Tom Terrific was a black-and-white serialized cartoon that was a regular feature of CBS's Captain Kangaroo weekday children's show.
Gene Deitch was brought in by Terrytoons owner CBS to give the studio a creative jump start following decades of critically disdained low-budget fare. Deitch had a syndicated comic strip, "Terr'ble Thompson," about a boy who fancied himself as the world's greatest hero. Upon landing at Terrytoons (where it has been said that studio chief Bill Weiss wanted him fired from day one), Deitch discontinued the strip but refurbished his boy into Tom Terrific.
Tom lived in a treehouse, his "world headquarters," where, with his narcoleptic canine companion Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog, he watched for trouble from troublemakers such as Sweet Tooth Sam, Captain Kidney Bean, Isotope Feeney, and his main foe, Crabby Appleton (he's "rotten to the core!"). Tom wore a large funnel on his head which served as a thinking cap. He could change into any object he wanted as the situation demanded. Usually, Manfred just wants to sleep through the duo's adventures but usually says something that gives Tom an idea. And Tom is quick to credit Manfred for the pair's victories.
CBS's budgets for the show were threadbare at best--animation usually wasn't painted in the first season and opaqued plain white in the second, and backgrounds were nihilistic. But the appealing heroes and clever storylines compensated for all that in the long run.
Five episodes, airing four minutes a day during the week, comprised a story arc. In the 1960s, Tom Terrific stories would air on the Saturday edition of Captain Kangaroo, edited into three episodes all aired during the show.
A pilot for a new Tom Terrific series for Nickelodeon was being developed in 1990. It never got past the development stage.
- At a Glance: Additional information about the series
|Lionel Wilson||All characters||1||2|
|Season 1||June 10, 1957||September 2, 1957||13|
|Season 2||June 9, 1958||September 1, 1958||13|