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Western Animation / The Pink Panther

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

The Animated Credits Opening of The Pink Panther 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, distributed by United Artists.

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 cutesy 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 a little 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.

Various other cartoon series were produced by DePatie-Freleng and The Mirisch Company: The Ant and the Aardvark, The Dogfather (a canine-focused spoof of The Godfather), Misterjaw, Roland and Rattfink, Sheriff Hoot Kloot, and Tijuana Toads (later renamed to the Texas Toads); these were also distributed theatrically by UA, and aired as part of The Pink Panther Show on NBC and later in syndication.

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 in 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 last of these after DFE had been bought out and turned into Marvel Productions, both were credited).
  • The Pink Panther and Sons, a co-production between Hanna-Barbera and DePatie-Freleng (as well as MGM, which had merged with UA by this point), aired in The '80s. Despite getting top billing the show focused mainly on the adventures of the Panther's two children, Pinky and Panky and their friends, the Rainbow Panthers.
  • The Pink Panther (sometimes referred to as The New Pink Panther Show) ran in syndication from 1993-95 (a co-production of the new MGM Animation, Claster Television and Camelot Entertainment Salesnote ), 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 provides examples of:

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    Common to all series 

    1964– 80 shorts/series 

  • Angry Guard Dog: The Pink Panther has encountered and attempted to evade quite a few, such as in "The Pink Package Plot," "Pink Press" and "Spark Plug Pink."
  • 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.
  • Anthropomorphic Typography: In "Pink Punch", the logo for the Panther's titular health drink has the dot in the I stylized as an asterisk. The asterisk comes alive and antagonizes the Panther, first by turning green to ruin the logo's pink color scheme, then by stepping outside and messing with his work. And whenever the Panther tries to get even with it, a large, green asterisk (implied to be its parent) appears to defend it.
  • 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.
  • Beach Episode: "Come On In! The Water's Pink" has the Panther heading to the beach with a bag full of inflatable toys, meeting bikini girls and a Muscle Beach Bum during his visit.
  • Been There, Shaped History: A double whammy when the Panther visits Leonardo da Vinci. Who for whatever reasons draws Mona Lisa with a big frown. Pink can't stand that and improves the art. Leonardo gets so mad by the constant interfering that he gives the Pisa Tower a kick.
  • Be the Ball: Happens to the Little Man in In The Pink because of a parallel bars exercise gone wrong: he overspins and curls up into a ball. The Panther picks him up due to mistaking him for a ball and proceeds to play some basketball, but he misses a shot at the hoop which causes the Little Man to fly out through a window and end up in the trash back to normal.
  • 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:
    • The Little Man is either this or The Chew Toy, in every short in which he appears.
    • The Panther himself, in the episodes where he's not a trickster, is always being being bedeviled by the universe as a whole. He's remarkably cool about it.
  • Clip Show: "Pink-In" and "Pinkologist" mostly consist of footage from previous episodes with filler animation in between the clips.
  • 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.
  • Creator Cameo: In the end of "Pink, Plunk, Plink", it turns out the only person watching the orchestra is Henry Mancini, in live-action form.
  • Depending on the Writer: The Panther's living situation changes in various cartoons. Some show him living on his own in a house or apartment. Others show the Panther living in more squalid settings such as the city dump. A few cartoons even imply he's homeless.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: 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 (live-action) Henry Mancini.
  • Domestic Appliance Disaster: Pink once lay 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 Sphinx: Pink enters a shrine and emerges cursed to morph into different animals every few seconds.
    • While trying to kill a fly in Pink S.W.A.T., he is swallowed alive by a vacuum cleaner, which then sucks up the entire scenery and finally itself.
    • "Pinkcome Tax" combines this with The Bad Guy Wins. The tax collector's goons successfully stop Pink from springing Big Nose out of debtor's prison. When Robin Hood shows up to rescue them, the guards immediately toss him into the cell, too.
    • "Pink of the Litter": 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.
    • And then there's Pink Panzer, where a dispute between Pink and his neighbor over the Panther's borrowed lawnmower escalates into a full-fledged military battle. And then it's revealed that the offscreen voice that's been goading on both sides is The Devil himself.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: A lot of early shorts actually have dialogue, whether from the narrator, secondary characters, or the Panther himself in two installments. This was eventually dropped once the creators realized the cartoons work best when it's pure pantomime, although later cartoons occasionally feature small bits of dialogues, such as "A Fly in the Pink" and "Pink Plasma".
