Will the real Tom Terrific please stand up?

Published on by Charlie Boatner.


The fluffy news of the week was that Tom Brady wanted to trademark the name “Tom Terrific.” And my response was, of course, “You can’t do that – it’s already taken!”

Not by Tom Seaver, though. Tom Terrific was a cartoon character in the 50s, created by Gene Deitch. It was drawn in a modern (it still looks modern) style of simple, almost abstract, fluid lines that looked like they had just wiggled off the artist’s doodle pad. (According to Mr. Deitch, some of that effect was due to limited budget, but “mother of invention,” as they say.)

The heroes were a talking dog and shape-changing boy (not to be confused with Adventure Time, years later, whose heroes were a boy and a talking, shape-changing dog). Tom provided all of the optimism and motivation to the heroics. Manfred (full name: Mighty Manfred, the Wonder Dog) generally wanted to sleep and avoid trouble (my kind of guy). But Tom never lost faith in Manfred’s inner nobility.

Unfortunately, the Washington Post (June 3 article) believes that the trademark registration by Terrytoons animation studio has expired. So maybe the name really is up for grabs. But I’ll know who was the Real Tom Terrific is.