History of Mighty Mouse:
know Mighty Mouse was the original "Super Fly"? No, he didn't
have a long coat and a pimp cane. At Terrytoons studios in the
early 1940s a man named Isadore Klein came up with a character spoof of
"Superman" involving a fly in a Superman-style costume. Paul
Terry, head of Terrytoons, liked the basic idea, but thought the
character would be cuter as a mouse. I mean, come on, a fly isn't
that endearing! Thank goodness Paul had business sense.
So the character "Super Mouse" was
born in 1942. A few cartoons were made with the mouse in Superman
tights until a near disaster struck. A disgruntled ex-Terrytoons
employee took the idea of Super Mouse to a comic book company and got
published. To avoid any association with this other Super Mouse,
Paul Terry had the name of his creation changed to "Mighty Mouse" from
there on out. In fact, the few cartoons where he was known as
Super Mouse, the narrative was dubbed over to say "Mighty Mouse".
Eventually, to avoid all association with Superman or Super Mouse,
Mighty Mouse's blue and red tights were changed to his unique costume
of yellow and red (which we all know today!).
The Evolution of Mighty Mouse
Mighty Mouse changed his appearance several times
before finding his definitive "look". Take a look at how Mighty
Mouse evolved from his first cartoon appearance to how we know him to
Mighty Mouse in his first cartoon ever, "The Mouse of
Tomorrow". At the time of its original release (1942) the
character was called Super Mouse. Starting in 1944 the earlier
cartoons all renamed the character Mighty Mouse. But despite the
obvious parody of Superman, Mighty Mouse's costume colors are green
with red cape, trunk, and boots. His nose is red, instead of
black like we know him today. Also, his build is rather
unimpressive. Notice how skinny his arms and legs look. Not
to mention that his legs are much longer here than in his most popular
He kept his look in his second cartoon "Frankenstein's Cat" (1942).
Here Mighty Mouse is looking more like we know him in "The Green Line"
(1944), but something just doesn't ring true. It's his costume
colors! Here his suit is red with yellow cape and trunks.
Later, the colors would be reversed. Also worth mention is the
fact that Mighty's boots are black here. In his established look,
his boots are red. It's great to see Mighty Mouse have some bulk
to him. His nose is black, too.
The Many Origins of Mighty Mouse
It was fairly
common for the writers of Mighty
Mouse to change things about his back story often, since these were
just short cartoons mainly composed of sight gags. Just what do
we know about Mighty Mouse?
In his first cartoon, "The Mouse of
Tomorrow" (1942), Mighty Mouse is
an ordinary mouse who gets his super powers from eating foods at the
super market. Later, in the cartoon "He Dood it Again" (1943),
they still stick to this story, saying that Mighty Mouse (Super Mouse)
lives in the super market.
But supermarkets do get boring, and in
"Pandora's Box" (1943) he was
given another origin. As the ordinary boyfriend mouse of Pandora
"long, long, ago", he takes vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and XYZ to become
Mighty Mouse (Super Mouse).
Most of the time, Mighty Mouse's origin is
ignored. But one
recurring element is where and what time period Mighty Mouse
lives. Unless we're told otherwise, we're supposed to assume that
Mighty Mouse is fighting evil in present-day America. But in some
cartoons we're told the story takes place "long ago" in some
undeterminable time period in some place of western civilization such
as a big city, a little town or a quaint little forest. "The
Pirates" (1945) is unique, because Mighty Mouse lives in the jungle
like a Tarzan-styled adventurer. Later in "Bad Bill Bunion"
(1945) Mighty Mouse is in the Old West. The funny thing about
this is when Bad Bill Bunion reprises his role in "The Jailbreak"
(1946), him and Mighty are in present-day. In fact, in the latter
cartoon, Bad Bill is pursued by the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, but
it is Mighty Mouse who captures him! "Krakatoa" (1945) finds
Mighty Mouse in a tropical locale.
MORE TO COME!
- Pearl Pureheart, Mighty Mouse's girlfriend, was sometimes
- The first Mighty Mouse cartoon with Oil Can Harry was "A
Fight to the
Finish" from 1947, about 5 years after the first Mighty Mouse cartoon.
- You never see Mighty Mouse's girlfriend Pearl/Nell without
Harry in the cartoons.
- Oil Can Harry & Pearl Pureheart/Little Nell appears in
- A Fight to the Finish (1947) [Girl mouse known as Pearl
- Love's Labor Won (1948)
- Triple Trouble (1948)
- The Mysterious Stranger (1948) [Girl mouse known as
- A Cold Romance (1949) [Girl mouse known as Little Nell]
- The Perils of Pearl Pureheart (1949)
- Stop, Look and Listen (1949)
- Beauty on the Beach (1950)
- Sunny Italy (1951)
- Injun Trouble (1951)
- A Swiss Miss (1951)
- Prehistoric Perils (1952)
- Happy Holland (1952)
- A Soapy Opera (1953)
- When Mousehood Was in Flower (1953)