Mighty Mouse

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Mighty Mouse
Late 1950s/1960s depiction of Mighty Mouse used in the opening of TV prints of some cartoons
Early Terrytoons Mighty Mouse
First appearanceMouse of Tomorrow (1942)
Last appearanceCat Alarm (1961)
Created byPaul Terry
Voiced byRoy Halee, Sr. (theatrical cartoons)
Tom Morrison (Mighty Mouse Playhouse)
Alan Oppenheimer (The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle)
Patrick Pinney (Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures)
Information
SpeciesMouse
GenderMale

Mighty Mouse is an American animated anthropomorphic superhero mouse character created by the Terrytoons studio for 20th Century Fox. The character was originally called Super Mouse, and made his debut in the 1942 short The Mouse of Tomorrow. The name was changed to Mighty Mouse in his eighth film, 1944's The Wreck of the Hesperus, and the character went on to star in 80 theatrical shorts, concluding in 1961 with Cat Alarm.

In 1955, Mighty Mouse Playhouse debuted as a Saturday morning cartoon show on the CBS television network, which popularized the character far more than the original theatrical run. The show lasted until 1967. Filmation revived the character in The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle, which ran from 1979 to 1980, and animation director Ralph Bakshi revived the concept again in Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, from 1987 to 1989.

Mighty Mouse also appeared in comic books by several publishers, including his own series, Mighty Mouse and The Adventures of Mighty Mouse, which ran from 1946 to 1968.

Mighty Mouse is known for his catchy theme song, "Mighty Mouse Theme (Here I Come to Save the Day)", written by composer Marshall Barer.[1]

Super Mouse[edit]

The character originated in 1942 from an idea by animator Isidore Klein at the Terrytoons studio, who suggested a parody of the popular Superman character, making some sketches of a superhero fly. Paul Terry, the head of the studio, liked the idea of a Superman parody, but suggested a mouse rather than an insect.[2]

The character was dubbed "Super Mouse", and his first theatrical short, The Mouse of Tomorrow, debuted on October 16, 1942. In his book Of Mice and Magic, critic Leonard Maltin describes the character's origin story:

Cats of the city have imposed a reign of terror on the rodent community. The mice have barely a chance to live in peace, with endless traps and clever feline footwork sealing their doom. One mouse manages to escape from a particularly hungry cat and runs for shelter into an enormous supermarket. He examines the goods on the long lines of shelves and sets to work on a total transformation: He bathes in Super Soap, swallows Super Soup, munches Super Celery and plunges head first into an enormous piece of Super Cheese -- from which he emerges in a flash as Super Mouse! He's no longer a tiny rodent, but a two-footed, humanized mouse with a massive chest and powerful biceps. His costume is like Superman's, with a flowing red cape, and his powers are similar, too: He can fly through the air and repel bullets with his chest. Super Mouse soars to the rescue of his fellow mice and dispatches the neighborhood cats to the moon. Returning to earth, he is hoisted on the shoulders of his happy comrades, as the narrator declares, "Thus ends the adventure of Super Mouse... he seen his job and he done it!"[3]

The trade journal Variety said The Mouse of Tomorrow "just misses being outstanding, mainly because of faulty narration and too much kidding of Superman. Idea of super-rat conquering prowling beasts of feline world is good, but too closely follows pattern of that super hero."[4]

Super Mouse (and his later alias, Mighty Mouse) was originally voiced by Roy Halee, Sr, a tenor who often sang on radio and first started doing cartoon voices for J.R. Bray's studio. In the operatic melodramas to follow, Halee and his quartet provided all of the vocals.[2]

In Super Mouse's next film, he spoofed the popular Universal Monsters films (Frankenstein's Cat, 1942). In Pandora's Box (1943), he battled bat-winged cat demons, and his origin story was changed: now he becomes Super Mouse by eating vitamins A through Z.[2] The hero made seven films in 1942-1943 before his name was changed.

Mighty Mouse: rename and redesign[edit]

In 1944, Paul Terry learned that another character named "Super Mouse" was to be published in Standard Comics' Coo-Coo Comics, so his character's name was changed to Mighty Mouse.[5] The first short under the character's new name was The Wreck of the Hesperus, released February 11, 1944, adapting the celebrated poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with the addition of a superhero mouse. A couple months later, the studio spoofed another classic, Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, under the title Mighty Mouse Meets Jeckyll and Hyde Cat.

By summer, Mighty Mouse's costume got an overhaul as well. Until this point, he'd been wearing Superman's colors -- a blue costume with a red cape -- but in the June 16, 1944 cartoon Eliza on the Ice, Mighty Mouse appears for the first time in a red costume, with a yellow cape. This is also the first time that the character was portrayed as living among the stars, hurtling down from the heavens to save the day.[2]

The final design of the character debuted in the 15th cartoon, The Sultan's Birthday, released on October 13, 1944. In this cartoon, redesigned by animator Connie Rasinski, Mighty Mouse has a fuller figure with an exaggerated upper body, and is clad in a yellow outfit, with a red cape and underwear.[2]

Like his inspiration, Superman, Mighty Mouse's superpowers are vast and sometimes appear limitless. His main powers include flight, super-strength and invulnerability. The early cartoons often portray him as a ruthless fighter; one of his most frequent tactics is to fly under an enemy's chin and let loose a volley of blows, subduing the opponent through sheer physical punishment.

However, his powers can vary, depending on the demands of the story; he's sometimes knocked unconscious or rendered temporarily immoble by the villain, only to rise again by the end of the cartoon and save the day. In some films, he uses X-ray vision and psychokinesis. He was also able to turn back time in 1946's The Johnstown Flood. Other cartoons, like 1945's Krakatoa, show him leaving a red contrail during flight that he can manipulate like a band of solid, flexible matter.

