How to Make Tom and Jerry Popular Again

I wanted to find out what was the most viewed Tom and Jerry short on YouTube tonight, and it turned out to be Salt Water Tabby with 24.4 million views. But this is no ordinary copy of the short; it has a completely new dialogue track in a Moroccan Arabic dialect by Bouchana Abdelilah. By comparison, the non-Arabic version (i.e. the boring original) of Salt Water Tabby has a mere 346,000 views. Why does a remixed version of a classic short have seventy (yes, 70!) times more viewers than the original? And will an Arabic voice-over make any cartoon funny and popular? In that case, Allen Gregory could’ve used a whole lot of Arabic. I don’t claim to have the answers to such questions, but I’m intrigued by this YouTube anomaly.


  • uncle wayne

    [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, "Be considerate and respectful of others in the discussion. Defamatory, rude, or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted." If you have a criticism, be constructive and mature."]

    • Snagglepuss

      Uncle Wayne, are you being racist?

      • The Brewmasters

        Not anymore.

  • http://www.stevelightart.com Steve Light

    What I do not understand is –there is NO dialogue in this cartoon. What is this guy saying??–and why does it make it 70% more popular? sorry just more questions. I think Tom and Jerry could come back if they made it like the originals–they do not talk really and just great violent visual gags. AND THEY ARE NOT FRIENDS AND THE DOG IS NOT THEIR FRIEND!!

    • Rajesh

      That’s 7000% more popular, not 70% ;)

      • The Brewmasters

        A little math goes a long way! Thanks for pointing that out.

    • David

      “Tom and Jerry could come back if they made it like the originals”

      Tom and Jerry Tales has s few that are exactly like the originals.

      the answer to “How to Make Tom and Jerry Popular Again” is … it is popular again. it’s cartoon network’s highest rated show and Has been for many years straight.

  • Casey Sattler

    This is very odd, because the original Tom and Jerry’s (especially this one) TOM AND JERRY NEVER TALKED! Why would ruining the original make it better? I don’t think it is better — just weird from a Westerner’s p.o.v. But I suspect that 1) the Voice guy is very popular in Arabic speaking countries and/or 2)It sort of opens up these classic cartoons to a new market that may have never seen them (Arabic speaking countries)and/or 3)It’s got more hits because of a curiosity factor…

    just my two cents.

    • R. Araya

      I say that it’s the curiosity factor. But there could be an important “camp” factor (even if campy comedies have run out of ideas for more than two years, this type of comedy is one of the more popular in the present day).

    • Jeff

      I know there’s at least one cartoon where Tom talked, because it bugged me as a kid that he was talking. Tom reads a will that leaves him “one custard pie”. Tom then shouts, “One custard pie! Lemme have it!” Jerry then throws the pie in Tom’s face.

  • Elmo

    The timing is better in the classic Tom and Jerry shorts than in any later iteration, including the one that WB is working on right now. The vocal works because it plays to a specific audience and Allah knows what it’s saying.

  • Snagglepuss

    It looks like the real reason for this thing’s popularity is that its bringing something Western to Middle Easteners. The reason Charlie Bit Me gets more views than What’s Opera Doc is because everyone has already seen What’s Opera Doc. This Tom and Jerry thing seems both like a.) New Content and b.) New Content to People Who May not have seen the original. HEY CASEY SAYS IT TOO.

  • Snagglepuss

    Also, this guy’s screams of pain for Tom are adorable.

    • http://she-thing.blogspot.com Caty

      Agreed.

  • Rufus

    I hope to God some suit doesn’t see this video and doesn’t reboot all the old T&J cartoons with voiceover.
    If yes, you, Amid, will be to blame. :P

  • Joe Horne

    well…it’s could be that much like mystery science theater.. it’s funny jokes over the action…he seemed to try to do matching sound effects….and the combination struck a nerve on many funny bones…it would help if there were subtitles
    ….but that’s so i’d know what’s he saying..then i’d know where he’s comin from…dig?

  • http://twitter.com/vonzork Zork

    You know what Tom and Jerry video has nearly as many views? This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzHxBNrrEgU&feature=related

    I think it’s safe to say YouTube views mean nothing.

  • obj_solid

    Meanwhile on the top youtube comments….

  • http://dtoons.com Failed Art Student

    As Zork pointed out, just because it’s viewed a lot doesn’t mean people like it. That Tom and Jerry video has almost as many dislikes as it does likes!

