Danger Mouse [Animated TV Series] (1981)

Genres - Children's/Family  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Comedy, Parody/Spoof, Spy Comedy  |   Run Time - 30 min.  |   Countries - UK  |  
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Sometimes described as "The British Bullwinkle," the bitingly satirical cartoon series Danger Mouse was the first major success for the animation firm of Cosgrove-Hall (named for producer/writer/voice actors Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall). Created by Brian Trueman, Danger Mouse was a half-hour James Bond spoof featuring a muscular, resourceful white mouse who sported a dashing eye patch. Secret agent Danger Mouse (his voice provided by future A Touch of Frost star David Jason) took his orders from Colonel K and was frequently accompanied in his adventures by his nervous assistant, a mole named Penfold, who rather resembled perennial British comedy foil Roy Kinnear. Danger Mouse's principal foe was a megalomaniac, fabulously wealthy frog named Baron Silas Greenback, who, rumor has it, was based on English entertainment mogul Sir Lew Grade. While the series' storylines were top heavy with Bondlike gimmickry and fiendish world-domination plots, they were just as thick with regional-dialect music hall humor, zany verbal and visual non sequiturs, inside references (hero and villain alike would gripe about the series' low-budget animation and their own meager paychecks), and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of pop-culture throwaway gags. And in fine Bullwinkle tradition, the show was outfitted with a pompous offscreen narrator, who frequently chided the onscreen characters for their behavior (in turn, those characters would argue with the narrator or simply tell him to shut his fat gob). On occasion, we'd be honored with a "crossover" episode, in which Danger Mouse came face to face with another classic Cosgrove-Hall cartoon concoction, the vampiric Count Duckula. After two abortive pilot episodes filmed in 1979, Danger Mouse made its British television bow over the ITV network on September 28, 1981, and remained in production until 1992. In America, the series was first syndicated in early 1984, then unveiled on cable's Nickelodeon network on June 4 of that same year.