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Mammy Two Shoes is a recurring character in MGM's Tom and Jerry cartoons. She is a heavy-set middle-aged black woman who often has to deal with the mayhem generated by the lead characters.

As a partially-seen character, she was famous for never showing her head (although it is briefly visible in Saturday Evening Puss, Mouse Cleaning and Part Time Pal). Mammy's appearances have often been edited out, dubbed, or re-animated as a slim white woman in later television showings, since her character is a mammy archetype now often regarded as racist. It was later revealed that her character was greatly inspired by Oscar-winning black actress and singer Hattie McDaniel, best known for playing "Mammy" in MGM and David O. Selznick's 1939 film Gone with the Wind.

A character very similar to Mammy Two Shoes had earlier been portrayed in the Disney Silly Symphonies shorts Three Orphan Kittens and More Kittens, as well as the Pluto short Pantry Pirate and the Figaro short Figaro and Cleo.

Theatrical Tom and Jerry cartoonsEdit

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Mammy first appeared in Puss Gets the Boot, the first Tom and Jerry cartoon (except Tom was called "Jasper"). The character went on to make many appearances through 1952's Push-Button Kitty. From 1954's Pet Peeve, the owner of the house became a young, white, middle-class couple, and starting with 1955's The Flying Sorceress, the audience was able to see the heads of the owner(s).

In 1961, when Rembrandt Films began producing Tom and Jerry shorts, the owner of the house became a corpulent white man. The character was designed by Gene Deitch, who recycled the design from his Terrytoons character Clint Clobber.[1] This new owner was more graphically brutal in punishing Tom's mistakes as compared to Mammy Two Shoes, such as beating and thrashing Tom repeatedly, searing his face with a grill and forcing Tom to drink an entire carbonated beverage. The character was introduced in Down and Outing as a fisherman who owned Tom as well as their house, and later appeared in High Steaks as a chef, and Sorry Safari as a hunter before being dropped soon afterward. Ever since, Tom's owner has varied, including a housewife very similar to the re-edited Mammy in the later Deitch short Buddies Thicker Than Water, and the direct-to-DVD film Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry.

Mammy was originally voiced by well-known African-american character actress Lillian Randolph. In the 1960s, the MGM animation studio, by then under the supervision of Chuck Jones, created censored versions of the Tom & Jerry cartoons featuring Mammy for television. These versions used rotoscoping techniques to replace Mammy on-screen with a thin white woman, and the voice on the soundtracks was replaced by an Irish-accented voice performed by white actress June Foray.[2]

The original versions of the cartoons were reinstated when Turner Broadcasting acquired ownership of the Tom & Jerry property. In 1992, the cartoons featuring Mammy were edited to replace Lillian Randolph's voice with that of Thea Vidale, whose dialogue was redone to remove the Mammy character's use of potentially offensive dialect. These versions of the cartoons are aired to this day on Turner's Cartoon Network-related cable channels, and have turned up on DVD as well. However, some European TV showings of these cartoons, especially the UK, retain Randolph's original voice. The Region 2 Complete Collectors Edition DVD boxset has Vidale's voice on the first DVD and Randolph in a number of the episodes after that (such as A Mouse in the House and Mouse Cleaning).

Tom and Jerry TalesEdit

In the modern Tom and Jerry Tales a redesigned Mammy has appeared, debuting in the short Ho, Ho Horrors and turning up again later on. Though keeping her buxom, overweight build, tough personality, Southern accent and tendency to call Tom "Thomas," Mammy's skin tone has changed to Caucasian, presumably to avoid any possible controversy. Several photos on a mantle in Ho, Ho Horrors also imply that Mammy now has a family (a man and a boy, also shown only as legs and partial torsos), though they have yet to appear in actual animation. In the short Power Tom the story casts Mammy as a superheroine called Power Gal, though it's only for this one cartoon.

In the new shorts, the now-Caucasian Mammy is explicitly called "Mrs. Two-Shoes".

Featured shortsEdit

Tom and JerryEdit

Tom and Jerry Tales (as Mrs. Two Shoes)Edit

  • Ho, Ho Horrors
  • Tin Cat of Tomorrow
  • Power Tom
  • Cat Show Catastrophe
  • Invasion of the Body Slammers
  • Summer Squashing
  • Little Big Mouse
  • You're Lion
  • Monkey Chow
  • Game of Mouse and Cat

Major appearancesEdit

Voice actors who portrayed Mammy Two Shoes Edit

NotesEdit

  • In Tom and Jerry books, Mammy is often referred to as Cook.
  • In 1940s Tom and Jerry comics, Mammy is usually named Dinah.
  • The mammy character in Disney's Three Orphan Kittens is actually named Mammy Two-Shoes in some licensed 1930s-1950s book adaptations.

ReferencesEdit

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