Western Animation / The Pink Panther
aka: Pink Panther

He's one Cool Cat.

In 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.

When these shorts were packaged for the television market as the Saturday Morning Cartoon The Pink Panther Show at the end of The '60s, they were soon joined by other series over the course of The '70s:

  • The Ant and the Aardvark: A 17-episode Cat-and-Mouse series about the two titular characters, a red ant and the blue aardvark who constantly tries to eat him.
  • Tijuana Toads: A pair of Mexican toads usually fail in catching food, but are luckier in avoiding the hunger of Crazylegs Crane and The Blue Racer (who both later got their own series). This was eventually redubbed into Texas Toads to be less offensive.
  • Roland and Rattfink: The eternal conflict between the perfectly pacifistic Roland and the Dastardly Whiplash-like Rattfink.
  • Sheriff Hoot Kloot: The misadventures of Wild West lawman Kloot and his horse Fester.
  • Misterjaw: A series about an affable German-accented shark and his catfish buddy, with many takeoffs from Jaws.
  • The Dogfather: A canine-focused spoof of The Godfather.

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:

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    Common to all series 

    1964- 80 shorts/series 
  • Ambiguously Jewish: The Aardvark.
    • In an episode of The New Pink Panther Show, the Aardvark (as a Tarzan parody) screams "Oy Vey!" in a Tarzan-like manner.
  • 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
  • Asshole Victim: Several episodes feature The Panther ruining the day of someone who, thankfully, is generally revealed to be a jerk beforehand.
  • 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.
  • Clueless Detective: The Inspector - though the cartoons go back on forth (often within the same cartoon) as to whether he's a bumbler with a Hypercompetent Sidekick, or bumbling but semi-competent with a clueless sidekick who still manages to get the job done in the end.
  • 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.
  • Exploiting the Fourth Wall: In one Inspector Clouseau episode the inspector told the artist to comply with law and put the criminal he was chasing behind bars.
  • 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: Dean Martin for the Ant and Jackie Mason for the Aardvark. One short also had a computer parodying Paul Lynde.
  • 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