  • Fanservice Extra:
    • The bikini ladies in "Come On In! The Water's Pink" who ignore the Muscle Beach Bum for the Pink Panther and his balloon toys
    • The curvaceous lady rabbit in "Mystic Pink". She grabs the attention of the Panther's magic rabbit but runs away when the rabbit's angry wife shows up.
  • Fooled by the Sound: In Pink at First Sight, Pink Panther wants to get hired by a delivery service that has its messengers perform for the recipients. He goes to a music store and buys a tape player and some tapes. He lip-syncs to the songs on the tapes, causing people to think he's really singing. (Though this is excusable for him, since he's a Heroic Mime who seemingly can't talk or sing at all.) Later on, when he is cornered by some gangsters, he uses the tape player again to play a recording of a police officer saying "This is the police! We've got you surrounded!" The gangsters think the police really are after them, and they hightail it out of there.
  • Funk: The music style heard in the 1978-1980 shorts.
  • Gaslighting: The Pink Panther does this to an astronomer he developed a feud with during their squabble by having Little Green Men marionettes dance before his observatory's telescope to make him think there are aliens on the Moon. When the excited astronomer reported the discovery, he was deemed mad by his superiors and sent off to a sanitorium. Ironically, there ARE dancing Little Green Men on the Moon, but the astronomer didn't get to find out until he was blown all the way to the Moon and was left stranded there by his final attempt to get at Pink Panther.
  • Genie in a Bottle: In "Genie with Light Pink Fur", the Panther tried a stint at being a genie. Unfortunately, it didn't work out so well, mainly because nobody used the lamp the intended way.
  • Got Volunteered: Several times, the Panther got roped into doing unsavory acts (being an accomplice to a robbery, delivering a bomb) under threat of being shot if he didn't.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: The official onscreen title of the series is Blake Edwards' Pink Panther, despite Edwards having only commissioned the title sequences for the live-action films. This extends to the home media releases.
  • Inconvenient Darkroom Illumination:
    • The current page image comes from "Doctor Pink". Here, Pink Panther works as a janitor in a hospital, and enters the darkroom to clean up just as Big Nose is developing an x-ray photo, thus ruining the photo. Pink, oblivious to his mistake, keeps dusting the place off, and even takes the now completely black X-ray and dusts off the black, leaving Big Nose with a white sheet of paper.
    • In "Smile Pretty, Say Pink", the Pink Panther mistakes flashbulbs for eggs and devours a dozen of them. Then, whenever he hiccups, Pink lights up. Terrified of his plight, Pink runs into a photographer's darkroom. There, he hiccups, lights up, and runs away, leaving Big Nose with ruined film.
  • Interactive Narrator: Three animated shorts from 1965 featured this, such as "Shocking Pink," "Pinkfinger" and "Pink Panzer," the latter of which reveals at the end that the Devil was the Narrator All Along. This was early in the series, and is now seen as an instance of Early-Installment Weirdness.
    • This was eventually brought back in the bumper segments that aired on The Pink Panther Show, including the ones where the Panther interacts with the Ant and the Aardvark.
  • 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.
  • Like a Surgeon: In "Psychedelic Pink", the Panther is in a psychedelic... place trying to read a book. At one point he falls on the book and breaks it, and the Little Man, as the beatnik proprietor of the place, takes the book to an operating room to try and fix it, with the Panther as a nurse. Sadly, the book doesn't make it.
  • Limited Animation: Although it improved.
  • Loud Sleeper Gag: In "Rock-A-Bye Pinky", Big Nose is camping with his dog, unaware that his snore is keeping the Panther from sleeping, up on the tree where Big has tied his hammock. Pink tries to get rid of Big Nose at any cost, causing the man to think his dog is trying to kill him, while the poor animal thinks that his master is crazy.
  • Medicine Show: The Panther runs one in "Vitamin Pink".
  • Misplaced Retribution: In "Gong with the Pink", Big Nose grew livid after Pink Panther accidentally destroyed his glass and tried to assault him. While his reaction to it all was understandable, he brought down his wrath onto the wrong person who was only doing his job as a waiter. If Big Nose had filed this complaint to the restaurant management, the policies could had changed.
  • Mistaken for Insane: In "Pink Campaign", the Pink Panther gets back at Little Man for cutting down his tree by building a new home out of his home. As the Little Man sees his house gradually disappearing (unaware of the Panther), he calls a termite exterminator, the police and a psychiatrist, all of whom believe he's lost his mind.