In a 1969 interview, Terry said that Mighty Mouse's power had a religious aspect: "When a man is sick, or down, or hurt, you say, "There's nothing more we can do. It's in God's hand." And he either survives or he doesn't according to God's plan. Right? So, "Man's extremity is God's opportunity." So, taking that as a basis, I'd only have to get the mice in a tough spot and then say, "Isn't there someone who can help?" "Yes, there is someone; it's Mighty Mouse!" So, down from the heavens he'd come sailing down and lick the evil spirit, or whatever it was. And everything would be serene again." Biographer W. Gerald Harmonic notes that as of the mid 40s, Mighty Mouse would be pictured living on a star or a cloud, up in the heavens, and that he became "a Christ-like figure, a savior of all 'mouse-kind'."[2]

While his typical opponents are nondescript cats, Mighty Mouse occasionally battles specific villains, though most appear in only one or two films. Several of the earliest "Super Mouse" films (having been made during World War II), feature the cats as thinly veiled caricatures of the Nazis, hunting down mice and marching them into concentration camp-like traps to what would otherwise be their doom. The Bat-cats, alien cats with bat wings and wheels for feet, appeared in two cartoons; in two others between 1949 and 1950 he faces a huge, dim-witted, but super-strong cat named Julius "Pinhead" Schlabotka (voiced by Dayton Allen) whose strength rivals Mighty Mouse's. In rare moments, he confronts non-feline adversaries such as human bad guy Bad Bill Bunion and his horse, or the Automatic Mouse Trap, a brontosaur-shaped robotic monster. In The Green Line (1944), the cats and the mice live on either side of a green dividing line down the middle of their town's main street. They agree to keep the peace as long as no one crosses it. An evil entity, a Satan cat, starts the cats and mice fighting. At the end, Mighty Mouse is cheered by mice and cats alike.

Melodrama spoofs[edit]

In 1945, Mighty Mouse and the Pirates was the first Mighty Mouse cartoon to feature sung dialogue, in the operetta style. Gypsy Life (1945) and The Crackpot King (1946) followed in the same style.[2] Gypsy Life was particularly successful, earning Terry his third nomination for an Academy Award for Short Subjects (Cartoon).[6]

There was a romantic, damsel in distress element in these cartoons -- in each one, Mighty Mouse saves a dark-haired beauty from terrible trouble, and in the latter two, the camera fades out on the hero and the girl in a romantic clinch. While these were very similar to the musical melodrama spoofs that were soon to emerge, they didn't have an overwrought narrator, or the suggestion that the cartoon is an episode of a continuing story.

In November 1947, A Fight to the Finish was the first in a series of musical melodrama spoofs, with Mighty Mouse saving damsel in distress Pearl Pureheart (sometimes "Little Nell") from the villainous, mustache-twirling cat Oil Can Harry. Terrytoons revived the concept from their earlier Fanny Zilch series, a melodrama spoof that ran for seven cartoons from 1933 to 1937. Fanny was constantly tormented by a human version of Oil Can Harry, and protected by her lover, J. Leffingwell Strongheart.

A Fight to the Finish begins with a snatch of Cole Porter's song "And The Villain Still Pursued Her", which had also been used as the theme for the Fanny Zilch cartoons. The narrator opens with an urgent recap of the (nonexistent) previous episode: "In our last episode, we left Mighty Mouse at the old Beaver River station. As you remember, folks, he was locked in a desperate struggle with a villain. But on with the story..." Mighty Mouse is engaging in "a fight to the finish" with Oil Can Harry, now a villainous cat with a mustache, a top hat and a big black cloak, voiced by Tom Morrison.[7] The blonde heroine, Pearl Pureheart, is tied up in the other room, but refuses to give up hope. Harry manages to knock out Mighty Mouse, and leaves him tied to the railroad track with a bomb on his head, and the 5:15 train due to pass by. Harry drives Pearl away to his home, where he woos her in song, to no avail. Mighty Mouse manages to blow out the fuse, stop the train and escape from his bonds, and rushes to Pearl's rescue. At Harry's house, they fight with fists, guns and swords, as Pearl slips out the window and onto a passing log which is floating down the river into a mill. Mighty Mouse throws Harry into the river and rushes to rescue Pearl, who's heading for the buzzsaw. The narrator asks, "Is our little heroine doomed to destruction in the sawmill? Will Mighty Mouse arrive in time? See the following episode, next week!" The camera starts to iris out, but then stops, as the narrator relents, "Stop! Gosh, we can't wait until next week. Please, show us what happens, won't you?" Mighty Mouse grabs Pearl in time, and the pair have a brief romantic chorus together as the cartoon delivers a happy ending.

The melodrama spoofs continued as an occasional series over the next six years, with Oil Can Harry and Pearl Pureheart returning in thirteen more cartoons. Another memorable short was 1949's The Perils of Pearl Pureheart, in which Oil Can Harry hypnotizes Pearl into singing "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" on stage at an old saloon, where he vacuums up the tips thrown by the audience. Hypnotized for three and a half minutes of the six-minute cartoon, Pearl continues to sing as the battle between Harry and Mighty Mouse rages around her, even underwater.

To vary the formula, the melodramas started traveling to exotic locales, including Italy (Sunny Italy, 1951), Switzerland (Swiss Miss, 1951), Holland (Happy Holland, 1952) and even prehistoric times (Prehistoric Perils, 1952) and medieval times (When Mousehood Was in Flower, 1953).

