Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Halloween Special: The Devil & Daniel Mouse

In 1978 the Canadian animation studio Nelvana released 'The Devil & Daniel Mouse'. Two mice named Jan & Dan are struggling folk musicians trying to catch a break. One night after being fired from a local club, Dan leaves Jan alone in the woods to take his guitar to the pawn shop. Jan is then confronted by the Devil (or B.L. Zeubb) posing as a record producer. He offers her a deal for wealth & fame, which is too good to be true. And of course it is.

I remember watching this special every Halloween in my early years. Except I remember one year in particular it played on Halloween, and I was out trick or treating with my grandmother. There was a house that we went to and I remember they had the TV playing in the background & DDM was on. I had to be urged away from the door, and I was standing there, open mouthed, not believing that it was on, and I was MISSING IT!

A few years later when I was in 7th grade or so, I found the VHS for rent at a local video store. I rented it many times. Then when I was in High School, I tried to track down my own copy to buy. But I never actually got a VHS copy until I was about 26. Thank you ebay! I got lucky because this release also contained 3 other short film specials that Nelvana made in the late 70's. I think I paid about $50. It was worth it. A few years ago, Nelvana released a special edition DVD of their feature length film, Rock n Rule. A cut down version of The Devil & Daniel Mouse was included.

What amazes me sometimes is when I bring up this cartoon in conversation to people in my age group, and they don't know what I'm talking about. It seems like it ran along with the Peanuts special every year before the Garfield special was made. And listen up goth kids, if you have Bauhaus' album 'Swing the Heartache', there is a track on there called 'Party of the First Part' that samples most of the dialogue between Jan Mouse & the Devil.

Youtube also had the full special:

Extra added bonus. I found a drawing that I did when I was in 7th or 8th grade of the super model cat girls that were on screen for about 2 seconds. I would pause the tape, and try to draw as quickly as I could. I think I'll call these two Jerry Hall & Lady Gaga.


  1. Nice post!

    I gotta tell ya: I'm one of those people that have never heard of this special.

    It seems like I should have, I was around and at TV watching-age but I got nothin' on this.

    Looking forward to watching the links later.


  2. Ha Ha Ha...Jerry Hall and Lady Ga Ga! PERFECT! So here is yet ANOTHER show that I have completely missed. I think you all must be tuned into some crazy stations up there that the rest of don't get or something. How do I miss all this stuff and I'm older than you. I should have seen this stuff, but yet I didn't. I saw the Peanuts, but never this. I guess that why I have you to be thankful constantly introduce me to wonderful Hallowe'en things that I have somehow missed along the way. Your art is superb. I'm loving how you had growing your body of work. Very impressive! And you were ultra talented even back in the day too. I had to grow into my talents over the years. Thanks for sharing this, I am going to watch the video when we get back from the Doctors. :o)

  3. Thanks for posting the youtube videos. I really need to see this (I missed out on practically all of the Halloween specials as a kid.)

  4. I don't know why it is people don't know about this special. I even remember some of the other specials this company made when I was a kid. I still really love watching this one. The devil is awesome. The way he's animated is superb.

    Wens, thank you! When I look at that old drawing, the first thing I think is 'that's terrible' (but hey I was like 11 or 12). Especially seeing it next to the still. But then I look at how I was paying attention to detail in things like the jewelry. I wish I still had more drawings from when I was a kid. This happens to be one of the few remaining pieces I have.

  5. OMG! I heard a few other bloggers mention the title of this show in passing, but it didn't ring a bell. But after seeing these screen shots, I remember that I did indeed see this special, (but perhaps only once). The Devil image in particular jarred my memory.

    This is one of those late 70s Nelvana specials that were pretty weird. Another one was A Cosmic Christmas, which I posted on my blog a couple of years ago. Rome0 and Julie-8 is another, if you can dig that one up. Thanks!

  6. Yes! Nelvana's Cosmic Christmas is a good one too. It happens to be on the video tape I have. It also has 'Intergalactic Thanksgiving' & 'Romie-0 & Julie-8'. They are all wonderful special. There were also two other specials around that time 'Take Me Up to The Ballgame' & 'Easter Fever'. Seems that most of these have turned up on YouTube, but I wish they would get a proper DVD release.

  7. Neat to see you did a drawing of the cat girls too. I recall that moment in the special and being amused at one of them appearing to chew gum as well.