Thanksgiving is almost here! For this week’s edition of Saturday Morning Cartoons, we animation lovers here at True Classics are giving thanks for all of the glorious classic cartoon bounty there is to enjoy this season by highlighting one of our favorite Turkey Day ‘toons, the 1949 Tom and Jerry short The Little Orphan.
A couple of fun facts about this cartoon:
Though The Little Orphan is Thanksgiving-themed, it was actually released in April of 1949. However, in order to qualify for the Academy Awards, it was given a brief theatrical run in the fall of 1948.
The Little Orphan marks the second appearance of the voracious yet cute little mouse Nibbles, after 1946’s The Milky Waif. The character would become interchangeable in later years with a similar-looking rodent named Tuffy.
Like many Tom and Jerry shorts, The Little Orphan has been subjected to censorship over the years due to racial stereotype and insensitivity. In this instance (as you can see in the version embedded above), there is an abrupt cut in the middle of the big climactic fight, which eliminates a brief scene with Tom appearing in blackface.
This short won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons for 1948 (an honor that is highlighted on the short’s title card). This marked the fifth time that a Tom and Jerry cartoon had nabbed the prize in six years; the MGM duo were wildly popular in the 1940s, giving animation stalwarts Disney and Warner Bros. a serious run for their money. By the time the Tom and Jerry series’ original run ended in 1957, they would rack up two more Oscars.