November 01, 2014


(CBS, Syndication, August 12, 1995-August 30, 1997)

Dark Horse Entertainment, Film Roman, Sunbow Entertainment, New Line Television

Rob Paulsen – The Mask/Stanley Ipkiss
Frank Welker – Milo, Baby Forthwright, Riptide, Government Guy, various
Tim Curry - Pretorius
Neil Ross – Lt. Mitch Kellaway
Jim Cummings – Detective Doyle, Kablamus/Joe Blow, War Machine, Colonel Beauregard Klaxon, Art Nouveau, Crisco, various
Heidi Shannon – Peggy Brandt
Tress MacNeille – Mrs. Agnes Peenman, various
Mark L. Taylor – Charlie Schumacher
Kevin Michael Richardson – Mayor Mortimer Tilton, various
Ben Stein – Dr. Arthur Newman

            The first of three Jim Carrey films turned into an animated series, The Mask: The Animated Series was based on the film The Mask, which in turn was based on a series of comics published by Dark Horse.

The Masque's first appearance in Dark Horse Presents #10.

            Mike Richardson devised the idea for the character in 1982 before making a single sketch of him in 1985 for APA-5; an amateur press publication created by Mark Verheiden. After Richardson started Dark Horse, he pitched the idea to writer/artist Mark Badger. Badger debuted the character as Masque in 1987’s Dark Horse Presents #10. As Badger’s strips began to grow increasingly political, Richardson put an end to them in order to restore his original vision and hired Chris Warner to devise the definitive look of the character. John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke were brought in to create his adventures, and The Mask finally appeared in 1989’s Mayhem #1.

Stanley brings Kathy the mask, which seems to talk to him.

Described as “a combination of Tex Avery and The Terminator,” the character became incredibly popular. The Mask centered on a magical mask that granted its wearer superhuman abilities and the power to defy the laws of physics. The wearer could move at super speed, contort their bodies in impossible ways, become other people, pull objects out of thin air, heal quickly and so forth. It amplified the wearer’s hidden desires and caused them to act on them, while also driving them steadily crazy as they become increasingly violent and destructive. When the mask was worn, the wearer gained a large green head with giant teeth. After Mayhem’s cancellation, The Mask continued on in a series of self-titled mini-series and one-shots.

The Mask's violent rampage in Mayhem #2.

            Stanley Ipkiss was the first wearer, having bought the mask for his girlfriend, Kathy. Stanley violently avenged personal grudges, earning him the name Big Head as his rampages grew more brutal. When Kathy figured out who Big Head was, she killed Stanley and gave the mask to Lt. Mitch Kellaway for safe keeping. Kellaway donned the mask himself and used it to take down a mob family. The mask continued to find its way into the hands of various victims, becoming seduced and warped by its power as they violently acted out their deepest fantasies.

            In 1994, The Mask was brought to the big screen by New Line Cinema in an action/comedy film starring Jim Carrey as the titular character. Directed by Chuck Russell off a script by Mike Werb, the film focused on meek, pushover Stanley Ipkiss (the original wearer from the comics): a bachelor who lived with his dog, Milo, worked at Edge City Bank, and loved cartoons--particularly Tex Avery’s. Upon finding the mask of Loki, the Norse trickster god, Stanley put it on and became The Mask. As The Mask, Stanley was turned into a living cartoon and used his newfound powers to punish those that wronged him: from his bullying landlady, Mrs. Peenman (Nancy Fish), to auto mechanics that ripped him off. However, mobster Dorian Tyrell (Peter Greene) wanted the power of The Mask for himself while Lt. Mitch Kellaway (Peter Reigert) and his partner, Det. Doyle (Jim Doughan), wanted to see The Mask behind bars. All the while, reporter Peggy Brandt (Amy Yasbeck) tried to uncover the story of The Mask while Stanley sought to win the heart of Dorian’s girlfriend, the lovely singer Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz in her first film role).


