Coming Up Shorts! with… The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 1

Welcome back for another full post of Coming Up Shorts! This time, I’m going with theatrical shorts starring The Pink Panther, featuring the shorts from 1964 through 1966 that have been released together on disc in The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 1.

Here’s a list and quick plot description for each of the cartoons included in this set (for my comments on the individual cartoons, click on the title to go to my previous reviews):

  1. The Pink Phink (1964) (Length: 6 minutes, 47 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther fights with the Little Man over the color scheme of a house being painted.
  2. Pink Pajamas (1964) (Length: 6 minutes, 19 seconds)
    • A tired Pink Panther finds a place to spend the night, only to find the home belongs to an alcoholic Little Man.
  3. We Give Pink Stamps (1965) (Length: 7 minutes, 1 second)
    • The Pink Panther wanders around a closed department store, periodically trying to avoid the Little Man working as a janitor.
  4. Dial “P” For Pink (1965) (Length: 6 minutes, 31 seconds)
    • A klutzy safecracker tries to rob a safe that the Pink Panther has taken up residence in.
  5. Sink Pink (1965) (Length: 6 minutes, 21 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther faces off against a hunter trying to recreate Noah’s ark so he can hunt all the animals.
  6. Pickled Pink (1965) (Length: 6 minutes, 22 seconds)
    • A drunk invites the Pink Panther into his home, but they have to avoid his wife, who threatens to throw any of her husband’s “friends” out of the house.
  7. Pinkfinger (1965) (Length: 6 minutes, 15 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther takes on a ring of spies.
  8. Shocking Pink (1965) (Length: 6 minutes, 43 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther tries to relax, but the narrator keeps pushing him to work on some things around the house.
  9. Pink Ice (1965) (Length: 6 minutes, 17 seconds)
    • The Panther is operating a diamond mine, but a pair of rival miners steal his diamonds.
  10. The Pink Tail Fly (1965) (Length: 6 minutes, 17 seconds)
    • An exhausted Pink Panther tries to get some sleep, but is interrupted by a persistent fly.
  11. Pink Panzer (1965) (Length: 5 minutes, 50 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther and his neighbor are slowly being turned against each other by the narrator.
  12. An Ounce Of Pink (1965) (Length: 6 minutes, 2 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther runs across a coin-operated talking weight and fortune-telling machine, and he buys it to keep with him.
  13. Reel Pink (1965) (Length: 6 minutes, 17 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther buys a group of worms to go fishing, but one of them keeps giving him trouble.
  14. Bully For Pink (1965) (Length: 6 minutes, 2 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther decides to try being an amateur bullfighter, and borrows a magician’s cape to use.
  15. Pink Punch (1966) (Length: 6 minutes, 27 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther has come up with a health drink of his own, and tries to promote it. He is thwarted, however, by an asterisk from one of his signs that turned green and keeps turning everything green.
  16. Pink Pistons (1966) (Length: 6 minutes, 2 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther buys a compact car (with a mind of its own) and ends up in a drag race.
  17. Vitamin Pink (1966) (Length: 6 minutes, 25 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther is selling some pep pills out west, but finds himself stuck as a deputy when he gives some to an escaped convict.
  18. The Pink Blueprint (1966) (Length: 6 minutes, 25 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther competes with the Little Man on a construction site.
  19. Pink, Plunk, Plink (1966) (Length: 6 minutes, 24 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther tries to get himself into the orchestra at a concert, but the conductor keeps throwing him out.
  20. Smile Pretty, Say Pink (1966) (Length: 6 minutes, 9 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther takes on an amateur photographer visiting a national park.

Like I said when discussing The Ant And The Aardvark, Friz Freleng and David H. DePatie formed DePatie-Freleng Enterprises in 1963. They were approached by director Blake Edwards to design a panther character for his then-upcoming film The Pink Panther (1963), which would appear during the opening credits. That initial appearance proved to be quite popular with audiences, and United Artists ordered a series of theatrical cartoons using that character. The first cartoon put together was the 1964 The Pink Phink, which made use of Henry Mancini’s classic “Pink Panther Theme” music, and established the relationship of the Pink Panther and the Little Man. The cartoon would win an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film, the only Oscar win not only for the series, but also for DePatie-Freleng Enterprises.

