“Die Sendung mit der Maus” celebrates its 50th birthday


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It is a simple solution to the big problem of setting music to a mouse that is actually silent. It is as plausible and universal as “Die Sendung mit der Maus” itself – that has been the secret of its success for decades.

“Die Sendung mit der Maus” is celebrating its 50th anniversary. For the anniversary, a 20 euro commemorative silver coin was minted, it was given its own stamp – an 80-cent special stamp with a mouse, elephant and duck – and singer Mark Forster wrote a song for the mouse for its 50th birthday. It is called “I ask the mouse”.

The “mother of the mouse”, the graphic artist Isolde Schmitt-Menzel, showed early designs of the cult figure in 2010 at the Moritzburg Art Museum in Halle (Saale). At the time she drew an orange mouse on behalf of the WDR.
© dpa-Zentralbild / Jan Woitas

Forster, born in 1983, grew up with a mouse: “My dad, my sister and I watched ‘Die Sendung mit der Maus'”, says the singer. “It was such a little ritual for us. The first thing I remember, the first factual story, is the one about the toothpaste. How does the red line get into the toothpaste? ”

Factual and laughing stories as well as the animated protagonists – the orange mouse, the blue elephant and the yellow duck – to convey everyday knowledge to the children and to offer entertainment that stimulates thought, that is what defines the WDR program with the mouse.

The best memories

Unmistakably associated with “Die Sendung mit der Maus”: the little blue elephant © obs / WDR / Graphic Friedrich Streich

Forster’s song has already been published and he wants to present it live on the birthday TV show “Ask the Mouse” on Saturday (March 6th, 8:15 pm, Das Erste). Eckart von Hirschhausen (53) will moderate and the “most beautiful memories from five mouse decades” will be shown. Well-wishers include moderator Barbara Schöneberger and moderator Günther Jauch.

This Sunday (March 7th) Das Erste (9 am) and KiKa (11.30 am) will show – exactly 50 years after the first “laughing and factual stories” on March 7, 1971 on television – “The birthday program with the mouse” under the motto “Hello future”.

The makers behind the mouse want to find out what there is to experience in the next 50 years. Children sent in ideas for topics on the world of tomorrow.

In addition, a number of other actions are planned. For example, logos on vehicles used by garbage collectors or the police are intended to draw attention to the anniversary of the children’s program. And even a helipad in Bonn welcomes the mouse.

Timeless and yet in tune with the times

The mouse is timeless, but still moves with the times, said WDR director Tom Buhrow about the performance of the TV rodent over the past half century. This includes that it does not change fundamentally. “The circumference of the mouse is always the same – such a comfortable circumference. She doesn’t speak, we haven’t changed that either. She does non-verbal communication, ”Buhrow enumerated.

Since the beginning of the mouse saga, activities have expanded in various directions. There is now a mouse program for listening, an app or “The Page with the Mouse” (www.wdrmaus.de). “When we started, nobody dared to think that it would ever be such a long-running show,” said co-inventor Armin Maiwald.

Mouse had competition from a hippopotamus

At the beginning of its career the mouse had competition from a hippopotamus. “At that time there was also a discussion in the editorial office: Should we take the hippopotamus? Or should we take the mouse? ”Reported the 81-year-old. Then they decided on the mouse. The templates were then submitted picture stories. The start of the program itself was also bumpy at first. The program was cut too quickly for educators, the church found the broadcast slot on Sunday morning not conducive because children should sit in church services. And yet a success story developed.

Since then, the show has received numerous awards. In 1992 she flew with spaceman Klaus-Dietrich Flade to the Russian Mir space station, and in 2014 with Alexander Gerst to the ISS. In 2019, the Federal President awarded the mouse an “Order of Merit for the Mouse”.

In the same year, the mouse took a look behind the scenes at the Bayreuth Festival and showed in a special broadcast what it takes to get a great opera off the ground. As a special treat, Christian Thielemann conducted the well-known mouse melody by Hans Posegga, which was specially arranged for the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra.

And so the success story of this show continues to be written. By the way, the average age of viewers is said to be just under 40, as parents and grandparents often watch the program with their children.

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