It’s not canon! But this is how RCA Bluebird Children’s Records explained the origin of Mighty Mouse, with more than a nod or two to the origin of Superman.
Paul Terry’s MIGHTY MOUSE’S FIRST ADVENTURE
RCA Records – Bluebird Children’s Series WBY-9 (7” 45 RPM) BY-9 (10” 78 RPM) Mono
Released in 1952. Producer: Steve Carlin. Adaptation: Martin Weldon. Music: Norman Leyden. Running Time: 7 minutes.
Voices: Todd Russell (Narrator); Allen Swift (Mighty Mouse, Father Mouse, Old Grey Cat); Sandy Fussell (Mother Mouse).
Songs: “The Mightiest Mouse of All,” “I’ll Do It,” “Fight Song” by Norman Leyden, Martin Weldon.
One would think the Terrytoons office might have sent a storyboard or short description about Mighty Mouse’s origin to RCA Records, just for accuracy’s sake. Nah. It probably wasn’t much of an issue back then.
While today, legions of distraught fans bemoan each departure from the “canon” of a particular character or storyline, it’s a safe bet that this was not troubling the populace in 1952, before video and internet streams allowed previous reference. That’s not to say that there were some Mighty Mouse fans with good memories who knew how he came to be ten years earlier in his 1942 animated debut, The Mouse of Tomorrow, but would they be the kids listening to this record ten years later?
The character (known originally as “Super Mouse”) in The Mouse of Tomorrow gained his powers at a Supermarket. Weary from the terror of cats, he decided to every product he could find on the shelves labeled “super” and, by the time he got to the super cheese, he had the whole outfit. While this could have been explained in audio form, perhaps it was decided to go back to comic book basics for the recording. Mighty Mouse was, after all, a spoof of Superman.
In place of Superman’s Ma and Pa Kent, the record begins with a lonely old pair of mice on their humble farm. A baby mouse is brought to them, not by way of rocket, but right at their doorstep from a mysterious stranger. For no particular reason, one day this baby jumps up, starts talking, lifts heavy things and flies around. His proud parents call him Mighty Mouse and his powers are dedicated to goodness and niceness.
Mighty Mouse helps on the farm and fights the cats who dominate the mice. To win back their turf, the cats pit their toughest thug against Mighty Mouse. Mighty Mouse triumphs, proving once again that he is the Mightiest Mouse of All.
RCA recorded a second disc called “Mighty Mouse Saves Dinky,” also narrated by Todd Russell and presumably produced in much the same manner. Russell, by the way, was associated with this record because Steve Carlin produced most RCA children’s records of this period as well as the early children’s TV show, Rootie Kazootie. Russell was the on-camera host, interacting with the puppets.
Voicing Mighty Mouse and a few other characters on this disc is a cartoon voice fan favorite, Allen Swift, whom we discussed in an earlier Spin about his Popeye cartoon show hosting days. Swift also had replaced Dayton Allen as puppeteer and voice actor on NBC’s Howdy Doody series, and the Mighty Mouse voice he uses here is similar to that of the “Dilly Dally” puppet from that show.