Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / The Little Orphan

Go To
There's a reason they call him "Nibbles."

The Little Orphan is a 1949 MGM cartoon directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, starring Tom and Jerry.

This episode is set at Thanksgiving. Jerry is hosting Nibbles, a baby orphan mouse, for the holiday. Unfortunately Nibbles' massive appetite causes him to start raiding the elaborate Thanksgiving dinner set out for the humans of the house. Even more unfortunately, Nibbles draws the attention of Tom, which leaves Jerry having to keep Nibbles from being eaten.

Second appearance of Nibbles in the Tom & Jerry shorts, after The Milky Waif.



  • Ash Face: Tom is charred head to toe by a candle flung at his tail.
  • Big Eater: Nibbles is not only a mouse but a baby mouse, and he still manages to swallow an entire orange in one gulp. Later he removes all the flesh from a turkey.
  • Blackface: When this cartoon first ran in theaters there was a racist gag in which Nibbles throws a candle at Tom and winds up turning him black. This is cut out of later airings.
  • Bowdlerization: As mentioned above, there is a blackface gag but the way it's edited varies between versions.
    • The Chuck Jones version, who was in control of the franchise at the time and would make the earlier cartoons appropriate for broadcasting, that aired on CBS was reanimated to remove Tom's blackface and keep his Indian headdress instead of having it burn into pickaninny braids.
    • The version that airs on Cartoon Network and Boomerang instead cuts from the candle landing on Tom's tail to Nibbles launching a bottle at him to Jerry and Nibbles watching Tom getting knocked back off screen cutting both Tom burning and the shot where he gets knocked back (still in blackface).
    • Advertisement:
    • These edits extend to cheater cartoon "Life with Tom", which features clips from this cartoon, and Cinemascope remake "Feedin' the Kiddie". The former, however, instead cuts before Tom appears in blackface leaving in the burning of his tail while still cutting the shot of him getting knocked back when it airs on Cartoon Network and Boomerang. The former short was briefly uncensored on Boomerang in 2018 before becoming censored again.
    • In "Feedin' the Kiddie", the maid is cut from the intro, though this is justified as the character was already phased out of the franchise at that point.
  • Cobwebs of Disuse: We see several cobwebs when Jerry opens his pantries in his Mouse Hole, suggesting he hasn't used them in a while.
  • Cowboys and Indians: While Jerry and Nibbles dress as Pilgrims, Tom dresses as an Indian and attacks them.
  • Dinner Deformation: Nibbles swallows an orange twice his size whole, taking its shape.
  • Foodfight!: Eventually Tom and Jerry are flinging food at each other.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Tom joins the feast with Jerry in the end.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: The coup de grace on Tom has Nibbles using a champagne bottle as a literal bottle rocket, which carries Tom into a cupboard. He raises a white flag immediately after.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Nibbles is awfully cute, even if his appetite causes problems for Jerry.
  • Mammy: The maid is briefly glimpsed setting the Thanksgiving dinner table.
  • Mouse Trap: One mousetrap is seen towards the beginning.
  • Pain-Powered Leap: In true Tom and Jerry tradition, Tom does one after getting a fork to the posterior. On the way down, he screeches to a halt in midair to take the fork out before he lands on it.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Several times does Tom make evil-looking grins, like before his first attempt to catch Nibbles.
  • Punched Across the Room: Jerry does this to Tom with a spoon.
  • Soda Can Shakeup:
    • When Tom had Nibbles cornered, Jerry pulled the string on a champagne bottle, causing the cork to fly and hit Tom in the face.
    • Nibbles sets off another bottle aimed backwards, causing it to propel at Tom.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: A Tom & Jerry episode centered around Thanksgiving.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Tom flings a fork and manages to pin Nibbles to the dinner table by his diaper.
  • White Flag: After being defeated by Nibbles, Tom waves something like a white flag to show him and Jerry that he was surrendering.