Mighty Mouse (Real name: Mike Mouse) is an animated superhero mouse character created by Izzy Klein and Paul Terry studio for 20th Century Fox. Ever powerful and confident, he will always have a plan no matter how bad things may seem, he stands for truth, justice, and something or other.
- 1 Background
- 2 Filmography
- 3 Comics
- 4 Revivals
- 5 Legacy
- 6 DVD releases
- 7 Notes
The character was created by story man Izzy Klein as a super-powered housefly named Superfly. Studio head Paul Terry changed the character into a cartoon mouse instead (click here for the Terrytoon theatrical shorts series).
Created as a parody of Superman, he first appeared in 1942 in a theatrical animated short titled The Mouse of Tomorrow. The original name of the character was Super Mouse, but after 7 cartoons produced in 1942-1943, it was changed in the 1944 cartoon The Wreck of the Hesperus to Mighty Mouse when Paul Terry learned that another character with the same name was being published in comic books. Super Mouse appeared briefly in the Marvel Comics interpretation of the character and was nicknamed Terry the First, as he was the first version of the character.
Mighty Mouse originally had a blue costume with red trunks and a red cape, like Superman, but over time this outfit changed to a yellow bodysuit with red trunks and a red cape, his most popular colors. As with other imitations of Superman, Mighty Mouse's superpowers include flight, super strength, and invulnerability. He has demonstrated the use of X-ray vision in at least one episode, while during several cartoons he used a form of telekinesis that allowed him to command inanimate objects and turn back time (as in the cartoons The Johnstown Flood and Krakatoa). Other cartoons have him leaving a red contrail during the flight which he can manipulate at will like a band of solid flexible matter.
His costume is suggestive of Superman in particular and all superheroes in general. He wears a gold leotard with a red cape, boots, and pants. Unlike most superheroes, he doesn't have an insignia or logo on his chest or cape. Originally a parody of Superman, Mighty Mouse quickly took on a distinctive personality of his own.
While Superman became more complicated, Mighty Mouse became more simplified in his focus. He is an ordinary mouse with extraordinary powers. Generally, these powers seem limited to flying, super strength, and speed with just a degree of invulnerability. (On at least one occasion he also exhibited mystical powers that allowed him to "mentally" command water.)
The initial formula of each story consisted of an extended setup of a crisis which needs extraordinary help to resolve, after which Mighty Mouse appears to save the day. He is equally as effective battling huge sinister cats as he was handling natural disasters like floods and exploding volcanoes. He is so powerful that in his early cartoons he often appeared only in the final moments to save the day. He's also very honorable. even if his foes resort to fiendish trickery, Mighty Mouse will still fight fairly.. He resembles a comet streaking through the sky as he rushed to aid the helpless. Mighty Mouse is a mouse of few words. He takes himself and his responsibility as a crusader against evil very seriously. In the heat of battle, he offers no clever quips. Mighty Mouse isn't a super genius, he's got about above-average intelligence, but he's known to value fairness over all else, it is rather surprising that villains never really took greater advantage of his natural good nature and gullibility.
Mighty Mouse was also known for singing, "Here I come to save the day!" when flying into action, during the golden age of animation he was voiced by Roy Halee, Sr.and Tom Morrison, Tom performed Mighty's speaking voice, while Roy would do his singing voice. However, Roy would entirely voice the character several times without Tom. Tom is the one to voice the character the very most.
The early operatic Mighty Mouse cartoons often portrayed Mighty Mouse as a ruthless fighter. He would dole out a considerable amount of punishment, subduing opponent cats to the point of giving up their evil plan and running away. Mighty Mouse would then chase down the escaping cats, and continue beating them mercilessly, usually hurling or punching them miles away to finish the fight. A favorite move is to suddenly fly up to just under a much larger opponent's chin and throw a blinding flurry of punches that leaves the enemy reeling.
Mighty Mouse's base of operations changed over the years. His home at various times is a supermarket, a plush skyscraper office, and even the Moon. At other times, he is a disguised "mysterious stranger" wandering around the country helping those in distress. Mighty Mouse's home town was finally settled as being Mouseville, populated mostly by mice and sometimes cats too.