            The film was a box-office success, and work was quickly begun on a possible sequel. Carrey was offered $10 million to star, but turned it down due to his experience making Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls; noting that revisiting a character offered him no challenges as an actor. Carrey wouldn’t again star in a direct sequel to one of his movies until 2014’s Dumb and Dumber To. With Carrey out, the producers moved forward instead with an animated spin-off that would incorporate some of the ideas for The Mask II throughout its run. 

Stanley Ipkiss and the dormant mask.

Developed by Duane Capizzi, the series picked up right from where the film ended but with some changes. Stanley (Rob Paulsen) kept the mask instead of throwing it away in the river. The Mask himself went from being malicious to simply mischievous, with a greater heroic streak than in the film. The Mask’s restriction of only working at night (due to Loki being a night god) was also removed, meaning his insane antics could happen 24/7. His favorite hangout with his friend, Charlie (Mark L. Taylor), the Cocoa Bongo Club, still existed, but the character of Tina was eliminated completely. Despite being entirely a cartoon, the show attempted the same balance of reality to counter The Mask’s cartoonish abilities, but often times circumstances would lead even the “real” elements to be subjected to the laws of cartoon physics. Originally, Stanley’s design looked closer to Carrey’s appearance, but Carrey had asked them to change it. 

The Mask turns Pretorius over to Det. Doyle and Lt. Kellaway.

Charlie was made the manager of the bank where he and Stanley worked, exhibiting a blend of his film counterpart’s personality and their boss. Lt. Mitch Kellaway (Neil Ross) and his dim-witted partner, Det. Doyle (Jim Cummings), continued their relentless quest to capture and end The Mask’s career; however, Kellaway was portrayed taller and younger like his comic counterpart. Kellaway was often the recipient of atomic wedgies (where the back of a person’s underwear is pulled up right over their head) from The Mask in a running gag. Reporter Peggy Brandt (Heidi Shannon) became the primary female character of the series, but not a love-interest for Stanley due to her selling him out to Tyrell during the movie. She had attempted to make amends for her mistake and saved Stanley’s life several times, which was the only reason he ever helped her on her quest to become a serious and respected reporter.

The Mask vs. Pretorius.

            The show itself took on the vibe of a superhero parody. The police were completely inept as was the Mayor (Kevin Michael Richardson), relying on The Mask to save the city countless times. The Mask was given an arch-enemy in Pretorius (Tim Curry), a mad scientist who placed his head on tiny spider-like robotic legs that could attach to a larger android body. Other colorful foes populated the series with their own agendas or by joining forces with each other. Some of these foes included Walter, a mute strongman who could actually harm The Mask and split the mask in half (he appeared in the comics where Kellaway wore it); The Terrible Two, Dak (Cam Clarke) and Eddie (Jeff Bennett), were two comic book fanboys who tried to give themselves super powers via radiation exposure, turning themselves into Putty Thing and Fish Guy, respectively; Kablamus (Cummings, impersonating Sterling Holloway), became capable of self-explosion after being accidentally dropped into his chemicals while working on an unbreakable balloon formula; Channel Surfer (Gary Owens) teleported through televisions on his surfboard after throwing a fit when his favorite show was canceled and his TV fell on him; and Gorgonzola the Cheese Witch (Cree Summer), created through a contest held by Disney Adventures magazine, who could possess someone via an amulet and turn anything into cheese. Allusions and spoofs to other superheroes from other publishers were common, either in The Mask’s transformations or in the characteristics of his rogues.

Milo gets his own turn wearing the mask.

            Remaining from the movie were Stanley’s faithful dog, Milo (Frank Welker), antagonistic landlady, Agnes Peenman (Tress MacNeille), who constantly verbally abused Stanley and ended up the butt of The Mask’s pranks as a result, and Dr. Arthur Newman (Ben Stein), a psychologist who didn’t believe in The Mask’s existence despite having worn it once himself in “Shrink Wrap.” Stein was the only actor from the film to reprise his role; however there were plans to bring Tyrell, the villain from the movie, back with his henchmen as ghosts, with Greene in talks to reprise his role along with Orestes Matacena as Niko. However, the idea was eventually scrapped. Integrated from the comics was the concept of the mask being worn by multiple people, from friends to several villains.

