Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tooniversary: Tom Terrific (1957)

In reviewing The Adventures of Lariat Sam the other day, I erred when I stated that Tom Terrific replaced Sam. That's not true, as I discovered after reading a Wikipedia piece on Tom. In reality, Tom came first, back in 1957, and was in perpetual rerun by the time I first saw him on Captain Kangaroo as a child. After Lariat Sam ran its course, it seems, the two features began rotating in reruns.

They say that the simplistic character designs used for Tom and his sidekick, Mighty Manfred, were due to budgetary concerns. Actually, it can also be said that it was for another purpose, to encourage young viewers to create their own drawings of the characters. As was the case with Lariat Sam, each Tom Terrific story was stretched across five days. When Kangaroo aired on Saturdays, the episodes would be edited down to a 2-part story airing within the course of the hour. 26 serials were produced between 1957-58 and replayed for several years afterward. Regrettably, these cartoons are not available on any official DVD release as yet. Like, what are they waiting for? Tom turns 55 this year, and you'd think someone would finally get a clue. Tom's shapeshifting results from the "thinking cap" he wears, which encourages imagination in young viewers.

Bearlyrufus uploaded the theme song. Tom & Manfred's voices are performed by Lionel Wilson.

It's too bad a kid like Tom isn't around anymore.

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

I do remember Tom Terrific!

I used to drive my mom nuts because I used to take the funnel we had in the kitchen and wear it like Tom did!

hobbyfan said...

I never went that far. I don't think the funnels we had, if any, could've fit on my head.

Now, if only CBS/Paramount could be coaxed into releasing this on DVD!