May 27, 2016 posted by

Animation Anecdotes #264

3488485-ter1The Many Origins of Mighty Mouse. Terrytoons’ The Mouse of Tomorrow (1942) shows a poor, hungry mouse being chased by a cat into a supermarket for safety. The mouse bathes in super soap, swallows super soup, munches super celery and plunges head first into super cheese. When he reappears he is attired in blue tights with red shorts and a red cape and is a “super mouse”. In Pandora’s Box (1943), it is revealed that Mighty Mouse became super by swallowing vitamins A through Z. In The Johnstown Flood (1946), it is shown how a little mouse ranger drinks from a jug labeled “Atomic Energy” and is transfromed into a super mouse.

In the comic book series, Mighty Mouse made his debut in Timely’s Terrytoons #3 and the storyline for the comic book character was that one dark and stormy night in a deep forest, a cloaked figure left a basket at the doorstep of an elderly mouse couple. The mouse couple soon finds the baby has the ability to fly and perform great feats of strength. When he grew older, he left to help mankind as Mighty Mouse.

Artists who illustrated the Timely series (before it went to St. John Publishing) included Jim Mooney, Mike Sekowsky and Al Jaffe. Stan Lee wrote some of these stories. The St. John stories contained work by Terrytoons staffers like Connie Rasinski, Art Bartsch, Jim Tyer and Carlo Vinci. Tom Morrison who supplied the voice for the animated character also scripted some of the stories.

UnknownTom and Jerry: The Movie Overseas. Animation legend Joe Barbera said in a 1992 interview in Dramalogue magazine, “I just came back from Germany and Paris. In Berlin, not only was the house (for Tom And Jerry: The Movie 1992) totally sold out, but there were 4,000 people milling around outside who couldn’t get in. When I walked down the aisle, the whole theater got up for a standing ovation. In Paris, the same reaction. The big surprise is that Droopy makes a ten second cameo appearance and a yell goes out from the audience taking the roof off. At the Paris opening, all in French, here comes Droopy again and another scream goes up! So now I am doing a new Droopy series: Droopy, Master Detective.” Droopy, Master Detective ran for just one season of thirteen episodes in 1993-94 and included Droopy’s son Dripple.

jasmine-tigerJasmine or Mulan? In Entertainment Weekly November 6, 2015, singer and actress Lea Salonga was asked “You sang as Jasmine in Aladdin and Mulan in Mulan. Who would you rather hang out with?” Salonga answered, “Jasmine has her tiger. Mulan has her sword. They’re both flawed and conflicted and beautiful and smart, but…this is Sophie’s choice. That’s too hard.”

homer-headJust Saying. The six main actors on The Simpsons were only paid $30,000 each per episode until 1998. (The series started in 1989.) When they asked for a raise, the network threatened to recast the roles with one Fox exectuive suggesting they could all be replaced with high school students doing an imitation.

Compensation was readjusted and continued to do so and today the actors make approximately $300,000 per episode.

In an US Weekly article in 2003, Harry Shearer who voices several characters stated, “If you watch the way other networks treat the stars of shows that are marginally successful, it gives you pause. NBC gave the cast members of Will & Grace Porsche Boxters on the occasion of their second season on the air. By contrast, no Porsche Boxers have been waiting for us in the Fox parking lot. They play us against each other. They divide and conquer. It’s just business, I guess, but it never ceases to amaze me.”

In response, then Fox Entertainment Group chairman Sandy Grushow stated, “I don’t want to negotiate in public. We have great respect for these people, would like everyone to feel adequately compensated, and it will be our goal for everyone to return. At the same time, we have a business to run, and this is a public company and we have a responsibility to run it as cost-effectively as possible.”

Jabbar-the-GiraffeMichael’s Pets. In 1987, there was a proposal for a Saturday morning animated series entitled “Michael’s Pets” that would focus on the singer Michael Jackson’s animal friends living at his Neverland home. A spokesman for Jackson in the Los Angeles Times Magazine (October 11, 1987) stated, “I think Michael is too macho… you might argue with me on that… but I think he’s too macho and too cool to be seen with a bunch of cartoon animals.” At one point, legendary Mark Evanier was invited to write the show and met with Jackson.

