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"Now I know why they call television a medium. Because nothing on it is rare or well done."—Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, from "Don't Touch That Dial"
A Superhero anthropomorphic mouse saves the day, the world and his girlfriend, Pearl Pureheart. Originally one of the Terry Toons (yes, from the same fine company as Heckle and Jeckle) from The Golden Age of Animation.
Remade by Filmation for television in the 1970's in a show starring Mighty Mouse and fellow Terrytoon characters Heckle and Jeckle in a show called The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle. This version lasted until the early 1980's and even spawned the movie Mighty Mouse and the Great Space Chase in 1982 (which was originally shown on the TV series in sixteen serialized chapters).
The series was remade again in the late 1980's for CBS' Saturday morning cartoon block by famed animator Ralph Bakshi. His Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures was a highly innovative, completely batshit insane, Too Good to Last series that pioneered the anarchic pop-culture obsessed, young adult-attracting style of television cartoons which flourished in the 1990's. Many of those who worked, created or had major impact on those later shows originally found writing and animation jobs for Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures including Bakshi's long time friend and prostege John Kricfalusi, Bruce Timm, Jim Reardon and Tom Minton. Sadly, if remembered at all, it's usually for the controversy surrounding a scene in which Mighty Mouse sniffed some crushed flowers that looked a heck of a lot like cocaine. The creators contend to this day that it was unintentional, but considering how every episode seemed ever more dedicated to Getting Crap Past the Radar, there really isn't a whole lot of plausible deniability.
Theatrical Cartoon Filmography
- The Mouse of Tomorrow
- Frankenstein's Cat
- He Dood It Again
- Pandora's Box
- Super Mouse Rides Again (AKA Mighty Mouse Rides Again)
- Down With Cats
- The Lion and the Mouse
- The Wreck of the Hesperus: First short where he is named Mighty Mouse.
- The Champion of Justice
- Mighty Mouse Meets Jekyll and Hyde Cat
- Eliza on the Ice
- Wolf! Wolf!
- The Green Line
- Mighty Mouse and the Two Barbers
- Sultan's Birthday
- Mighty Mouse at the Circus
- Mighty Mouse and the Pirates
- Port of Missing Mice
- Raiding the Raiders
- The Kilkenny Cats
- The Silver Streak
- Mighty Mouse and the Wolf
- Gypsy Life
- Mighty Mouse Meets Bad Bill Bunion
- Mighty Mouse in Krakatoa
- Svengali's Cat
- The Wicked Wolf
- My Old Kentucky Home
- Throwing the Bull
- The Johnstown Flood
- The Trojan Horse
- Winning the West
- The Electronic Mouse Trap
- The Jail Break
- The Crackpot King
- Mighty Mouse and the Hep Cat
- Crying Wolf
- The Dead End Cats
- Aladdin's Lamp
- The Sky is Falling
- Mighty Mouse Meets Deadeye Dick
- A Date for Dinner
- The First Snow
- A Fight to the Finish
- Swiss Cheese Family Robinson
- Lazy Little Beaver
- Mighty Mouse and the Magician
- The Feudin' Hillbillies
- The Witch's Cat
- Love's Labor Won
- Triple Trouble
- The Mysterious Stranger
- Magic Slipper
- Racket Buster
- A Cold Romance
- The Catnip Gang
- The Perils of Pearl Pureheart
- Stop, Look and Listen
- Law and Order
- Beauty on the Beach
- Mother Goose's Birthday Party
- Comic Book Land: A Gandy Goose cartoon, but Mighty appears in the end.
- Sunny Italy
- Goons from the Moon
- Injun Trouble
- A Swiss Miss
- The Cat's Tale
- Prehistoric Perils
- Hansel and Gretel
- Happy Holland
- A Soapy Opera
- Hero for a Day
- Hot Rods
- When Mousehood Was In Flower
- Spare the Rod
- The Helpless Hippo
- Reformed Wolf
- Outer Space Visitor
- The Mysterious Package
- Cat Alarm
Tropes demonstrated include:
- And Now You Must Marry Me: The Crackpot King has the Crazy Cat King determined to pull this on Sweet Suzette. Her friends try to help her out, but only Mighty Mouse can face the King.