Despite his great powers, Mighty Mouse's personality is much like a humble country boy. Even though he is an adult mouse, this modest young boy attitude helps make such a powerful character appealing to children of all ages. It is not unusual that a kiss from a rescued maiden brings a deep red blush to his entire face. This bashfulness makes him tremendously appealing to a variety of women. In the early cartoons, Mighty Mouse is the object of affection of many female mice including some like the Gypsy Princess, Sweet Susette, and Krakatoa Katie. He eventually concentrated his affections on Pearl Pureheart... Well kinda, for you see in a way Mighty Mouse had two mouse girlfriends, there was Pearl in the cartoons, however, in the comic books, he dated a girl named Mitzi during the 1950s and 1960s.
We must not forget his arch-enemy, an evil cat named Oil Can Harry (who originated as a human from earlier Terrytoons as the enemy of the character Fanny Zilch but was retooled to be Mighty's opponent). Harry and Pearl were created for a series of Mighty Mouse cartoons that spoofed the old cliffhanger serials of the days of silent film, as well as the classic operettas of the stage that were still popular at the time. The cartoons, beginning with "A Fight to the Finish" (1947), usually began with Mighty Mouse and Pearl Pureheart already in a desperate situation, as if they were the next chapter of the serial. The characters often sang mock opera songs during these cartoons (e.g., Pearl: "Oil Can Harry, you're a villain!"; Oil Can Harry: "I know it, but it's a lot of fun..."). Mighty Mouse a tenor, Pearl a soprano, and Oil Can Harry an alto/bass. Mighty Mouse fought other villains, though most of them appeared in only one or two cartoons. In at least two cartoons from 1949 and 1950 ("Law and Order") he faced a huge, dim-witted, but super-strong cat named Julius Pinhead "Schlabotka" (this cat's name was only spoken and never spelled out), voiced by Dayton Allen, whose strength rivaled Mighty Mouse's own. In another cartoon, titled "The Green Line" (1944), the cats live on one side of the main street of a town and the mice on the other, with a green line down the middle of the street serving as the dividing line. They agree to keep the peace as long as no one crosses it. An evil entity, a Satan cat, comes and starts the cats and mice fighting. In the end, Mighty Mouse is cheered by mice and cats alike.
When the series evolved into a melodrama format, Mighty Mouse truly became the embodiment of all that was good locked in an endless battle against evil. While he might smile, it was clear that he was accomplishing fantastic feats because it was his duty not because of personal pleasure. Even in a more recent revival, Mighty Mouse retained the boy scout personality that has served him well for almost half a century.
Mighty Mouse Playhouse
Mighty Mouse was not extraordinarily popular in theatrical cartoons but was still Terrytoons' most popular character. What made him a cultural icon was television. Paul Terry sold the Terrytoon company to CBS in 1955. The network began running Mighty Mouse Playhouse in December 1955. It remained on the air for nearly twelve years (and featured The Mighty Heroes during the final season). Mighty Mouse cartoons became a staple of children's television programming for a period of over thirty years, from the 1950s through the 1980s.
Despite the character's popularity on TV, Terrytoons produced only three further Mighty Mouse theatrical cartoons in the 1959–1961 time frame. The company believed that the existing library of 80 episodes (including the first 7 'super mouse' cartoons) was enough to keep youngsters tuning in to CBS every Saturday morning.
Some early vinyl credit the original 1955 Mighty Mouse Playhouse theme song to The Terrytooners, Mitch Miller and Orchestra, but recent publishing has generally credited The Sandpipers.
- He Dood It Again (Second film produced)
- Pandora's Box
- Super Mouse Rides Again
- Down with Cats
- The Lion and the Mouse
- The Wreck of the Hesperus (First short to name him "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
- The Sultan's Birthday
- At the Circus
- Mighty Mouse and the Pirates
- The Port of Missing Mice
- Raiding the Raiders
- The Kilkenny Cats
- The Silver Streak
- Mighty Mouse and the Wolf
- Gypsy Life (Nominated for an Oscar, however, it didn't win.)