The fourteen Oil Can Harry melodrama theatricals were:

  • A Fight to the Finish (1947)
  • Loves Labor Won (1948)
  • The Mysterious Stranger (1948)
  • Triple Trouble (1948)
  • A Cold Romance (1949)
  • The Perils of Pearl Pureheart (1949)
  • Stop, Look and Listen (1949)
  • Beauty on the Beach (1950)
  • Sunny Italy (1951)
  • Swiss Miss (1951)
  • Prehistoric Perils (1952)
  • Happy Holland (1952)
  • A Soapy Opera (1953)
  • When Mousehood Was in Flower (1953)

Television[edit]

Mighty Mouse Playhouse[edit]

Mighty Mouse had little theatrical impact, but became Terrytoons' most popular character and a cultural icon on television. In 1955, Paul Terry sold the Terrytoons studio to CBS, which repackaged the theatrical cartoons as a popular Saturday morning show, Mighty Mouse Playhouse. The show aired from December 10, 1955[8] until Sep. 2, 1967, using the existing film library. Only three new cartoons were produced after the sale. The final season included a new feature: The Mighty Heroes.

Tom Morrison of Terrytoons provided the speaking voice of Mighty Mouse in the show's new framing sequences.

The show's theme song was credited on some early records to "The Terrytooners, Mitch Miller and Orchestra". However, writer Mark Evanier credits a group called The Sandpipers (not the 1960s easy listening group of the same name).[9]

The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle[edit]

In 1979-1980, Filmation made television cartoons starring Mighty Mouse and fellow Terrytoon characters Heckle and Jeckle in a show called The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle. The show introduced two new characters: a vampire duck named Quacula (not to be confused with Count Duckula), and Oil Can Harry's bumbling, large, but swift-running, henchman Swifty. The show premiered in 1979 and lasted two seasons. In the Filmation series and movie, Mighty Mouse and Oil Can Harry were performed by veteran voice artist Alan Oppenheimer, and Pearl Pureheart was voiced by Diane Pershing. Frank Welker played Heckle, Jeckle and Quacula, and Norm Prescott played Theodore H. Bear.[10]

Each episode included two traditional Mighty Mouse cartoons, as well as an episode of a Mighty Mouse science-fiction serial, "The Great Space Chase". The hour was rounded out with two Heckle & Jeckle cartoons and one Quacula cartoon, plus short bumpers with tips about safety and the environment. The total cartoons produced for the series were 32 Mighty Mouse cartoons, 32 Heckle & Jeckle cartoons, 16 episodes of "The Great Space Chase" and 16 Quacula cartoons.[10]

The "Space Chase" episodes were edited together into a theatrical matinee movie, Mighty Mouse in the Great Space Chase, which was released on December 10, 1982.

Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures[edit]

In 1987 and 1988, animation producer Ralph Bakshi (who began his career at Terrytoons in the late 1950s and worked on the last Mighty Mouse shorts filmed by that company) created a new series of Mighty Mouse cartoons entitled Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures for the CBS Saturday morning children's lineup. In this series, Mighty Mouse has a real identity, Mike Mouse (both identities voiced by Patrick Pinney), and a sidekick, Scrappy Mouse (voiced by actress Dana Hill), the little orphan. Though a children's cartoon, its heavy satirical tone, risque humor, and adult jokes made the Bakshi Mighty Mouse series a collector's item for collectors of older television series.

The best-remembered episode of this series featured a crossover with Mighty Mouse and another Bakshi creation, the Mighty Heroes. In this 1988 episode, the Mighty Heroes were middle-aged men (except for Diaper Man, who was in his 20s) and were all lawyers.

Later years[edit]

Marvel Comics produced a 10-issue comic book series (set in the New Adventures continuity) in 1990 and 1991. Nothing new has been produced using the Mighty Mouse character except for an arcade game by Atari and a 2001 "The power of cheese" television commercial.[11] That commercial shows Mighty Mouse dining calmly on cheese in a restaurant, utterly unconcerned with a scene of chaos and terror visibly unfolding in the street outside. The commercial was hastily withdrawn in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.[citation needed]

The character appeared in the 1999 pilot Curbside.[12]

Until 2019, the rights to Mighty Mouse were divided as a result of the 2006 corporate split of Viacom (the former owner of the Terrytoons franchise) into two separate companies. CBS Operations (a unit of the current CBS Corporation) owns the ancillary rights and trademarks to the character, while Paramount Home Entertainment/CBS Home Entertainment holds home video rights. The first official release of Mighty Mouse material has been announced and what is now CBS Television Distribution has television syndication rights (the shorts are currently out of circulation). On December 4, 2019, CBS Corporation and Viacom merged into a single, entity, ViacomCBS, officially reuniting the rights to Mighty Mouse under the same company.

Feature film adaptation[edit]

As early as 2004, Paramount Pictures, Omation Animation Studios and Nickelodeon Movies announced their intention to bring Mighty Mouse back to the motion picture screen with a CGI Mighty Mouse feature film that was tentatively scheduled to be released some time in 2013.[13]

In April 2019, Jon and Erich Hoeber signed on to script the film for Paramount Animation while Karen Rosenfelt (Wonder Park) and Robert Cort (Terminator: Genisys) are set to produce. The film will now be a CG/live action hybrid.[14] A release date for the film has still yet to be announced.

Terrytoons theatrical shorts[edit]

The first seven films starred the character named Super Mouse. In these early films the character's costume is much closer in design to that of Superman (blue tunic and tights with red trunks and cape).

