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 (January 2021)” Featuring Doris Day in… Young At Heart (1954)

As I continue on in celebrating actress and singer Doris Day as my Star Of The Month, I will now be looking at her 1954 film Young At Heart, which also stars Frank Sinatra. But, before we get to the movie, we have a few theatrical shorts to get through!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Tops In The Big Top (1945)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 1 from Warner Archive Collection)

Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.

(Length: 6 minutes, 26 seconds)

Circus ringmaster Bluto tries to sabotage star attraction Popeye to get the attentions of Popeye’s assistant Olive. At best, a decent Popeye cartoon, with the usual stuff going on. This one is a lot more fun to see the visuals, with a lot of nice color (especially with this short restored). An improvement over the previous cartoon, but still debatable about its actual worth in seeing more than once.

Coming Up Shorts! with… Pink Ice (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, 17 seconds)

The Panther is operating a diamond mine, but a pair of rival miners steal his diamonds. One of the rare few Pink Panther cartoons in which the character actually talks. Whether you like that or not, it’s still a fun cartoon, with the two rival miners trying to set traps to stop him from taking back his diamonds, and then the traps work against them. Every now and then, this one can be fun to watch!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Music professor Gregory Tuttle (Robert Keith) lives with his three musically inclined daughters and his sister, Jessie (Ethel Barrymore). His oldest daughter, Fran (Dorothy Malone), has just gotten engaged to Robert Neary (Alan Hale Jr.). The plumber Ernest Nichols (Lonny Chapman) is interested in middle daughter Amy (Elisabeth Fraser), but she is kind of indifferent about his affections. Youngest daughter Laurie (Doris Day) is single, and makes a pact with sister Amy that they will either have a double wedding, or stay spinsters together for the rest of their lives. Things change up when Laurie meets composer Alex Burke (Gig Young), the son of a friend of their father. He manages to charm his way into boarding at their house while he works on the score for a Broadway musical. He catches the eyes of all three daughters, but he finds himself falling for Laurie in particular. Eventually, things go well enough on his show that Alex recruits his friend Barney Sloan (Frank Sinatra), an arranger, to help him work on the music. When Laurie meets Barney, she finds him to be quite cynical, as he believes that the “fates” (or “they,” as he refers to them) have it out for him. Laurie is unwilling to let him get away with that attitude, and tries to help him past it by pushing him to finish writing a song he had been working on. Right around her father’s birthday celebration, Alex asks Laurie to marry him, which she accepts, much to the dismay of Barney and her sister Amy. When Barney points out to her how much her sister Amy liked Alex right before the wedding, she decides to elope with Barney to New York City. In all the commotion from the family learning about her eloping, Ernest takes charge in trying to let the wedding guests know, which changes Amy’s opinion about him (for the better). In New York City, Barney and Laurie struggle through together. In spite of all their troubles, Laurie has indeed come to fall in love with him, but the cynic in Barney refuses to believe that she prefers him over Alex. When they manage to return to the Tuttle home for Christmas, they also find a successful Alex there, and Barney’s doubts come to a head.

Young At Heart was based on the short story “Sister Act” by Fannie Hurst. Warner Brothers had already brought the story to the big screen in 1938 as the movie Four Daughters. In the mid-1950s, Frank Sinatra was in the midst of a big career comeback after winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for From Here To Eternity. The producers wanted him for the movie, but he would only do it on the condition that they change the original sad ending of the story and give his character a happy one (which they did). The movie itself remained without a title until Frank’s recording of the song Young At Heart became a big hit. So, they made that the title of the movie, and had him sing it over the opening and closing credits.

I will readily admit that I have mixed feelings about this movie. I do like it overall, with Doris Day and Frank Sinatra in particular giving good performances in this movie (and the rest of the cast is right up there with them). The story itself is fun (I will have to admit that I have not seen the earlier Four Daughters or any of its sequels yet, so I can’t really compare it to them). Some of the music is fun and enjoyable to listen to. That being said, I do feel the movie has several problems. One of the most glaring, to my mind, is the film’s ending. It just feels too rushed, and makes me wish that Sinatra hadn’t forced them to change it from the original ending (which is what I thought the movie was leading up to). Had they had a better transition at the end, I might have been okay with it. Another problem (and this is purely my taste in music and singers) is that very little of the music is exactly memorable here. I know that Frank sings the song “One For My Baby (And One More For The Road),” which was one of his big hits, but I just don’t like his version of the song (I much prefer listening to Fed Astaire’s version of it from The Sky’s The Limit, as anybody else singing it, other than any of my close friends, just feels like nails on a chalkboard to me). Also, in spite of the promotional material making a big deal of Doris Day and Frank Sinatra working together here, they really don’t sing together outside of part of the film’s final song (and it makes you wish they had had more songs to sing together in this one, or at least more films together). Still, it’s not a completely terrible film, and one I do enjoy seeing every now and then. So I would recommend giving it a try, if given the opportunity to see it.

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

Film Length: 1 hour, 58 minutes

My Rating: 6/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Calamity Jane (1953)Doris DayLove Me Or Leave Me (1955)

On The Town (1949)Frank SinatraGuys And Dolls (1955)

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