- Mighty Mouse Meets Bad Bill Bunion
- 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
- Loves Labor Won
- Triple Trouble
- The Mysterious Stranger
- The Magic Slipper
- The Racket Buster
- A Cold Romance
- The Catnip Gang
- The Perils of Pearl Pureheart (Harry and Pearl's debut)
- Stop, Look and Listen
- Comic Book Land (With Gandy Goose and Sourpuss)
- Law and Order
- Beauty on the Beach
- Mother Goose's Birthday Party
Several publishers put out Mighty Mouse comic books. There were two main titles: Mighty Mouse and The Adventures of Mighty Mouse.
- Timely Comics #1-4 (1946)
- St. John Publications #5-67 (1947–1955)
- Pines Comics #68-83 (1956–1959)
The Adventures of Mighty Mouse (renaming of Terry's Comics, where Mighty Mouse appeared)
- St. John Publications #126-128 (1955)
- Pines Comics #129-144 (1956–1959)
- Dell Comics #145-155 (1959–1961)
- Gold Key Comics #156-160 (1962–1963)
- Dell Comics #161-?? (1963–??)
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Filmation made television cartoons starring Mighty Mouse and fellow Terrytoon characters Heckle and Jeckle (both voiced by Frank Welker) in a show called The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle, where two new characters were created: a vampire duck named Quacula (not to be confused with Count Duckula), and Harry's bumbling, overweight, but swift-running henchman, Swifty.
The show premiered in 1979 and lasted for two seasons. It even spawned a limited theatrical release matinee movie, "Mighty Mouse in the Great Space Chase", released December 10, 1982, and split up into 13 parts and played as part of the series. In the Filmation series, Mighty Mouse and Harry were voiced by veteran voice artist Alan Oppenheimer, and Pearl Pureheart was voiced by Diane Pershing.
Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures was a 1987-1988 series created by Ralph Bakshi. The series was more of a self-parody of Terrytoons, superhero tropes, and animation in the whole. The show has long since been seen as a ground-breaking series that paved the way for various animated series such as Animaniacs, Ren & Stimpy, and South Park. It was considered by some to be the first funny cartoon on television in years. It also gave Mighty a new origin story, once which more closely mirrored Superman's, while also keeping things unquiet. and it was also the only show to reveal his real name. Mike Mouse.
Mighty Mouse appeared in the 1999 pilot The Curbside.
Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies were working on a CGI Mighty Mouse feature film, with Barry E. Jackson providing conceptual art, and with screenwriting by Maurice Chauvet and Christopher Vail. As of 2018, it is in development hell.
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.
The rights to Mighty Mouse are now 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 DVD 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).
At least one episode of Mighty Mouse, "Wolf! Wolf!" has fallen into the public domain and is available at the Internet Archive.
There is no doubt that Mighty Mouse is the most famous, beloved, and iconic character to have ever been created by anyone at the studio, most well known for his 90's series he is one of the giants of classic animation, his name is among those of Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, The Pink Panther, Mister Magoo, and Popeye.
People fondly remember him and have even been inspired by the little guy, while most people nowadays may not know who he is, this is just no way to deny that he is a quintessential part of animated history. What a Mouse of Steel.
- Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, (the first official release of any Mighty Mouse/TerryToon material) was released on January 5, 2010, containing the entire series.
- The animated short "Wolf Wolf", the only Mighty Mouse cartoon in the public domain, has been released on low-budget DVDs and VHS tapes numerous times.
- Mighty Mouse is sometimes shown in promotional material with the words "Mighty Mouse" plastered on his chest, however, in all of the actual cartoons that area is blank as Mighty doesn't have a chest symbol.
- Mighty Mouse was planned to make a cameo in the deleted scene "Acme's Funeral" from the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
- An illustration of Mighty Mouse was featured on musician Tom Scholz's Les Paul guitar.
- Osamu Tezuka has once sated that Mighty Mouse was the influence that inspired him to name his well-known character Mighty Atom (Known as Astro Boy in America).
- The song Astro Man by Jimi Hendrix, a part of the Black Gold session, includes a version of the 'Here I come to save the day!' fanfare.