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 (May 2021)” Featuring Cary Grant in… Ladies Should Listen (1934)

For my first entry of the May 2021 Star Of The Month blogathon featuring Cary Grant, we’ve got his 1934 comedy Ladies Should Listen, also starring Frances Drake. As always, I’ve got a theatrical short to start things off!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Smile Pretty, Say Pink (1966)

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

(Length: 6 minutes, 9 seconds)

The Pink Panther takes on an amateur photographer visiting a national park. It’s another cartoon with the Pink Panther going against the Little Man, to great effect! The gags are fun, as the Panther keeps ruining photos, much to the consternation of the Little Man (of course, the Little Man pulls off a small victory in the end). I enjoyed this one, and it’s certainly worth seeing periodically!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Bachelor Julian De Lussac (Cary Grant) has arrived home in Paris after a trip to Chile. He is greeted by his friend Paul Vernet (Edward Everett Horton) and Paul’s “friend” (although he wants to marry her) Susi Flamberg (Nydia Westman). While they give Julian a ride home, he tells them about a nitrate mine concession he had bought in Chile. However, they are interrupted by a flirtatious female driver, whom Julian goes off with. Later on, she calls Julian to tell him she is leaving him, and he threatens to kill himself (not really, but he hopes the sound of the gunshot over the phone will bring her running). It brings somebody running alright: telephone operator Anna Mirelle (Frances Drake)! She reveals that she had been listening in on his calls, and reveals the full name of the girl he was going with (he had only known her first name previously): Marguerite Cintos (Rosita Moreno). Not only that, Marguerite is a married woman! Still, much to Anna’s dismay, Julian is interested in Marguerite, even when her husband Ramon Cintos (Rafael Corio) comes around looking for his wife. On her own time, Anna finds out from other telephone operators that Marguerite and Ramon are trying to get the nitrate option, either by getting Julian out of the country to let it expire, or by forcing him to give it to them. Since Julian won’t listen to her, Anna decides to try another method. She gets Susi to keep him around, but Susi’s father, Joseph Flamberg (George Barbier), comes in and threatens a shotgun wedding (which was not in Anan’s plan). Will Julian be able to get out of all this trouble, or will he be shot/ have to go through with the wedding (much to Paul’s dismay)?

This movie is still fairly early in Cary Grant’s career, and it indeed feels that way, as his screen persona is still not fully formed. Don’t get me wrong, he definitely shows a flair for comedy, which is necessary in this movie. Admittedly, some of the differences in his performance may have to do with the film’s timing, as far as the Code being in effect. His character is a bit sleazier than we would normally expect, in between his fake suicide, plus the device he and his butler have rigged up that will simulate the sounds of a thunderstorm (in order to keep his lady friends from leaving, of course). Still, it’s fun to see how he slowly pulled together the persona that he would soon become famous for!

As a whole, this is a decent movie in my opinion. The story itself isn’t really the reason to see the movie, as it’s only so-so. The cast are what makes this movie worth giving a try. As I said, Cary Grant is good, and pretty ably carries the film. Edward Everett Horton is, as always, a hoot, as his character hopes to marry Nydia Westman’s character (and then becomes frustrated with his own friend when he ends up engaged to her instead). And, speaking of Nydia Westman, she’s also very good here, from her klutziness as she falls into Cary Grant’s arms several times, to her own actions as she tries to gain his affections. Frances Drake is decent here as Grant’s love interest, but, compared to the other three, not as good. There is some fun humor to be enjoyed with this movie (not as much as Cary Grant’s later, and far better, screwball comedies, but still some). I enjoyed getting the chance to see it, and I would certainly recommend giving it a try!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Ladies Should Listen (1934)

This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of the three film Cary Grant Collection from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. It’s a decent HD transfer, one that certainly seems crisp most of the time. There are some spots that don’t look quite as good, and there are some other minor imperfections, but, considering it’s not a well-known movie, it’s likely as good as we can hope for (especially only being available in that three-film Blu-ray set).

Film Length: 1 hour, 1 minute

My Rating: 7/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Alice In Wonderland (1933)Cary GrantBig Brown Eyes (1936)

Alice In Wonderland (1933) – Edward Everett Horton – The Devil Is A Woman (1935)

Cary Grant Collection – Big Brown Eyes (1936)