  • Monster in the Moat: In "Pink Plasma", Little Man Dracula spends most of the episode trying to attack Pink, but invariably falls in the moat and is persecuted by a shark that breathes out of the water and runs with its tail-fin. In the end, the vampire sneaks into the room where Pink is (apparently) sleeping, but the panther pulls down a curtain with the sun painted on it, making Dracula run back to his coffin in panic... only to find the shark waiting for him. They disappear when the sun rises, along with Dracula's castle and the monster that decided to run after Pink For the Evulz.
  • New Sound Album: The 1978 made-for-TV shorts feature a startlingly different set of background music tracks by Steve DePatie and Doug Goodwin. Compared to Bill Lava and Walter Greene's music that stays in tune with Mancini's theme's jazzy style (with occasional moments of rock), the 1978 shorts' music often takes on a far more contemporary and jaunty sound (almost disco-sounding at times).
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Little Man is a caricature of Friz Freleng.
  • No More for Me: In "Pink Pajamas", while looking for a place to sleep, the Panther finds his way into a house, who owner turns out to be drunkard. After seeing the Panther several times, he calls his A.A sponsor, who convinces him to give up alcohol. After finding and throwing out his entire alcohol stash, the two celebrate with a glass of milk...when they see the Pink Panther walk by. This results in them chasing after the garbage truck that took the alcohol bottles.
  • Odd Ball In The Series: "Extinct Pink" is the only short composed by Doug Goodwin.
  • Pest Episode: In "Pink Pest Control", this overlaps with Termite Trouble: the Pink Panther tries to stop a termite that is eating all of the wooden objects in his log cabin home. He tries hitting it with an axe, setting a mousetrap (baited with a toothpick) and a flyswatter, but nothing works. The termite finally eats through the log cabin and causes it to collapse. The episode ends with the Pink Panther forcing the termite to help him rebuild it at gunpoint.
    • A few more episodes have the Panther fight against insect pests: The Pink Tail Fly and the abovementioned Pink SWAT have him fight mosquitoes bothering him during his sleep, while A Fly In the Pink has the Panther duke it out with a genetically-enhanced fruit fly that's after his fruit. The episode Pink on the Cob is a more unusual example considering crows are fairly rarely depicted as pests in fiction (although this is a definite case of Truth in Television since crows actually are very nasty pests).
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Literally in "Pink Campaign", where we get to see Big Nose clocking out of his job as a lumberjack just before Pink starts to torment him. To be fair, he did somehow chop down the tree holding up the Panther's house.
  • Recycled Soundtrack:
    • The music in "Dial 'P' For Pink" was also the opening credits theme to A Shot in the Dark, which would be remixed and re-used in The Inspector.
    • Every cartoon from 1967 through 1977 recycled music from the 1964-1966 cartoons, particularly the score to "Rock a Bye Pinky". It wasn't until 1978 that the series got some new music tracks.
  • Shrug Take: "The Panther sees/causes some crazy occurrence, shrugs and saunters into the sunset" is a favorite to end episodes.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: "Pinkerella". Not the happy ending of Cinderella and Pelvis, which could halfway be expected and is fair to the tale. But at the end the witch who lost her wand and Pink dish out a magic fight, no holds barred, until, completely unexpected, the witch turns into a gorgeous - surely up par with Vampirella's sidekick in feline hawtness - pantheress, and they fly off on the broom into the moonset.
  • 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.
  • Time Bomb: "The Pink Package Plot" involves a terrorist forcing the Panther to deliver a ticking package containing such a bomb to an estate before twelve noon, or he will be shot. But an Angry Guard Dog keeps preventing the Panther from getting into the estate to deliver the package. In another attempt to evade the dog, the Panther accidentally drops the package from the sky into an open manhole, where it floats down the sewer line, and just as the clock strikes twelve, the bomb explodes right under the manhole the terrorist is standing on, sending him flying into the estate yard where the guard dog chases him away!
  • Toilet Humor: In some TV releases of "Pink Campaign" (notably where the Pink Panther show ran in syndication during prime time access), the Panther is seeing walking off with a toilet. During kidvid airings, the toilet was replaced with a sofa.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Pink is this in some shorts, such as "Pink Sphinx". In some others he's the opposite.
  • Variable Mix: Non-gaming example. The background theme would add in a spooky-sounding theremin during the handful of horror-themed shorts. For instance, "Pink Panic" uses the theremin as instrumental backing whenever the ghost character appears onscreen, while the skeleton is represented by a tinkling xylophone.
  • The Voiceless: Except in two shorts (a one-liner at the end of "Sink Pink", and multiple lines in "Pink Ice"), where he's Suddenly Speaking. Rich Little provides the voice in "Pink Ice" while Paul Frees provides the voice in "Sink Pink" ("Why can't man be more like animals?").

