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The Devil and Daniel Mouse

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DevilDanielMouseTitle

Title card.

The Devil and Daniel Mouse is an animated Halloween TV special made by the Canadian production company Nelvana. It was first broadcast in Canada on CBC on October 22, 1978. It features the voices of Chris Wiggins as B.L. Zebub (the Devil), Martin Lavut as Weez Weezel, Jim Henshaw as the speaking voice of Dan, John Sebastian as the singing voice of Dan, Annabel Kershaw as the speaking voice of Jan and Laurel Runn as the singing voice of Jan. The plot is based on Steven Vincent Benet's 1937 short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster", which is itself a version of the Faust legend.

In a world of human-like "funny animals", two mice, Jan and Dan, are struggling musicians who play a kind of music that is no longer popular. When Dan temporarily leaves Jan alone, she says that she would give anything to be a star. The Devil instantly appears to grant her wish. The contract which Jan signs, without having read all of it, states that she will surrender her soul to the Devil on the night of her greatest musical triumph. On the night that the Devil comes to collect her soul, Jan is reunited with Dan. When Dan finds out that the Devil is coming to take Jan away, he promises to save her.

Plot

The cartoon opens on a stormy night when Jan and Dan, two mice folk singers, are playing to an almost empty club. They are fired before they finish their set, being told that people no longer like their kind of music, preferring rock 'n' roll and disco. Dan tries to reassure Jan that, in spite of what happened to them that evening, they will be stars one day. He goes off to sell his guitar in order to buy some food.

After Dan has gone, Jan says that she would give anything to be a star. The Devil, who introduces himself as B.L. Zebub, the president of Devil May Care music productions, immediately appears, soon followed by his associate Weez Weezel who is, as his name suggests, a weasel. Jan convinces the Devil that she is talented and is determined to do whatever it takes to be a star. She is offered a contract, printed on one extremely long roll of paper. Jan begins to read the lengthy contract but soon gives up. She aks B.L. Zebub, "Can I trust you?". Angelic music plays and the Devil briefly takes on the appearance of a kindly-looking old man. Jan agrees to sign the contract in her blood. When Dan returns with some food, he finds that Jan has gone. Unseen and unheard by Dan, the Devil appears behind him, saying that Jan has now signed with him.

At Jan's request, Weez Weezel conjures up a band for her, consisting of a beaver on drums and a rabbit and a praying mantis on guitars. The band takes the name Funky Jan and the Animal Kingdom and they quickly become major recording stars, constantly taking up several of the top positions in the hit parade.

Dan comes to Jan's mansion but is shooed away by Weez Weezel, who tells him that Jan is being interviewed for Rolling Moss magazine and cannot be interrupted. During the interview, Jan unconvincingly says that being a star is great and confesses to being lonely. She thinks that she sees Dan walking away but Weez Weezel tells her that there was "nobody important" at the door.

Weez Weezel informs Jan that she has been chosen to headline a concert featuring all the most popular and successful musicians and that she is now "at the top". She is introduced at the start of her set as "the superstar of super-bands of all super-time". As the concert ends, a large owl-like bird lands on the stage. It reveals itself to be the Devil, come to collect Jan. The Devil pursues Jan over land and water, taking on the form of a cat a rhinoceros and a fish as he does so. Thinking that she has escaped, Jan rests beside a tree in a forest. The tree reveals itself to be the Devil. Reading from the contract, the Devil tells Jan that she agreed to give up her soul to him forever at precisely midnight on the night of her greatest triumph. When Jan points out that it is not yet midnight, the Devil allows her some time to "say good-bye to her friends". Looking for help, Jan finds her band but they say that they are leaving her. They explain to Jan that she has been kicked out of the musicians' union for not paying her dues.

Jan returns to the forest, leans against a tree and waits for the Devil to take her soul at midnight. She hears someone playing a guitar on the other side of the tree and sees that it is Dan. When Jan says that she has sold her soul to the Devil and that he will come to get her at midnight, Dan replies that he will not let that happen.

DevilComesForJan

The Devil arrives at midnight to claim Jan's soul.

When the Devil appears, Dan demands a trial to determine Jan's fate. The Devil agrees to the trial but on three conditions; he supplies the judge, he supplies the jury and if Dan loses the trial, he takes the souls of both Jan and Dan. To make up the jury, the Devil summons the spirits of Rat and Leech, two figures who used to work in the recording industry and who cheated musicians, and Vickie Viper, a former star who was left with a deep hatred of other singers after she lost her voice. Weez Weezel acts as the judge and other animals gather in the forest to watch the trial. Dan tries to point out that the contract was unfair but the Devil retorts that Jan signed it anyway. When Dan and Jan point out that the trial is unfair because there are only three jurors, not twelve, the Devil creates three more replicas of each member of the jury.

Having nothing else to offer by way of defense, Dan begins to sing the song, "Look Where the Music Can Take You". The song has a calming effect on the previously angry jury who soon begin to sing along. The Devil gets increasingly annoyed by the song and summons more demons to put a stop to it. The demons instantly start singing and clapping along to the song too. As the song finishes, Dan declares, "A song from the heart beats the Devil every time." Caught up in the moment, Judge Weez Weezel declares Jan and Dan free. Although he is extremely angry at being cheated out of two souls, vowing that he will not let it happen again, the Devil and all the other spirits from Hell disappear. The ordeal is over for Jan and Dan and they embrace.

See also

External links

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