Michael’s pets included Bubbles the chimpanzee, Louie and Lola the llamas, Gypsy the elephant, Thriller and Sabu the tigers, Mr. Tibbs the ram, Ricki the parrot, Crusher, Muscles and Madonna the snakes Rambo, Jabba Junior, Princess and Annie Sue the giraffes and Shadow, Spanky and Sasha the dogs.

Jackson also had alligators, flamingoes, orangutans and more. Some were sold. Some were given away. Bubbles went to a Florida animal sanctuary.

772837Hey, Abbott!!!! Eddie Sherman was the manager of the comedy team Abbott and Costello and continued to try to develop projects even after the death of Lou Costello in 1959. Seeing the release of The New Three Stooges series of cartoons in 1965, Sherman wrote a proposal for an Abbott and Costello animated series for Lee Orgel, president of Jomar Productions.

Orgel took the proposal to Hanna-Barbera that in 1967 collaborated with RKO-Jomar on a series of 156 short cartoons in 39 half-hours for first-run syndication. Hanna-Barbera head honcho Joe Barbera was not thrilled at the idea of hiring the still living Bud Abbott to provide the voice for his animated doppleganger. Orgel worked hard to convince the studio that having the original voice would generate publicity and increase sales. It didn’t.

Abbott had been ill for many years (he had suffered a series of strokes in 1964) and needed help traveling to the studio to record his dialog. He also needed the money because of tax problems and the fact that health problems did not allow him to perform anywhere that required physical activity. “He was on crutches and wearing leg braces. I had to send a car for him,” recalled Orgel.

Stan Irwin did the voice for Costello.


  • What’s odd was Mighty Mouse was originally known as Super Mouse and one of the origin stories told how Super Mouse (now Mighty Mouse) got his super power at a Supermarket by dining on Super Cheese and bathing in Super Soap. The original Super Mouse had a mouse size version of Superman’s outfit which was Blue and red . Paul Terry must of ran afoul with the creators of Superman causing the change of Super Mouse’s name to Mighty Mouse and changing the outfit’s from blue and red to yellow and red.

    • There was a character in Coo Coo Comics called Supermouse that predated the Terry character.

  • Aw, poor Harry Shearer! Um, how much do the people in Korea who draw the Simpsons make?

  • Bud Abbott was epileptic he never drove all his life. Regardless of his later health he would have needed a lift to and from recordings.

  • I always felt is was a big “plus” to have Bud Abbott’s voice in the cartoons. True, years of heavy smoking and epilepsy had taken it’s toll on his health, but still, it was BUD ABBOTT doing his own voice! 🙂

  • Seriously, Bud Abbott’s voice work is the saving grace of the A&C cartoons. Under the circumstances, I think he did a great job (which no doubt would have otherwise gone to Paul Frees.. who would have given a great impression of Paul Frees).

  • Harry Shearer should get out of the Simpsons and stay out. All those talented actors should go make money for other shows and let the Simpsons die. It hasn’t been as good since Phil Hartman died, and you know it’s over when the most anticipated part of the show is an opening sequence drawn by someone else. Aye carumba.

  • “I’m a baaaaad cartoon!”

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually buy all those old Mighty Mouse cartoons that haven’t seen the light of day in many years.

  • So good to see this MIGHTY MOUSE cartoon complete, and it is interesting to note that, in this cartoon, he is referred to, in passing, by both names, so I guess this title might have also inspired them, when confronted by possible conflicts with the comic book character of SUPERMAN and the Max Fleischer cartoon series, to rename the character MIGHTY MOUSE…and, speaking of animation’s popularity in Europe, I wonder how many classic animation collections are released in Europe that we’ll never see.

    • To try to answer both you and BIGG3469 above.

      I have seen it in print that the reason for the switch from “Super Mouse” to “Mighty Mouse” was not any threat of lawsuit by the DC comics people. Lore has it that a Terry artist went to Coo Coo Comics (a publication of the Standard/Better/Nedor group of comics), and took the name of “Super Mouse” with him. As Terry wasn’t getting a dime from these comics (unlike his later deals with Timely, St. John, Pines and other firms), he had the name changed so that, if there were to be any comics adaptations, he’d get the dough.

      “Coo Coo Comics” is believed to be entirely in the public domain, and many issues are available for viewing or download from

      Supermouse (sometimes called “Supermouse, the Big Cheese”) went with the “super cheese” origin, and, in fact, kept a few slices of that commodity so he could ramp up his super powers, which would otherwise fade.

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