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Western Animation / The Devil and Daniel Mouse

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Guess which half of the title he is.
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The Devil and Daniel Mouse is an obscure 1978 Halloween Special from Nelvana, loosely based on The Devil and Daniel Webster. It's about a pair of folk-singing country mice, Dan and Jan, who aren't pulling in money. However, Jan makes a contract with a shady... Reptile... Thing named B.L. Zebubb and becomes a rock superstar. It turns out B.L. is really The Devil, and after Jan's greatest success, he comes for her soul at midnight. The special inspired Nelvana to make the slightly better-known Rock & Rule - and the special is included in the deluxe DVD release of the film as well.

The studio had also worked on another (in)famous 1978 special: The Star Wars Holiday Special. They contributed the Boba Fett animated segment.


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Tropes:

  • Affably Evil: B.L. is rather affable despite being, yannow, the devil!
    • Faux Affably Evil: He's smiling and pleasant even when hunting someone down to take their soul to Hell, but if even the smallest thing doesn't go his way, the mask comes off.
  • Animation Bump: The special is REALLY well-animated for something from The Dark Age of Animation produced for TV!
  • Berserk Button: B.L. flips out whenever a technicality is used against him.
  • Big Red Devil: B.L. takes the form of a reddish-pinkish horned reptilian creature.
  • Camp Straight: Wheez Weasel, B.L.'s henchman, seems to be rather flamboyant in a Paul Lynde-ish manner! He even sounds like him! However, he is shown with women hanging off of him during the montage sequences.
  • Cats Are Mean: B.L. shapeshifts into a cat while chasing Jan.
  • Clothing Damage: Jan's fancy outfit becomes more and more tattered as she tries to escape B. L.
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  • Creepy Jazz Music: B.L. has a minor-key swing tune as his Leitmotif, playing almost every time he appears in his "default" form.
  • Deal with the Devil: Obviously.
  • Death from Above/Feathered Fiend: When he arrives to claim Jan's soul, B.L. has shapeshifted into an owl.
  • Delayed Reaction
    Jan: "What have you been doing?"
    Daniel: "Traveling around. Writing songs. How 'bout you?"
    Jan: "I sold my soul to the Devil!"
    Daniel: "Yeah?" (Beat) What!?
  • Evil Sounds Deep: But of course!
  • Exact Words: Jan manages to buy a little more time by saying her soul isn't forfeit until midnight, which fortunately gives her enough time to find Dan.
  • Facepalm: B.L. does this twice in the special due to Wheez's bumbling.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: When B.L. first emerges from the underworld, he's a glorious but terrifying dragon thing made of golden fire. Wisely, he takes a less imposing form when he approaches Jan.
  • Fat Bastard: B.L. is rather portly.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Wheez and the other damned souls are clearly enjoying Dan's performance for them, but it's not enough for them to be saved from B.L. dragging them back into hell. Wheez even gives Dan and Jan what looks like an apologetic smile when he briefly pops back up.
  • Heel–Face Turn: It's not certain if Jan's backup band is made up of damned souls or demons or what, but in the end they provide encouragement to Daniel and Jan, and even play back-up during Daniel's song. Redemption apparently earns them a ticket out of Hell. But to be fair, some dialouge suggests the backup band really is just a backup band; they at one point abandon Jan after their paychecks bounce, which even suggests B.L. has no claim over them.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: B.L. mockingly agrees to a trial, and in spite of cheating in order to get around certain technicalities is forced to abide by the jury's verdict.
  • Judicial Wig: Wheez dons one of these when he acts as the judge at the climactic trial.
  • Jury of the Damned: Wheez summons three damned souls to act as the jury for Dan's trial.
  • Laughably Evil: Wheez is this, for the most part.
  • Lonely at the Top: Jan finds this to be true, and even devotes one of her songs to it after hitting it big.
  • Louis Cypher: B.L. Zebubb.
  • Morphic Resonance: Zigzagged. In the chase scene, all of B.L.'s different animal forms resemble his "default" form, with a white and reddish-pink color scheme and a similar face. However, he takes a few forms in other scenes that look completely different.
  • Never My Fault: Used subtly near the beginning. When Jan tells B.L. that she's interested in making a deal with him, he says "You talked me into it." Never mind the fact that he deliberately sought her out and manipulated her into signing.
  • Read the Fine Print: Jan at least tries to do this.
  • Satan: B.L. Zebubb
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Or rather, singing.
  • The Dragon: Wheez, more or less.
  • The Power of Rock: Dan saves Jan by singing a song about how music can "save your soul." The demons all love it, except B.L., but even he is forced to surrender from this.
  • The '70s: And does it ever show in the wardrobes, the songs, the art style, the slang - basically everything.
  • Slimeball: Fittingly for a depiction of Satan, B.L. is depicted as the most sleazy, unscrupulous person imaginable. He seems rather disdainful of his loyal henchman Wheez, he tricks an innocent girl into giving her soul to him (and seems to deliberately hide the part of the contract about her soul from her), and shifts the blame away from himself every time. He also gets furious when things don't go his way, and when he loses at the end, he throws a fit and drags Wheez and the other damned souls back to hell with him against their wishes.
  • Toothy Bird: In his owl form, B.L. retains his teeth in some shots.
  • Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: In contrast to B.L., the Devil, who is frightening and callous, Wheez Weasel gets involved in more comedic antics.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: When he's chasing Jan to claim her soul, B.L. shapeshifts into an owl, a cat, a piranha, a rhino, and a tree.
  • Weirdness Censor: Daniel doesn't seem to find anything out of the ordinary when a door knocker at Jan's mansion morphs into Wheez's head and starts talking to him.
  • Wicked Weasel: Wheez Weasel, B.L.'s right hand man.
  • When Trees Attack: B.L. finally catches Jan by turning into a tree.
  • You Have Failed Me: Implied. When Wheez declares Jan free, B.L. says to him (and possibly to the other souls from Hell as well) "I'll tend to you later," in a very menacing tone, before sending them all back to hell. Based on the circumstances, it seems like B.L. has horrible plans for Wheez and the other souls.

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