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Topo Gigio was the lead character of a children's puppet show on Italian television, in the early 1960s. It was created by artist Maria Perego in 1958 and has been customarily voiced by actor Giuseppe (Peppino) Mazzullo. The name can be translated into English as ''Louie Mouse''.
Topo Gigio, a soft foam mouse with dreamy eyes and childish personality, was very popular in Italy for many years, not only on TV but also in children magazines, such as the classical Corriere dei Piccoli, animated cartoons, movies, and merchandising. Its popularity spread to the world after being featured on Ed Sullivan's weekly TV show in the United States Today Topo Gigio still has a cohort of faithful fans, and has become an icon of Italian pop culture. He performs regularly at Zecchino d'Oro festival and other programs created by Antoniano and RAI. The endearing puppet has made appearances and has a fan base in many other countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Perú.
In Japan, Topo Gigio was the protagonist of ''Topo Gigio and the Missile War'' (1966, dir. Kon Ichikawa) and a 1988 cartoon produced by Nippon Animation. In Latin America, Topo Gigio became a smash hit in 1968, widely remembered even now, featuring Raúl Astor (Raúl Ignacio Spangenberg), and had several LPs with songs sung by Gabriel Garzón. The show was produced in Argentina. He made a comeback for the 2006 Germany World Cup, in short segments of a sports show.
A mention of Topo Gigio was made in the 1999 film Being John Malkovich. In the film Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is in control of John Horatio Malkovich (John Malkovich); in instructing a class of puppetry, he angrily corrects a student's poor performance of the marionettes, stating without emotion, ''It is just Topo Gigio.'' Another mention occurs in the 1994 film The Santa Clause. When Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is giving alternative names for Santa Claus to the police officer in the interrogation scene. Scott imitates Ed Sullivan when he says the name, ''Topo Gigio.'' This is a reference to at least one episode of the Ed Sullivan Show in which Topo dresses as and imitates Santa. As recently as December 2, 2006, a clip from the Spanish language cartoon was shown on Univision's Muévete TV program.