In the summer of 1977, the Rescue Aid Society debuted on the big screen, better known as The Rescuers.
This international mouse organization, based in New York City, is headed up by two wiley mice: Bernard (with voice by Bob Newhart) and Miss Bianca (with voice by Eva Gabor).
Their mission: to rescue Penny, who is being held hostage by Madame Medusa (voiced by Geraldine Page), a treasure hunter, and helped by her second in command, Mr. Snoops (voiced by voice actor veteran Joe Flynn).
Based on a series of books by British writer Margery Sharp called The Rescuers, the nine books were all about the adventures of Miss Bianca and Bernard.
In the film, Bernard and Miss Bianca find a message in a bottle in NYC, sent by Penny, being held captive in Devil’s Bayou. With the help of an albatross named Orville and a dragonfly named Evinrude, the duo figure out where to find Madame Medusa’s lair and that she thinks Penny is the link to finding the rare Devil’s Eye diamond.
A series of animals come to help the Rescue Aid Society including a couple of muskrats, an owl, and a turtle, while two fierce alligators act as Madame Medusa’s protectors.
It took four years to create this film – with 40 animators working on the project full-time and was the first time that the Disney production team was a mix of experienced animators and new-hires.
Released in June 1977, and made for a budget of 1.2 million, the film eventually grossed $71 million, another success for Walt Disney Studios, thanks to a cast of creatures.
I definitely remember this fun kids film – I loved the antics of rescuing a young orphan, trying to find the diamond and trying to escape the bayou. Little did I know that years later I would explore the bayou of Louisiana – although without two mice.