
Setsuji Satō (Japanese dub)
Information
Full nameThomas Cat
SpeciesDomestic Short Haired Tuxedo Cat
GenderMale
RelativesGeorge (identical cousin)

Thomas "Tom" Cat is a fictional character and one of the title characters (the other being Jerry Mouse) in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's series of Tom and Jerry theatrical animated short films. Created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, Tom is a grey and white anthropomorphic domestic short haired Tuxedo cat who first appeared in the 1940 MGM animated short Puss Gets the Boot Tom was originally known as "Jasper" during his debut in that short;[1] however, beginning with his next appearance in The Midnight Snack he is known as "Tom" or "Thomas".

History[edit]

Tom and Jerry cartoons[edit]

His name, "Tom Cat", is based on "tomcat", a phrase which refers to male cats. He is very rarely heard speaking with the exception of a few cartoons (such as 1943's The Lonesome Mouse, 1944's The Zoot Cat and 1992's Tom and Jerry: The Movie). His only notable vocal sounds outside of this are his various screams whenever he is subject to pain or panic. He is continuously after Jerry Mouse, for whom he sets traps, many of which backfire and cause damage to him rather than Jerry. His trademark scream was provided by creator William Hanna.

Tom has changed over the years upon his evolution, especially after the first episodes. For example, in his debut, he was quadrupedal. However, over the years (since the episode Dog Trouble), he has become almost completely bipedal and has human intelligence and he is similar to his previous appearance, in 1945 shorts he had twisted whiskers and his appearance kept changing. In the 1940s and early 1950s, he had white fur between his eyes. In newer cartoons, the white fur is gone. As a slapstick cartoon character, Tom has a superhuman level of elasticity. Tom is usually defeated (or very rarely, killed, like in Mouse Trouble, where he explodes) in the end, although there are some stories where he outwits and defeats Jerry.

Tom has variously been portrayed as a malicious tormentor and a victim of Jerry's blackmail attempts, sometimes within the same short.

Anchors Aweigh and Dangerous When Wet[edit]

Tom and Jerry appeared together in the 1945 Technicolor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical Anchors Aweigh where Tom briefly appears as a butler for King Jerry, the latter who has a dance sequence with Gene Kelly, and also in another musical with the same studio Dangerous When Wet (1953), where, in a dream sequence, main character Katie Higgins (Esther Williams) does an underwater ballet with Tom and Jerry, as well as animated depictions of the different people in her life.

Voice actors[edit]

Tom has a had a number of different voice actors over the years. When the character debuted in Puss Gets the Boot, Clarence Nash (best known as the voice of Donald Duck) provided the screeches and meows for Tom. He would continue to do so until Sufferin Cats (1943). Beginning with the short The Night Before Christmas (1941), co-creator William Hanna provided the vocal effects for the character until the last Hanna-Barbera short Tot Watchers (1958). During this time period, voice actor Harry E. Lang also did some vocal noises for Tom between 1941–1953. Billy Bletcher also voiced him in a few shorts between 1944–1947. Stepin Fetchit also voiced him in a sequence in the short Mouse Cleaning (1948). In 1961–1962, when Gene Deitch took over as director after the MGM cartoon studio shut down in 1957, Allen Swift did vocal effects for Tom throughout that time period. When Chuck Jones took over during 1963–1967, Mel Blanc (best known for voicing Bugs Bunny and other characters) voiced Tom.

In The Tom and Jerry Show (1975), Tom was voiced by John Stephenson. Frank Welker voiced him in The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show in 1980–1982. He also voiced him in Tom and Jerry Kids in 1990–1994. Other voice actors include Richard Kind (in Tom and Jerry: The Movie), Jeff Bennett (in Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring), Bill Kopp (in Tom and Jerry: Blast Off to Mars and Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry), Don Brown (in Tom and Jerry Tales), and Maurice LaMarche (in Tom and Jerry in War of the Whiskers). In The Tom and Jerry Show (2014 TV series) his vocal effects are provided by archival recordings of William Hanna, Harry E. Lang, and Mel Blanc from the original theatrical shorts.

Popular culture[edit]

Tom and Jerry were planned to appear as a cameo in the deleted scene "Acme's Funeral" from the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. [1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mark Christopher Carnes, American national biography (2)