Created by Gene Deitch under the Terrytoons studio (which was a subsidiary of CBS, the network that broadcast Captain Kangaroo), Tom Terrific ran in a series of five-minute cartoons created specifically for the Captain Kangaroo show from 1957-1959, and was rerun on Kangaroo for years thereafter. For several years after 1962, Tom Terrific would be broadcast every other week, alternating with Lariat Sam, another Terrytoons creation.
Drawn in a simple style, it featured a gee-whiz boy hero, Tom Terrific, who lived in a treehouse and could transform himself into anything he wanted thanks to his magic, funnel-shaped "thinking cap," which also enhanced his intelligence. He had a comic lazybones of a sidekick, Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog, and an arch-foe named Crabby Appleton, whose motto was "Rotten to the core!" Other foes included Mr. Instant, the Instant Thing King, Captain Kidney Bean, Sweet Tooth Sam, the Candy Bandit and Isotope Feaney, The Meany.