On the final Sunday of each month I will look back on something I remember as being pretty good when I was kid. This month: Danger Mouse.
My family finally got cable when I was seven years old in 1985. I only remember three channels from my childhood MTV, USA and Nickelodeon. At the time Nickelodeon was finally starting to figure out its place in the cable world, and was building on the success of the Canadian kids sketch comedy show You Can’t Do That On Television which it had actually starting airing three years earlier in 1982.
The programming was a bit odd. In 1985 you could watch reruns of Dennis the Menace andLassie, the anthology show Special Delivery, and Mr. Wizard’s World. Shows like Double Dareand The Monkees were a year away from airing on Nickelodeon, and the first episodes of Ren and Stimpy, Doug, and Are You Afraid of the Dark? were six years away. So with this hodgepodge of programming what was my favorite show on Nickelodeon? Danger Mouse.
Danger Mouse was a British animated show that began airing in 1981 on ITV in the United Kingdom. It made its way to Nickelodeon in 1984, and ran for three years in the late afternoons. The show follows the adventures of super spy Danger Mouse, and his faithful hamster sidekick Penfold as they continually thwart the plans of the evil toad Silas Greenback.
Danger Mouse was a huge hit in the U.K. where it ran for almost 10 years. It has achieved cult status on this side of the pond, and even led to a spin-off Count Duckula, but does it still hold up? Is Danger Mouse still as awesome as I remember it?
0:00 – That is still a pretty great theme song.
0:38 – “Trouble With Ghosts.” I do not remember the title cards being this elaborate.
0:42 – Love the Terry Gilliam-esque London skyline. I am pretty sure every episode begins with this skyline.
1:14 – Colonel K! I have no idea what kind of animal he is supposed to be, but Wikipedia says he is a chinchilla. OK.
2:02 – Yep. Greenback’s henchman, Stiletto, just reached through the screen to DM and Penfold. I think this might be the Count Duckula episode. I swear I picked it at random.
2:27 – A lot of unanimated talking going on. I have a bad feeling about this.
2:47 – DM’s car has to be one the best superhero vehicles ever. Cool design, it flies and probably fits in a backpack. One of the odd things about this show is that it takes place in the human world. I wonder if people see the tiny flying car, with a mouse in it, and think it is cute.
3:40 – Golf clubs?
4:20 – Either DM and Penfold are huge rodents, or that is one small Frankenstein. The animation is dated, but I think almost any cartoon from the 1980’s is going to look this shoddy.
6:00 – They really do not like animating mouths. It is kind of like how Rob Liefeld hates drawing feet.
8:50 – I do not think I ever knew that DM was wearing a suit. I just kind of assumed he was naked, but you can clearly see his turtleneck collar and the end of the sleeves.
9:03 – Where did they get those sheets. Also, the patch and glasses on the outside?
9:15 – Saw that one coming. Guess this is not the Count Duckula episode. Sorry to get everyone’s hopes up.
9:30 – Danger Mouse definitely uses the technique of repeated footage. To save money and time a lot of animation studios re-use footage. It was extremely prevalent in almost all animation until the 1990’s. The good folks at Filmation were pretty well known for it.
9:41 – I think we all know that the gun was a cannon with a boxing glove. Nice try Colonel K. Is it spelled Colonel’K on his name plate? I wonder what that is all about.
10:20 – I forgot that the narrator comes back during the end credits. He’s pretty funny. “Will Penfold get the worst dressed hamster award again this year?”
Overall, it was not as bad as I thought it would be. The animation left something to be desired, but like I said anything from the ’80’s is going to look dated. It probably works better for the show that it was only 10 minutes long because I did not find it all that funny or entertaining. It essentially held my attention for 10 minutes. Any longer and I would have had trouble watching.
Danger Mouse sometimes ran with another animated British show, Bananaman, it was a series of shorts that would run between shows. I will leave you with the episode, “A Tank Full of Trouble.” I made it a little over a minute in before stopping it.