The Mystery of Tom Thump / Of Mice and Magic
June 24, 2009

by KC Carlson

During my cross-checking to see if the recent Chuck Jones Tom & Jerry set did indeed contain all of the Chuck Jones Tom & Jerry cartoons, I was at first dismayed to discover that there was a listing for a 1965 short called “Tom Thump” that is not included on this set.

Investigating further, I tracked the listing all the way back to the original 1980 printing of Leonard Maltin’s (Research Associate: Jerry Beck) esteemed animation history, Of Mice and Magic. Which on one hand gives weight to the listing, but then again, this is a now almost 30-year-old text, and one of the first — if not the first — books to provide detailed cartoon filmographies. (Which I’m also guessing made it the source for many, many other subsequent texts and webpages over the years.)

I found many other filmographies, both in text and on the web, and some listed “Tom Thump” and others did not. Eventually, I found a Wikipedia page for the 1965 T&J short “The Year of the Mouse” that states that that short was developed under the working title of “Tom Thump,” but since I’m one of those skeptical folks who don’t automatically believe Wikipedia, I am now at a loss as to what is the actual truth.

Does anybody out there know the actual story of “Tom Thump”?

Further, if this is true, was this corrected in the 1987 Revised Edition of Of Mice and Magic (which I don’t own)? And for those of you who know the differences between the two versions, is the revision substantial enough for me to upgrade? (Although I guess I should anyway, since my 1980 copy is literally falling apart in my hands, since I refer to it so often. Although, with my luck, I’ll spring for the 1987 Revised version and then a new version will be available by Christmas.)

Even if you just have a passing interest in the history of American animated (mostly theatrical) cartoons, Of Mice and Magic is, hands down, one of the most important reference books on the subject as well as a fascinating and essential read.

2 Responses  
Roger A. writes:  

I have the 1987 Revised Edition and the listing for “Tom Thump” is still there. However, in the book “Tom & Jerry: The Definitive Guide to Their Animated Adventures” by Patrick Brion, he writes that “Tom Thump” was renamed “The Year of the Mouse” so that backs up the Wikipedia entry.

Johanna writes:  

Oh, neat. Glad to get confirmation – thanks, Roger.


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