The Mouse and the Motorcycle – Reviewed by Skids Poppe
This month, I want to talk to you about the next generation. I mean here you are, a freewheeling biking dude (or dudette, always equal opportunity, right?) and all of a sudden you find yourself with child. It may not even be your child. Maybe your sister dropped the little tyke off for the weekend. What are you gonna do?
In my case, it wasn’t my sister. Brandy knows better than that. But Guantanamo’s doesn’t. He showed up at my place the other day, small child in tow. Seems he got put on babysitting duty for an entire weekend and he dragged me along into it. Some friends I got, huh? But what could I do? I thought about what it was little kids liked…didn’t have much luck. I knew Guantanamo’s idea of teaching her to hand load .38 casings probably wasn’t anywhere near the right track. I knew I had to think, so I did what I always do when I have to think. I sat down to watch Dagny give entertainment news. I had the kid sitting with me and she went nuts for the T.V. I had the answer. I ran over to my video library and found a couple of videos I knew I was never going to watch, but she might. I popped (no jokes please) the first one into the VCR and waited. Worked like a charm.
The tape was The Mouse and the Motorcycle. You didn’t really think I’d have something without a bike in my collection, did you? This short film (and its sequel, Runaway Ralph) is based on Beverly Cleary‘s book and originally ran on T.V. as part of ABC Kidtime. Mousefollows the adventures of, you guessed it, a small hotel rodent, who finds a toy motorcycle brought in by a guest. Ralph is the mouse and we haven’t seen a performance like his since the fighting skeletons of Sinbad. He and the kid who actually owns the bike (Keith) hit it off and become friends. It helps that Ralph can talk and is able to eloquently (speak with ease and force) convince Keith about the necessity of riding the bike, that it’s something he has to do, that it’s not just a hobby, it’s a need. Who can blame him. I know I’ve felt that way.
By this point in the show, I was hooked. The kid was enthralled. By the time Ralph has to brave the wilds of the first floor in order to retrieve a bit of medicine to save the (suddenly and conveniently) sick Keith, I knew I had a hit on my hands.
Runaway Ralph, the sequel, brings back the mouse and the motorcycle and this time, they’re out in the world and attending summer camp. Keith is out, but Garfield is in and the adventure still runs wild.
On Sunday, when Guantanamo took the kid back to her mother, I gave her the two tapes. I mean, she had watched ’em at least three times each since that first time we’d watched them together. I’ll tell you, these films may not be for adults, but anyone under the age of 12 is going to love ’em and I figure anything that can keep the kid quiet as well as teach ’em about bikes has gotta be worth something. If I ever make any additions to the Poppe clan, you can bet I’m going to have these tapes around for them to cut their film teeth on.
Skids wants to volunteer his time to work with unwed mothers.