So, I just acquired the DVD for the complete Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures. For those of you who don't remember the show, here's a quick recap courtesy of Wikipedia:
Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures is a 1987 revival of the classic Mighty Mouse cartoon character. Produced by Bakshi-Hyde Ventures (a joint venture of animator Ralph Bakshi and producer John W. Hyde), it aired on CBS on Saturday mornings from fall 1987 through the 1988-89 season. It was briefly rerun on Saturday mornings on Fox Kids in November 1992.
Mighty Mouse: the New Adventures was a little more than your usual Saturday Morning Kiddie fare. The update was largely farcical and satirical. Sure, the titular character frequently exhibited feats of derring-do, but the focus tended to be more about the characters around him, both his allies and villains, and seemingly nothing was sacred.
Let's start this review:
* The opening sequence seems much more like an adventure series and less like a satire.
Night on Bald Pate
* A little 4th wall breakage, as Pearl can not only speak underwater, she can also see all of us in "TV land".
* Some classic cartoon hijinks by the sharks preparing to devour Pearl, including a broccoli garnish and chopped onions.
* A very quick costume change by Pearl on the rescue, as she's already in a dress as opposed to a swimsuit.
* So it's a classic opening, giving a setting and an idea of who the hero is and what powers he might have.
* The narration is extremely reminiscent of the 1966 Batman! TV show.
* We meet the arch-villain, Petey Pate, who is bald. A Lex Luthor reference, perhaps?
* So Petey Pate is shunned by society, unable to hold down a job, etc., all because of his baldness. Ergo, a life of crime it is!
* One costume and two burly henchmen later (after a quick trip to the Arch Emporium), and he's ready for his debut.
* He's a true outlaw too. You can tell by the way he cuts in line at the bank.
* Oopsie. Not even the teller takes Petey Pate seriously. He slinks away in shame and disgrace.
* And Petey Pate makes the same decision all arch villains make: he'll gain respect by defeating Mighty Mouse!
* Pearl is easily captured by the diabolical tactic of placing a piece of cheese under a box propped up by a stick. Definitely a bright one.
* All the left shoes in Mouseville. Well Petey, that's mighty...odd.
* Some classic Kricfalusi style animation here as Petey shows Pearl just how mad he is with a backdrop by Dali.
* His henchmen calm him down by rubbing his belly. Useful henchmen there.
* When Petey gets calm he gets calm.
* But don't call him Petey.
* So Petey issues a challenge to Mighty Mouse, which if he doesn't accept, he'll disappear Pearl Pureheart forever! Except for legal holidays.
* Apparently Petey Pate's big plan is to cover Mighty Mouse with Cheezo. I have a feeling it won't work though.
* Nope, one giant piece of celery takes out the Cheezo.
* Love the henchmen singing his catch phrase.
* Petey ducks into a strange, untested machine. However, it's not a last ditch attempt to escape, but just a way to freshen up so his mug shots look good.
* The jail has a henchmen outlet. I guess that's how they keep getting recycled.
Mouse from Another House
* We meet orphan Scrappy on his first day of school. Sadly, the poor lad can't find anyone to hang out with, as all the other kids have parents.
* Scrappy's ears are huge compared to the other mice. However, unlike Petey Pate, no one is making fun of him for being different.
* His eyes are huge too.
* Pearl begins narrating Mighty Mouse's origin, but the narrator ain't havin' none of that. Pearl tells him to step off.
* Hmm...alien from another neighborhood...different gravity...seems I've heard something like this before, but I can't put my finger on it.
* Mighty Mouse's parents are vaguely French for some reason.
* Hmm. I see a rocket. Surely they don't plan to...
* so, as Mighty Mouse's father tries to convince the local council that their home is doomed, the council thinks he's full of it. This really sounds familiar...
* A limburger cheese joke. I miss those.
* And just like that, his home building is destroyed. This sounds so familiar...
* I love how his parents, after surviving the demolition, don't seem to care that they've sent their child away.
* So Mighty Mouse is adopted by two "down to earth" squirrels.
* A costume from the blankets they found him in. Hmm, now where have I heard that one before?
There's a fair number of recognizable names in the credits, like John Kricfalusi, Doug Moench and Bruce Timm.
So, all things being equal, not a bad start. Night on Bald Pate is a little more in keeping with what I remember about the series, including the zany moments. However, both cartoons primarily had moments; I think the best is yet to come.
Episode #2 Me-Yowww and Witch Tricks
Mighty Mouse saves a developmentally disabled cat, who instantly attempts to become Mighty Mouse's best friend.
* While it's logical to expect that cats are torturing mice, all I see these three doing is making funny faces.
