The Show with the Mouse
June 19, 2018 1:31 PM   Subscribe

Die Sendung mit der Maus (German link) is the oldest kids' show on German TV - it first aired in 1971. Its main charm was its unhurried, affirming and positive approach to children's stories and children's questions. Despite multiple makeovers, the basic format remains the same: each episode has animated shorts (Lachgeschichten) and documentaries about everyday things (Sachgeschichten). But most of all, we children loved the Maus Spots that separated the individual blocks from each other: charming, wordless adventures of a very big, orange mouse and a very small, purple elephant. The best thing is: It's all available online and if your kids are like mine, they will love Mouse and Elephant, too.

WDR began uploading its mouse spots to youtube in 2017. You can binge watch their compilations here:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

The "Sachgeschichten" were documentaries that allowed generations of German children to take a peek into the factories in which Things Get Made. The unhurried, iconic voice of Mouse-founder Armin Maiwald as he followed conveyor belts along their path was both reassuring and deeply satisfying to his young viewers .
Take a look at the (German original) episodes on
- Chewing gum (1979)
- Flash lights (1986)
- Toilet paper (1993)
- Chocolate (1993)
- Post-WW2 Germany - what was it like? (1995)
- how GPS works (2007)
- Watch how the Maus itself gets made!

Lachgeschichten (German) included the story Gute Nacht, Carola, in which a fearless girl befriends the monster under her bed, and the Adventures of the rabbit Nulli and his best friend, the frog Priesemut as they fight and make up.
Lachgeschichten in English are much harder to find. But the show with the mouse does have some English language content as well as some other languages on its website for you to browse through.
posted by Omnomnom (14 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
Holy cow, this took me back! I had completely forgotten about this. My husband and I are our then-two-year-old son lived in Munich for a bit back in 1999 and my son LOVED this show! I think maybe he had a t-shirt or a book or something with the mouse and elephant on it. Such a sweet program.
posted by cooker girl at 1:41 PM on June 19, 2018

This show was a godsend for this non-German-speaking Australian boy visiting my German grandparents in Düsseldorf back in the 80s/90s. I particularly loved "The Mole" cartoons. So cute!
posted by smithsmith at 2:03 PM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

These are charming. Why didn't I think of painting my bedroom window with a night sky to block out the sun?
posted by praemunire at 2:11 PM on June 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

I think I imprinted on Armin Maiwald‘s voice as a pre-schooler. Every time I see factory scenes, I start narrating in his cadence.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:11 PM on June 19, 2018

What I always loved about this show was the title: The Show with the Mouse. And the show itself. And the mouse.
posted by Snowishberlin at 2:12 PM on June 19, 2018

I look forward to sharing this with my daughter when she is old enough to watch TV. She got a little blue elephant plushie when she was born and she loooooooves it.

Maus and Elefant are currently in space!
posted by Skybly at 2:12 PM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Maus and Elefant are currently in space!

OMG! They have their own little space suits!
posted by Omnomnom at 2:15 PM on June 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

Gummy bears!
posted by invokeuse at 2:58 PM on June 19, 2018

This is super cute and relaxing! And almost as exactly as old as I am.

Is there any consensus on this among folks who grew up with this as to why Maus' eyelids are perpetually at half-mast?
posted by egypturnash at 4:15 PM on June 19, 2018

Weariness at dealing with Elephant's shenanigans?
posted by praemunire at 4:54 PM on June 19, 2018

It's hard to put into words how much I love this show, which is a Sunday tradition in our household.

Here are links to a powerful series the show did following the life of Tiba, a young girl whose family fled the Syrian civil war and found asylum in Germany. You see her and her family in temporary housing, getting an apartment, getting jobs, and her celebrating her birthday, getting glasses, starting school, having music lessons.

If I could cast a protective spell to make one person not secretly turn out to be a horrible person, I think it would be Armin Maiwald.
posted by sy at 11:57 PM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Can't remember whether I was more obsessive about watching this, Der kleine Maulwurf or Pan Tau.
posted by progosk at 9:11 AM on June 20, 2018

A big part of the cultural exchange between by German partner and I has been me introducing her to Fred Rogers and her introducing me to this, it has been awesome.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:39 AM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

We used to call this Die Sending mit der Kartoffel (The show with the potato) because that thing is basically a potato with a tail. It's responsible for me knowing and remembering the gender of Kartoffel though, which is useful.
posted by lollusc at 11:27 AM on June 23, 2018

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