This Tom & Jerry toon beat Mickey and Donald for an Academy Award
One cat, two mice and an Oscar.
Not even the House of Mouse is inconquerable, as Walt himself found out in 1949. That's when MGM released The Little Orphan, one of the most fondly-remembered Tom & Jerry cartoons. The short is the perfect blend of cartoon chaos and genuine warmth, deftly balancing fun with heart.
Although it's set during Thanksgiving, The Little Orphan is a must-see cartoon any time of year. Join us in taking a look back at this memorable cat-and-mouse chase with a few fun facts about The Little Orphan.
1. Academy Award
The Little Orphan was released in 1949 but received the Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons the year prior. Among the other animated shorts nominees were Walt Disney's Mickey and the Seal and Tea for Two Hundred, a Donald Duck cartoon.
2. Oscar #5
The Little Orphan saw the fifth Oscar awarded to Fred Quimby for a Tom & Jerry short. In total, Tom chasing Jerry and vice versa would lead to seven Academy Awards.
3. Hanna and Barbera
As with every Tom & Jerry short during the cartoon's first twenty years, directorial credit here is split between William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. After their successes working for MGM, Hanna and Barbera would go on to create their own studio.
4. Kenneth Muse
That Academy Award must've been especially sweet for animator Kenneth Muse. Just a few years prior, Muse jumped ship, quitting his position with Disney amid that studio's animator strike. While employed by Walt and Co., Muse assisted in animating the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" sequence of Fantasia.
5. Good Mousekeeping
When Jerry is first seen, he's reading an edition of the periodical Good Mousekeeping. This is, of course, a parody of Good Housekeeping, which had already been around for 64 years by the time The Little Orphan was released.
This is Nibbles' second appearance. The adorable little rodent debuted in The Milky Waif, wherein he was similarly placed in the care of a hapless Jerry. This is, however, the first occurrence of Jerry and Nibbles teaming up against Tom.
7. Bide a Wee
When Jerry scans through the note left with Nibbles, he finds the message has been delivered from Bide a Wee Mouse Home. Bideawee is a real animal adoption and welfare agency, albeit for all animals, not just mice. It was founded in the early 1900s in New York City and still operates today.