* Super Onion Breath. I betcha Superman never thought of that one.
* Oopsie! No mice were being oppressed, just a dopey cat.
* That is indeed a thorn in his paw.
* Hmm...Where's George?
* Secret identity? What secret identity?
* That limburger goes down real nice.
* That is one big tub of popcorn.
* Man, they hit the skids really quick. And why did they get evicted? There should be a lawsuit or something, right?
* That really sounds like "Yakety Sax".
* And now the cats want Derf back. Make up your minds, will ya?
Scrappy volunteers to deliver the Tooth Fairy's last dollar of the evening.
* Talking clothes, a witch and a walking apartment house shaped like a pumpkin. Definitely more madcap than the previous cartoon.
* Not the old "hand the anvil to the character attempting to run on air" trick.
* Mighty Mouse's powers are powerless against magic? I did not know that.
* Super Denture Vision!
Overall, both were fun cartoons. However, Me-Yowww! was definitely more of a traditional cartoon romp, whereas Witch Tricks was more madcap and all over the place. The show still hasn't hit it's stride yet.
Night of the Bat-Bat
Mighty Mouse calls up his superhero friend the Bat-Bat to investigate weird goings-on with dairy products.
* Love Mighty Mouse calling Bat-Bat to deal with the new threat. Love even more his doodling on the side of the phone booth--or is it the 4th wall?--during his conversation. Also, just who is it that he's drawing?
* The Bug-Wonder has to be the best and most dynamic sidekick this side of Cheeks the Toy Wonder.
* The Mad-Mobile? The Bat-pit?
* Bruce Vain and his youthful ward Tick.
* How do they know the ice cream tastes like aluminum siding?
* Among Bat-Bat's rogues gallery are such dastardly villains as Ten-Face (obviously featuring caricatures of the creative team), No-face, Ralph Man, and of course, The Cow!
* The didactic duo. Lovely.
* The Cow is somehow amazingly male.
* Now that's a nefarious plan. Killing the Bat-Bat with his own jokes.
* "I had a date with destiny once, but she stood me up"
* Dehydrated Bat-Bat fights real good!
* Swab! Lint! Pick!
* The Cow is just misunderstood. He just wants to be loved. Is that so wrong?
* Mighty Mouse shows up just in time to give Bat-Bat a few friendly socks in the breadbasket.
Scrappy the orphan is looking for a home, but ends up in trouble with an evil carnival cat.
* Mighty Mouse declares that he and Scrappy are friends for life.
* Mighty Mouse cautions Scrappy not to call him unless it's really necessary.
* Scrappy hooks up with some less than savory mice pals called the Mice-Fits
* Uh-Oh! Angry Mole alert!
* The Mole named Old Man Weasel sells the mice to the Carnival for cats. I wonder what nefarious plans the cats have for them.
* Oh no! Forced to work as carnival attractions.
* The mice decide to dig up enough dirt on Chester to send him to jail. However, they're absence from the dunk tank is noted.
* After all this, Chester isn't even taken to jail. But he does decide to change his carnival into a bingo parlor.
Overall, much more of the show I recognize. Many more laughs, a lot of fairly madcap antics, and many surprises. Definitely a move in the right direction.
Mighty Mouse has an extremely bad day, all caused by a cat with bad luck that doesn't even have the decencty to be black.
* Pearl is hell bent that Mike Mouse is going to finish his shift, impending meteor strike or not.
* Triple-Overtime every night without pay? That's no excuse!
* So she drowns Mike in the lake accidentally, then doesn't even call for help?
* Some very "creative" meteor smashing there.
* Oopsie. Missed one.
* Cats be jivin' hopin' he daid.
* That is one runaway train.
* Nice to see many of the Tex Avery gags still survive.
* Dadburned cat.
* I don't think that solution quite worked. Oh well.
Scrappy's Field Day
Scrappy misses his bus for the field trip, so Mighty Mouse takes him on an adventure.
* Poor Scrappy.
* Kick the baby!
* Uh-Oh, it's a time travel bus!
* "Scrappy, do you like gladiator movies?"
* Superman psuedo-science. Gotta love it.
* First rule of time-traveling into the past. Do not cork the erupting volcano.
* Mighty Mouse owes Scrappy money?
* You can tell the cats are evil 'cause they eat roadkill.
* Oh sure, everything's going great and then an onyx monolith shows up.
* Fred Flinstone as a dinosaur. Dino is not impressed.
* I think the Barneysaurus want's the Fredsaurus' Fruity Saurus'...(I just realized how incredibly wrong that whole scenario is).
