While it’s possible that some readers may already consider this old news, others (like me) may have let this tidbit escape them.
This past January, CBS and Paramount finally gave a proper DVD release to the complete series of “Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures“. If you aren’t familiar or need a refresher course, let me fill you in in as few words as possible:
By the fall of 1987, Saturday mornings had become saturated with dull 30-minute toy commercials that duped as cartoons: “GI Joe,” “Pound Puppies,” “Wuzzles,” you name it — if it appeared on Saturday morning cartoons, you could probably purchase it at KB (and I probably did). Suddenly, CBS rolled out this newest creation of Ralph Bakshi (Fritz The Cat, Wizards, Coonskin) and the landscape of animation changed. Bakshi purchased the rights to the old Terrytoons icon — originally meant as a campy spoof of Superman — and sought to reinject camp, craziness, irreverence back into animation by reinventing a classic. In other words, Bakshi was looking to make cartoons fun again.
The staff that Bakshi assembled seems, in retrospect, like a fantasy league team — as stated in the DVD collections special feature documentary, you couldn’t afford to have all of them in the same room anymore. At the time they were no-namers, but it should come as no surprise, given their roots in “Might Mouse,” that a number of those involved would go on to big things. Bakshi’s right-hand man was John Kricfalusi (“Ren & Stimpy“), who was a senior director in the first season. Writers and artists — often working interchangeably — included Jim Reardon (“Tiny Toons,” “The Simpsons“), Tom Minton (“Animaniacs”), Jeff Pidgeon (“The Simpsons,” Toy Story, WALL-E), Kent Butterworth (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), and multitudes more. Notable voice actors include Mona Marshall (“South Park”), who had a minor role, and Maggie Roswell (“The Simpsons”).
Perhaps today, “Might Mouse” might not seem so outlandish, but that’s largely due to the fact that it is directly responsible for changing the way cartoons were produced, reintroducing animator-driven productions, and both inspiring and paving the way for the bizarre toons that in the ’90s (and still to this day) dominate Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.
Click here to read an excellent review of the DVD release, as well as a more thorough history of the show, written by Jamie S. Rich at DVDtalk.com. Check out the clip below for the wonderful introduction and theme song (just hearing it takes me back to the living room floor at 10:30 on a Saturday morning when I was in second grade), as well as a sample episode and a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process.
“Mee-yow!” (Season one)