- Animal Superheroes
- Animated Anthology: Mighty Mouse Playhouse is the Trope Maker.
- Big Damn Heroes: He even says so.
- Bragging Theme Tune
- Cats Are Mean
- The Cape
- Captain Ersatz: The mouse donning the superhero suit in 1943's The Lion And The Mouse only bore the resemblance of Super Mouse of him in flight. Otherwise, this mouse had stubby legs, a paunch, and was pathetically inebriated.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Oil Can Harry
- Catch Phrase: "Heeeere I come to save the day!"
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Mighty Mouse simply can't turn a blind eye to people and especially cute mouse girls in distress.
- Comic Book Adaptation: Timely Comics (which would later become Marvel), St. John's (using Terry artists), Dell, Gold Key and Marvel would all publish Mighty Mouse comics. Marvel's 10-issue series was derived loosely from the Bakshi show.
- Damsel in Distress: Pearl, most frequently, but also Sweet Suzette.
- Dastardly Whiplash: Oil Can Harry
- Flat Character: Mighty Mouse literally has no personality in the original cartoons. NONE. In fact, the only time he appears is more than midway through each cartoon, acting on a established threat. Ralph Bakshi deliberately inverted this in the newer show to give the mouse some character to work with.
- Flying Brick
- The High Queen: Pearl is queen of the interstellar federation in the space opera movie.
- Magic Skirt: Pearl has this at the opening of "Sunny Italy," which shows her dangling upside down by one foot from the Leaning Tower of Pisa (at the whim of Oil Can Harry), and only the hem of her microscopically short skirt flips over.
- Melodrama: The shorts with Oil Can Harry and the opera singing are an Affectionate Parody of old school melodramas (a theatrical form which these days is only remembered because of its many parodies)
- Mix and Match Critter: The Cat-Bats from "Gypsy Life".
- Multiple Choice Past: Many shorts involved some sort of origin story, which varied widely. There was never any perceived need for a single established one until the 1980's TV series, where he was given a derivative version of Superman's origin.
- Official Couple: Mighty Mouse and Pearl, the girl he interacts the most with in the Terrytoon cartoons.
- Opera: Many of the original Terrytoons shorts had all their dialogue sung, opera-style.
- Panty Shot: Seen here in 1945's The Port Of Missing Mice and here in the same year's Mighty Mouse and the Wolf. Pearl had a couple, albeit she was wearing ankle-length pantaloons.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Mighty Mouse in his theatrical appearances.
- Power-Up Food: In Mighty Mouse's first apperance (when he was called Super Mouse) he gained his powers after going into a "Supermarket" and eating various Super-named foods. While he was shown eating super products to do this at least twice (in "The Mouse of Tomorrow" and "Frankenstein's Cat") it seemed to become permanent after that.
- Stealth Pun: Delivered by, of all characters, Pearl Pureheart:
Narrator: Pearl will never give up hope. We hear her say...
Pearl: I will never give up hope. He's my favorite radio comedian!
- Recycled in Space: The 1970's version and movie.
- Romani: In the short "Gypsy Life".
- Snap Back
- Smug Super
- Space Opera
- Unwilling Suspension: Happened to Pearl in "Love's Labor Won" (hanging from a clothesline by her toes) "The Perils Of Pearl Pureheart" (hung by one foot), "Sunny Italy" (ditto), "A Swiss Miss" (hung by her waist), and "Happy Holland" (used as Harry's marionette)
- The Voiceless: Prior to Mighty Mouse Playhouse and everything else after, he was this--that is, unless he was singing.
- He did talk after Playhouse. In the three TV-budget shorts from 1959 and 1961, he was voiced by Tom Morrison, who also voiced him in the titles and bumpers for the TV show. The only other time he talked as opposed to sing was in 1942's Frankenstein's Cat,' where he interrogates the title monster who has swallowed a helpless bird:
Super Mouse: What didja do with da boid? (slaps monster in the face) So ya won't talk, eh?