Release # Title Release Date Director Writer Producer
01"The Mouse of Tomorrow"October 16, 1942 (1942-10-16)Eddie DonnellyJohn Foster, Isadore KleinPaul Terry
In Mouseville, the town's cats capture all the mice except one, who escapes to a Supermarket, where he uses Super Soap, and eats Super Celery and Super Cheese, transforming into Super Mouse, who then vanquishes the cats and saves the mice of Mouseville.
02"Frankenstein's Cat"November 27, 1942 (1942-11-27)Manny DavisJohn FosterBill Weiss
Super Mouse must rescue the mice from a monster cat brought to life by a strike of lightning.
03"He Dood It Again"February 5, 1943 (1943-02-05)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
Super Mouse protects a group of mice who like to eat and party at a local diner at night.
04"Pandora's Box"June 11, 1943 (1943-06-11)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
Greek mythology provides the background as Super Mouse must battle bat-like cats to save a female mouse from the Troubles she unleashes from a box mysteriously dropped from the sky.
05"Super Mouse Rides Again"August 6, 1943 (1943-08-06)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
Cats battle a group of mice with everything imaginable (including Tommy guns) that only Super Mouse can thwart.
06"Down With Cats"October 7, 1943 (1943-10-07)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
Super Mouse comes to the rescue of some mice enjoying winter sports. The influence of World War II is evident in this film.
07"The Lion and the Mouse"November 12, 1943 (1943-11-12)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
Aesop's tale is reborn as Super Mouse faces a lion.

In the eighth cartoon, the character's name was changed to Mighty Mouse.

