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.

Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2020) on… On Dangerous Ground (1951)

We now have one last noir for the month of “Noir-vember,” and that would be the 1951 film On Dangerous Ground, starring Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Pinkfinger (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, 15 seconds)

The Pink Panther takes on a ring of spies. Bit of fun, with the narrator prompting the Panther to take on various spies. No doubt a reflection on the popularity of the then-recent James Bond films. A lot of fun here, and one of the more memorable Pink Panther cartoons (at least for me)!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Detective Jim Wilson (Robert Ryan), along with his partners Bill “Pop” Daly (Charles Kemper) and Pete Santos (Anthony Ross), are hunting down a pair of cop killers. Jim is getting increasingly frustrated, and when they find one of the killers’ accomplices, he really roughs him up to find out their location. The next day, Jim is summoned by Captain Brawley (Ed Begley), who warns him to cut out the rough stuff, as the accomplice’s lawyer is threatening to sue. Later that night, Jim and his partners are cruising the streets when they find a few thugs beating up a woman. Jim catches up to one of them and starts to rough him up before being stopped by one of his partners. Captain Brawley is less than thrilled to hear about this, and assigns Jim a murder investigation in a more rural area up north until things calm down. Jim drives up north, and he meets up with Sheriff Carey (Ian Wolfe), who directs him to the Brent family home. Jim tries to find out what he can about the girl who was murdered, when her father, Walter Brent (Ward Bond), comes in and makes everyone stop talking. They receive word that the murderer has been sighted, and they all go off in pursuit. Jim ends up with Walter (who is less than thrilled to be stuck with a city cop, since he wants to shoot the murderer himself), and they borrow someone else’s car when the murderer steals another one. When the snow starts really coming down, they end up crashing, not far from the car they were following. On foot again, they find a lone farmhouse. Inside, they meet Mary Malden (Ida Lupino), who tells them nobody is there. Jim quickly realizes that she is blind, and tries to be kind to her. They quickly realize she is not the only one who has been there, and she tells them her brother, Danny (Sumner Williams), also lives there, but is not there currently. Walter doesn’t believe her, and he, along with Jim, start looking around outside. Jim comes back in, and learns that her brother is there, but has a mental illness. She believes that her brother should turn himself in, but to Jim, as Walter is angry enough to kill her brother. Jim is convinced by her, and tries to promise to keep Danny safe. Before anything else can happen, Walter comes back in, and Mary offers the two of them a place to stay overnight. In the morning, Mary sneaks outside to the storm cellar, where Danny is hiding, and tries to convince him to go along with Jim. After she leaves, Jim stops her, and Danny makes a run for it. With Walter hot on their heels, the question remains: as much as Jim has come to care for Mary in such a short time, can he manage to save Danny, or will Walter’s thirst for revenge win out?

On Dangerous Ground was based on the novel Mad With Much Heart by Gerard Butler. Director Nicholas Ray came across it while he was working on another project, and it was submitted as something for him to work on later. However, some of the readers at RKO studios didn’t think it was suitable for filming. Still, producer John Houseman was able to secure the rights for the story, especially when actor Robert Ryan expressed interest in the role. There was some discussion with the police departments in Los Angeles and Boston, who were pleased to see the idea of police violence would be treated openly. Originally, the film’s ending was supposed to be a bit more of a downer, but actors Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino were able to convince the director to give the movie a happier ending.

I’ve only had the opportunity so far to see this movie twice, but it has been one I’ve enjoyed seeing both times. I’m really impressed with Robert Ryan’s performance here as a cop going bad. We see how, unlike his partners who have a life apart from their jobs, he takes his work home with him, and, in so doing, gets more and more of a bad impression of the world (not helped by all the people complaining to his face about what the cops are doing). We see him getting bad, and we also see the police captain trying to sweep the problem under the rug by having him go elsewhere. And that idea almost backfires, with Ward Bond’s character complaining about him being a city cop, as he seeks his own vengeance, while Robert Ryan’s Jim does little to stop him (at first). It’s only luck that he meets Ida Lupino’s Mary, who gets him to soften back up and be human again. And Robert Ryan isn’t the only good actor here, as everybody does their part well (including director Nicholas Ray’s nephew Sumner Williams as Danny, whose actions seem too relevant today, especially to the many women who complain, and rightfully so, about men wanting them to “smile” to be more beautiful). It’s not my absolute favorite noir, but it’s a good one, and I certainly would recommend it!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection.

Now, before I sign off, in case you’re wondering, since I have been reviewing noirs for the month of November every Sunday for the last few years (and yet, as I said before, this is the last one I’m reviewing for this month, even though there is one Sunday left), my plan is to start in on the Christmas holiday films starting next week. If I don’t, I would otherwise only have three Sundays to work with in December before the holiday itself, and, since it will be past Thanksgiving anyways, I figured I would start in and still get in my four films for the year!

Film Length: 1 hour, 22 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

Audience Rating:

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) – Ida Lupino

The Sky’s The Limit (1943) – Robert Ryan – The Tall Men (1955)