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 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 Pink Panther and Sons, a co-production between Hanna-Barbera and DePatie-Freleng, 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 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.
- Pink Panther (1988) Amiga, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, MSX
- Pink Goes to Hollywood (1993) SNES, Genesis
- Pink Panther's Passport to Peril (1996) PC
- Pink Panther: Hokus Pokus Pink (1998) PC, Sequel to Passport to Peril
- Pink Panther: Pinkadelic Pursuit (2002) PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, PC
Has a character sheet.
Pink Panther cartoons with their own pages:
This series contains examples of:
- Four-Fingered Hands: The Pink Panther has these.
- Real Men Wear Pink: It is clear that the Panther is a guy.
- Spontaneous Skeet Shooting: Played for laughs in one episode. A cowboy wants to show his skills and throws a dollar bill in the air and shoots it, then change falls into his hand.
- The Voiceless: With the exception of two cartoons (in which he is voiced by Rich Little doing a David Niven impression) and exactly one incredibly poorly-received revival starring Matt Frewer, the panther is always mute, as are most of his side characters.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Funk: The music style heard in the 1978-1980 shorts.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In 1968's "Psychedelic Pink", the beatnik version of the Little Man hands him a book titled "The Love Live of a Panther: Uncensored", which the Pink Panther ogles for a moment.
- 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 photographers' 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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 Vampirellas 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.
- 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 (live-action) Henry Mancini.
- 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
- 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?").
- An Aesop: Occasionally the series would venture into it.
- 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.
- Be Careful What You Wish For
- Catchphrase: Thiiiinnnnk Pink!
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: The Aardvark is this.
- A Day in the Limelight: Happened a few times.
- 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.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Could have its own page.
- Also, the entire episodes 7 Manly Men and Hamm-N-Eggz.
- 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.
- Parental Bonus: Some episodes, like Lifestyles of the Pink and Famous. And 7 Manly Men as well.
- "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.
- Straight Gay: Possibly Manly Man.
- Third-Person Person: Voodoo Man, who refers to himself this way.
- Two Shorts
- 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.