A regular series looking back on classic TV show intros …
Danger Mouse (89 episodes, 1981-92).
A parody of British spy-fi creations such as James Bond and Danger Man, Danger Mouse (voiced by David Jason) is the world’s greatest secret agent. Aided and abetted by his hamster colleague Ernest Penfold (Terry Scott), he battles a variety of cartoon wrongdoers, most notably the evil toad Baron Silas Greenback – who bears more than a passing resemblance to Bond’s nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld – although he does so in a manner which more frequently resembles the bumbling Inspector Clouseau than Bond.
The title sequence features Danger Mouse rescuing himself and Penfold from a variety of life-threatening situations – generally via the expedient of running away very quickly, conveying the tongue-in-cheek approach of all their exploits – to the tune of a theme song composed by British singer, songwriter and comedian Mike Harding.
He’s the greatest, he’s fantastic
Wherever there is danger he’ll be there
He’s the ace, he’s amazing
He’s the strongest, he’s the quickest, he’s the best.
Danger Mouse, Danger Mouse, Danger Mouse
Over the years, the intro was re-cut into versions of differing length, but these were largely just minor variations on the same basic sequence. The theme song remained the same, although it is sometimes slightly truncated (and always played in full over the closing credits). The longer-form version is shown below.
The name Danger Mouse were inspired by the 1960s series Danger Man, starring Patrick McGoohan.
Penfold was sometimes referred to as ‘The Jigsaw’, because he had a tendency to go to pieces when a problem occurred.
To save production costs, in addition to recycling old footage there was also liberal use of both ‘in the dark’ sequences (black with eyeballs visible only) and the North Pole as a location, as the white, snow-covered backgrounds required minimal artwork.
Stiletto, Baron Greenback’s henchman, originally had a heavy Italian accent but was redubbed as a Cockney for US broadcast so as not to offend Italian-American viewers.
Count Duckula (also voiced by David Jason), a showbiz-obsessed vampire duck who wanted his own show, originally appeared as a Danger Mouse villain – before eventually getting his own spin-off show, Count Duckula.
Links: IMDb, TV.com, Wikipedia
Do you think the intro for this show deserves the status ‘classic’? And do you have a favourite of your own? Watch out for more ‘Classic TV intros’ posts coming soon.