The Mask: The Animated Series debuted on CBS on August 12, 1995. Along with Capizzi and Arcudi, it was written by Dean Stefan, Ernie Jon, Henry Gilroy, Steve Roberts, Alexx Van Dyne, Marty Isenberg, Robert N. Skir, Brooks Wachtel, Julia Lewald, Mark Seidenberg, Thomas Hart, Sib Ventress, Steve Cuden, John Ludin, Adam Gilad, Ralph Soll, Richard Stanley, Mel Gilden, Stephen Levi, Tracy Berna, John Behnke, Rob Humphrey, Jim Peterson, Steve Melching, David McDermott, Diane M. Fresco, Bob Ardiel and J.D. Smith. During its three-season run, The Mask featured three different theme songs. All were sung by Paulsen and written by Keith Baxter and Christopher Neal Nelson and featured a swing-style reminiscent of the Coco Bongo Club from the film.

What else can you expect from a girl named "BaBoom?"

            The second season episode “Flight as a Feather” is rarely seen in American rebroadcasts of the show due to risqué material. The episode depicted the Mayor’s ex-girlfriend, exotic dancer Cookie BaBoom (Summer), crashing one of the Mayor’s many parties looking for revenge on him. She was depicted as wearing nothing but dynamite strapped to her body, and The Mask disarmed her by stripping the dynamite off. Her resulting implied nudity was used to distract Kellaway and Doyle from pursuing him. As a result of the suggestive themes, only certain markets would broadcast the episode when the series went into syndicated reruns.

Holy meta crossovers, Batman!

            After three seasons, the series ended its run on CBS and moved into syndication. To end it with a bang, it was decided that the final episode would be a crossover with another Carrey show on CBS: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. In it, Milo’s brain is switched with a scientist’s resulting in his being dognapped, and Stanley called the only person qualified(?) to help: Ace (Michael Daingerfield). The episode, “The Aceman Cometh,” was part one of the crossover, with the second part airing on Ace’s show in the adjoining timeslot.

            In 1996, Dark Horse published a comic series set in the world of the show called Adventures of the Mask, which had a 12-page promotional edition sponsored by Toys R Us, and Upper Deck released a set of trading cards. Toy Island made a series of action figures in 1997, although clips from the show were used in advertisements for Kenner’s own toy line based on the movie. Taco Bell also released a set of four figures and other toys in their restaurants, and Kellogg’s included pencil toppers in their cereals. Six VHS tapes were released with through New Line Home Video between 1995 and 1996, each containing two episodes. The opening two-part episode of the series was included on the Son of the Mask DVD (more on that below) as well as given its own individual release. In 2018, Warner Archive released the complete first season to DVD. The entire series has been made available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, and became one of the debut programs for retro animation channel MeTV Toons in 2024.

Joker uses his new powers to re-brand himself in Joker/Mask.

            And what of The Mask himself? In 2000, The Mask met his final fate in the comics with the DC Comics crossover mini-series Joker/Mask. Kellaway followed the mask to Gotham City where it had gotten into the hands (and on the face of) The Joker. With Batman’s help, the mask was removed and Kellaway buried it in Stanley’s grave. 14 years later, the Mask would return to comics in some form in the opening arc of the Dark Horse series Itty Bitty Comics, which took an all-ages approach to established and original characters, and then re-embraced his violent roots in 2019 with The Mask: I Pledge Allegiance to The Mask.


Powered boy vs. masked dog in Son of the Mask.

In 2005, New Line attempted a pseudo-sequel film without Carrey called Son of the Mask. Loki (Alan Cumming) was sent by Odin (Bob Hoskins) to retrieve the mask. Cartoonist Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy) became owner of the mask when his dog, Otis (Bear), found it in a creek. Conceiving a child while wearing the mask, Tim’s son Alvey (Ryan and Liam Falconer) was born with the powers of Loki. Stein again reprised his role as Dr. Newman, and Ross provided Alvey’s deep voice. The film ended up being a tremendous flop, making audiences wonder why anyone involved with the production didn’t declare “SSSSSSSSSomebody stop me!”



