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.

“Star Of The Month (July 2021)” Featuring James Cagney in… Man Of A Thousand Faces (1957)

As we continue on with our Star Of The Month celebration for James Cagney, we’ve got his 1957 film Man Of A Thousand Faces!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Pink Panic (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, 1 second)

Coming out of a storm, the Pink Panther tries to spend the night at a haunted hotel in a ghost town. This one is a fun Halloween-type cartoon, as the Panther tries to deal with a ghostly sheet and a skeleton. The fun at first stems from the Panther not realizing the sheet is a ghost (and the various things he does to it in the process), before the ghostly shenanigans come through. I know I enjoy it all the way through, and it’s definitely a fun one to revisit here and there!

And Now For The Main Feature…

As a kid, young Lon Chaney constantly gets into fights with other kids when they make fun of his deaf parents. As a grown adult, Lon (James Cagney) is successful as a clown on the vaudeville stage. However, his wife, Cleva Creighton Chaney (Dorothy Malone), struggles as a singer alongside him. When she is fired at one theatre, Lon decides to leave, too. She convinces him to accept another offer (without her) after she tells him she is pregnant. On the way to his new job, she pushes to meet his family. However, she is shocked to find out about his parents being deaf, and, worried that their future child might also be deaf, declares she doesn’t want this baby (but decides to have it anyway). They continue on to San Francisco, where Lon gets work at the theatre, but his relationship with Cleva is increasingly strained, as she resents being stuck in a home far from the city. When their son Creighton is born, they worry about whether he can hear or not. After a while, they see proof that Creighton can hear, and they are relieved (but their relationship doesn’t improve). After several years, Creighton spends a lot of time with Lon at the theatre, and dancer Hazel Bennett (Jane Greer) helps watch him for Lon. With Creighton spending so much time at the theatre, Cleva decides to go back to work as a singer. Lon is reluctant to let her do so, but he goes along with it. That is, until Creighton gets a little sick at the theatre, and, angry at her not being there to mother their son, he gets her fired. In revenge, she comes to the theatre and drinks poison on stage. She survives, although with a more limited ability to speak, but her actions have effectively blacklisted Lon now, too. When she disappears from the hospital, that is enough for Lon to decide to keep her out of both his and Creighton’s lives. He gets a divorce, but, in the process, the judge deems him an unfit father, and makes Creighton a ward of the court (at least, until Lon can provide a better home). At the suggestion of press agent Clarence Locan (Jim Backus), Lon decides to go to Hollywood. There, he gets a lot of work as an extra, due to his talents with makeup. After a while, his performances gain some attention, and he is given a chance at better parts. Lon is reluctant to share his personal life with the press, and Clarence is able to use that to spin him off as a “man of mystery.” However, his newfound success is still not quite enough for the courts to let him have his son back. Seeing Lon’s frustration, Clarence convinces Hazel to come see him. Given that they both have feelings for each other, they decide to get married, which is enough for the courts to believe that Creighton can come home to be with his father. But trouble is brewing as time goes on, as Lon told Creighton that his mother had died. When he is older, Cleva starts coming back around to see him (although she doesn’t reveal who she is to him). Lon tries to tell her to go away, but she refuses. Eventually, Creighton finds out from Hazel that his mother is still alive, and, after he and his father fight, he goes to stay with her. Can the two reconcile, or will they be forever separated because of Lon’s lies?

Writer Ralph Wheelright had put together an idea for a movie based on the life of actor Lon Chaney. When his friend James Cagney learned of it, he hoped to do the film, as he himself had been a fan of Lon Chaney when he was younger. The film was made at Universal-International, the studio where Chaney had made some of his best-known films like the 1923 The Hunchback Of Notre Dame and the 1925 The Phantom Of The Opera. To fill the part of Universal’s production manager for the time period, Irving Thalberg (and obtain the rights to use his name), they turned to Thalberg’s widow, Norma Shearer, for help. She suggested Robert Evans, whom she thought resembled her late husband (and, ironically enough, Robert Evans would later go on to be the production chief at Paramount Studios in the 1970s). The film proved to be a hit for Universal, with several of the performances (Cagney’s in particular) being praised highly.

Now, I will readily admit that I have no experience with any of Lon Chaney’s films (just a few with his son, like some of the Abbott and Costellos and a few appearances as the Wolfman). My main reason for wanting to see this film was James Cagney himself, and he did not disappoint! I really liked his performance, as a man who grew up fighting for his family, when others looked down on them. We can see that as well (at first) with his wife Cleva, as he tries to stick by her when nobody wants to hire her. Which makes her betrayal when she meets his family all the more heartbreaking, as he finds himself fighting her, too, even after their son is born able to hear and speak. But, everything he does is for his close family (he doesn’t always do the right thing, but he tries). To me, James Cagney does a great job with all this, and makes the movie an easy watch!

Obviously, being a biopic, this movie is certainly not without its fictionalized moments. Considering this is a film about Lon Chaney, one of the worst is the fact that the real Lon used makeup and other things to work with his own face, while Cagney is, at times, very obviously wearing a mask (like for the Hunchback Of Notre Dame and Phantom Of The Opera stuff). And maybe the stuff with his first wife was played up a bit (in a very melodramatic fashion) to make her into more of a villain. Still, I found this film fascinating (and, of course, we get James Cagney’s real-life sister, Jeanne Cagney, playing his onscreen sister, just as she did in the classic Yankee Doodle Dandy). We even get to see James Cagney do a little dancing (which I hadn’t expect going into this movie)! Overall, this movie was well-acted by everyone, and it was a very unexpected pleasure to see this one! I certainly would recommend it without hesitation!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2019) with… Man Of A Thousand Faces (1957)

This movie is available on Blu-ray from Arrow Films, featuring a 2K scan from the 35mm camera negative. This transfer looks quite good, with pretty good clarity. The picture has been cleaned up of all dirt and debris. There is a commentary by film scholar Tim Lucas, and a twenty minute featurette on Lon Chaney. Overall, this movie has been given a good release here, and it comes recommended as the best way to see this film!

Film Length: 2 hours, 2 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

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List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Mister Roberts (1955)James CagneyNever Steal Anything Small (1959)