Old Rockin' Chair Tom is a 1948 American one-reel animated cartoon and is the 36th Tom and Jerry short directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and produced by Fred Quimby. It was animated by Ed Barge, Kenneth Muse, Ray Patterson and Irven Spence and was released to theaters on September 18, 1948. This cartoon has the longest Mammy Two Shoes on-screen appearance. It even features the first appearance of Lightning in a theatrical release of a Tom and Jerry cartoon.
Mammy Two Shoes is standing on a chair, screaming in panic, being harassed by Jerry. She calls for Tom, who lazily wakes up and then rejuvenates instantly when he sees the mouse. Tom chases Jerry away from Mammy, but Jerry trips him. Jerry goes back to Mammy and rocks the stool up and down until Tom chases him again. Jerry then opens up a door and the ironing board, followed by the iron, falls on Tom's head. Tom catches Jerry trying to cut down the stool, and Jerry gives him the axe. Mammy urges Tom to hit Jerry, but each time Jerry ducks and eventually he chops down the stool. Tom supports Mammy on his head, until he loses his balance. Jerry opens the door of the basement stairway. Tom goes through the doorway, with Mammy still on him, and crashes down into the basement causing several pieces of crockery to smash outside the door.
Fed up with Tom's failure, Mammy retires him, believing that Tom is getting too old to catch mice. She then calls in "Lightning", a younger, bright ginger cat who lives up to his name as he rushes onto the scene and speedily kicks Jerry out of the house and into the dumpster. Tom then panics as Lightning speeds past him and flips him over, then Lightning kisses Mammy's hand. Mammy praises Lightning's etiquette and efficiency. Jerry tries to sneak back into the house, but Lightning kicks him out again. Lightning passes by Tom and twists him around, and dresses him up with a fake beard as Mammy advises him to "take good care of poor old Uncle Tom" (but changed to "take good care of poor old Tom" in the redubbed version) as she goes upstairs, leaving Lightning in charge.
The cat then begins to show his true nature by raiding the fridge, until he drops a bottle of milk. This wakes up Mammy, who believes it is Tom raiding the fridge. Lightning then frames Tom by dumping the fridge contents at Tom's feet, stuffing leftovers into his hands and cramming Tom inside a watermelon. Mammy enters and sees Tom, but not Lightning standing next to him. She asks Tom if he has been in the fridge and Lightning nods Tom's head. Lightning offers to throw Tom out of the house, and Tom is kicked into the dumpster, where he sees Jerry. As Lightning is set to kick him, Jerry just kicks himself out.
Together, the duo plot to remove Lightning from the house for good. Later Tom and Jerry, armed with a magnet and iron, sneak into the house, and place the iron by a sleeping Lightning's mouth, and the magnet behind his rear. This causes Lightning to swallow the iron, waking him up. As Lightning chases after Jerry, Tom uses the magnet to attract the iron, and therefore pull Lightning back into his fist. Tom then tosses the magnet to Jerry, but Jerry is too light and is dragged along with Lightning until he runs into the iron and latches onto the magnet. Lightning grabs onto a piano leg and Tom, Jerry and Lightning begin a tug-of-war. The duo wins and Lightning is sent through the piano and into a wall, where a whole set of plates fall on the ginger cat. Mammy hears the chaos and enters the room, but soon Jerry starts to terrorize her again by shaking the stool she is standing on. She calls for Lightning, but Lightning is unable to come to the rescue, as Tom is controlling his movements behind the kitchen wall. Eventually, after praying that someone will help her, Mammy calls for Tom, who grabs Jerry and pretends to beat him up, but in reality, Tom and Jerry are outside the house hitting a pan with wooden sticks and rattling it. Tom helpfully kicks Lightning out of the house, but forgetting the iron that Lightning swallowed earlier, he ends up smashing his foot after striking the iron as he kicks him.
Later, Tom, with his broken foot wrapped in bandages, is given a nice pie from Mammy as a token of her gratitude, as well as an apology for her misunderstanding. Once Mammy leaves the scene, Tom takes half of the pie, but leaves the remainder of it by his side for Jerry, who using the magnet, brings the pie in the dish near to his hole and happily eats his well-earned food.
In the original version when Lightning dresses Tom up with a fake beard to make him look like an elderly cat, Mammy advises Lightning to "take good care of poor old Uncle Tom". Due to this line of dialogue referencing the controversially racist novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, on Cartoon Network and Boomerang airings this line has been changed to "take good care of poor old Tom" (with the word "Uncle" deleted) when Mammy's voice has been redubbed by Thea Vidale.
- This is one of the episodes where Jerry is helping Tom.
- Lightning is basically Butch the cat with an orange colour scheme.
- Jerry wobbles the stall for the second time, the first time being The Lonesome Mouse.
- This is the first appearance of Lightning.
- On both the unrestored VHS/laserdisc prints and Turner prints of this cartoon, the last few minutes of this cartoon appear to have the colors look more faded than the rest of the cartoon for reasons unknown; in these prints, the colors change to more inferior ones when it cuts to the scene where Tom and Jerry are hitting a pan with wooden sticks and rattling it outside the house. This color correction inconsistency is however corrected when this cartoon has been restored and remastered for Tom and Jerry Golden Collection Volume 1 Blu-Ray/DVD release.