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16 December, 2006

Mighty Mouse

I don’t remember how old I was when we got our first TV. I was young enough to look forward to seeing Watch With Mother each day so I would guess the late 1950s. Sadly, there is no-one left alive to ask anymore. I do recall, though, that my first experience of really loving a TV show was in 1960 when I became hooked on Mighty Mouse.

For those who don’t know, Mighty Mouse was a tiny – but hugely muscular – superhero, modelled on Superman, who lived in a world of evil cats and oppressed mice. He had a simpering, eyelash-fluttering girlfriend and a penchant for saving the day at the eleventh hour. And for some reason, he caught my imagination. So much so that I would often run around the playground, the streets, or my house pretending to be this brave and noble creature. (One was so uninhibited back then! I’d feel quite embarrassed to do it these days.)

It’s hard to see now why I liked the little fella. Perhaps my still-fresh exposure to the horrors of schoolchildren and my experience to that point with playmates, had made me hanker for a super-powered guardian who would deal swift and unambiguous justice to the brutish and scary people who surrounded me. Not only was Mighty Mouse good and fair and utterly reliable, he also smiled a lot. Just what a sensitive and scrawny little tyke like me needed at age 6. But why play at being him? Why not just imagine he was real? Was it nothing more than me wanting to be the one to beat up the bad guys and get the adoring girl?

And, if so, how much of that ethos of vigilante justice and heroic masculinity did I internalise? (along with a taste for lycra bodystockings and capes - er, that's a joke by the way. Or is it?) And was Mighty Mouse responsible for my early and lifelong love of science fiction, or was he just my first contact with it? It was at about that age that I started reading the Dr Doolittle books (my mother lied about my age so I could join the local library at 6) and I normally suppose this was my introduction but now that I think about it…

Funny thing is, I still feel a trace of the warm affection I felt for this cute little guy. However much he may have warped and distorted my life, I just can’t help liking him!

Maybe I’ll just have a quick run around the office doing my Mighty Mouse impression, for old times’ sake.

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