Tom Cat

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Tom Cat
Tom and Jerry character
Tom's design in the Hanna-Barbera shorts.
First appearance
Created by
Voiced by
Developed byWilliam Hanna & Joseph Barbera
In-universe information
Full nameThomas Jasper Cat Sr.[1]
SpeciesTuxedo British Cat
RelativesGeorge (identical cousin)

Thomas Jasper "Tom" Cat Sr. is a fictional character and one of the two titular main protagonists (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, he is a grey and white anthropomorphic (but usually silent) domestic short haired tuxedo British cat who first appeared in the 1940 MGM animated short Puss Gets the Boot.[2] The cat was known as "Jasper" during his debut in the short;[3] however, beginning with his next appearance in The Midnight Snack he was known as "Tom" or "Thomas".


Tom and Jerry cartoons

His name, "Tom Cat", is based on "tomcat", a word which refers to male cats. He is usually mute and rarely heard speaking with the exception of a few cartoons (such as 1943's The Lonesome Mouse, 1944's The Zoot Cat, 1947's Part Time Pal, 1953's Puppy Tale and 1992's Tom and Jerry: The Movie). His only notable vocal sounds outside of this are his various screams whenever he is subjected to panic or, more frequently, pain. 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. Hanna's recordings of Tom screaming were later used as a stock sound effect for other MGM cartoon characters, including a majority of Tex Avery's shorts.

Tom has changed over the years, 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. 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 in the end (or very rarely, killed, like in Mouse Trouble, where he explodes), although there are some stories where he outwits and defeats Jerry. Besides Jerry, he also has trouble with other mouse or cat characters. One of them that appears frequently is Spike Bulldog. Spike regularly appears and usually assists Jerry and beats up Tom. Though in some occasions Tom beats him or he turns on Jerry (like his debut appearance in Dog Trouble). Usually when Tom is chasing Jerry after a bit Jerry turns the tables on Tom and beats him or uses an outside character such as Spike to beat Tom.

Tom has variously been portrayed as a house cat doing his job, and a victim of Jerry's blackmail attempts, sometimes within the same short. He is almost always called by his full name "Thomas" by Mammy Two Shoes.[4] In 1961 short Switchin' Kitten Tom has a membership card as belong to the "International Brotherhood of Cats"

Anchors Aweigh and Dangerous When Wet

Tom and Jerry showed up together at 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

Despite almost every short depicting Tom as silent (besides his vocal sounds such as screaming and gasping), there are some cartoons which feature him speaking, with his first film appearance (along with co-star Jerry) in 1992, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, being an example as Tom and Jerry talk throughout the film.

Here are several of his voiceover actors:

Voiced by in unofficial material:

Tom has had a number of different voice actors over the years. When the character debuted in Puss Gets the Boot, voice actor Harry E. Lang provided the screeches and meows for Tom. He would continue to do so until Sufferin Cats (1943).[5] Beginning with the short The Night Before Christmas (1941), co-creator William Hanna provided the vocal effects and famous screams for the character until the last Hanna-Barbera short Tot Watchers (1958). This was accomplished by someone recording him screaming, chopping the top and bottom of it, leaving the strongest part of the recording in.[18] During this time period, Lang continued doing vocal effects for Tom and occasionally did his speaking voice between 1943 and 1946. Billy Bletcher also voiced him in a few shorts between 1944 and 1950. In 1961–1962, when Gene Deitch took over as director after the MGM cartoon studio shut down in 1957, he and 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) and June Foray voiced Tom. Terence Monk did his singing voice in The Cat Above and the Mouse Below (1964) and Cat and Dupli-cat (1967).

In The Tom and Jerry Show (1975), Tom was voiced by John Stephenson. Lou Scheimer voiced him in The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show in 1980–1982. Frank Welker voiced him in Tom and Jerry Kids in 1990–1993. Other voice actors include Richard Kind (in Tom and Jerry: The Movie), Jeff Bergman (in a Cartoon Network Latin America bumper and a Boomerang UK bumper), Alan Marriott (in Tom and Jerry in Fists of Furry), Jeff Bennett (in Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring), Marc Silk (in Tom and Jerry in War of the Whiskers), Bill Kopp (in Tom and Jerry: Blast Off to Mars and Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry), Spike Brandt (in The Karate Guard, Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale, Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes, Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz, Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse, Tom and Jerry's Giant Adventure, Tom and Jerry: The Lost Dragon, Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest, Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz, and Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), and Don Brown (in Tom and Jerry Tales). In The Tom and Jerry Show (2014 TV series), his vocal effects are provided by the show's sound designer Rich Danhakl and archival recordings of William Hanna from the original theatrical shorts. In Tom & Jerry (2021 film), his voice was provided by Kaiji Tang and archived recordings of William Hanna.