Release # Title Release Date Director Writer Producer
08"The Wreck of the Hesperus"February 11, 1944 (1944-02-11)Mannie DavisJohn Foster, Henry Wadsworth LongfellowPaul Terry
An old captain and his daughter are caught at sea in a hurricane. Mighty Mouse saves the captain, his daughter and the ship's crew and receives a hero's tickertape parade.
09"The Champion of Justice"March 17, 1944 (1944-03-17)Manny DavisJohn FosterBill Weiss
An elderly couple dies and leaves their fortune to some mice who had befriended them. Willy the Spender, a distant relative of the couple, vows to get the money away from the mice. (NOTE: The villain in this film is a human, rather than the usual cat. Also, Mighty Mouse uses a gun in the course of fighting the villain.)
10"Mighty Mouse Meets Jekyll and Hyde Cat"April 28, 1944 (1944-04-28)Manny DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse rescues a group of mice who sought shelter from a storm but accidentally hid away in the laboratory of Dr. Jekyll and are threatened by his cat who has taken the Doctor's horrific formula.
11"Eliza on the Ice"June 16, 1944 (1944-06-16)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse has to save Eliza from the clutches of Simon Legree in this story with characters named after those in Uncle Tom's Cabin.
12"Wolf! Wolf!"June 22, 1944 (1944-06-22)Manny DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
Little Bo Peep and her sheep are the victims in this story that tips the hat to the Pied Piper of Hamelin as Mighty Mouse goes up against the wolves with a jazz soundtrack.
13"The Green Line"July 7, 1944 (1944-07-07)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mice and cats live in relative peace in a town divided in half by a green line until an evil spirit convinces the cats to cross the line. Mighty Mouse puts everything aright again.
14"Mighty Mouse and the Two Barbers"September 1, 1944 (1944-09-01)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
Terrytown is the setting for this need for Mighty Mouse to rescue the mice who are threatened by a gang of alley cats.
15"Sultan's Birthday"October 13, 1944 (1944-10-13)Bill TytlaJohn FosterPaul Terry
World War II mixes with The Arabian Nights as Mighty Mouse rescues a sultan's harem girl from the attack of cats on flying carpets.
16"At the Circus"November 17, 1944 (1944-11-17)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse flies to the circus this time to rescue the cute highwire performer from the escaped lions.
17"Mighty Mouse and the Pirates"January 12, 1945 (1945-01-12)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
Pirate cats capture an island mouse princess who Mighty Mouse must rescue.
18"The Port of Missing Mice"February 2, 1945 (1945-02-02)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
More pirate cats, this time in San Francisco as Mighty Mouse battles cats to save a group of sailor mice from their clutches.
19"Raiding the Raiders"March 9, 1945 (1945-03-09)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
Rabbits are the victims this time, and vultures are the villains that Mighty Mouse must vanquish.
20"The Kilkenny Cats"April 13, 1945 (1945-04-13)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
City mice are forced to battle a gang of cats with military weapons, until Mighty Mouse arrives to save the day.
21"The Silver Streak"June 8, 1945 (1945-06-08)Eddie DonnellJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mice living in an old shack are safe under the protection of their dog, until the cats capture the dog and leave him on the train tracks as the Silver Streak bears down on him. Only Mighty Mouse can save everyone concerned while teaching the cats a leson.
22"Mighty Mouse and the Wolf"July 20, 1945 (1945-07-20)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
Three fairy tales are inverted as the Wolf tries to show how he takes all the blame unjustly. Spoofs Red Riding Hood, Little Bo Peep and the Three Little Pigs just to let Mighty Mouse take out the Wolf three times.
23"Gypsy Life"August 3, 1945 (1945-08-03)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
The bat-cats are back. This time they kidnap a gypsy princess who Mighty Mouse must rescue while putting the bat-cats in their place.
24"Mighty Mouse Meets Bad Bill Bunion"November 9, 1945 (1945-11-09)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse must save the saloon gal singer from the clutches of the outlaw Bad Bill Bunion.
25"Krakatoa"December 14, 1945 (1945-12-14)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
Dancing mouse Krakatoa Katie offends the island volcano which spews lava to punish the mice. A signal for help is received by a scientist, who drinks a potion and changes (a la Jekyll/Hyde) into Mighty Mouse who must stop the volcano's threat and set the island aright.
26"Svengali's Cat"January 8, 1946 (1946-01-08)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
A hypnotist cat forces a girl mouse to act as bait to lure other mice to be captured and eaten by the cats until Mighty Mouse comes to the rescue.
27"The Wicked Wolf"March 8, 1946 (1946-03-08)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
Goldilocks and the Three Bears get mixed in with the Wolf as Mighty Mouse must set everything right.
28"My Old Kentucky Home"March 29, 1946 (1946-03-29)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
Humans are the recipients of Mighty Mouse's help this time when the Wolf comes to collect the mortgage on the home of The Colonel and Nellie. A jockey promises to win the horse race and use the money to pay the mortgage. The Wolf plans to prevent the jockey from winning, but Mighty Mouse won't let that happen.
29"Throwing the Bull"May 3, 1946 (1946-05-03)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
A wealthy Spanish merchant offers a reward and marriage to his daughter to anyone who can defeat a bull. All comers fail, until Mighty Mouse enters the ring to win the fight and the merchant's daughter.
30"The Johnstown Flood"June 28, 1946 (1946-06-28)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
In a re-imagining of the Johnstown Flood, mice and dogs are caught in the devastating deluge as Mighty Mouse battles to rescue them while averting further disaster.
31"The Trojan Horse"July 26, 1946 (1946-07-26)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
A return to mythology, this time Troy (the mouse version) where the unsuspecting rodents take in a horse statue which hides cats within waiting to pounce. Mighty Mouse descends from Mount Olympus to save the day.
32"Winning the West"August 16, 1946 (1946-08-16)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
American myth sets the stage this time as Mighty Mouse turns up in the old west to battle cats threatening pioneer mice.
33"The Electronic Mouse Trap"September 6, 1946 (1946-09-06)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
An evil scientist cat invents a robot mouse trap that goes after all the mice in the city. The Atomic Age begins to make its presence known as Mighty Mouse must battle a robot powered by atomic bombs.
34"The Jail Break"September 20, 1946 (1946-09-20)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
Another story set in the classic American west. This time, Bad Bill Bunion returns to commit crimes until Mighty Mouse defeats him and send him back to prison at Alcatraz Island.
35"The Crackpot King"November 15, 1946 (1946-11-15)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse must battle the insane cat king and his evil wolf wizard to rescue the fair damsel mouse in distress.
36"Mighty Mouse and the Hep Cat"December 6, 1946 (1946-12-06)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
The fairy tale theme returns as a city of well-to-do suburban mice are lured to their demise by cats using the magic flute of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Mighty Mouse must help the mice who cannot help themselves.
37"Crying Wolf"January 10, 1947 (1947-01-10)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
A faithful sheepdog cares for the lambs under his care, but it's always the black sheep of the family that causes the problems and needs the help of Mighty Mouse when his practical jokes go awry.
38"The Dead End Cats"February 14, 1947 (1947-02-14)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse must face down a 1930s-style mob of racketeer cats.
39"Aladdin's Lamp"March 28, 1947 (1947-03-28)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
The Arabian Nights return as Mighty Mouse becomes involved with rescuing the daughter of Aladdin in this retelling of the story.
40"The Sky Is Falling"April 25, 1947 (1947-04-25)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse rescues some barnyard animals who have been tricked by the fox into believing the sky is falling.
41"Mighty Mouse Meets Deadeye Dick"May 30, 1947 (1947-05-30)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
