Tom's Owner (Gene Deitch Era)

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Tom's Owner (Gene Deitch Era)
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"DON'T TOUCH MY GUNS!"
Gender: Male
Type: Wrathful Pet Abuser
Species: Human
Portrayed by: Allen Swift
Status: Alive
Media of Origin: Tom and Jerry (Gene Deitch-era)


Tom's Owner is an unnamed, middle-aged, average height, overweight, short-tempered, and bald white character who appeared only in the Gene Deitch-era (1961-1962) of the Tom and Jerry shorts, serving as Tom's owner, as well as an antagonist. He appeared in only three cartoons: Down and Outing, High Steaks, and Sorry Safari, and was voiced by the late Allen Swift.

Why He Sucks

  1. Unlike Tom's previous owners, he has really severe anger issues and is very brutal, violent, and savage in punishing Tom for his actions, even when the poor cat didn't do anything. Therefore, this owner went into full villainous territory.
    • Even Spike the Bulldog from the original Hanna Barbera-era isn't that aggressive in clobbering Tom for his actions as this character, and only clobbers Tom mildly, even when it's usually undeserved. Spike even once saved Tom from another dog in The Truce Hurts and occasionally does treat Tom nicely like when he thanked the cat for curing his and Tyke's hiccups in Hic-Cup Pup. This owner hardly does that.
      • He is basically like a human version of Spike the Bulldog, but with none of Spike's likability and charm. In fact, if you take away all of Spike's redeeming or likable qualities (even more so than the 2014 reboot version), you are left with this character in a nutshell.
    • Tom's other owners, comparing to the Gene Deitch-era owner, will usually throw him out of the house temporarily, kick him, or hit him with a broom as a non-violent punishment even if it's undeserved.
  2. Because of such critically foul temper, whenever he gets provoked or even if the slightest thing goes wrong, he abruptly gets volcano-fueled angry and always takes his anger out on anyone (mainly Tom) near him in many violent ways. Once mad, he becomes very threatening-looking: His face will mostly turn red, sometimes bare sharper teeth, and his countenance can even sometimes look insensitive and flinch-worthy to look at.
    • Furthermore, his mouth moves in a strange and odd way when angered, and he often rants and gibbers like a madman.
  3. His punishments are very cruel and they are basically borderline animal abuse/cruelty, thus making him a really bad cat owner. All of his brutal actions and how he lose his temper are listed in chronological order:
    • In Down and Outing:
      • When Tom accidentally hits his head with a pan while going after Jerry, he attacks back by snatching the pan off Tom's hands and hits him several times. This causes himself to get into trouble in traffic.
      • Stomping Tom's hand really hard to the point where it gets all red and swollen graphically, believing that Tom was the one messing with the gas pedal to malfunction the car speed instead of Jerry.
      • Although not quite a physical assault, he lost his temper at Tom after chasing Jerry all the way to the car's hood, making him pull the brakes and sends Tom flying off the car and scrape his buttocks on the pavement. After cooling off and running back to the car, he angrily grabs Tom by the neck then placed him in the front passenger seat and tugged the seat-belt real tight for the rest of the road trip.
      • After Jerry disguises one of his shoes as a mouse, Tom fell for it and smacks his foot with an oar, leading himself to get pummeled off-screen.
      • After Jerry attaches the fishing hook to him (by the sock) and when Tom pulls the fishing rod up to make a face-to-face contact with the owner himself, it seems that the man never bothers to wonder or question how Tom pulls him through under the boat with a rod as Tom was sitting behind him this whole time. Losing his temper, he unhesitatingly beats Tom off-screen again, this time harder in level.
      • When the beating was finished, at the end, he (off-screen) ties Tom up to the bucket with threads and, alongside Jerry, usually throws a fish at him while fishing, causing Tom to cry.
    • In High Steaks:
      • Searing Tom's face with a steak grill until the cat's face look like a flat waffle, after accidentally stabbing him with a fork.