I wish my notes could give you an idea of the visual fest these cartoons are. For everything I reference, there's tons of little visual jokes and puns that really push this over the top. A great deal of fun, just as I remember.
I have these on DVD, too, and would like to join in. I'll try to start watching this week. Please carry on. I'll try to catch up.
I find it interesting that the intro to the show only contains shots from the first three episodes. Perhaps they worried the show would be canceled quickly.
Scrappy wants to earn some money to buy a new skateboard, but ends up working for the wrong people.
* The Bronze Boarder, eh?
* Lincoln. Why Lincoln?
* The Right Cross is pretty heavy, eh?
* Mud wrestling is real action?
* No Scrappy, don't do it! First it's a bag, then it's "Say hello to my little friend."
* Maxie is terribly creepy. And where does one get a watchband that won't break when it's tightened that much?
* Oopsie. Trap door.
* Hmm. I wonder how many people would get the Edgar G. Robertston shtick in 1987, let alone now.
* So Maxie's actual plan is to start a chain restaurant featuring mice on the menu.
* Maxie has a bit of an eating disorder, I'd say.
* "Scrappy, what are you doing in my burger?" Mighty Mouse isn't always the brightest bulb.
* None of these underlings seem very interested in "getting" Mighty Mouse--unless it's "getting away".
* So, alls well that ends well, as Maxie takes off all of his weight and becomes a motivational speaker.
The First Deadly Cheese
The Cow attempts to trap Mighty Mouse with Limbergerite, his only weakness.
* Oh no! Not the Cow! Not limbergerite! The horror!
* So the Cow has mad sculpting skills, yo!
* I want one of those Deputy Dawg telephones...well, maybe not.
* All those vision powers, and he can't tell a Pearl made from cheese from the real one?
* Healing surge time.
* "This is the last straw." Droll, very droll.
* So the plan switches from destroying Mighty Mouse to publicly humiliating him. Oh well, I suppose Lex Luthor would do the same.
* Mighty Mouse lives in the Safari hotel. The more you know...
* Back to the hoosegow for the Cow.
Overall, an okay episode. A handful of good laughs, but not quite the top of the game.
This Island Mouseville
A pair of alien cats invade the Earth and declare themselves rulers.
* A UFO headed at Earth, and only Mighty Mouse can save the day! But where is he?
* Uh-Oh, it may be more than our hero can handle.
* Shades of Get Smart!
* Of course the invading alien is a cat.
* I don't think these aliens are terribly intelligent.
* I love how the mice just walk away after the ultimatum
* Durling is captivated by Earth TV.
* Dueling with flounders. Quite funny.
* A little light opera
* Why are they singing?
* Mighty Mouse succeeds and the two cats go to work for the Dippy Chipmunk show.
Mighty's Musical Classics
In a bid to save some money, some of Mighty Mouse's old cartoons are set to modern music.
Overall, an eh episode. There were some good laughs with the aliens, but using the old cartoons hurt in my opinion. Maybe if they'd showed some of the old cartoons intact, that might have worked better.
The Littlest Tramp
Mighty Mouse attempts to help a poor young flower girl who doesn't want his help.
* Sure, ignore the pretty little girl selling a flower in a blizzard to save two piano movers from an angry ape.
* Oh, the ape just wanted to play a little ragtime. Never mind.
* Even in cartoons, the rich are evil.
* The lucky cheese goes from his socks to his shorts. I don't think I want any.
* Poor little Polly Pineblossom
* Evil rich guy is evil.
* Super Evolution? That's one that even Superman doesn't have.
* Evil rich guy is really, really evil.
* "One good lie is worth 100 truths."
* "Someone's been mean to you. Tell me who it is so I can punch him--tastefully."
* There's something both hilarious and disturbing about Mighty Mouse dressing up as a female crustaceon.
* Evil rich guy is really, really, really evil.
* Evil rich guy gets a spanking.
* Polly Pineblossom is perfect. She must DIE!
* Evil rich guy just pawn in big game of life.
* Surprise, surprise, a wedding.
* That's quite a risque kiss for children's television. And does he have to choke her while he's kissing her?
* Evil rich guy has a name--Big Murray. And now Polly gets to foreclose mortgages for him. Huzzah!
Puffy Goes Berserk
* A giant cat. Really?
* That's just too silly.
* Mighty Mouse is only trying to enjoy a nice Sunday afternoon rest, but no...
* Is this a commentary on the ineffectiveness of eyewitnesses or the incompetence of police artists?
* Electric hairball for the win.
* Marquis of Queensbury rules I take it?
* How'd the referee get big?
* Alien ex Machina.
* "Suddenly I feel very sentient."
