THE BUTTER RUM CARTOON

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

THE MIGHTY MOUSE FUN CLUB

From Fall of 1957 to Winter of 1958, the best comics in the world were published, by Literary Enterprises, Inc. in New York City.  With the Pines Comics label, CBS Television presented MIGHTY MOUSE FUN CLUB MAGAZINE, a total of six issues, with almost a hundred pages each.

I was eight, then nine, years old, and, thanks to the inspiration of these comics, became the president of the local chapter of the Mighty Mouse Fun Club.  Neighbor kids and I held our meetings in the garage attached to our barn behind our parsonage next to the Methodist church on the corner of 4th and H Streets in Blaine, Washington.  Not only were these comics the best, with Mighty Mouse as the hero and including the most wonderful characters, but it invited us to join the club and taught us how to go about starting our own chapter, on page 10 of the first issue.  And besides great stories, each issue was loaded with games and activities to entertain club members.  How could I not start our chapter?  And this seed planted in my youth is what gave me the impetus to later found the American Tarantula Society, be secretary of the Rachel Society, and creator of the Butter Rum Cartoon.


The Mighty Mouse Fun Club didn't have any lengthy creed, but only a motto equally challenging to live by:  "Always be fair."  And for the entertainment of those striving always to be fair, Mighty Mouse brought us the swellest of friends:  Clint Clobber, Dimwit, Dinky, Flebus, Gandy Goose, Gaston Le Crayon, Heckle and Jeckle, Little Roquefort, Rudy Rooster, Sick Sick Sidney, Sourpuss, Terry Bears, Tom Terrific and Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog, and others.  My favorites, besides Mighty Mouse of course, who incidentally has his headquarters on the Moon, are Clint Clobber, because it seemed so pleasantly odd to have a lead character be a custodian living in the basement of a hotel; and Tom Terrific, for having the audacity of having a World Headquarters; and especially Ernie Pintoff's character, Flebus, because Flebus was "a nice little guy."

Flebus
Wouldn't it be cool to build
this in your yard?
These comics are from the day when their publishers weren't afraid to include several pages of carols at Christmas time---even Christian carols like "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "We Three Kings."  And their readers who were taught always to be fair later balked when Marvel and D.C. took over the genre.  Few kids today even know that such comics ever existed.


My original copies disappeared somewhere along the line.  I can't imagine trading them with Curt the hermit, so maybe I passed them down to my nieces and nephews.  When eBay came along, I envisioned finding them again.  The collector who sold me one of them on eBay, though, told me that he very much doubted that I could manage to collect all six issues.  Well, I did, and now have them again!  Not only that, but I'm convinced that anyone truly wanting to can also acquire all six issues online.  And I invite those who do to help me start an online chapter of the Mighty Mouse Fun Club.  Right now I'm the only one I know who has the whole collection.

I was so sad when a seventh issue never came in Spring of 1959, but I did have a happy farewell gift, although never noticed it at the time.  Surely, being chapter president with a clerical flair, I must have written to the comics' publisher back then.  But it wasn't until rebuying the issues on eBay and rereading them that I discovered something special in the last issue, at the bottom of page 15 in the "Fun Club News."



Here is a video of my favorite character in the Mighty Mouse Fun Club magazine, Ernest Pintoff's Flebus:


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If you liked this post, you may also enjoy the following: Cosmo the Merry Martian.
To see the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.


1 comment:

  1. Of Mouse and Man
    Published: October 16, 2012


    Author Bob Livermon with some of his Mighty Mouse memorabilia
    by Emily Darrell
    Staff Writer – Powhatan Today
    In October of 1942 the world was in quite a state: the Battle of Stalingrad was raging, the U.S. and Japan were fighting heavily in the Pacific, and the list countries at war had grown to include Brazil, Thailand, and Panama.
    But in an alternate cartoon universe, in a quaint little village called Mouseville, a creature eventually to be known as Mighty Mouse managed to single-pawedly free his town’s mice population from the clutches of the town’s evil cats by escaping to a Super Market, bathing in Super Soap, dining on Super Soup, Super Celery, and Super Cheese, and transforming into a superhero.
    Longtime Powhatan resident Bob Livermon has always felt a kinship with Mighty Mouse. Livermon says that while growing up in the Southwest Virginia town of Martinsville he was always small for his age. But small, as he learned from his cartoon hero, didn’t have to mean weak.
    “I was the smallest one in my neighborhood,” Livermon says, “but I was pretty strong for my size. I could not stand bullies, and if someone was picking on someone else, I’d step in and stop it.”
    “Of course,” he adds, “Mighty Mouse always got the heroine, and I wasn’t that good with girls.
    Last October, Livermon’s older brother died – on Livermon’s 69th birthday – followed by his mother just two months later. Livermon said these losses set him to reminiscing. And one of the things he and his friends waxed nostalgic about was cartoons.
    Livermon recalled frequenting Martinsville’s three movie theaters as a boy and, for 15 cents, enjoying not only a film, but a sequence of cartoons before it. His favorite, he says, was always Mighty Mouse.
    Last year, after the deaths of his mother and brother, Livermon began doing some research on the character, and learned that he and Mighty Mouse very nearly shared the same birthday – while Livermon made his “first appearance” on October 15, 1942, Mighty Mouse was right on his heels, appearing in his first Terrytoons studio feature, “The Mouse of Tomorrow,” the very next day.
    Next thing he knew, Livermon was assembling all the information he could about Mighty Mouse – a list of his films, comics he’d appeared in, essays that had been written about him.
    He then collected this information into a short booklet called “Memories of Mighty Mouse,” to which he wrote an introduction. While he gave most of the 50 copies away to friends and family he also sold a few on ebay.
    Whether it be scuba diving, traveling the world, buying a private investigations firm (from which he has recently retired,) or putting together a book on his favorite cartoon mouse, Livermon’s wife, Susan, says her husband is always doing something “a little different.”

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