This Tom & Jerry toon beat Mickey and Donald for an Academy Award

One cat, two mice and an Oscar.

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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.

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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.

6. Nibbles


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.

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Jeff_Woo10 11 months ago
It's always interesting to me that "Nibbles" has always been known as "Tuffy" in the Tom & Jerry comic books (in fact, I think he got his start in the comics), but the cartoon shorts decided to go their own way with the naming. Now I'm trying to remember if he is ever called "Tuffy" in the animated shorts.
Bapa1 11 months ago
.........and there was a (non-verbal) Mammy sighting in it!
Andybandit 11 months ago
I love Tommy and Jerry cartoon. Better than Mickey Mouse ones.
Wolfie 11 months ago
Another well written article covering the academy award-winning genius by animators ... that was the era of Warner Bros (Looney Toons, Merry melodies) MGM (Tom and Jerry, Barney the Bear, etc) Walt Disney Co (Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto) Paramount (Max Fleischer, Popeye, Superman) Universal (Woody Woodpecker) 😀
Zip 11 months ago
I'll take Tom & Jerry over Mickey & Donald any day.
I used to live on Tom & Jerry cartoons when i was growing up. The stories were good, and the action was definitely good. Plus, they had a "down-home" quality that high-voiced Mickey couldn't touch.
Bricat2001 11 months ago
im liking these cartoon articles metv is putting out, im hoping they show some of these ones instead of the same old same old for saturday morning cartoons
Runeshaper 11 months ago
Wow 😯! Looks like a great episode!
MrsPhilHarris Runeshaper 11 months ago
I agree, I don’t remember seeing it. 🤔
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