Mighty Mouse is an animated superhero mouse character created by the Terrytoons studio for 20th Century Fox.
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. Originally 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 costume with red trunks and a red cape, his most popular colors. As with other imitations of Superman, Mighty Mouse’s super powers 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 flight which he can manipulate at will like a band of solid flexible matter.
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. Mighty Mouse was originally voiced by Roy Halee, Sr., and later by Tom Morrison in some cartoons.
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 had two mouse girlfriends named Pearl Pureheart (in the cartoons) and Mitzi (in the comics during the 1950s and 1960s), and his arch-enemy is an evil villain cat named Oil Can Harry (who originated as a human from earlier Terrytoons as the enemy of Fanny Zilch). These characters 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 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 sang tenor, Pearl a soprano, and Oil Can Harry an alto/bass. Mighty Mouse was also known for singing, “Here I come to save the day!” when flying into action. Mighty Mouse’s home town is Mouseville, populated mostly by anthropomorphic cartoon mice.
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 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. At the end, Mighty Mouse is cheered by mice and cats alike.
In the episode “Krakatoa” (1945), Mighty Mouse lassoed the super-volcano Krakatoa, saving the island’s inhabitants from the pyroclastic flow. Most memorably, a love-interest for Mighty Mouse makes her appearance, Krakatoa Katie. One line of her theme song is “Krakatoa Katie, she ain’t no lady, when she starts to jump and shout, she’s Krakatoa Kay!!!”
Written and told by Tom Morrison. The TV voice of Mighty Mouse.
Music by Philip Scheib.
1.The Green Line
2.A Date for Dinner
4.The Sultan’s Birthday Party
6.The Angry Volcano