Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Devil and Daniel Mouse (1978)

Obscurity factor: 9

This animated short is a cartoon adaptation of the familiar story of The Devil and Daniel Webster. When mice Daniel and Jan are fired from their latest music gig they're pretty down on their luck. As they walk home, lamenting the fact that they have no job, no money and no prospects, Daniel promises Jan to get them some food. He leaves her sitting in the woods while he goes to hock his guitar. Meanwhile, Jan is approached by a serpent, who introduces himself as B. L. Zebubb. B.L. and his wiley weasel of an assistant offer to make Jan a star if she'll sign with them. She resists at first, but is eventually taken in. Fame and fortune follow, but on the night of her greatest success, according to her contract, she must surrender her soul. Can Daniel save her? What makes this version of the story interesting is the setting in which it was produced. It's very much a piece of its time, with some groovy music and slick 70's style. The rendering of the devil is really wonderful. He oozes evil and shifts from hideous shape to hideous shape gracefully at will.

This short film (27 minutes) is available as a DVD extra on the 2 disc collector's edition of Rock and Rule, which it inspired. It's also available as a stand alone VHS tape and a companion kid's book. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube as well, thanks to bbahalt. The first installment is above.

Obscurity factor: 9 (not available as a stand alone DVD, largely forgotten, available on YouTube)


  1. What a fun Saturday morning treat. Thanks for sharing. I'd forgotten all about that one. Still tapping my feet to those funky beats.

  2. It is a little blast from the past, isn't it?