A Super Hero anthropomorphic mouse saves the day, the world and his girlfriend, Pearl Pureheart. Originally one of the Terrytoons (yes, from the same fine company as Heckle and Jeckle and "SOMEBODY TOUCHA MY SPAGHET!!!") 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 by Ralph Bakshi under the title Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures. While the series is notable for pioneering the type of creator-driven cartoons that flourished in the 1990s, most casual viewers remember it for the controversy surrounding a scene in which Mighty Mouse sniffed some crushed flowers that looked like he was snorting cocaine (the creators claim that the resemblance to cocaine usage was completely unintentional).
Mighty Mouse was also featured in the unsuccessful pilot Curbside, where his segment had him try to protect Tom Terrific from a thug called the Creeper.
There have been various comic books from multiple publishers over the years. In 2017, Dynamite Comics published a five-issue miniseries where Mighty Mouse finds his way into the real world and befriends a bullied boy named Joey.
- 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 — the only Mighty Mouse cartoon to ever get an Oscar nomination for animated short film
- 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:
- Alien Invasion: "Goons from the Moon" has the Earth be invaded by a planet of alien bat-cats with bubble guns.
- All Men Are Perverts: Near the end of "Mighty Mouse and the Wolf", the Wolf phones for some more wolves to come and help him. All of them are seen ogling at women in swimsuits at the beach.
- Animal Superheroes: Mighty Mouse, obviously.
- Animated Anthology: Mighty Mouse Playhouse is the Trope Maker.
- Arch-Enemy: Mighty Mouse's main nemesis is Oil Can Harry.
- Bankruptcy Barrel: In "The Magic Slipper", Prince Charming is left wearing a barrel after the wolf steals his clothes.
- Big Damn Heroes: In every cartoon, Mighty only appears around midway through, quickly reacting to a local or far off crisis that only he can resolve. His own catchphrase even calls himself this!
- Big, Thin, Short Trio: Two shorts had Mighty Mouse fight a trio of cats known as the Catnip Gang, consisting of a large brute named Julius "Pinhead" Slovodka, a skinny cat named No Chin Charlie, and a short cat in a derby named Shorty the Runt being the brains of the outfit.
- Bragging Theme Tune: The theme tune boasts that Mighty Mouse is always triumphant.
- Bratty Half-Pint: "Spare the Rod" has Mighty Mouse tasked with disciplining a bunch of ill-behaving delinquent children.
- Brooklyn Rage: Oil Can Harry:"Coises! Foiled again!"
- The Cameo:
- Mighty Mouse himself has a cameo in the Gandy Goose cartoon "Comic Book Land."
- Cats Are Mean: The majority of villains are cats.
- The Cape: The superhero mouse even wears one.
- Captain Ersatz: Mighty Mouse, especially in his Super Mouse years, is an obvious parody of Superman. Amusingly, the reason for his name chance was not because of legal threats from DC, but because one of Paul Terry's own employees left and made his own comic series named Super Mouse, and Terry wasn't interested in potential legal issues.
- 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 is shown to be very proud of his vile nature.
- Catchphrase: "Heeeere I come to save the day!"
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Mighty Mouse will help anyone in need even if he has to drop whatever he's doing right now.
- Clip Show: The Filmation episode "Around The World In 80 Ways," which is ostensibly about Oil Can Harry trying to get into his own testimonial, has guest stars Heckle and Jeckle showing clips of some of Harry's failures.
- Colorful Contrails: Mighty Mouse leaves a red contrail in flight. Indeed, his most unusual power is the ability to manipulate that contrail like a flexible band of matter, usually to restrain an adversary.
- 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 Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures.
- Dynamite Comics published a five-issue miniseries in 2017.
- Compilation Movie: The movie "The Great Space Chase" was edited together from a multi-part serial of The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse.
- Covered in Kisses:
- "Svengali's Cat" ends with Mighty Mouse getting kissed by the mouse girl in gratitude for saving her, resulting in the rodent hero having lipstick marks all over his face.
- Mighty Mouse again ends up with a face covered with lipstick marks when some mouse women catch up to him and kiss him at the end of "The Trojan Horse".
