Coming Up Shorts! with… The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 2

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 1966 through 1968 that have been released together on disc in The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 2.

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. Pink-A-Boo (1966) (Length: 6 minutes, 14 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther has to deal with a mouse and his friends who have come to party.
  2. Genie With The Light Pink Fur (1966) (Length: 6 minutes, 7 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther tries to become a genie, to hilarious effect!
  3. Super Pink (1966) (Length: 5 minutes, 58 seconds)
    • After reading a superhero comic, the Pink Panther tries to be a superhero himself!
  4. Rock A Bye Pinky (1966) (Length: 6 minutes, 8 seconds)
    • When the Pink Panther can’t sleep due to the Little Man’s snoring, he tries to do something about it!
  5. Pinknic (1967) (Length: 6 minutes, 9 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther is stuck in a cabin awaiting the arrival of spring, and is stuck with an equally hungry mouse.
  6. Pink Panic (1967) (Length: 6 minutes, 1 second)
    • Coming out of a storm, the Pink Panther tries to spend the night at a haunted hotel in a ghost town.
  7. Pink Posies (1967) (Length: 6 minutes, 11 seconds)
    • The Little Man tries to plant some yellow posies, but the Pink Panther keeps replacing them with pink posies.
  8. Pink Of The Litter (1967) (Length: 6 minutes, 1 second)
    • When a policeman catches the Pink Panther littering, the Panther is forced to clean up the town of Littersburg.
  9. In The Pink (1967) (Length: 6 minutes, 13 seconds)
    • Feeling a little fat, the Pink Panther goes to the gym to work out.
  10. Jet Pink (1967) (Length: 6 minutes, 3 seconds)
    • When the Pink Panther walks onto an experimental aircraft base, he decides to try becoming a famous pilot.
  11. Pink Paradise (1967) (Length: 6 minutes, 11 seconds)
    • When the Pink Panther comes upon a tropical island, he finds himself trying to avoid the Little Man, who is doing some hunting.
  12. Pinto Pink (1967) (Length: 6 minutes, 5 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther is trying to hitchhike across the country, when he spots a horse and decides to try riding him.
  13. Congratulations It’s Pink (1967) (Length: 6 minutes, 12 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther steals a basket from some campers, only to find it has a baby in it and not food.
  14. Prefabricated Pink (1967) (Length: 6 minutes, 11 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther sees a “Help Wanted” sign at a construction site, and hops right in to help out the workers.
  15. The Hand Is Pinker Than The Eye (1967) (Length: 6 minutes, 15 seconds)
    • On a cold winter’s day, the Pink Panther sneaks into a house to get warm. What he doesn’t know is that the house belongs to magician Zammo the Great, and he has to contend with all sorts of magical troubles!
  16. Pink Outs (1967) (Length: 6 minutes, 14 seconds)
    • In this Pink Panther cartoon, there is no story. It’s just a series of different gags, switching from one activity to another.
  17. Sky Blue Pink (1968) (Length: 6 minutes, 11 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther tries to fly a kite, but keeps causing trouble for the Little Man.
  18. Pinkadilly Circus (1968) (Length: 6 minutes, 2 seconds)
    • When the Little Man pulls a nail out of the Pink Panther’s foot, the Panther offers to be his slave out of gratitude.
  19. Psychedelic Pink (1968) (Length: 6 minutes, 17 seconds)
    • The Pink Panther walks by a psychedelic book store, and comes inside after being hypnotized by the door.
  20. Come On In! The Water’s Pink (1968) (Length: 6 minutes, 4 seconds)
    • At Bicep Beach, the Pink Panther runs afoul of a muscle-bound freak with his various inflatables.

Given that I haven’t had any luck in finding out much in the way of background information with regard to the era of Pink Panther cartoons contained in this set (compared to what I could find on Pink Panther Volume 1), I will then confine my comments to what I think of the shorts that are included. While I don’t have as strong a memory on whether I saw any of these shorts when I was younger, there are still a number of fun shorts here. Genie With The Light Pink Fur stands out as a fun one, with the Panther pretending to be a genie in a lamp (but nobody wants to make any wishes, instead chasing him away most of the time). Pink Panic is fun as a more Halloween-centered short, as the Panther deals with a ghost and skeleton (and one of my favorite shorts to watch around that time of year). The gym-centered In The Pink is also fun, as the Panther tries to exercise (and inadvertently causes trouble for the Little Man). There are some shorts that are very similar in this set (with at least two dealing with the Panther causing trouble for the Little Man’s dog, who knows the Panther is there but can’t get that across to his master, who blames him for his trouble), plus others that are close in story to some from the first set, but they are still quite entertaining. The only ones that I really didn’t care for were Pink Outs (due to its lack of story) and the hippie-era Psychedelic Pink. Apart from those, this second chronological volume of Pink Panther shorts is still quite entertaining! The level of restoration (or lack thereof) is quite similar to Volume 1, which is good enough for me to recommend it!

The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection Volume 2 is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Kino Lorber. The whole set has a runtime of two hours, eight minutes.

Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2021) on… College (1927)

Following up last week’s review of the Buster Keaton silent comedy Go West, we’ve got ANOTHER Buster Keaton silent. This time, it’s the 1927 film College.

Coming Up Shorts! with… Pink Outs (1967)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 2 (1966-1968) from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 14 seconds)

In this Pink Panther cartoon, there is no story. It’s just a series of different gags, switching from one activity to another. Some are funny, others not so much. There is no real relation between everything going on, although the final one (with him mowing the lawn) builds on another one from earlier in the short. Honestly, the overall short is decent, but not that memorable. The Panther is generally better when there is a slight story being served by various gags, and not just a series of un-related ones.

And Now For The Main Feature…

It’s high school graduation day at Union High School in California, and everyone is excited! The scholarly Ronald (Buster Keaton) gives a speech on “The Curse Of Athletics,” talking about how much more important education is than sports. However, his speech doesn’t go over well with the crowd (well, except for his mother, played by Florence Turner). In particular, the girl that he likes, Mary Haynes (Anne Cornwall), is furious with him, as she prefers the athletic type, like Jeff Brown (Harold Goodwin), whom she is dating. Jeff and Mary are off to the more athletically-inclined Clayton College, and Ronald decides to join them. The Dean (Snitz Edwards) is thrilled to have him at Clayton, and hopes that Ronald’s study habits will rub off on his athletic classmates. However, Ronald wants to try his hand at sports in an attempt to regain Mary’s affections, and tries out for the baseball and track teams (and fails miserably at both). As a result of his athletic attempts, his grades suffer, and Ronald is called in to see the Dean. The Dean is sympathetic when he hears why Ronald is trying to concentrate on sports, and makes him the coxswain for the rowing team. Of course, this doesn’t go over well with the crew coach (Carl Harbaugh) or the team, but for the moment, they are stuck with Ronald due to the Dean’s order. On the day of the race, the coach tries to drug Ronald with his drink, but the guy that everybody else wants to be the coxswain accidentally drinks it, and passes out. With no alternative, the team is stuck with Ronald for the race. Will he be able to help them win? Will his attempts finally gain the affections of the girl he loves?

In 1926, Buster Keaton completed what many would later call his one of his masterpieces, The General. However, audiences and critics of the time didn’t take to it very well, and he decided to go a more commercial route for his next film. Audiences were crazy about college at the time (and Harold Lloyd himself had had one of his biggest hits with the college-themed The Freshman), so that was the direction Buster Keaton elected to go. While he plays a (mostly) non-athletic character, that was obviously not the case in real life, with all the various stunts and pratfalls that he could do, so he actually had to hold back a little on his abilities (although he used a stunt double, which was a first for him, for a scene with him pole-vaulting through a window, figuring he didn’t want to spend months trying to train for it). Of course, he was plagued with some behind-the-scenes troubles, as his usual producer, Joseph Schenck, was unable to be that involved with the production (he had just become the president of United Artists), and left his publicity chief Harry Brand in charge (who made a nuisance of himself by frequently pestering Buster Keaton). Like with The General, critics and audiences didn’t care for the film, with the results being that he ended up making the career-destroying move of signing with MGM after Steamboat Bill, Jr.

I think Buster Keaton’s presence certainly makes this movie work! His athletic abilities really come in handy for the stunts that he tries to do with the various sports his character tries to do! And it is those mishaps (mostly when trying baseball and the various events in track) when this movie is at its funniest! It’s hard not to cheer for him, especially when, despite all the stuff that keeps happening, he manages to help the rowing team! I do think the film has some issues, though, that work against it. We are shown two attempts by his character to get a job to pay for college. The first has him working as a soda jerk, which is fine, as it is also one of the funnier bits in the film. The second, however, has him working at a restaurant. The problem? The “help wanted” sign was advertising for a “colored waiter” (which means he dons blackface to hold the job). Especially with him acting out some stereotypes to hide his presence, that whole section has aged very poorly (and, since nothing further is shown of him working after he is fired there, leaves you almost feeling like the job hunt is just there to pad out the movie a little). I’m also not thrilled with the last few seconds of the ending, which come out of nowhere and almost seem out of place for what the rest of the film is doing. Again, though, it’s only a few seconds, and not enough to ruin the rest of the movie. It’s an entertaining movie, which provided a few good laughs (even with its issues). It’s hard not to compare it to Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman, though, which I felt was done much better (and doesn’t have stuff like the blackface and stereotypes that have aged poorly). Still, this one is enough fun that I look forward to watching it again, along with some of the other Buster Keaton silents!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… College (1927)

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Cohen Media Group with Go West (1925) as part of “The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 4.” According to the info at the beginning of the movie, this transfer made use of a third generation safety dupe positive and second generation safety dupe negative. Given that, it looks fairly obvious that this transfer isn’t quite as good as the one for Go West on the same disc. It’s pretty good overall, don’t get me wrong, but the detail isn’t quite as visible, and some spots (especially the opening credits and intertitles) look a bit rougher. It’s still good enough to enjoy the movie, though, and with Go West looking as good as it does, I think this release is still worth it!

Film Length: 1 hour, 6 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

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List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

The General (1926) – Buster Keaton – Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)