Tom Cat

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This article is about the Tom and Jerry cartoon character. For other uses, see Tomcat.
Tom Cat
Tom and Jerry (WB/Turner Entertainment) character
Tom Tom and Jerry.png
Tom's design in the Hanna-Barbera shorts.
First appearance Puss Gets the Boot (as Jasper)
February 10, 1940
The Midnight Snack (as Tom)
July 19, 1941
Created by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voiced by Clarence Nash (1940–42)
William Hanna (1942–58)
Billy Bletcher (1944)
Stepin Fetchit (1948)
Daws Butler (1956)
Allen Swift (1961–62)
Mel Blanc (1963–67)
Information
Species Cat
Gender Male
Relatives George (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 cartoon short films. Created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, Tom is a blue/grey anthropomorphic domestic short-haired cat who first appeared in the 1940 MGM animated short Puss Gets the Boot.[1] Tom was originally known as "Jasper" during his debut in that short;[2] however, beginning with his next appearance in The Midnight Snack he is known as "Tom" or "Thomas".[3]

History[edit]

Tom and Jerry cartoons[edit]

His full 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" and Tom & Jerry Tales' League of Cats) and "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 remarkably over the years upon his evolution, especially after the first episodes. For example, in his debut, he was quadrupedal and had normal cat intelligence. 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.

Rivalries[edit]

Besides Jerry, Tom is shown to have rivalries with some characters depending on the cartoon. One example is a black alley cat named Butch. He is shown as Tom's rival for most cartoons he's in. In the cartoon Springtime for Thomas, Jerry wrote a letter and tricked Butch into thinking it was from Toodles Galore in an attempt to get revenge on Tom. The most frequent rival of Tom is a Bulldog named Spike. This is so because Spike would protect his son Tyke. Jerry would do his best to get Tom in trouble (e.g. dirty Tyke). However in one cartoon, Tom does something that benefits Spike. Other rivals include a yellow canary named Cuckoo, a duckling named Quacker, and many others.

Anchors Aweigh & 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.[4]

Voice actors[edit]

Tom is rarely seen speaking in most incarnations of T&J. Most of his vocal effects are his laughs, yelps, gasps, shrieks, etc. His most recognizable sound are his screams whenever he gets hurt. Tom's screams were provided by Tom and Jerry co-creator William Hanna. There are a few cartoons where Tom speaks. They include: The Lonesome Mouse, The Zoot Cat, Trap Happy, The Million Dollar Cat, Solid Serenade, The Framed Cat, Quiet Please!, and others. So far, the only time that Tom and Jerry regularly speak is in Tom and Jerry: The Movie.

Love interests[edit]

Apart from chasing Jerry, Tom has multiple love interests with female cats. Their names all begin with "T", except in Tom and Jerry Kids. They are:

  • Toots, a fluffy beige cat who appears in Puss n' Toots and The Mouse Comes to Dinner, the latter being her only speaking role. This version of Toots also appeared in some 1940's Tom and Jerry comics.
  • Toots, a different cat by the same name who appears in The Zoot Cat. She has occasionally and erroneously been referred to as "Sheikie", but this is actually Tom's nickname, as seen on a gift card in the cartoon.
  • An unnamed, non-speaking white cat who appears very briefly in The Bodyguard. She was made as a mere object of slap-stick humor, as when Tom gave her a wolf-whistle, he gave himself away to Spike, who was supposed to protect Jerry every time he whistles.
  • Tara, a non-speaking grey cat who appears in Texas Tom.
  • Toodles Galore, a non-speaking recurring cat who sometimes adores Tom and sometimes treats him badly (particularly in Love Me, Love My Mouse). She appears in multiple shorts.
  • An unnamed non-speaking brown cat who appeared in Muscle Beach Tom.
  • An unnamed white cat who appeared in Blue Cat Blues. Similar to the cat seen in Muscle Beach Tom, except with a personality like Toodles.

Owners[edit]

Over his years as a housecat, Tom has multiple owners, varying in different cartoons.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ IMDb. "Puss Gets the Boot". Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Mark Christopher Carnes, American national biography (2) 
  3. ^ IMDb. "The Midnight Snack (1941)". Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  4. ^ IMDb. "Dangerous When Wet (1953)". Retrieved 16 May 2010.