On 18 November 2021, it was confirmed that Eric Bauza would be voicing the character in the 2022 fighting game, MultiVersus, which establishes Tom's original given name "Jasper" to be his middle name.[1] Additionally, William Hanna's archival audio recordings (usually Tom's iconic screams as a death scream sound) are also used in the game. In Cartoon Network in Japan's Tom and Jerry shorts, Tom was voiced by Megumi Aratake.

In popular culture

Tom's screams have been used as stock sound effects in various media, such as the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only, Critters 2 and Critters 3 (used for the Critters when they scream and shriek) and the Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi episode, "Small Stuff" (used for Jang Keng, a black cat). It was also used for the caveman in the 1995 game Prehistorik Man.

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.[19]

The Itchy & Scratchy Show from The Simpsons parodies Tom and Jerry, with its cat character Scratchy, unlike Tom, usually being portrayed as a harmless character who is subject to wanton unprovoked violence by the psychopathic Itchy.

Tom is also the only cartoon character whose name is used for a type of military vehicle, which is the "TomCat" jet fighter.

See also


  1. ^ a b "MultiVersus Roster". Archived from the original on 30 July 2022. Retrieved 21 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Don Markstein's Toonopedia: Tom and Jerry". Archived from the original on 28 November 2023. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  3. ^ Mark Christopher Carnes (2002), American national biography, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-522202-9
  4. ^ Sampson, Henry T. (1962). That's Enough, Folks: Black Images in Animated Cartoons, 1900–1960. Scarecrow Pressure. pp. 57, 61–3. ISBN 9780810832503. Archived from the original on 21 April 2023. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Rachel's Turn On The Fence: Another Look At THE ALLEY CAT (1941)". The Home For Orphan Toons. 2 July 2008. Archived from the original on 27 March 2022. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Scott, Keith (3 October 2022). Cartoon Voices of the Golden Age, Vol. 2. BearManor Media.
  7. ^ "Jerry Mann". Youp. 12 November 2014. Archived from the original on 17 December 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Tom and Jerry in "The Zoot Cat" (1944)" Archived 17 December 2019 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2019-11-29.
  9. ^ "Tom and Jerry in "Solid Serenade" (1946)" Archived 29 September 2020 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  10. ^ a b "Tom & Jerry – The Gene Deitch Collection" Archived 5 May 2020 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2020-05-02.
  11. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Vintage 1965 Talking Pull String Tom and Jerry Hand Puppet by Mattel". Retrieved 2 February 2021 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: " – Tom and Jerry Commercial". Retrieved 15 November 2020 – via YouTube.
  13. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Boomerang Nordic Animated Indents 2010". Retrieved 29 September 2020 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ "Skull Island Productions on Twitter: "Yes. I even had a special metal bucket that I would yell into for the records. Years earlier, at a gallery event I saw Bill Hanna do the Tom yell, live. He was about 80 years old at the time and you could still tell it was Tom."". Retrieved 16 December 2023 – via Twitter.
  15. ^ "Kaiji Von Tang on Twitter: "Got permission to tell this funny story. I did the scratch track for this movie as Tom. Thought it was one and done. Come to find out, they put me in Additional Voices cause a lot of our track made it in! That's me you're hearing falling off buildings and tearing up hotel rooms."". Archived from the original on 31 March 2021. Retrieved 6 April 2021 – via Twitter.
  16. ^ "don't you know baby". Archived from the original on 11 December 2021. Retrieved 18 November 2021 – via YouTube.
  17. ^ "Voice of Tom in Mad". Behind The Voice Actors. Archived from the original on 26 October 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  18. ^ Sfetcu, Nicolae (2014). About cats. Nicolae Sfetcu. p. 289. Archived from the original on 21 April 2023. Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  19. ^ Davis, Lauren (12 May 2014). "See The Toons Who Would Have Appeared in Roger Rabbit's Deleted Funeral". io9. Archived from the original on 7 July 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2019.