Western Animation / The Pink Panther

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He's one Cool Cat.

A popular cartoon series, the last theatrical cartoon series created during The Golden Age of Animation.

In 1963 feature film The Pink Panther, the Animated Credits Opening visualized the pink, panther-shaped flaw in the titular diamond as an actual pink panther in an opening sequence created by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises. The credit sequence was so popular that besides becoming the Series Mascot of the live-action film series, the Pink Panther was given his own series of animated shorts.

The newly founded DePatie-Freleng studio's first short, "The Pink Phink," won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject — the first time an animation studio had won one with its very first cartoon. Subsequent shorts put the Panther in situations ranging from the mundane to the fantastic, always with Henry Mancini's popular theme music somewhere in the score. Most of the shorts were silent, save for gibberish, sound effects, and music; attempts to give the Panther a voice were washes.

(The German translation of the series, however, featured an ever-present, rhymed voice-over reminiscent of Wilhelm Busch's work, spoken by the German voice of Sean Connery. It was also only in this dub that the Panther was given a name: Paul. But more often than not, the cutsey version "Paulchen" was used.)

Along with the Panther's shorts, DePatie-Freleng established a sister series in The Inspector, shorts inspired by the Breakout Character of the live-action films, Inspector Clouseau. The Inspector in these shorts, voiced by Pat Harrington, was more competent than his movie counterpart, though still prone to bad judgement calls, and was the general Butt-Monkey of the series even when he did succeed in the end.

Compare other, similar cartoon series produced by DePatie-Freleng: The Ant and the Aardvark, The Dogfather (a canine-focused spoof of The Godfather), Misterjaw, Roland and Rattfink, Sheriff Hoot Kloot, and Tijuana Toads.

The Pink Panther is notable as the last great theatrical shorts character, with shorts that ran through The Dark Age of Animation all the way up through 1977, a decade or more after Disney and Looney Tunes and all the other great theatrical cartoon studios had gone out of business. Even after the shorts were made specifically for television, they were still released to theaters into the early 1980s. After that, he became the focus of new, TV-only productions.

  • ABC aired three half-hour animated specials over 1978-81: A Pink Christmas, Olym-pinks, and Pink at First Sight.
  • The Pink Panther and Sons, a co-production between Hanna-Barbera and DePatie-Freleng, aired in The '80s.
  • The New Pink Panther Show ran in syndication from 1993-95, and thus far is the only incarnation that gave the Panther a proper voice at all times, provided by Matt Frewer; the Little Man was also voiced full-time here (Wallace Shawn doing the work there), and many of the other DePatie-Freleng characters- the Ant and the Aardvark (both reprised by John Byner), the Inspector, and the Dogfather- appeared too, alongside both the Panther and new characters like Voodoo Man.
  • Pink Panther and Pals ran in 2010 on Cartoon Network.
  • A Very Pink Christmas was a 2011 half-hour Christmas Special.

The character also starred in a few video games.

Has a character sheet.

Pink Panther cartoons with their own pages:


This series contains examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Common to all series 

    1964- 80 shorts/series 

  • Animated Anthology: When the animated shorts began airing on Saturday morning TV in 1969 as The Pink Panther Show, it was in a half-hour timeslot and an ABA format: two Pink Panther shorts and an Inspector short. This particular setup persisted via syndicated airings and (later) Cartoon Network for years. As The '70s progressed, the various Pink Panther anthology shows came to include other DePatie-Freleng shorts.
  • Art Evolution: In his first appearance, he looks more anatomically like a real panther. Beginning with the animated shorts, he would evolve into the slender, bipedal cartoon animal we all know today.
  • Asshole Victim: Several episodes feature The Panther ruining the day of someone who, thankfully, is generally revealed to be a jerk beforehand.
  • The Brute: The big green asterisk from "Pink Punch". It stalks the Pink Panther around and beats up the Panther anytime he does something to the small green asterisk interfering with his Pink Punch ad campaign.
  • Butt-Monkey: In the episodes where he's not a trickster, the Panther's always being being bedeviled by the universe as a whole. He's remarkably cool about it.
  • Cool Cat: The Panther is the quintessential example, of the "never has to lose his cool" variety even in cartoons where he's the Butt-Monkey, he always keeps his silent wit and rhythmic step.
  • Domestic Appliance Disaster: Pink once lied upon an ironing board, and ironed his tummy fur. The phone rings, and Pink answers it, leaving the hot iron to burn its way completely through his body and the ironing board to tumble onto the floor. Pink hops to his feet and regards the triangular hole in his midsection. Amazingly, it seems neither to hurt nor to debilitate him, being nothing worse than unsightly.
  • Downer Ending: Quite a few of the episodes. Some of the most memorable:
    • Pink enters a shrine and emerges cursed to morph into different animals every few seconds.
    • While trying to kill a fly, he is swallowed alive by a vacuum cleaner, which then sucks up the entire scenery and finally itself.
    • After spending an entire episode cleaning up a polluted city as punishment for littering, a Tickertape Parade is thrown in his honor - after which he is forced to clean up the city again.
  • Funk: The music style heard in the 1978-1980 shorts.
  • Karmic Trickster: The Panther - often a master of Disproportionate Retribution as well - though he's also often an innocent trickster who doesn't mean to cause the chaos he does.
  • Lampshade Hanging
  • Laugh Track: By 1969, laugh tracks for Saturday morning had become the norm, and The Pink Panther Show was no exception.
  • Limited Animation: Although it improved.
  • Medicine Show: The Panther runs one in "Vitamin Pink".
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Little Man is a caricature of Friz Freleng.
  • Shrug Take: "The Panther sees/causes some crazy occurrence, shrugs and saunters into the sunset" is a favorite to end episodes.
  • Surreal Humor: Often used for one-off gags, although "Pink Outs" is almost nothing but this.
  • Synchronized Swarming: One cartoon has the title character annoy a swarm of bees. While taking cover inside a house blocks them, the bees take a form of a drill, and create a hole in the door that they fly through.
  • Talking with Signs: How the Panther typically communicates, with the occasional Imagine Spot which other people can sometimes see.
  • Tickertape Parade: In "Pink of the Litter", Pink is hired to clean all the litter in town. After he does, he is given one... and then has to clean up after it.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: In "Pink, Plunk, Plink" Pink tries to sabotage an orchestra by playing his theme tune. Once he manages to boot off the conductor; he gets the entire orchestra to play the tune. Cut to an empty audience, except for a clapping Henry Mancini.
  • The Voiceless: Except on two occasions (ending of "Sink Pink" and all of "Pink Ice"), and always with a Celebrity Star (Rich Little doing an impression of David Niven, to be exact).
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist

    The Pink Panther and Sons 

     The Pink Panther (1993- 95 series) 

     Pink Panther and Pals (2010) 

Alternative Title(s): Pink Panther, The Pink Panther Show

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