Back to the American western as the sheriff and the bad guy battle it out until Mighty Mouse arrives to finish the fight.
42"A Date for Dinner"August 29, 1947 (1947-08-29)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
A game of cat and mouse, until the cat catches the mouse. The mouse makes a promise to deliver an even better mouse if the cat will release him. When the mouse returns, dinner is...Mighty Mouse.
43"The First Snow"October 10, 1947 (1947-10-10)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
In the winter, the rabbits are enjoying life when a fox shows up. They can handle him for a while, but when the baby bunnies are threatened, only Mighty Mouse can save the day.
44"A Fight to the Finish"November 14, 1947 (1947-11-14)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
The spoofs of serial cliffhanger films begin as Oil Can Harry threatens Pearl Pureheart and Mighty Mouse must come to the rescue.
45"Swiss Cheese Family Robinson"December 19, 1947 (1947-12-19)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
Even superheroes need time off, and as the mouse version of The Swiss Family Robinson gets underway Mighty Mouse is enjoying a vacation on a beach somewhere. The Robinsons send a note in a bottle for help, which finds its way to Mighty Mouse and he quickly returns from vacation to save the mice.
46"Lazy Little Beaver"December 26, 1947 (1947-12-26)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
A young beaver runs away from home but soon discovers the world can be an unsafe place. Fortunately, Mighty Mouse will help him learn a lesson about work and sloth, safely.
47"Mighty Mouse and the Magician"March 27, 1948 (1948-03-27)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
A mouse village magician's show is interrupted by an invasion of cats. The magician bravely tries to hold off the cats, but they gain his wand and become invisible. Only Mighty Mouse with his powers can rout the cats and save the mice.
48"The Feudin' Hillbillies"June 23, 1948 (1948-06-23)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse must settle a clan feud between the cats and the mice.
49"The Witch's Cat"July 15, 1948 (1948-07-15)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
A mouse Halloween party attracts a witch and her cat. Mighty Mouse, it seems, can be poisoned, but is revived by the rain to finish the job.
50"Loves Labor Won"September 15, 1948 (1948-09-15)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
Another operatic cliffhanger serial spoof with Oil Can Harry and Pearl Pureheart.
51"Triple Trouble"September 30, 1948 (1948-09-30)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
Another serial cliffhanger sets the stage as Mighty Mouse faces vultures while Oil Can Harry threatens the Colonel and kidnaps Pearl Pureheart.
52"Magic Slipper"December 2, 1948 (1948-12-02)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
Cinderella is the framework for this retelling, with a wolf who might resemble Oil Can Harry and Pearl Pureheart as Cinderella. Of course, Mighty Mouse will set everything as it should be by the end of the story.
53"The Mysterious Stranger"December 21, 1948 (1948-12-21)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
A mortgage is at stake, but this time Oil Can Harry holds the deed to a circus, and wants the hand of Nell, the highwire performer. But everything Harry tries is foiled by a mysterious stranger in a trenchcoat. Who is that masked man?
54"The Racket Buster"December 26, 1948 (1948-12-26)Mannie DavisJohn Foster, Tom MorrisonPaul Terry
Gangster cats return to threaten Mighty Mouse and Pearl Pureheart.
55"A Cold Romance"April 10, 1949 (1949-04-10)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
It's the return of Little Nell this time, with Oil Can Harry as the villain against Mighty Mouse set at the North Pole.
56"The Catnip Gang"July 22, 1949 (1949-07-22)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse battles the Catnip Gang, a group of cats that have escaped from jail.
57"Perils of Pearl Pureheart"October 11, 1949 (1949-10-11)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
Oil Can Harry and Pearl Pureheart return, with Harry hypnotizing Pearl to sign at his saloon.
58"Stop, Look and Listen"December 1, 1949 (1949-12-01)Eddie DonnellyTBAPaul Terry
Another melodrama operetta, with Oil Can Harry having tied Pearl Pureheart to the horns of a rampaging bull and Mighty Mouse to its tail as they are chased by a locomotive.
59"Anti-Cats"March 1, 1950 (1950-03-01)Mannie DavisTBAPaul Terry
To avoid a winter storm, a group of mice take refuge in a home with a hungry cat. Mighty Mouse dons his trenchcoat disguise to cause the cat no end of grief.
60"Law and Order"June 23, 1950 (1950-06-23)Eddie DonnellyTBAPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse rescues mice being sold as frozen treats by a gang of cats.
61"Beauty on the Beach"November 1, 1950 (1950-11-01)Connie RasinskiTBAPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse faces down Oil Can Harry for the safety of Pearl Pureheart in an amusement park.
62"Mother Goose's Birthday Party"December 1, 1950 (1950-12-01)Connie RasinskiTBAPaul Terry
All of Mother Goose's characters give her a party of honor, but when the Big Bad Wolf appears, only Mighty Mouse can save the party.
63"Sunny Italy"March 1, 1951 (1951-03-01)Connie RasinskiTBAPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse and Oil Can Harry battle all across Italian history and geography for the affections of sweet Pearl Pureheart.
64"Goons from the Moon"April 1, 1951 (1951-04-01)Connie RasinskiTBAPaul Terry
Science fiction arrives with alien cats and bat-cats that want to capture the mice of TerryTown.
65"Injun Trouble"June 1, 1951 (1951-06-01)Eddie DonnellyTBAPaul Terry
The Colonel has mortgage trouble again, and sets out to strike it rich in gold to pay it off, but it never works out. Mighty Mouse will again rescue the Colonel
66"A Swiss Miss"August 1, 1951 (1951-08-01)Mannie DavisTBAPaul Terry
Another cliffhanger (literally) as Oil Can Harry threatens Pearl Pureheart in the Swiss Alps.
67"A Cat's Tale"November 1, 1951 (1951-11-01)Mannie DavisTBAPaul Terry
A cat narrates this origin story about Mighty Mouse.
68"Prehistoric Perils"March 1, 1952 (1952-03-01)Connie RasinskiTBAPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse, Oil Can Harry, and Pearl Pureheart time travel back to prehistoric times.
69"Hansel and Gretel"June 1, 1952 (1952-06-01)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse battles the witch and her cat to save mouse versions of Hansel and Gretel.
70"Happy Holland"November 1, 1952 (1952-11-01)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
Oil Can Harry and Pearl Pureheart meet Mighty Mouse in Holland this time.
71"Hero for a Day"April 1, 1953 (1953-04-01)Mannie DavisJohn FosterPaul Terry
A humble mouse dreams of being Mighty Mouse so he can impress the girl of his dreams, but the cats know the difference.
72"Hot Rods"June 1, 1953 (1953-06-01)Eddie DonnellyJohn FosterPaul Terry
Teenage mice driving their hot rods get into trouble that only Mighty Mouse can fix.
73"When Mousehood Was in Flower"July 1, 1953 (1953-07-01)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry, Bill Weiss
Taxes are at the heart of the troubles for the nobleman and his daughter Pearl. The Black Night (Oil Can Harry) wants the daughter's hand in marriage, and only Mighty Mouse can set things in order.
74"A Soapy Opera"January 1, 1953 (1953-01-01)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
Pearl Pureheart is the laundry maid beholden to Oil Can Harry, and only Mighty Mouse can rescue her.
75"The Helpless Hippo"March 1, 1954 (1954-03-01)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse meets his match when he tries to rescue a baby hippo and discovers that every baby animal in the jungle wants him as their babysitter.
76"Reformed Wolf"October 1, 1954 (1954-10-01)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse convinces a wolf that carrots are preferable to mutton.
77"Spare the Rod"January 1, 1954 (1954-01-01)Connie RasinskiJohn FosterPaul Terry
Mighty Mouse must teach respect to a group of unruly mice children.
78"Outer Space Visitor"November 1, 1959 (1959-11-01)Dave TendlarJohn FosterGene Deitch
Cheeseville is invaded by an infant, robot-like alien. Everyone thinks it's cute, until they learn that its parent plans to wipe out Cheeseville.
79"The Mysterious Package"December 15, 1961 (1961-12-15)Mannie DavisBob KuwaharaPaul Terry, Bill Weiss
A mechanical monster is kidnapping the children of Mouseville. Mighty Mouse must go to the alien world to bring them back.
80"Cat Alarm"December 31, 1961 (1961-12-31)Connie RasinskiLarz Bourne, Tom MorrisonBill Weiss
The cats use Mighty Mouse to capture the mice of Cheeseville by making him believe the dam has burst and threatens the town. While trying to warn them, he sends the mice into the waiting clutches of the waiting cats.