    The Pink Panther and Sons 

    The Pink Panther (1993- 95 series) 
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version has a different ending theme.
  • Art Evolution: Compare the early 1993 episodes with the 1994-95 season.
    • Some episodes of this series used digital ink and paint.
  • Art Shift: The episode Hamm-N-Eggz, which looks more like a 1990s Klasky-Csupo show than a DePatie-Freleng/MGM production.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: In "All for Pink and Pink for All" the Queen is kidnapped with this method by her advisor's men, who are disguised as musketeers.
  • Canon Immigrant: Aside from bumpers for TV broadcasts of the old shorts, this was the first time the Panther actually interacted with the Inspector (and the Commissioner), the Ant and Aardvark, or the Dogfather.
  • Catchphrase: Thiiiinnnnk Pink!
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: The Aardvark is this.
  • Cuckoo Clock Gag: The cartoon "In the Pink of the Night" has the titular character purchasing a special cuckoo clock guaranteed to wake the user up in the morning. As such, the bird equipped with the clock not only makes cuckoo sounds, but also does stunts like clanging cymbals and blaring trumpets.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Happened a few times, particularly towards the end of the second season (with the Ant and the Aardvark and Voodoo Man getting their own solo shorts, along with the aforementioned Hamm-N-Eggz, 7 Manly Men and a short featuring the Texas Toads).
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Aardvark.
  • Demoted to Extra: After the episode A Nut at the Opera, the Panther himself didn't appear for a full four episodes, excluding Driving Mr. Pink (which was released in theaters before the notorious flop The Pebble and the Penguin).
  • Expy: Manly Man is an expy of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: The episode "Cinderpink", which parodies Cinderella.
  • Identical Grandson
  • Lampshade Hanging: One of the show's heavily used tropes.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: All episodes for The Inspector (Clouseau), one with Voodoo Man, another for Manly Man and one for the Ant and the Aardvark.

  • Pawprint Stamping: In The Pink Panther short "Pink Da Vinci", the titular panther spots an artist painting the Mona Lisa, but with a horrid scowl on her face. The Pink Panther takes it upon himself to replace the frown with a smile. Following some back-and-forth with da Vinci, the smile remains, along with a discreet pin pawprint next to the artist's signature.
  • Parental Bonus: Some episodes, like Lifestyles of the Pink and Famous. And 7 Manly Men as well.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Hamm-N-Eggz is probably the short with the most obvious intention of possibly being its' own series (or at least a recurrent segment if this show had gone on longer).
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Played with in "A Werewolf in Panther's Clothing." There's a werewolf terrifying a Transylvania-style village, and the Pink Panther (a dog catcher in this one) has been sent to capture the werewolf. It turns out to really be a small gypsy thief in a Full-Body Disguise attempting to scare everyone away so he can rob the village bank, but it turns out to be a blood bank, and the rest of the villagers turn out to really be vampires.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The episode 7 Manly Men parodies Village People and their song "Macho Man".
    • The episode Pinky Rider is a direct shout-out to Easy Rider.
  • Straight Gay: Possibly Manly Man.
  • Sympathetic Wince: In "Pink Plasma", the Panther winces as he watches Dracula run from the shark in the moat, twice.
  • Third-Person Person: Voodoo Man, who refers to himself this way.
  • Two Shorts
  • Truer to the Text: The Inspector here is MUCH closer to Clouseau than he ever was in the original shorts — an egotistical and dangerously incompetent bumbling buffoon with a thick French accent. Even his design takes a few elements from Peter Sellers’ caricature seen in the animated intros to the original films.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: The Little Man's family.
  • The Unintelligible: Voodoo Man can be this at times.
  • Vanishing Village: One episode features an Arabian kingdom cursed to only appear once every 500 years. The curse will only be broken if the Sultan marries an outsider.
  • What, Exactly, Is His Job?: Well, for The Little Man in this series, anyway...
  • Witch Doctor: Played for Laughs. Voodoo Man is this.
  • You Don't Look Like You: The Dogfather looks totally different compared to his 1970s version. The difference could be described as the difference between a 70's stereotypical Don who was as smooth and sophisticated as The Godfather, and the more crass and uncouth modern stereotype.

    Pink Panther and Pals (2010) 
  • Age Lift: The show aged down Panther's age to that of a teenager.
  • Jerkass: Big Nose and Aardvark seriously have an attitude problem.
  • Three Shorts: Each episode is comprised of three animated shorts comprising of two focusing on Pink Panther and one on Ant and Aardvark.
  • The Voiceless:
    • Unless you're talking about the Ant and the Aardvark.
    • A few people do speak in the Pink Panther portions.


Video Example(s):

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


You wouldn't like me

Pink Panther says this to the Hiccup Hibiscus, saying that he has too much fur which might cause a tummy ache.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / YouWontLikeHowITaste

Media sources: