Southbound Duckling is the 90th one-reel animated Tom and Jerry short. Released to theaters by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1955, it was directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and produced by Fred Quimby with music by Scott Bradley. The cartoon was animated by Kenneth Muse, Ed Barge and Irven Spence with backgrounds by Vera Ohman and layouts by Dick Bickenbach.
Quacker is convinced that all ducks fly South for the winter. He packs his suitcase, visits Jerry to tell him about his migration plans, and tries to leave but Jerry stops him. The mouse shows Quacker a book on ducks which compares wild ducks and domestic ducks (i.e. Quacker) to convince Quacker that he isn't supposed to migrate. Quacker unconvinced, sets off on his travels, even though he cannot fly. After some hard running, Quacker is out of breath, and Jerry again shows his friend the book. Quacker won't give up, loads himself into a catapult and flies straight into Tom's mouth.
Quacker flees and Tom peeks at a recipe for duck, then sets out to make this reality. Jerry pulls Quacker into a tree as he passes by. Soon Quacker places himself on one end of a seesaw and drops an anvil on the other to pelt himself into the air, but cannot stay up and falls into a frying pan Tom sticks out of the window. Tom covers Quacker with egg and flour, which blinds the duck temporarily. When he recovers and sees the cooking book, the recipe reads SOUTHERN FRIED DUCK, and Quacker realizes Tom wants to eat him!
Jerry scoops up Quacker from the pan with a spatula and pulls it towards his hole, but drops the duck just in front. Tom grabs the duck, but gets his hand hit by the spatula and loses Quacker. Still persistent, the duck rides a rocket reading FLORIDA OR BUST into the distance, but Tom swallows the rocket to stop the duck from escaping, sending him across the landscape into a pool - all without swallowing Quacker.
Knowing he cannot escape alone, Quacker pleads for help from Jerry, who obliges after much pestering. The duck boards an air balloon and Jerry fills it up, sending Quacker floating into the air. This does not last long as Tom shoots the balloon from a hidden bunker and brings out a net to catch the duck. While the cat is focused on watching his prey's trajectory, Jerry cuts the bottom of the net out and takes Quacker.
Finally, the mouse and duck go to the international airport and fly to Miami, Florida. Tom chases them into the airport and tries to run away from the oncoming plane, and he ends up stowing away by clinging to the wheel.
On a Miami beach, Quacker and Jerry are sunbathing, glad to be rid of Tom, but he is actually right behind them and traps them under a bucket. Quacker is yelling from beneath the bucket, wondering what's going on, while Tom snickers evilly and pulls down an umbrella to hide himself and the bucket as the words "The End" pop up on the umbrella.
- Like a number of early widescreen animated films (several other MGM cartoons and Disney's Lady and the Tramp, for example), Southbound Duckling was produced in both the Academy and CinemaScope aspect ratios. The same animation cels were used, but the camera shots were reframed and different backgrounds were used. For some television broadcasts, however, a pan and scan copy was prepared from the CinemaScope version (which is reframed from the Academy version, and missing information present at the top and bottom of the frame in many shots from the Academy version). Contrary to the CinemaScope version, the Academy version is missing information present at the left and right side of the frame in many shots from the CinemaScope version.
- The WB Kids YouTube channel presents the pan and scan version in the Classic Cartoon Compilation videos.
- On the Tom and Jerry (Not longer) YouTube channel, clips from the cartoon are shown in its correct Cinemascope aspect ratio (with the sides shown uncropped) version in the video.