  • Michel Van

    After watch 3 minute of this torture , I’m convinced that those viewers were mostly from Morocco…

    About the remixed version of Tom & Jerry: YES it needed, because the original are SIXTY years old The context , the humor timing and music is for generation , we don’t understand anymore! So they need a little recut in timing and new sound effects and music in style of Michael Giacchino.

    • TheDirtyVicar

      YES it needed, because the original are SIXTY years old The context , the humor timing and music is for generation , we don’t understand anymore!

      Speak for yourself, thank you.

    • http://los-utopicos.blogspot.com allari

      The classic T&J are just fine. They fell more sincere, like the artists had fun thinking and sketching each short

  • Retro00064

    I just watched it, and I think I prefer the “boring” original.

  • http://youtube.com/user/Mesterius1 Mesterius

    I see the makings of a second Blu-ray set here: “Tom and Jerry: The Arabic Collection”! Also, they should rename the collection with the original cartoons to “Tom and Jerry: The Boring Non-Arabic Collection”.

  • http://www.toonocity.com fremgen

    I would assume the ‘easy answer’ is more correct. Tom and Jerry are more popular in the arabic speaking world than the english.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    The whole comes off as this naive attempt by someone who thought he was being clever by giving these guys voices and all that. I think we all probably had thoughts like this at some point in our lifetime (mostly as kids messing around with a tape recorder). YouTube certainly amplifies that by making that voice heard globally when it was isolated only to you or someone else.

    Taking this comment away from T&J for the moment, here’s a Foreign-dubbed version of The Road Runner Show with Wile E. never shutting up!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEiWdFNX7Ec

  • Carlos Agustin

    Jerry’s name is spelled with only 1 r.

  • AJ

    From my experiance of you tube I would say the fact that the video has 70 times the views is because of the copyright. strangly foriegn language versions of shows tend to stay on longer. Honestly I have seen many copies of classic cartoons get removed on the site.

  • Mike Johnson

    When Tom first happens across the female cat on the beach, I think the dialogue in Arabic is something like “I’ve never seen a Burqa like THAT before!”

  • Gray64

    Is Tom and Jerry just now appearing in the Arabic-speaking world? If so, that could account for this short’s popularity (no, wait, didn’t Yassir Arafat once say Tom and Jerry were his favorite cartoon characters? Guess that shoots that theory down…)

  • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ mick

    I bought the best collection of Tom and Jerry that I personally ever owned, from a small garage in Dubai… in the bargain bucket bin.

    Thanks for posting this, I found it to be quite perfect

  • John

    When you say how do we make Tom and Jerry popular again you mean to make new cartoons off of them. Tom and Jerry are really popular, it’s just when they are made by animators today there’s something missing, it’s called not spending the time and money on good animation, in the last thirty years everything has or is made on the cheap. Art schools are not what they used to be 80 years ago when the 40′s animators went to art school.

    • Gray64

      Ok, but the vast majority of the great animators of 80 years ago didn’t go to art school…most of them learned on the job.
      And I would say that the problem with today’s animation isn’t so much that something’s missing as that something’s there that shouldn’t be: namely, too much executive meddling. Too many suits telling cartoonists and animators what to do instead of just trusting creative people to do their thing. Leon Schlesinger (sp?) didn’t have any idea what made a good cartoon, but he trusted that his animation staff did.

  • RODAN

    I think they’re passing secret messages….going to have to send this to the Pentagon asap!

  • http://www.davemackey.com Dave Mackey

    There was a version of the 1956 Popeye cartoon “Insect to Injury” on YouTube that had over 2 million views (I don’t think it’s up any more), in spite of the fact that for about a year it had a white-noise soundtrack. Not a particularly noteworthy cartoon; its only distinction is that it was the only Popeye with a Dave Tendlar director credit, although he “de-facto” directed many that were credited to either Sparber or Kneitel prior to that.

  • Dario

    Why is it popular? Because the video is called “Tom and Jerry”! If it was named after the short title, then it wouldn’t be so popular.

    • http://youtube.com/user/Mesterius1 Mesterius

      Mmmm… no. I’d say it’s popular because it’s called “tom and jery”. That probably peeks people’s curiosity.

  • Stephen Rhodes Treadwell

    Why should anyone be bugged by Tom speaking one time in Quiet Please? One of the many interesting things about T&J is that they don’t talk & one reason that’s interesting is that on rare occasions they do.