This is the sort of episode I remember this show fondly for. Both cartoons were very, very enjoyable with lots of laughs. Good stuff.
This, of course, is also the episode that ignited the great "Mighty Mouse Cocaine" controversy. However, I think it's edited a little from the original.
The League Of Super-Rodents
In order to impress Madame Marsupial, the Cow takes on the entire League Of Super-Rodents (sans Mighty Mouse)
* The Cow is quite the Don Juan.
* I wonder if there's anything Madame Marsupial doesn't keep in that pouch.
* Uh-Oh. He's being dared to take on the entire league of Super-Rodents one at a time. I don't think this will end well.
* I think the Hole of Multitude may not be quite as secret and secure as they might hope.
* Not the roll call! Anything but the roll call!
* The Super-Rodents seem a little too cowed by the Cow.
* Playing upon the mouse of steel's vanity seems to work well.
* Mighty is awfully large in comparison to the Cow.
* Hmm. Just what is Madame Marsupial's game here?
* Super-Scamper power? Did him about as much good as Scrappy-Doo.
* She's trying to vamp Mighty MOuse! And it may be working!
* Pose-off! Pose-off!
* Yup, she keeps everything in that pouch.
* I'm begining to think the Inferior Five would have had a better chance against the Cow.
* There's something just a tad off about Mole Mom. Perhaps it's the fact that her weapon of choice is flinging her babies at her opponent.
* Man, if GI Gerbil and his Howling Groundhogs can't save the day, I don't know who can.
* This is a great way to show a villain is bad-ass without actually killing anyone.
* Celebrating just a wee bit early there Cow.
* Even his fly minions are crushing rocks on that rockpile.
* Madame Marsupial gets around.
Scrappy's friends break into a movie theater and splice together all the cartoons. Mostly an excuse for a nice, low-budget cartoon.
* A million different cartoons?
* Scrappy would not be fun to watch a movie with.
* Oh sure Mighty, just wreck a train. Don't worry about loss of life or anything like that.
All in all, an okay episode. Using Scrappy and his pals as a framing sequence made the use of the old footage more palatable, and the League of super-Rodents had some moments. However, I can't help thinking that the League cartoon could have been funnier.
All You Need Is Glove
Arch-Fiend the Glove attempts to strong-arm Pearl into giving him her factory.
* "Mike, your head!" Does Pearl suspect?
* This seems like something from Dumbo's "Pink Elephants On Parade" sequence, what with all of the independent gloves.
* A hot coffee pot to foil the gloves. Ingenious.
* Not exactly the most direct course to Hollywood, I'd say.
* It's fun watching Mike Mouse try to not give away his secret identity. Secret identities may be passé, but I think they made for a little bit extra in terms of story telling.
* A security guard with a mustache like that just blares out "evil".
* Amusing James Bond reference.
* Love seeing Mighty Mouse do the old "Perform super-feat so quickly no one notices my alter-ego is gone" trick.
* In watching this, I'm struck by how many of today's viewers wouldn't have a clue as to the little joke with the records stacking on a spindle.
* Tibet now?
* He just told Scrappy. Bye Bye Secret Identity.
* "The Palm Reader fingered all of you!"
* Scrappy playing Mike. Droll. "Scrappy would have wanted it that way".
* And we end with a little soft shoe.
It's Scrappy's Birthday
Scrappy runs away from Mouseville when no one remembers it's his birthday.
* Scrappy rides that bike awfully fast through construction zones.
* Poor Scrappy. Having to share his birthday with Mouseville Cheese Day.
* He's ridin' the rails.
* Of course, the only hobo around is a prankster.
* A gang of hobo clowns? Oh no!
* Poor Slappy. Not a very funny hobo comic.
* Hobo clowns just ain't very nice.
* Scrappy gets his birthday party.
* Slappy turns out to be a millionaire and didn't even know it.
* I should have better birthdays...
A fun, light hearted episode. Enough laughs to keep it interesting, and lots of inside jokes.
The Ice Goose Cometh
A 1940's animation star is brought back to life in the preset.
* MM plays with his vision powers. Surely nothing will go wrong, right?
* Oops, that iceberg may have someone or something in suspended animation inside...nah, that never happens.
* Ruh-Roh, it's Gandy Goose. Surely he wont' be any sort of threat...
* Hmm...looks like Gandy maybe time-traveled just a scoche.
* Gandy just pawn in big game of life...no wait, Gandy just goose out of time.
* Yup, Gandy is way, way out of time.
* I can understand Gandy's confusion. I've never heard of any of these losers before either...except maybe for Pee Wee Wee Wee. He's my favorite.
* MM is pretty much a jerk here.
