March 7 was the 28th birthday of WDR1’s
popular children’s TV program, Der Sendung mit der Maus, or the mouse
program. A storm raged on the Internet, within 26 hours of its going live
at 11:59 a.m., the mouse site had
received 2400 e-mails and a total of 4 million hits on its first day.
By way of comparison, the Monica Lewinsky affair received 6 million hits on
its first day. While Lewinsky was a world phenomenon, the mouse, however,
is restricted to the far smaller though not inconsiderable German-speaking
Der Sendung mit der Maus, which started in 1971, is shown every Sunday
morning on the first German TV channel, WRD1, at 11:30 a.m. and is repeated
throughout the week on regional programs.
The program features cartoon characters, like the mouse and his pal the
little blue elephant. It is also an educational component where children
can find answers to their questions about the world; for example, how holes
get into cheese and what happens when you drop a coconut off a high building.
The show has already won a whole range of media prizes including the New
York Festival’s gold medal for ‘Manhattan’ in 1997 and the Golden Gate
Award, Certificate of Merit for ‘Manhattan’ in 1998, to mention just a few
of the most recent. The Mausoleum, the mouse’s traveling road show, has
welcomed half a million visitors so far.