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 clical 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 U.S. 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 2011 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 cl of puppetry, he angrily corrects a student's poor performance of the marionettes, stating without emotion, "It is just Topo Gigio."
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.