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|Tom and Jerry character|
Nibbles pats in delight after gobbling the whole turkey in The Little Orphan.
May 18, 1946
|Created by||William Hanna|
|Voiced by||See below|
Muscles Mouse (First cousin once removed)
Uncle Pecos (Great Uncle)
Nibbles (also known as Tuffy) is a fictional character from the Tom and Jerry cartoon series. He is the little, blue/gray, diaper-wearing orphan mouse whose cartoon debut came in the 1946 short The Milky Waif. Tuffy was later featured in the 1949 Academy Award-winning short The Little Orphan.
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The character's first actual appearance came in the 1942 comic book Our Gang Comics #1, where despite his diaper, he was presented as a peer of Jerry rather than a younger individual. In the comics, the gray mouse's name was given as Tuffy Mouse from the start.
When the smaller Nibbles design was introduced to animation in 1946, the comics' Tuffy was retconned to match, almost immediately shrinking in size and age, although the name Tuffy was retained. In the comics, Tuffy remained a peer of Jerry with no familial relationship to him. But in 1953, the animation writers decided to change his on-screen relationship to Jerry. He became Jerry's nephew in Life with Tom.
Now it was the cartoons' turn to retcon, changing the screen name Nibbles to Tuffy in the 1957 cartoon Feedin' the Kiddie. The character was thus named Tuffy in all English-language media from 1957 through the 1980s.
Tom and Jerry comic books have been out of print in the United States since 1991. Not surprisingly, as time passes, fewer English-speaking staffers working on modern Tom and Jerry products remember the comics and the continuity they introduced. For this reason, the character's name has sometimes changed back to Nibbles in new product, notably the Tom and Jerry movies, Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring, and the new TV series, Tom and Jerry Tales. The reference books Hanna-Barbera Cartoons by Michael Mallory and The Hanna-Barbera Treasury by Jerry Beck refer to the character only as Nibbles, without mentioning his alternate name at all.
On the other hand, the recent movies Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale, Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes, Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz and Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory all use the name Tuffy.
The 1952 cartoon Two Little Indians further adds to matters by actually using two little gray mice, which hints at the existence of both Nibbles and Tuffy, but this is the only such instance.
Nibbles is more often a speaking character than Jerry. In the "Mouseketeer" sub-series, he spoke mostly in French, resorting to English whenever a gag depended on it. The only exception to this was Robin Hoodwinked where he talked purely in Saxon English and had a different, rougher voice. He looked somewhat more mature in Hoodwinked as well, despite the fact that he still wore his diaper. The Mouseketeer shorts almost always featured sequences in which Nibbles got drunk. In his last appearance in Robin Hoodwinked, he is also shown to be drunk as the cartoon comes to a close.
In the Tom and Jerry Tales episode "Cat Nebula", Nibbles appeared as Jerry's sidekick and had a younger voice. Strangely, he spoke in a more feminine French accent in the non-Mouseketeer Tales episodes "Cat Show Catastrophe" and "Cat of Prey". In another Tales episode "Babysitting Blues", Nibbles was actually portrayed as a real baby who could not speak, though it is unknown if this was really Nibbles or another nephew of Jerry's. He also spoke in his French accent in A Nutcracker Tale, whereas in Meet Sherlock Holmes he speaks with an Irish accent.
In his normal appearances, Nibbles is typically hungry and has the ability to eat huge amounts of food in one sitting. He often angers Tom and Jerry when he eats a table full of food or steals theirs just as they're about to bite in. When making his cartoon debut in The Milky Waif, Nibbles' first motion is to point at his mouth, indicating hunger--as a letter announces "P.S. He's always hungry."
Although Jerry cares for Nibbles, he is usually annoyed by Nibbles's antics which often get him in trouble with Tom. Coincidentally in every short except Mice Follies, Jerry gets mad at Nibbles whenever he does something dangerous or reckless.