This very important program in the history of television animation is now available on DVD for under ten bucks. You can get both seasons of Ralph Bakshi’s late 1980’s revival of Mighty Mouse for that very low price.
This was the cartoon that revolutionized television animation by doing something that TV animation had not done for a long time: the shows were really, really funny and animated really, really well.
Now if you read that to mean that prior to Mighty Mouse television was a vast wasteland of barely animated drawings that weren’t remotely entertaining or funny and for the most part, had been that way for the better part of two decades, then you pretty much got what I was saying.
This was the cartoon that made a superstar animator out of John Kricfalusi, who was the supervising director on the first season before leaving to form Spümcø, the studio that gave us Ren and Stimpy. What’s important to note is that when Ralph Bakshi took over as supervising director for the second season (after serving as producer for the first), the show did not lose a step. It was uniformly excellent, highly irreverent, and filled with animation in-jokes.
On these discs, you will see Mighty Mouse encounter Bat-Bat, The Cow, and watch cartoons that are vicious parodies of Alvin & The Chipmunks and Saturday morning cartoons in general.
Mighty Mouse The New Adventures is available real cheap right now from Amazon.
Here’s the Amazon blurb, written by animation expert, Donald Liebenson
Saturday-morning cartoons had been in a rut, nothing but superheroes, toys, and other franchise properties, and certainly little that was flat-out funny. In the nick of time (1987 to be exact), along came Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures to save the day, and, as the theme song promised, things wouldn’t be like they’d been before. Born in creative anarchy, Mighty Mouse brought a Looney Tunes sensibility back to Saturday mornings, with cartoons that, like their Warner Bros. predecessors, seem designed by the animators to first and foremost amuse themselves, as witness “Don’t Touch That Dial,” a “Duck Amuck”-inspired cartoon in which Mighty Mouse finds himself inserted into parodic takes on The Flintstones and The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo!, and Rocky and Bullwinkle (think Sylvester Stallone instead of flying squirrel). Mighty Mouse has cult classic drawn all over it. It was produced by Ralph Bakshi, who began his career in children’s animation before making the infamous X-rated Fritz the Cat as well as Wizards, Lord of the Rings, and the epic American Pop. He recruited John Kricfalusi (who would later create the kindred-spirited Ren & Stimpy) as well as young (and cheap) talent just out of college, among them Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series, Andrew Stanton (Wall-E), and Jim Reardon (The Simpsons). As someone observes in the excellent series retrospective included as a special feature, “I don’t think you could afford to put all those names in the same room.” Like the best of Warner Bros. and Jay Ward, most of the cartoons have cross-generational appeal, with silliness for the kids, and sly, subversive satire and pop culture references for adults. The series was a rebuke to the “electronic pabulum” television dished out. So, of course, after a mere two seasons, it was canceled after a controversy blossomed over the cartoon “The Littlest Tramp,” in which an image of Mighty Mouse sniffing a crushed flower was outrageously misrepresented by a fundamentalist group to be a cocaine gag. That cartoon is included in this set. As a treat for baby boomers who grew up with the original, three vintage Mighty Mouse cartoons are also included as bonuses. The best is the operatic “Gypsy Life.” Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures ushered in a new golden age of television animation. Its energy and artistic integrity are undimmed. What strength, what power, what a mouse!