      • Slamming a tennis racket on Tom by the head twice, after Tom wacks the shuttlecock (Jerry is inside of it) into the net to the point it unintentionally flew into the owner's mouth.
      • Forcing Tom to drink an entire carbonated bottle of a fizzy soda, after Jerry blasts a soda (Tom tried to stop him) and ruins one of his steaks.
      • Finally, thrashing and beating Tom up mercilessly before tying him up to the lounge chair for accidentally knocking his steaks and even himself over. (For full context, see WIS #10/Bullet 1)
      • This is the only cartoon where he abuses Tom a lot in the most unfair and vicious way, and due to all this along with Jerry being way off-character and how the cartoon ends, it results in making the whole High Steaks cartoon probably not only the worst Gene Deitch-era Tom & Jerry cartoon short but also the worst cartoon of the entire franchise itself as a whole.
    • In Sorry Safari:
      • Wrapping a gun around Tom's head and firing it after his hat got blown off by the gun. (For full context, see WIS #10/Bullet 2)
      • After Jerry unbuckles the belt to make both Tom and his owner fall off the elephant, the man blamed Tom for it and turned the carriage basket over to trap Tom.
      • After the duos fail their attempt to get the basket back on the wandering elephant, the man swiftly loses his anger once again and prepares to clobber Tom for no apparent reason, but thankfully, his payback fell flat by interruptions just when the roaring lion approaches.
      • After receiving the wrong item from Tom (Jerry tricked Tom in giving a thermos to him) for the lion encounter, he bashes Tom's head with a thermos. (Plot hole: During the lion encounter, he should be fully aware that he's carrying a thermos instead of a gun in the first place, and if he have already realize that, he would have demand Tom for the exact correct item right away. However, this kind of scene direction is likely used in order to avoid displaying actual killings in cartoons.)
      • Slamming Tom's fingers with a lunchbox lid while the cat's searching for Jerry, maybe just because Tom was throwing away food, whether it was indeed on purpose or not. If he's throwing away food on purpose, it still doesn't change the fact for him to slam Tom's fingers out of anger like that and grin over his pet's agony.
  4. Aside from punishing Tom with very brutal and violent methods, he hardly ever shows any sort of love or compassion towards him whatsoever unlike the previous owners or even the other characters.
  5. He never reprimands Tom even when he didn't do anything, unlike the other characters/owners, but always harms him right away.
  6. Unlike the other characters/owners, he lacks any kind of personality, aside from being just a very violent and grouchy man.
    • However, when he's not having problems, he behaves like a very calm, happy man (most notably in High Steaks), giving him some kind of a suspiciously split (or two-faced) demeanor.
  7. In Down and Outing, he drives recklessly and yelled at a driver for calling him out which shows that he's oblivious for the fact that he's bad. He yelled "THE SAME TO YOU, MAC!", which was highly implied that he's playing victim.
  8. He smiles sadistically whenever Tom is hurt. For notable cases:
    • In Down and Outing, he grins briefly as he stomps on Tom's hand, before giving Tom a grimacing scowl.
    • In High Steaks, thinking that Tom ruined his steak with a soda blast, he smiles like a complete sadist at Tom while shaking up the soda, before shoving it down Tom's throat.
    • In Sorry Safari, he gives an evil smile at Tom TWICE. First, he smiles while wrapping his gun around Tom's head and pulls the trigger to make Tom deaf for only lucky short amount of seconds. Secondly, he once again smiles after slamming the lunchbox lid down to crush Tom's fingers while searching for Jerry.
  9. He blames Tom for everything that Jerry (who's gotten flanderized) does without any research and assaults him despite his innocence.
  10. He never really cares or feel concerned for Tom whenever the cat was suffering from every physical pain or even when his life was threatened, making him an outrageously inhumane monster with a missing heart. For most instances:
