Friz Freleng (1964)
The Pink Panther is a sly, lanky animated cat created by Friz Freleng and David DePatie. The iconic feline was first created in 1964.
Pink Pajamas is the second theatrical cartoon produced in the Pink Panther series. The Pink Panther sneaks into a house to stay the night, but ends up having to hide from the residence’s drunk owner. When the Pink Panther’s cover is blown, the homeowner, believing that he is suffering from alcohol-induced hallucinations, has a local Alcoholics Anonymous representative come to his home to rehabilitate him. But reality soon sets in when they realize that the Pink Panther actually does exist – as such, they immediately run outside and chase after the garbage truck that has just hauled off the discarded alcohol.
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 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 Pink harassing his foil, a little white mustachioed man who is often considered a caricature of Friz Freleng, 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 Pink Panther opposite the Little Man, were successful releases.
In an early series of Pink Panther animated cartoons, Pink generally remained silent, speaking only in two theatrical shorts, Sink Pink and Pink Ice. Rich Little provided Pink’s voice in these shorts, modeling 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, due to Niven’s ill health. 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 or William Lava.
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