- Dastardly Whiplash: Oil Can Harry resembles the typical kind of mustache-twirling villain seen in a 1920s serial, because as noted below, he originally was.
- Delivery Stork: Played with in "Raiding of the Raiders". A stork delivers a sack of baby bunnies to a bunny couple, but there's also an owl doctor who shows up to help the dad get the baby bunnies out of the sack, the process being treated like a birthing scene.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: A Filmation episode has an Egyptian high-priest (Harry) lose his cool with the being of evil he summoned. After getting pushy and insulting, he is still met with compliance but also with a warning that startles him quiet.
- I'll get the queen and bring her back; in the mean time, Harry, CUT THE YAK!
- Doorstop Baby: According to the origin story given by the cat in "A Cat's Tale", Mighty Mouse was left in a basket on an old couple's doorstep when he was a baby and the old couple adopted him as their son.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Mighty Mouse was originally called Super Mouse. He also had a fairly different appearance, with a different blue-and-red costume and noodle-like limbs. In "Frankenstein's Cat", he also had a brief speaking line with a different voice which paints him as uncharacteristically aggressive, whereas in his other cartoons, he only spoke when he was singing! Many of those early cartoons were clumsily redubbed to replace every mention of Super Mouse with Mighty Mouse, and given newer title sequences, so they're hard to find in their original "Super Mouse" form.
- Fat and Skinny: Used in the Filmation series The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse, where Mighty Mouse's slender foe Oil Can Harry is given a dim-witted and overweight henchman named Swifty.
- Finger Poke of Doom:
- In "Spare the Rod", the leader of a gang of delinquent mice dares Mighty Mouse (disguised as a boy scout) to knock the chip off his shoulder. Mighty instead knocks the kid from under the chip with one flick of his finger.
- Mighty Mouse casually flicks away alien cats with his finger without breaking so much as a sweat in "Goons From The Moon" (1951).
- Flying Brick: Though how invulnerable Mighty Mouse is varies by episode. Machine-gun bullets are shown bouncing off his chest in many shorts, but in "The Swiss Miss" the Death Trap is that he's on a conveyer belt about to be shot.
- From Beyond the Fourth Wall: A common joke
- 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.
- Fur Is Clothing:
- The short "Mighty Mouse and the Wolf" at one point has the titular wolf force some sheep to remove their wool at gunpoint. The sheep strip out of their wool as if they were taking off jumpsuits, and one blushes before turning around after noticing that the audience is watching them disrobe.
- The cat in "A Date for Dinner" is shown to wear a union suit underneath his fur.
- In "Lazy Little Beaver", the wolf ends up knocked out his overalls as well as his fur and is left in a union suit.
- The High Queen: In the Filmation series, Pearl is queen of the interstellar federation in the space opera movie, and the episodes that it was split into.
- Humanoid Female Animal: The female mice were usually far more humanoid than the male, and usually wore more clothes. There were exceptions (Pandora of "Pandora's Box", the unnamed female mouse of "Svengali's Cat" before her makeover, and all the female mice in early cartoon "He Dood It Again" only had Tertiary Sexual Characteristics to distinguish them), but they were relatively rare.
- Hypocritical Humor: In "Goons from the Moon", the radio announcer at one point repeatedly stress that his audience shouldn't panic about the alien cats invading. While he says this, he's obviously frantic and is smoking multiple cigarettes at once.
- I Just Want to Be Special: The cartoon "Hero For A Day" has a doofus mouse trying to impress his girlfriend, who swoons over Mighty Mouse, by donning a costume suit of the hero. Some cats bully him and the mouse is knocked out cold. Just before the cats can pounce, Mighty Mouse himself shows up, beats the cats up and lets the little wannabe take credit for it.
- Invincible Hero: In some shorts, Mighty Mouse veered into this territory. A common problem with some of his shorts was that he was too overpowered. In earlier shorts, this was not a problem, as he was not as powerful.
- Kids Are Cruel: In one episode, grade-school kids were causing mischief, havoc and smoking cigarettes. It's so out of control that parents and teachers asked Mighty Mouse to intervene.
- Large Ham: Mighty Mouse, himself. "Here I come to save the day!"