Comics[edit]

Mighty Mouse's first comic book appearance was in Terry-Toons Comics #38 (November 1945), published by Timely Comics.[15] Mighty Mouse was featured in:

  • Terry-Toons Comics #38–85 (1945–1951)
  • Paul Terry's Comics #86–125 (1951–1955)

Mighty Mouse was also featured in two main titles by several different publishers: Mighty Mouse and The Adventures of Mighty Mouse.

Mighty Mouse

The Adventures of Mighty Mouse (renaming of Paul Terry's Comics, where Mighty Mouse appeared)

  • St. John Publications #126–128 (1955)
  • Pines Comics #129–144 (1956–1959)
  • Dell Comics #144–155 (1959–1961) NOTE: Dell's series also started with an issue numbered 144
  • Gold Key Comics #156–160 (1962–1963)
  • Dell Comics #161–172 (1964–1968)
  • Mighty Mouse, Spotlight Comics, #1–2 (1987)
  • Mighty Mouse, Marvel Comics, #1–10 (1990), based on the Ralph Bakshi version (Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures)
  • Mighty Mouse, Dynamite Entertainment, #1-5 (2017–2018, collected as Volume 1: Saving the Day, ISBN 978-1-5241-0386-6)

In 1953, Mighty Mouse was featured in Three Dimension Comics #1, the first three-dimensional comics publication, produced by St. John Publications.[16] According to co-creator Joe Kubert, the 3-D issue sold an extraordinary 1.2 million copies at 25 cents each, more than twice the standard comic price of 10 cents.[17]

DVD releases[edit]

At least one episode, Wolf! Wolf!, has fallen into the public domain and is available at the Internet Archive.[19]

Video games[edit]

  • In October 2008, CR Terry Toons – Mighty Mouse (CRテリーテューンズマイティマウス, CR Terīte~yūnzu Maiti Mausu) a series of two pachinko games was released in Japan by Fuji Shogi.
  • On February 22, 2012, a video game titled MIGHTY MOUSE My Hero was released for iOS, as well as an exclusive version for the iPad titled MIGHTY MOUSE My Hero HD.
  • In the first quarter of 2019, Worldwide Video Entertainment Inc. started to sell the Mighty Mouse Mini Claw Machine.

Criticism[edit]

Stills from the Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures episode "The Littlest Tramp". Top left: the flower is crushed by the rich man. Top right: Mighty Mouse receives the remains of the flower, which falls apart in his hand. Bottom left: Mighty Mouse thinks fondly of the girl, and brings out what's left of the flower. Bottom right: Mighty Mouse smells the flower, inhaling it in the process.

In 1988, Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures was the subject of media controversy when one scene was interpreted as a depiction of cocaine use. In the episode "The Littlest Tramp" a poor mouse girl attempts to sell flowers, and is repeatedly harassed by a rich man who crushes her flowers.[20] She runs out of flowers and makes new ones from sundry items she finds, such as tomato slices, but the man crushes these too.[21] Mighty Mouse attempts to purchase the flowers with his chunk of cheese, and to avenge the girl, but she gives Mighty Mouse the crushed flowers and insists that others need help more than she does. After successfully saving several different characters, he is reminded of the girl, and attempts to smell the flowers she gave him (now a pink powder), inhaling them in the process. He then finds the man that has been harassing the girl, and spanks him. The girl is sympathetic to the man, and he is so moved that the two are married.

A family in Kentucky saw the episode and reportedly interpreted the scene as Mighty Mouse snorting cocaine. The family called the American Family Association in Tupelo, Mississippi. The group demanded Bakshi be removed from production of the series.[22] Bakshi and CBS denied the allegations, Bakshi stating the whole incident "smacks of McCarthyism. I'm not going to get into who sniffs what. This is lunacy."[21] To defuse the controversy, Bakshi agreed to cut the 3.5 seconds from the episode. Rev. Donald Wildmon claimed that the editing was a "de facto admission" of cocaine use, though Bakshi maintained that the episode was "totally innocent".[23]

It's because of Fritz that they're going after Mighty Mouse. I grew up in Brownsville in Brooklyn and attended High School for Industrial Arts. I remember teachers who quit. Because of McCarthyism they weren't able to teach what they wanted. This is the same thing. Mighty Mouse was happy after smelling the flowers because it helped him remember the little girl who sold it to him fondly. But even if you're right, their accusations become part of the air we breathe. That's why I cut the scene. I can't have children wondering if Mighty Mouse is using cocaine.

— Ralph Bakshi, The New York Times

Cultural influences[edit]

In the book Astro Boy Essays, author Frederik L. Schodt quotes Japanese animator Osamu Tezuka as saying that Mighty Mouse was the influence that inspired him to name his well-known character Mighty Atom (also known as Astro Boy). He also chose to imitate Mighty Mouse's signature flying pose with one arm stretched ahead with a clenched fist.[24]

Mighty Mouse was planned to be made as a cameo in the deleted scene "Acme's Funeral" from the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.[citation needed]

Mighty Mouse was featured on famed guitarist Tom Scholz's Les Paul guitar.[25]

The song Astro Man by Jimi Hendrix, a part of the Black Gold (Jimi Hendrix recordings) session, includes a version of the 'Here I come to save the day!' fanfare.