The Pink Panther cartoons are among the few I can still remember seeing on TV as a child (beyond the Disney, Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry cartoons). This first set was a lot of fun for me, reliving my childhood. Admittedly, the only one that I really remember was the first one, The Pink Phink (and with them using the classic theme song for the entire score of that one, as opposed to just the opening credits on the rest, really helps set it apart). But, there is still some enjoyment to be found here with the rest, as well. I do confess to the idea that these early cartoons are all over the place, as they try to figure out what to do with the character. Most are completely silent, a few have some other characters talking, and two of them (Sink Pink and Pink Ice) even have the Panther speak! There is a good deal of variety within these shorts (even if at least one does seem close to being a remake of an earlier Looney Tunes short)! The Pink Panther is still one cool cat, and I always enjoy coming back to these cartoons, both for the music and the comedy! They aren’t necessarily restored here, but they look pretty good, and that’s good enough for me to recommend them!

The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 1 is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Kino Lorber. The whole set has a runtime of two hours, eight minutes.

“Star Of The Month (February 2021)” Featuring Clark Gable in… The King And Four Queens (1956)

As we continue on with our celebration of Clark Gable as our Star Of The Month, we’ve got his 1956 film The King And Four Queens, which also co-stars Eleanor Parker. But first, let’s get through our theatrical short before getting around to the main event!

Coming Up Shorts! with… An Ounce Of Pink (1965)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 1 (1964-1966) from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 2 seconds)

The Pink Panther runs across a coin-operated talking weight and fortune-telling machine, and he buys it to keep with him. Numerous fun gags here, with the main recurring gag being the machine stopping in the midst of a sentence that requires the Panther to put another coin in (even after he buys it). I will admit the gags themselves are mostly predictable (pun intended), as the machine gives vague predictions that sound good, only to turn out bad for the Panther (with one that *could* have gone well had the Panther not felt distrust over the previous situations). Still, it does provide a few laughs, and I certainly enjoy listening to Larry Storch as the voice of the machine!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Conman Dan Kehoe (Clark Gable) is on the run from a group on horseback, but he successfully evades them. In the first town he comes to, he learns about the nearby town of Wagon Mound, which is currently occupied by a hostile Ma McDade (Jo Van Fleet) and her four daughters-in-law. Apparently, her four sons had stolen over one hundred thousand dollars worth of gold, and had taken it to Wagon Mound, chased by a posse. While there, three of the four boys were blown up, and the fourth escaped (but which one, nobody knew). The gold was left there in Wagon Mound, and the McDade ladies were all there protecting it against outsiders. Dan decides to look into it himself. He fakes being pursued, and rides into the town, only to be shot in the arm by Ma. He is then brought in and bandaged up. The young (potential) widows, Sabina (Eleanor Parker), Ruby (Jean Willes), Birdie (Barbara Nichols) and Oralie (Sara Shane), are all thrilled at the sight of him, much to Ma’s dismay. When Dan wakes up, he pretends to have been sent there by another man, thinking he would be safe there. Ma’s not sure what to make of him, but she lets him stay the night. As he flirts with the receptive widows, Ma pushes him to leave. However, before he can, Sheriff Tom Larrabee (Roy Roberts) arrives with a posse, thinking him to be the missing McDade boy. However, Dan makes a deal with the sheriff to stay and be a lookout, should the missing McDade arrive. After the sheriff leaves, Dan tells Ma about his deal, in an attempt to stay longer (so that the sheriff wouldn’t be suspicious). While there, he continues to work his charms on the young widows in an attempt to find out if any of them know the location of the gold, but none of them know (but they certainly want to team up with him to find it and get out of there). It seems that if anybody knows where the gold is, it’s Ma, but will she give up that information to a man that she doesn’t seem to trust?

The King And Four Queens was produced by Clark Gable’s production company (GABCO) in partnership with Jane Russell (whom he had co-starred with the previous year in The Tall Men) and her husband Robert Waterfield. The movie was filmed on location in St. George, Utah, with some of the interiors filmed back in Hollywood. It’s been said that there were three endings shot for the movie, with the plan being for the preview audiences to choose which one they liked best. This ended up being the first, last and only movie that Clark Gable produced, as much as the stress affected his health.

I personally had a lot of fun watching this movie. It was my first time seeing it, but Clark Gable carried the movie quite well! His charm is on full display, as he convincingly flirts with all four of the widows (to varying effect). I enjoyed watching the movie for him alone! And the rest of the cast worked well for me, too, with Jo Van Fleet as Ma doing pretty well (seriously, I wouldn’t want to go up against her, as tough as she seems to be in this film)! I will grant you that, if you’re looking for a western to have big gunfights, this one will be a disappointment. But, I didn’t need one, as I enjoyed watching the story from start to finish. So, I would definitely give my recommendation for this movie!

This movie is available on Blu-ray from Olive Films.

Film Length: 1 hour, 24 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

The Tall Men (1955)Clark GableRun Silent, Run Deep (1958)

Eleanor Parker – Home From The Hill (1960)