Season 1:

“The Mask is Always Greener on the Other Side (Part 1)” (8/12/95) – Stanley tries to get rid of the mask, but ends up needing it to save Milo and Peggy from Pretorius.

“The Mask is Always Greener on the Other Side (Part 2)” (8/12/95) – Pretorius tricks Charlie into building a “house of tomorrow.”

“Baby’s Wild Ride” (8/19/95) – An infant dons the mask and joins a biker gang.

“The Terrible Twos” (8/26/95) – Kellaway handcuffs himself to Stanley to prove that he’s the mask just when Stanley needs to change to deal with two mutant teens on a rampage.

“Sister Mask” (9/2/95) – Pretorius creates another mask that allows him to control The Mask and steal for him.

“Shadow of a Skillit” (9/9/95) – The Mask must stop youth-stealing Skillit and restore Charlie, Peggy and Milo’s shadows.

“Bride of Pretorius” (9/16/95) – While Pretorius looks for a bride, Stanley’s shy date stumbles upon the mask and becomes a man-hungry woman.

“Double Reverse” (9/23/95) – Stanley is able to deny the mask its power by acting like The Mask without it, but Kablamus arrives to threaten the city and only The Mask can stop him.

“Shrink Rap” (9/30/95) – Stanley gives Dr. Neuman the mask, and when he puts it on he goes on a rampage and joins Pretorius’ plans to nuke the city in order to photograph an alien planet.

“Mayor Mask” (10/7/95) – Stanley attempts to use The Mask to teach the Mayor a lesson, but The Mask ends up declaring his candidacy for Mayor.

“Martian Mask” (10/14/95) – The teenage mutants return while The Mask is hunted by the FBI who believes him to be an alien.

“How Much is That Dog in the Tin Can?” (10/21/95) – Walter stalks Stanley while Milo borrows the mask to deal with an insane dogcatcher.

“All Hallow’s Eve” (10/28/95) – Skillit escapes from reform school and resurrects Atilla the Hun, Billy the Kid and Merlin to get revenge on The Mask.

“Santa Mask” (11/4/95) – Kablamus, Walter and the mutants disguise themselves as Santa to commit crimes.

“Split Personality” (11/11/95) – The mask is broken in half, causing Stanley and The Mask to exist at the same time.

Season 2:

“A Comedy of Eras” (9/7/96) – Dr. Chronos sends Stanley to the Salem Witch Trials and he needs to find the mask in order to return home.

“Goin’ for the Green” (9/14/96) – Tilton hires Col. Klaxon to host The Edge City games to distract from The Mask, which Klaxon uses as a cover to dump nuclear waste.

“Flight as a Feather” (9/21/96) – The Mask avoids countless opposition as he tries to find and reclaim his lucky fedora feather.

“The Good, the Bad and the Fish Guy” (9/28/96) – The mutants return and Fish Guy gets the mask, forcing Stanley to convince Putty Thing to team-up and stop him.

“Malled” (10/5/96) – Stanley is caught in the middle of a bank robbery in the mall where Milo must get the mask to him.

“Channel Surfin” (10/12/96) – Channel Surfer traps The Mask inside a TV and The Mask crosses over through various TV shows.

“Mask au Gratin” (10/19/96) – Mrs. Peenman’s niece is in possession of an amulet that transforms her at night into Gorgonzota, who can turn everything into cheese.

“Jurassic Mask” (10/26/96) – A laser regenerator brings three animatronic dinosaurs to life.

“You Oughta Be in Pictures” (11/2/96) – Movie star Sly Eastenegger comes to Edge City to challenge The Mask while Peggy discovers the stolen nuclear bomb he plans to use in his movie.

“For All Mask-Kind” (11/9/96) – Stanley is chosen to be the first average man sent into space.

“Up the Creek” (11/16/96) – Charlie and Stanley go on a river rafting trip and end up the unwilling grooms to two hillbilly girls.

“Boogie with the Man” (11/23/96) – The Devil uses Stanley’s jealousy of The Mask to make him a deal for his soul.