- Made of Iron: Mighty Mouse, sure, but also Oil Can Harry. Harry just shrugs off all of the injuries that Pearl inflicts on him and even most of what Mighty Mouse inflicts. For example, in "Triple Trouble", she punches Harry into a wall, hits him with every piece of pottery in her apartment, drops a cast-iron stove on his head, and then throws an anchor at him to knock him off the edge of the building. Then a passing policeman shoots him in the butt with a machine-gun spray of bullets. All it does is annoy him (and the shooting merely propelled him into Pearl's window, which let him actually capture her after she'd been holding her own to that point).
- 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 her microscopically short skirt flips over halfway, keeping her undies covered.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Mighty Mouse in his theatrical appearances.
- Poke the Poodle: The Filmation series The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse had this happen in the Compilation Movie "The Great Space Chase", where Queen Pearl Pureheart ends up switching brains with Harry the Heartless and is asked by Swifty to prove she's Harry by naming three of Harry's most vile deeds. The worst "crimes" Pearl can come up with are keeping an overdue library book and accidentally stepping on a petunia.
- Power-Up Food: In Mighty Mouse's first appearance (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.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Some of the earliest shorts has Mighty Mouse's enemies trying vainly to attack, but never able to do so, while he is able to beat them with ease.
- Real-World Episode: The premise of the five-issue miniseries by Dynamite Comics, where Mighty Mouse finds his way into the real world and befriends a bullied boy named Joey, the two later working together to save both their worlds.
- Rogues' Gallery Transplant: Oil Can Harry is better known as an enemy of Mighty Mouse, but actually originates from Terrytoons' older Fanny Zilch cartoons, where he was the enemy of J. Leffingwell Strongheart.
- Slapstick: Oil Can Harry falls victim to this almost as much as he does to Mighty Mouse's fists.
- Snap Back: There was a complete lack of continuity between shorts. Most notably in the Oil Can Harry shorts, since each one was presented as a different final chapter of a long-running serial, starting with resolving a cliffhanger (that was never set up) and ending with Mighty Mouse saving the day.
- Smug Super: Mighty Mouse can come across as thinking he's better than everyone because of his powers, especially in the earlier shorts.
- Space Opera: The "Great Space Chase" segments of Filmation's series shifted into a sci-fi genre where Mighty Mouse had to stop Harry the Heartless from conquering the universe.
- Stealth Pun: Delivered by Pearl Pureheart in "A Fight to the Finish".Narrator: Pearl will never give up hope. We hear her say...Pearl: I will never give up hope. He's my favorite radio comedian!
- Strong as They Need to Be: Mighty Mouse was often presented as weaker and less invulnerable in the Oil Can Harry stories, in order to give the villain a sporting chance (or just for the sake of humor... or the short's run time). Sometimes his strength varied from scene to scene within a single cartoon or even within a single scene. For example, in "A Fight to the Finish", Mighty Mouse is tied to railroad tracks, and unable to break the perfectly-normal rope binding him; he can, however, stop the train from running over him with just his feet, and then the train breaks the ropes.
- Superheroes in Space: Again, Mighty Mouse in the Space Opera segments of the Filmation series.
- Unwilling Suspension: Happened to Pearl in "Prehistoric Perils" (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.
Super Mouse: What didja do with da boid? (slaps monster in the face) So ya won't talk, eh?
- 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:
- He spoke normally in the 1970's Filmation series, and (albeit very resonantly) in the 1980's Bakshi series.
- Wallet Moths: In "When Mousehood was in Flower", Pearl Pureheart's father opens his wallet to let out moths when he protests to Oil Can Harry that he's too poor to pay his taxes.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Mighty Mouse disguises himself as a woman to deceive Deadeye Dick and his gang in "Mighty Mouse Meets Deadeye Dick".
- William Telling: Done by Mighty Mouse in "Gypsy Life", apparently for no reason other than to make a nice entrance.
- Your Size May Vary: A non-giant variation: In "The Magic Slipper", Cinderella (a female mouse) and the prince (a male mouse who resembles Harpo Marx) are about the same size as the humans at the ball, and both are shoulder-high to the wolf who serves as the villain. But Mighty Mouse is both almost the same height as Cinderella and is only as tall as the wolf's knee.