Muscle Beach Tom is the 101st one-reel Tom and Jerry short, released on September 7, 1956 by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer. It was co-directed and co-produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and it was animated by Lewis Marshall, Kenneth Muse, Ed Barge, and Irven Spence (erroneously credited as Irvin Spence). The backgrounds were designed by Robert Gentle, the layouts by Richard Bickenbach and the music was composed by Scott Bradley.
Several cats are working out with weights on a busy day at Muscle Beach. Tom, arriving on a date with his girlfriend, dumps their beach equipment on top of a sunbathing Jerry. Tom then carelessly tears Jerry's beach towel with his beach parasol and tosses food scraps at Jerry. Jerry angrily marches up to Tom, slapping him with a banana peel tossed at him, and is rewarded when Tom shoves a balloon into Jerry's mouth, inflating Jerry into a balloon. Tom then lets go, causing Jerry to spin in the air and whoosh off into the distance.
Tom, delighted, turns back to his girlfriend, but she is paying attention to Butch weightlifting. Tom confronts Butch, but Butch uses elastic string to launch Tom into a parasol and a pole. Jerry then returns and sticks the string onto the pole as Tom goes to confront Butch again. Tom crashes back into the pole, which splits and crushes Tom into a crab, scaring away a real crab out of its wits.
Both determined to win the girl cat's heart, Butch and Tom engage in games of one-upmanship. Both cats take turns lifting progressively heavier weights; all with equal results. After two lifts each, Butch is unable to lift a heavy barbell. Tom then barely lifts it, but struggles, falls sideways and is flattened between the weights.
Butch and the girl cat then dance to conga music, while Jerry dances with a banana peel. After Butch dances on Tom's beach ball, Tom pulls Butch into the sand to dance with the girl cat. After Butch pulls Tom into the sand, Tom uses a crab to pinch Butch's shorts and send Butch flying upwards, but is unaware as Butch lands in front of him, dancing with Tom before throwing Tom into a trash bin.
In a last-ditch effort, Tom stuffs balloons into his bathing suit. After the balloons make him float over the ground, Tom ties an anchor around his waist. Tom returns to Butch, and after the pair strike each other, making Tom flip upside down, Tom vanquishes his rival with an accurate swing of the anchor, winning his girlfriend back.
Tom is flexing his "muscles" to his girl, but Jerry is noisily eating celery nearby on his picnic basket, annoying Tom. Tom flips the basket's lid onto Jerry's head to silence Jerry, causing Jerry to untie the anchor from around Tom's waist. Tom, kissing his girlfriend, holds onto his parasol after floating upwards again, but Jerry inflates Tom's suit into a balloon with a helium canister, forcing Tom to grasp his parasol with both hands. Jerry then pricks Tom's suit with a safety pin, causing Tom to spin in the air and float away into the distance.
With both Tom and Butch out of the way, Jerry then aims to lift a barbell of two tomatoes to impress Tom's girlfriend, but the weight is too much for him, and like Tom earlier in his successful but short-lived effort to win his girlfriend back, Jerry falls sideways and is flattened between the "weights".
- Tom's girlfriend in this short closely resembles that of the "ski bunny" from The Tom and Jerry Show (1975).
- Jerry and Butch's beach outfit have also appeared in Tom and Jerry in War of the Whiskers.
- The footage from the cartoon was reused in The Mansion Cat.
- On the WB Kids YouTube channel, the cartoon is presented in a 16:9 aspect ratio instead of its CinemaScope format in the Classic Cartoon Compilation videos.