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The Little Orphan

The Little Orphan
Tom and Jerry series
The reissue title card of The Little Orphan, featuring the Academy Award Oscar
Directed by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Produced by Fred Quimby
Story by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Music by Scott Bradley
Animation by Irven Spence
Kenneth Muse
Ed Barge
Ray Patterson
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) April 30, 1949
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7:50
Language none (text in English)
Preceded by Polka-Dot Puss
Followed by Hatch Up Your Troubles

The Little Orphan is a 1949 American one-reel animated cartoon and is the 40th released Tom and Jerry cartoon, released in theatres on April 30, 1949 by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer. It was produced by Fred Quimby and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, with music by Scott Bradley. The cartoon was animated by Irven Spence, Kenneth Muse, Ed Barge and Ray Patterson.

The Little Orphan won the 1948 Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons, this being the fifth Oscar (of seven) given to the cat and mouse team. Though the cartoon was released in 1949, it won its Oscar the previous year. This may have been because it was given a short run at a cinema in 1948 to qualify it for that year's Academy Award.


Nibbles arrives at Jerry's mousehole, and as he tries to snatch cheese from a trap, Jerry discovers he has been asked to take care of Nibbles, with a note attached saying "always hungry." Jerry cupboards's are empty, so he leads Nibbles to a bowl of cream where Tom is sleeping. After Nibbles sips the cream, Mammy Two Shoes places a turkey on the table. Nibbles proceeds to eat certain foods from the table, while Jerry dresses him and Nibbles as pilgrims, but after Nibbles swallows an orange and inflates, Jerry hits Nibbles with a knife and the orange flies into Tom's mouth, waking him up.

Tom, now wearing a feather duster as a headdress, catches Nibbles, but Jerry pops a champagne cork into Tom's face. Tom then grabs Jerry, but Nibbles launches off jelly and stabs Tom with a fork. Tom then hurls the fork to catch Nibbles, but Jerry, porched on candlestick, whacks Tom in the face with a spoon.

Tom then sets pussy willows on fire and melts Jerry and Nibbles' hiding places, but Jerry lifts a lid and the willow ricochets back into Tom's mouth. Tom then knocks Jerry out with a knife, but Nibbles launches a pie into Tom's face, knocking the cat off the table. Nibbles then launches a candle into Tom's tail, burning him, before launching a champagne bottle into Tom, after which Tom crashes into a cabinet and surrenders.

Tom, Jerry and Nibbles then say grace at the table and prepare to eat a turkey, but Nibbles devours the entire turkey before Tom and Jerry pick up their cutlery. Nibbles, now with a full stomach, pats it in delight.


  • The scene where the candle lands on Tom's tail and then burns him making him appear in blackface is removed on most airings on TV. The scene where the blackfaced Tom is hit with the champagne bottle is also cut out so that Tom in blackface This scene is also shortened on Life with Tom and Feedin' the Kiddie to just showing his tail getting burned.
  • In the 1960's, Chuck Jones's unit at MGM redrew the scene to it burning Tom but instead of the headress turning into pickaninny braids, it
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