A clip of the episode "Wolf! Wolf!" was featured in Serj Tankian's music video, "Harakiri"

As part of Andy Kaufman's act he would play the Mighty Mouse theme while standing perfectly still and lip-sync only the line "Here I come to save the day" with great enthusiasm;[26] a 1975 performance of this act on Saturday Night Live[27] is recreated in the 1999 biopic Man on the Moon.

Mighty Mouse was on the uniform of NASCAR driver Alan Kulwicki and on the front end of his #7 Hooters "Underbird" during the final race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway's 1992 Hooters 500

Apple trademark dispute[edit]

Apple Mighty Mouse

On August 2, 2005, Apple released the company's first multi-control USB computer mouse. The product was designed by Mitsumi Electric and premiered under the name Apple Mighty Mouse. Apple continued to use the name when the product was redesigned as a Bluetooth device in 2006. Prior to its release, CBS licensed the right to use the Mighty Mouse name to Apple. In 2008, Man and Machine, Inc., a company that produces medical grade, chemical-resistant, mice and keyboards, sued both Apple and CBS for trademark infringement.[28] Man and Machine claimed that it had used the name since 2004 and that CBS did not have the right to license the name for computer peripherals.[29] In 2009, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled in favor of Man and Machine and Apple changed the name of its product to the "Apple Mouse".[30]

See also[edit]

  • Dinkan, a Malayalam comic superhero mouse

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nolan, Frederick (August 29, 1998). "Obituary: Marshall Barer". The Independent. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Hamonic, W. Gerald (2018). "Here I Come to Save the Day!: The Mouse that Saved a Cartoon Studio, 1942-1945". Terrytoons: The Story of Paul Terry and His Classic Cartoon Factory. John Libbey Publishing Ltd. pp. 207–223. ISBN 978-0861967292.
  3. ^ Maltin, Leonard (1987). Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons (Revised ed.). New York: Plume Books. pp. 141–147. ISBN 0-452-25993-2.
  4. ^ "Mouse of Tomorrow". Variety: 8. Dec 2, 1942. Retrieved Feb 22, 2020.
  5. ^ Markstein, Don. "Supermouse, the Big Cheese". Toonopedia. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  6. ^ "18th Academy Awards". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 1946. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  7. ^ Markstein, Don. "Oil Can Harry". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  8. ^ Rodriguez, Robert (2006). The 1950s' most wanted the top 10 book of rock & roll rebels, Cold War crises, and all-American oddities (1st ed.). Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books. p. 219. ISBN 978-1-61234-030-2. Retrieved 14 May 2012. mighty mouse.
  9. ^ Evanier, Mark (January 18, 2004). "Sandpiper Stuff". News from Me (Archive). Archived from the original on 24 May 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  10. ^ a b Scheimer, Lou; Mangels, Andy (2012). Creating the Filmation Generation. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-60549-044-1.
  11. ^ "The Power of Cheese, Mighty Mouse". America's Dairy Farmers. 2001. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  12. ^ DataBase, The Big Cartoon. "Curbside (Nickelodeon)". Big Cartoon DataBase (BCDB). Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  13. ^ Beck, Jerry (2010-04-16). "Mighty Mouse on again at Paramount". Cartoon Brew. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  14. ^ Here They Come, To Save The Day: Jon & Erich Hoeber To Script ‘Mighty Mouse’ For Paramount Animation
  15. ^ Becattini, Alberto (2019). "Super-Animals". American Funny Animal Comics in the 20th Century: Volume Two. Seattle, WA: Theme Park Press.
  16. ^ "Advertising & Marketing". The New York Times. June 27, 1953. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  17. ^ Hamonic, W. Gerald (2018). "Relinquishing the Reins: The New Challenge of Television, the Sale of Terrytoons to CBS, and the Retirement of Paul Terry, 1952-1956". Terrytoons: The Story of Paul Terry and His Classic Cartoon Factory. John Libbey Publishing Ltd. pp. 255–266. ISBN 978-0861967292.
  18. ^ Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures Archived 2009-12-27 at the Wayback Machine official site
  19. ^ "Mighty Mouse: Wolf! Wolf!". Internet Archive. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  20. ^ "Did Mighty Mouse Snort or Just Sniff the Flowers?". The Deseret News. June 10, 1988. p. A3. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  21. ^ a b "Minister says cocaine made mouse mighty". Toledo Blade. Associated Press. June 10, 1988. p. 1. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  22. ^ Wolff, Craig (July 26, 1988). "Mighty Mouse Flying High On Flowers?". New York Times. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  23. ^ "Mighty Mouse's flowers clipped". Boca Raton News. Associated Press. July 26, 1988. p. 2A. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  24. ^ Schodt, Frederik L. (2007). The Astro Boy essays : Osamu Tezuka, Mighty Atom, and the manga/anime revolution. Berkeley, Calif.: Stone Bridge Press. p. 248. ISBN 978-1-933330-54-9. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  25. ^ "Tom Scholz's Mighty Mouse guitar". Celebrity Guitars. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  26. ^ Drash, Wayne (April 7, 2012). "The Great Ruse: The comedic genius who rocked wrestling". CNN. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  27. ^ SNL: The Complete First Season, 1975–1976. DVD recording.
  28. ^ "https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2008/05/19/daily34.html". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2018-11-28. External link in |title= (help)
  29. ^ Jane McEntegart (May 21, 2008). "Company Sues Apple and CBS For Mighty Mouse Copyright Infringements". Tom's Guide. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  30. ^ Siegler, MG (October 7, 2009). "Apple's Mighty Mouse Never Lived Up To Its Name. And Now It Can't". Techcrunch. Retrieved 10 May 2012.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]