UTILIZING LIVING BLACK & White, limited TV style of animation and stick man-like transparent drawings, the Terrytoons production of the TOM TERRIFIC Series nonetheless scored high marks in its heyday (circa 1957). The series provided just the right sort of comedy mix with some parody of standard action characters and their adventures.
TO BEGIN WITH, we have small, young Tom (himself). Being a sort of caricature of the young kids that were the main juvenile target group, instant identification with the hero/main character was a lock. Small in stature, curly topped and crowned with his "Thinking Cap" (an inverted funnel), young and highly loquacious, Tom always thought problems out loud. He also tipped us to the coming action; even before it transpired.
THIS NOT ONLY kept us abreast of the battle plan, but also eliminated any need for a narrator. That, no doubt, was beneficial for the eternal bottom line.
WHENEVER TOM WOUILD transform himself, he would always be recognizable for his face, curly top and funnel were always still visible.
THE THREE MAIN characters that we recall are Tom Terrific (himself), his faithful helper-"Mighty Manfred The Wonder Dog" and the villainous antagonist, grouchy old Crabby Appleton. it is interesting to note that in this on going mock struggle of Good vs. Evil, it is youthful kid, Tom, with his allied faithful dog, Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog, pitting their best efforts against the bad-guy Adult, Crabby Appleton.
SOMEHOW, WE DON'T think that this arrangement of combatants was haphazard or accidental in conception.
IN ADDITION TO being able to trace its roots to all o f the cartoon characters and series that preceded it, the TOM TERRIFIC Cartoons had another ancestor on its family tree. Owing to its having Tom a sort of prodigious exponent of brain power over brawn. Added to that, he could transform his appearance into just about anything at will.
THIS PREMISE AND practical function would seem to place him in the very same class of characters as the Comic Book Super Heroes. In TOM's case, he would appear to be related to Quality Comics' PLASTIC MAN of the 1940's 7 '50s and to DC Comics METAMORPHO of the 1960's-. Both of these features were done in a light, humorous manner and were essentially themselves lampoons of the Super Hero genre.
AND THIS PARTICULAR assertion does not only refer to the powers of transformation; but also to all three series use of the comic situations and to the fine art of parody.
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