The Pink Panther

The animated Pink Panther character’s initial appearance in the live action film’s title sequence, directed by Friz Freleng, was such a success with audiences and United Artists that the studio signed Freleng and his DePatie-Freleng Enterprises studio to a multi-year contract for a series of Pink Panther theatrical cartoon shorts.

The first entry in the series, 1964’s The Pink Phink, featured the Panther harassing his foil, a little white moustached man who somewhat resembles the animated version of the feature films’ Inspector Clouseau (this character is officially known as “The Man”), by constantly trying to paint the little man’s blue house pink. The Pink Phink won the 1964 Academy Award for Animated Short Film, and subsequent shorts in the series, usually featuring the Panther opposite the little man, were successful releases.

In an early series of Pink Panther animated cartoons, the Pink Panther generally remained silent, speaking only in two theatrical shorts, Sink Pink and Pink Ice. Rich Little provided the Panther’s voice in the latter shorts, modelling it on that of David Niven (who had portrayed Clouseau’s jewel-thief nemesis in the original live-action film). Years later Little would overdub Niven’s voice for Trail of the Pink Panther and Curse of the Pink Panther.

All of the animated Pink Panther shorts utilized the distinctive jazzy theme music composed by Henry Mancini for the 1963 feature film, with additional scores composed by Walter Greene. (From Wikipedia)

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