- What Could Have Been: A CGI movie of Mighty Mouse, produced jointly by Paramount and Nickelodeon (which would have produced a subsequent TV series) has been in limbo for a few years now.
- "Instant Fat," a 1964 cartoon, was storyboarded but never made.
- William Telling: Done by Mighty Mouse in "Gypsy Life", apparently for no reason other than to make a nice entrance.
Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures provides examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: Bat-Bat and The League of Super-Rodents are affectionate parodies of DC and Marvel superheroes.
- Blatant Lies: Why, it was how the show actually came to be. However, that story is best left to the Mighty Mouse quotes page.
- Blunt Metaphors Trauma / Disregard That Statement: in Mighty's Wedlock Whimsy, a cautionary tale where Mighty Mouse proposes to Pearl, Deputy Dawg is conducting the wedding and starts it with "You have the right to remain silent...anything you say can be used against you..."
- Deranged Animation: Yes, a heaping pile of it.
- Executive Meddling: Subverted, then played straight. Until the "crushed flower controversy", the network didn't care what Bakshi and co. produced each week.
- Also of note: Season 2's "Bat With A Golden Tongue" was presumed to be a make-good for the "crushed flower" scene in that it entailed Mighty Mouse's efforts to break Bat-Bat of his joke-telling addiction. Bat-Bat's final line to the viewers was "Just say no to canned laughter." For some reason, McDonald's took umbrage and threatened to pull its advertising if the line was not removed. The day before the episode aired, the Bakshi studio replaced the line with a stock scream.
- Ink Suit Actor: Loose caricatures of Michael Jackson and William Shatner are seen in "A Star Is Milked." Ralph Bakshi's caricature turns up frequently throughout the series.
- In issue #10 of the Marvel comic, Pat Sajak, Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, David Letterman, Andrew "Dice" Clay and Arsenio Hall are caricatured as funny animals.
- Mythology Gag: In Mighty's Wedlock Whimsy, Mighty Mouse is being goaded into proposing marriage to Pearl, when James Hound (an obscure Terrytoons character from the mid 60s) appears as his conscience:
Mighty Mouse: Hey! How come my conscience is James Hound? Don't I rate a cute cricket?
- In the episode "Witch Tricks," Scrappy sings the Mighty Mouse Playhouse theme.
- In issue #10 of the Marvel comic, Pearl Pureheart boycotts the rest of the issue because of Andrew "Mice" Clay's appearance. This refers to Nora Dunne refusing to appear on Saturday Night Live at the time due to Andrew "Dice" Clay's appearance.
The Cow: Bad moooove! Your career's Nora Dunne now!
- Off-Model: Despite vibrant colors and energetic poses, the animation had choppy animation problems (few frames per second) and instances when Mighty Mouse is bigger than the size he's supposed to be. This is probably since it was animated in Taiwan instead of the United States.
- Stock Footage: The high-quality animation came at a cost. To keep down costs, some episodes are comprised entirely of old footage of 1950s Mighty Mouse cartoons with a new soundtrack. You can pretty much skip these on the DVD, unless you're a big fan of the poor covers of 1960s songs they play in the background.
- Take That: "Don't Touch That Dial" is a particularly biting satire of Hanna-Barbera, Anime, and the The Dark Age of Animation of the 1980's.
- Season 2 episode "Day of The Mice" has Mighty Mouse knocking a ginormous Pee-wee Herman on his back.
Mighty Mouse: I've waited a whole season to do this!
- "Anatomy of a Milquetoast" bites the hand that feeds it: using footage from season 1 with the dialogue altered, most notably from "It's Scrappy's Birthday," the hobo chums of Scrappy's hobo companion appear in their train boxcar. The hobo's new line is "Hey, look...the network boards are here!"
- "The Bride of Mighty Mouse" features a villainous parody of Howard Roark.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Mighty Mouse's eyelashes caused some uncomfortable Viewer Gender Confusion for some young viewers...
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- Two Shorts
- What Could Have Been: The sudden appearance of a cartoon Merv Griffin was cut out at the last moment from "Night Of The Bat-Bat." It would be used in the unedited edition of the scene in the series finale, "Mighty's Tone Poem."