"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 Super Hero 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, 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
He Dood It Again
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
The Green Line
Mighty Mouse and the Two Barbers
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
Mighty Mouse Meets Bad Bill Bunion
Mighty Mouse in Krakatoa
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
The Dead End Cats
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
The Mysterious Stranger
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.
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.
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.
From Beyond The Fourth Wall: The cartoon "Goons From The Moon" has alien cats abducting all the mice in Terrytown. The radio reporter (a mouse caricature of Walter Winchell) comments "there's only one mouse who can save this situation!" Cut to an animator's table where the animator's hand draws Mighty Mouse in flight atop a missile. (The artist stops drawing briefly, causing Mighty Mouse to chime in "Hurry up! I've got a job to do!")
The cartoon "The Cat's Tale" has a mouse-traumatized cat telling the hero's origin and his subsequent battle against a giant cat. The cowardly cat then tells us how he'd show Mighty Mouse a thing or two, only for the animator to draw Mighty Mouse floating right behind him. The cat runs off in fright.
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.
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. In many of the comics, Mighty Mouse has a dark-haired girlfriend named Mitzi.
Opera: Many of the original Terrytoons shorts had all their dialogue sung, opera-style.
Panty Shot: Seen in 1945's The Port Of Missing Mice and in the same year's Mighty Mouse and the Wolf. Pearl had a couple, albeit she was wearing ankle-length pantaloons.
Passed Over Inheritance: "The Champion of Justice" featured a spendthrift man whose wealthy aunt and uncle left their fortune to the mice who lived at their mansion and he didn't get anything. His reaction to the judge's ruling when he contested the will was a clear example of Sore Loser.
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...
Unwilling Suspension: Happened to Pearl in "Love's Labor Won" (hanging from a clothesline by her toes) "The Perils Of Pearl Pureheart" (dangling by one foot), "Sunny Italy" (ditto), "A Swiss Miss" (hanging 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.
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..."
The Cameo: From the Terrytoons studio, by episode:
"Night On Bald Pate"—Tom Terrific
"The Ice Goose Cometh"—Gandy Goose, Sourpuss, Hashimoto San, Deputy Dawg
"Heroes And Zeroes"—The Mighty Heroes
"Still Oily After All These Years"—Oil Can Harry, Gaston Le Crayon
"Mighty's Wedlock Whimsy"—Gandy Goose, Sourpuss, James Hound, Deputy Dawg, Muskie, Vincent Van Gopher, Heckle and Jeckle
"Mighty's Tone Poem"—Oil Can Harry
Clip Show: Despite lasting 19 episodes, there are several shorts comprised of nothing but clips from old Terrytoons and earlier episodes of the show. This was due to budget reasons (the key animation was done in-house, which is very expensive for a low-budget series such as this)
Dream Within a Dream: The ending of "Anatomy of a Milquetoast" became one due to Executive Meddling. Originally the episode was going to end on Scrappy turning into a crab, but CBS didn't like the idea of such ending. So they made that part of a dream, recycling the same animation of him waking up from just few seconds before (note that the episode fades out just before he removes the bed cover, revealing his changed body).
Executive Meddling: Subverted, then played straight. Until the "crushed flower controversy", the network didn't care what Bakshi and co. produced each week.
Actually, they did try to meddle, but Ralph Bakshi ignored them. However, after the above incident Bakshi could no longer ignore them.
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.
On Facebook, producer Tom Minton revealed that McDonald's objected to the line because it was an all-too-humorous parallel to then-First Lady Nancy Reagan's more serious "Just Say No To Drugs" message.
From Beyond The Fourth Wall: The Bakshi episode "Mighty's Wedlock Whimsy" (billed as a cautionary tale), Mighty Mouse is getting married to Pearl Pureheart. But he's getting cold feet just as he's about to take his vow, just stammering "I...I...I...", then it cuts to a pencil drawing of him on an animator's table. The animator cops out and can't go through with it. It ends with the cartoon characters at the wedding all laughing as everything is up in flames.
The Honeymooners: Mighty Mouse and the Cow spoof it in the dream sequence of "Mighty's Wedlock Whimsy." It's even animated in black and white.
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, Jay Leno 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.
In "Mighty's Wedlock Whimsy," Pearl and Sourpuss are drawn the same height. As are Mighty Mouse and Gandy Goose.
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.
Out of Focus: Scrappy in later episodes. In fact, one episode, "Anatomy of a Milquetoast" (his only season 2 appearance) is one giant lampshade of this.
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.
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."