One of the greats in the animation character pantheon has just hit his golden anniversary. First appearing in the opening title sequence of the 1963 film The Pink Panther, the animated cat had such an influence on audiences he went on top star in a series of animated theatrical films, various television series, and, of course, a slew of other animated title sequences. In fact, the only Pink Panther film the panther was not featured in was the second, A Shot In The Dark.
Ex-Warner Bros. director Isadore Friz Freleng and producer David DePatie formed DePatie-Freleng Enterprises after the Looney Tunes series was closed down. The first of the new studio’s projects was creating the title sequence for The Pink Panther. The character was said to be created by Blake Edwards, Freleng and Hawley Pratt. The studio saw the popularity of this new character, and produced the first short- The Pink Phink- in 1964. This short has the unique distinction of being the first time a studio has won an Academy Award for it’s first theatrical work…. and it is the only time a cartoon character’s debut film has won an Oscar.
After a run of nearly 100 theatrical shorts, the Panther jumped to Saturday mornings with The Pink Panther Show, which combined theatrical shorts with The Inspector cartoons. The Panther returned to TV over the next couple decades in many shows, including one in which the panther spoke!
And now, as the Panther hits the big 5-0, MGM is preparing for a return to theaters. To be produced by Walter Mirisch, the producer of the original films as well as the actress Julie Andrews (who was married to Blake Edwards, the original films director), the new Pink Panther film will be live action with a CGI panther. It will be directed by David Silverman, who also directed The Simpsons Movie.
So we at BCDB want to help celebrate the Panther’s 50th birthday. First, can we point you to the official Pink Panther 5oth Anniversary Facebook Page? From there, you can vote for your favorite Panther short; the top 24 will be released on DVD!
And once you have your favorite short picked, then come back to this post on the Big Cartoon Forum and let us know which short you voted for. One person who responds will get a special, personalized to you Pink Panther gift! There is no right or wrong, the winner will be chosen at random…. you just have to post your vote and tell us why!
And in the meantime, here is a peek at My favorite short!