Created by: Blake Edwards, Friz Freleng, Hawley Pratt, Manu Kumar
Voiced by: Rich Little (Sink Pink and Pink Ice), Matt Frewer
The Pink Panther is the main and title character in the opening and closing credit sequences of every film in The Pink Panther series except for A Shot in the Dark and Inspector Clouseau. His popularity spawned a series of theatrical shorts, merchandise, a comic book, and television cartoons. He starred in 124 shorts (either theatrical or televised), 10 television shows and three prime time specials. He’s also known as Nathu and Pangu in East and South Asia.
The Pink Panther Show
In the Fall of 1969, the Pink Panther cartoons made their way to NBC television shown Saturday mornings via The Pink Panther Show. NBC added a laugh track to the original cartoons, with Marvin Miller brought on as an off-camera narrator talking to the Pink Panther during bumper segments featuring the Pink Panther and The Inspector together.
Pink Panther shorts made after 1969 were produced for both broadcast and film release, typically appearing on television first, and released to theatres by United Artists. One version of the show was called The Think Pink Panther Show. A number of sister series joined The Pink Panther on movie screens and on the airwaves, among them The Ant and the Aardvark, The Tijuana Toads (a.k.a. The Texas Toads), Hoot Kloot, and Misterjaw (a.k.a. Mr. Jaws and Catfish). There were also a series of animated shorts called The Inspector, with the bumbling Clouseau inspired Inspector and his sidekick Sgt. Deux-Deux, whom the Inspector is forever correcting. (“Deux” is French for “two,” meaning the little man’s name is both a pun and a play on words, “two” appearing twice in the name.) Other DePatie-Freleng series included Roland and Rattfink, The Dogfather (a Godfather pastiche), with a canine Corleone family and two Tijuana Toads spinoffs, The Blue Racer and Crazylegs Crane.
In 1976, the half-hour series was revamped into a 90-minute format, as The Pink Panther Laugh and a Half Hour and a Half Show; this version included a live-action segment, where the show’s host, comedian Lenny Schultz, would read letters and jokes from viewers. This version flopped, and would change back to the original half-hour version in 1977. In 1978, after nine years on NBC, The Pink Panther moved to ABC, where it lasted one season before leaving the network realm entirely. The ABC version of the series featured sixteen episodes with 32 new Pink Panther cartoons, and 16 of Crazylegs Crane. The 32 new Pink Panther cartoons were eventually released to theatres by United Artists.