Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mighty Mouse is an animated superhero mouse character created by the Terrytoons studio. He was originally created as a parody of Superman, and he first appeared in 1940 in a theatrical animated short entitled The Mouse of Tomorrow. The original name of the character was Super Mouse, but it was soon changed to Mighty Mouse when Paul Terry learned that another character with the same name was being published in comic books.
Mighty Mouse originally had a blue costume with a red cape, like Superman; but over time this changed to a yellow costume with a red cape. As with other imitations of Superman, Mighty Mouse's super powers allow him to fly, and make him incredibly strong and invulnerable. He has demonstrated the use of "X-ray vision" in at least one cartoon, while during several cartoons he used a form of super-hypnosis that even allowed him to command inanimate objects and turn back time (as in the cartoons The Jonestown Flood and Krakatoa). Other cartoons have him leaving a red contrail as he flies which he can manipulate like a band of solid flexible matter when he desires it.
Mighty Mouse has a mouse girlfriend named Pearl Pureheart, and his arch-enemy is an evil villain cat named Oil Can Harry. These characters were created for a series of Mighty Mouse cartoons that spoofed the old cliffhanger serials of the days of silent film; the cartoons 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.
Mighty Mouse was not extraordinarily popular, but he did become a cultural icon after Paul Terry sold the Terrytoon cartoon library to broadcast television. Mighty Mouse cartoons became a staple of children's TV programming for a period of over thirty years, from the 1950s through the 1980s.
During the 1980s, animator Ralph Bakshi created a new series of Mighty Mouse cartoons, entitled The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse. This series was aimed more at grown-ups than children, and its heavy satirical tone and humor makes it a collector's item even today; many collectors of older TV series seek out episodes of the Bakshi Mighty Mouse. The series was cancelled after two seasons, due to low ratings.
In the 1950s the name "Mighty Mouse" was unofficially applied by the United States Air Force to the 2.75 in (70 mm) FFAR (Fin-Folding Aerial Rocket) weapons used by various USAF interceptor aircraft against bombers. The "Mighty Mouse" rockets were carried by the F-86D Sabre, F-89 Scorpion, F-94 Starfire, and F-102 Delta Dagger.
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