“What Goes Around Comes Around” (11/30/96) – Dr. Chronos returns and sticks Stanley in a half-hour time loop, which she also uses to make clones of herself.

“All Hail The Mask” (12/7/96) – The Mask is worshiped as a god by a tribe until a witch doctor casts a spell to remove the mask and offer Stanley up for a sacrifice.

“Power of Suggestion” (12/14/96) – Kablamus interrupts a magical act, leaving Stanley prone to hypnotic suggestion and serving as his slave.

“Mr. Mask Goes to Washington” (12/21/96) – The Mask saves the President and becomes his new bodyguard, but the President’s aide Greenfield doesn’t like it.

“Rain of Terror” (12/28/96) – A disgruntled weatherman becomes The Tempest and attacks the city with the elements.

“The Mother of All Hoods” (1/4/97) – The Mask’s latest humiliation leads Kellaway to try and prove himself by trying to prevent the Mayor’s kidnapping.

“To Bee or Not to Bee” (1/11/97) – A mutated beekeeper, the Stinger, hypnotizes the city into working in his beehive.

“Love Potion No. 8 ½” (1/18/97) – Stanley accidentally spills a love potion on Mrs. Peenman, causing both his selves to fall madly in love with her.

“Cool Hand Mask” (1/25/97) – Pretorius has The Mask incarcerated by framing him for stealing money from orphans and proceeds to take control of the city through their electrical devices.

“Broadway Malady” (2/1/97) – The Mask tries to sabotage the musical version of “Mad Monkey,” causing the director to go mad and employ all his foes.

“Enquiring Masks Want to Know” (2/8/97) – Stanley ends up as Peggy’s photographer while Skillit unleashes mythical creatures on the city.

“Future Mask” (2/15/97) – The Mask travels to the future to find the robot that ripped his pants and ends up fighting the Mayor and a team of rebels.

“Sealed Fate” (2/22/97) – The Mask runs up a bill that forces Stanley to sell Putterware on the side, but Putterware is bringing the leftovers it stores to life.

“(The Angles Wanna Wear My) Green Mask” (3/1/97) – The Mask and Kellaway die and are judged to enter Heaven, but it ends up being a plot by Dr. Chronos and her clones.

“Mutiny of the Bounty Hunters” (3/8/97) – Pretorius hires bounty hunters to capture the Mask while Stanley has another babysitting misadventure.

“Convention of Evil” (3/15/97) – Dr. Neuman holds a group therapy session of The Mask’s villains as they recount their encounters with him.

“The Green Marine” (3/22/97) – The Mask accidentally joins the Marines and ends up court martialed.

“Counterfeit Mask” (3/29/97) – Peggy uses the mask to fulfill her dreams of being glamorous while Stanley accidentally ends up with a suitcase full of counterfeit money.

Season 3:

“Magic” (7/5/97) – Stanley’s high school crush, Davida Steelmine, uses her magic act to commit crimes.

“Little Big Mask” (7/12/97) – The Mask’s anti-aging cream works too well and reduces his and Stanley’s ages dramatically.

“Fantashtick Voyage” (7/19/97) – Computer virus Cybermite infects Milo and Stanley thinks The Mask is to blame.

“They Came from Within” (7/26/97) – The Mask enters a comic book world where Kellaway is mistaken for the villains’ archenemy.

“To Have and Have Snot” (8/2/97) – Pretorius uses a mucus monster against the city from Peggy’s phlegm and Stanely learns that even The Mask can get sick.

“Mystery Cruise” (8/9/97) – The Mask tricks everyone Stanley knows onto a cruise to celebrate his birthday and Pretorius picks their ship to test his new tsunami weapon on.

“The Goofalotatots” (8/16/97) – Pretorius turns Stanley’s favorite cartoon characters into robots meant to overthrow the city.

“When Pigs Ruled the Earth” (8/23/97) – The Mask and Peggy are sent into a future where the pigs rule the world.

“The Aceman Cometh” (8/30/97) – Pretorious kidnaps Milo and Stanley calls on the only man who can help get him back: Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.

Originally posted in 2014. Updated in 2024.

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