    • Near the end of High Steaks, he didn't care when Tom's tail is stuck on the grill and is on fire (Jerry placed his tail on the grill), and when the cat screams for help and accidentally knocks down his steak dinner (and then him) in the process, he gets really angry about it, and when Tom jumps into the pool and drowns, after fishing the cat out the pool (by holding him by the neck), he just proceeds to beat up the cat senseless, ignoring how much Tom has suffered with his tail stuck to the grill and ties him up by the lounge chair! Note that Tom seems traumatized by the beatings (judging by the looks of his eyes) just when the man starts tying him to the chair. Jerry then ties the chair to a passing car, leaving Tom at an unknown fate.
    • In Sorry Safari, at first, he sees Tom getting rocket blasted to the tree by the gun (all thanks to Jerry who made Tom bounce off the elephant while holding the shotgun), as the cat's nose got stuck in the gun's barrel but he's at risk of getting shot because the trigger is caught on a branch when trying to pull it out. What did the man do? He just sits there recklessly yelling at Tom only to give his gun back to him, showing no concerns for Tom being in grave danger nor managed to rescue him. And then, the other tree branch (that Tom holds on tight to) finally broke and Tom managed to get his nose out as he fell off from the tree, but the gun's trigger was pulled, and the bullets shot straight to the owner's hat, blowing it off in half. The man suddenly looses his cool and goes tomato red in the face, overthinking that Tom was trying to shoot him on purpose. Seriously, Tom did not do it intentionally nor purposely! Worse, after the elephant (who was notably seen glaring down at Tom as if he also assumes Tom to actually cause troubles) brings Tom back to him, the maliciously-grinning madman gives Tom a super unjustifiable punishment by wrapping his shotgun around Tom's head and fired it, causing poor Tom to be temporarily deaf!
  11. In Down and Outing and Sorry Safari, he sometimes force Tom to do everything for him as an unfair punishment, by making him carry a heavy amount of supplies like a slave. Towards the end from all cartoons (except Sorry Safari), whenever he have had enough with Tom, he ties Tom up really tightly after beatings to keep him out of trouble, as committing such acts like this was also very cruel to every pets in real-life.
  12. In Down and Outing and High Steaks, the way he mercilessly beats Tom up to a pulp can be quite disturbing to imagine how violent this domestic assault could turned out, off-screen or not. It even almost made Mammy Two-Shoes (although she isn't quite necessarily bad like him) look like she's playing hockey at the end of the Hanna-Barbera era's Part Time Pal cartoon.
  13. With the minor exception of Sorry Safari, he never gets any comeuppances for his aggression, hence making him a Karma Houdini.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. He only appeared in three shorts and was never seen again. He was replaced by the thin woman in Buddies Thicker Than Water, which was unironically the next cartoon after Sorry Safari.
  2. He finally got his comeuppance in Sorry Safari, where he was mauled by a lion and later tied onto a large stick with Tom and a purple rhino at the end.
  3. To be fair, he wasn't aware of the fact that Jerry caused the problems as the two have probably never interacted.
  4. In Down and Outing, this is the only time where Tom's Owner feels thankful for Tom, only from the scene where Tom was stacking the fishing supplies to the boat especially with no mistakes made, slowly changing the owner's expression from downright gruff-looking to surprisingly calm and pleased.

Trivia

  • Tom's Owner bears a resemblance to Clint Clobber, a Terrytoons character that Deitch had created in the late-1950s, even sharing the same voice actor, Allen Swift. This led to many fans confusing the two.
  • Due to his violent wrath-driven nature and animal cruelty depiction, he has become one of the most hated characters in the franchise by fans, alongside Jeannie the Babysitter and Nancy. Though, out of them all, he is the most controversial one.
  • He gave out the famous "DON'T TOUCH MY GUNS!" meme.

Reception

Tom's Owner is one of the main reasons why the Gene Deitch-era of Tom and Jerry is poorly received by critics and fans. Because of that, he has been permanently removed from the Tom and Jerry franchise after Sorry Safari following the intense negative backlash that he had received from fans.

Due to his animal cruelty depictions, all three cartoons where he appeared were rarely shown on modern television channels such as Boomerang.

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