Topo Gigio - The cuddly little mouse
with a big heart (a.k.a. "The Little Italian Mouse") was the
creation of the troupe of puppeteers that debuted on CBS's THE ED
SULLIVAN SHOW on April 14, 1963.
Ed Sullivan and Topo Gigio
Standing ten inches high and made of a half pound of foam rubber,
Topo Gigio was controlled by sticks not strings (unlike most
puppets). Three expert puppeteers manipulated Topo with their
hands and three inch sticks while garbed in black hoods/black
velour clothing, and working against a black backdrop (so they
were invisible to the audience).
Maria Perego, Topo's creator, moved
Topo's mouth and feet, Frederico Giolo guided Topo's hands and his
wife Annabella, controlled the puppets oversized ears. Topo's
voice was provided offstage by Guiseppe Mazullo.
Each week, as part of the show, the adorable little mouse would
appear on stage and greet the stone-faced Mr. Sullivan with a
sugary "Hello, Eddie!"
Topo, who often spoke of his girlfriend,
Rosey, closed his weekly visits by saying "Keesa me goo'night,
Eddie." Topo appeared 92 times and closed the final 1971 episode
of ED SULLIVAN SHOW.
Ed kisses Topo Goodnight
Topo also appeared in the Italian made-movie Le Avventure di topo
Gigio - later released in the USA in 1965 as The Magic World
of Topo Gigio.
Although finished in the states, Topo Gigio found
new fame as his creators introduced their friendly mouse in South
America, Spain, Japan.
Topo appeared on a weekly Italian TV show
and a 1980s Japanese produced animated series called TOPO GIGIO
where Topo played a space exploring mouse who accidentally but
returned to earth 400 years in the future.
On October 26, 2004, Studio Latino (a division of Ventura
Distribution) distributed a Christmas video recording in the US
entitled "El Show del Topo Gigio: Especial de Navidad," featuring
puppet Topo Gigio who has been popular with Latinos for three
According to Conception Lara, the SVP of business
development and marketing at Studio Latino, Topo Gigio is so loved
because "he represents a tenderness that we would all like in our
lives." Select English versions of the Topo Gigio videos are
slated for release in the Spring of 2005.
TRIVIA NOTE: In Chicago, on 1516 N. Wells Street, there is a
popular eatery called "Topo Gigio Ristorante" that uses the image
of Topo Gigio the mouse for its logo.
In 1995, singer Michael Jackson collapsed at the New York City's
Beacon Theatre while preparing for his appearance on Home Box
Office (HBO) December, 9 1995.
As he recovered in a nearby
hospital, a large picture of Topo Gigio graced the wall of his
hospital suite (along with posters of Shirley Temple and Mickey
Mouse). Jackson ordered the photo (for $50) from New York City's
Movie Star News.
Back to Top