Spike & Tyke, from a 1957 comic book.


Original Medium: Theatrical animation
Produced by: MGM
First Appeared: 1942 or 1949
Creators: Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera
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MGM's Tom & Jerry series, which started in 1940, is one of animation's classics — but it's also very repetitive. To keep it fresh, directors …

continued below

… Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera introduced a few recurring supporting characters over the years, and some of them went on to become minor stars in their own right. That's where Spike & Tyke, stars of the last series the studio ever launched, came from.

Spike was a big, gruff bulldog, and Tyke was his adorable son. There was no mom in evidence. Spike & Tyke cartoons generally consisted of Tyke doing something cute while Spike did something painful yet hilarious to Tom. Jerry's role was to egg Spike on. At first, Spike's voice was provided by Bill Thompson (also the voice of Droopy), but later Daws Butler (Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound) took the role. Tyke, tho, didn't say much.

At least one important cartoon reference work lists Dog Trouble (released April 18, 1942) as the pair's debut. Actually, tho, only Spike appeared in that one. Spike continued as a solo guest star for the next several years. Tyke wasn't introduced until October 1, 1949, the release date of Love That Pup. Even after that, Spike continued to appear from time to time without Tyke. Also, between 1949 and '52, Spike guest-starred several times with Droopy.

Within a couple of years, Spike & Tyke were holding down a series of their own — only it wasn't in cartoons, but in comic books. Their adventures ran in the back pages of Dell's Tom & Jerry comic, starting in #79 (February, 1951) and continuing until well into the 1960s. Dell also published them in their own title from 1953-61.

Back in cartoons, they finally graduated to a starring role in Give & Tyke, released March 29, 1957. The glory was short-lived, however, as the next one in their series, Scat Cats (July 26) was the last. Shortly after it was made, the studio shut its doors.

They got a new lease on life — sort of, anyway — in 1959, when their old directing team, now running Hanna-Barbera Productions, resurrected them as Augie Doggie & Doggie Daddy, one of the back segments of Quick Draw McGraw's show. For this, they were not merely renamed, but also redesigned, and their characters tweaked. But the basic theme of a single male parent, who happens to be a dog, carries through.


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