* Poor Gandy.
* I think he may miss Sourpuss, but I could be wrong.
* Sourpuss was kinda...sour.
* How is Gandy laying eggs?
* Not the shortcut through the forest! Anything but that!
* Rangers got to gets their party on.
* Of course, there's a fire. Where's Smokey?
* I guess lightning actually will strike the same place twice.
* Mighty Mouse is the...mouse.
* I don't think Gandy is assimilating well.
* MM is a mighty big mouse next to a gander.
* MM seems just a tad Jack Nicholson all of a sudden.
* Maybe, just maybe, MM should show Gandy what happened to Sourpuss.
* MM helps cats in trouble too. Who knew?
* I think he may have found sourpuss.
* If Sourpuss is his buddy, I'd hate to see how his enemies treat him.
* But no one thought about...Deputy DAWG!
Pirates With Dirty Faces
Scrappy's pals decide they want to become pirates, while Mighty Mouse "teaches them a lesson™".
* Scrappy's ne'er do well friends are on the loose again, looking for pirate booty.
* Ah-ha! These wastrel mice are no good for anyone.
* Hmm...I think MM is about to "teach them a lesson™".
* Uh-oh...real pirates.
* Pirates are just a tad off-key.
* The captain is Marlon Brando.
* A slumber party? It's just dumb enough, it might work!
* The captain is also a cross-dresser? Very progressive for 1987 Saturday morning kiddie fare.
* Wait a minute...this ain't bebop.
* Bad poetry is always funny.
* Especially bad beat poetry.
* That is one musical bird.
* Is that a Bukowski reference?
* One hell of a long plank to walk?
* I don't think things well end well for our young jackanapes.
* I think they've figured out that being a pirate kinda stinks.
* Yup, pirates stink.
* A dream? Really?
* So wait...Mighty Mouse is Marlon Brando? I'm confuzzled.
B'Golly, this was fun. Both features had their moments, but especially "Pirates With Dirty Faces" pretty much epitomized what I love about this series.
I do wonder if this series suffers from "Fantastic Four Syndrome" as the ideas presented wherein have been expounded over and over again for the last 20-something years.
Mighty's Benefit Plan
Alwee and the Tree Weasels play a benefit at the Mousevill Orphanage.
* Some teens in the malt shop watching the latest dance craze on Tv. What could possibly be more wholesome?
* Twitch and Writhe. Seems as appropriate a dance as anything else.
* Hop on your tongue/Have some fun...great rhymes
* Looks like Scrappy's a big fan.
* So apparently the host of the TV show is a beatnik. And there's a benefit tonight for the Mouseville Orphanage.
* Alwee and the Tree Weasels are playing. Awesome!
* A little slow on picking up those tickets, Scrappy. I'm sure he won't make any not so well-informed decisions however.
* Nope. Mighty Mouse knows their manager. Scrappy be happy.
* So Alwee and the Tree Weasels are analogues for Alvin and the Chipmunks. who woulda thunk?
* Something is just a little...off about Alwee and the Tree Weasels.
* I've never seen Superman using that flying motion.
* Sandy is a tad...insane. Stealing three baby tree weasels from their nest just because he wants a family.
* The poor weasels are terrified, realizing that Sandy ain't all there. Why else would he ask them to sing?
* They're buying parents for the orphans?
* No parents. Relish was substituted.
* I didn't catch the name of this roadkill narration cat, but it's hilarious.
See You In the Funny Papers
Scrappy gets a magic ring that makes his favorite comic book characters come alive.
* Murray the Barbarian?
* That fat Elvis balloon is just wrong.
* Weirdly enough, I tend to enjoy Hindenberg parodies.
* So MM calls information to find the villains. Not terribly secret, I'd say.
* They're hiding in the old gumball factory.
* Mind control gumballs. What will they think of next?
* Mighty ain't havin' it. No sir.
* Pencil neck actually has sort of a cool power, being able to draw objects and then use them.
* Reversing the polarity on the ring returns the villains to the stasis field. Brilliant!
* So Head Cheese's power is to spin sideways on his head and turn into a big wheel. I think Captain Ultra could take this guy.
* Oh no! Huge the Conquerer just turned Mighty Mouse into a coaster.
* And then he popped a little girl's balloon. That cad!
* Huge apparently is invulnerable. But he does enjoy pinching.
* Huge, defeated by onion breath and stupidity.
* Alien brains in glass casings should think twice about attacking Mighty Mouse.
* Not the results he was expecting though.
* Inter-Galactic livestock show and demolition derby. Yee-haw!
Overall, another good episode. Lots of silliness and visual in-jokes. Good stuff.