Welcome back for another full post of Coming Up Shorts! This time around, I’m going with theatrical shorts featuring the complete run of The Ant And The Aardvark from 1969 to 1971, all of which have been put together for The Ant And The Aardvark collection.
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):
- The Ant And The Aardvark (1969) (Length: 6 minutes, 15 seconds)
- The ant finds a nearby picnic and tries to bring home some food, but is constantly being interrupted by the aardvark.
- Hasty But Tasty (1969) (Length: 6 minutes, 16 seconds)
- The aardvark tries to catch the ant, who is using a small motorcycle to get the food away from the picnic.
- The Ant From Uncle (1969) (Length: 6 minutes, 7 seconds)
- The ant complains about a lack of relaxation, while the aardvark tries to hunt him down.
- I’ve Got Ants In My Plans (1969) (Length: 6 minutes, 17 seconds)
- The aardvark has to contend with a green aardvark chasing after the same ant.
- Technology, Phooey (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 8 seconds)
- The aardvark consults a computer for help catching the ant.
- Never Bug An Ant (1969) (Length: 6 minutes, 13 seconds)
- The aardvark tries to catch the ant using various methods (particularly using the attraction of sugar).
- Dune Bug (1969) (Length: 6 minutes, 34 seconds)
- The ant is trying to vacation on the beach, but the aardvark keeps coming for him.
- Isle Of Caprice (1969) (Length: 6 minutes, 14 seconds)
- A marooned aardvark tries to get to another island where the ants are, but is stopped by a hungry shark.
- Scratch A Tiger (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 15 seconds)
- When the aardvark arrives with a hungry look about him, the ant turns to a tiger he helped out for protection.
- Odd Ant Out (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 7 seconds)
- The blue aardvark competes with a green aardvark for a can of chocolate ants.
- Ants In The Pantry (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 7 seconds)
- The aardvark tries to act as pest control to get rid of the ant in a house.
- Science Friction (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 16 seconds)
- The ant has been captured by a scientist, and the aardvark tries to get him away for a snack.
- Mumbo Jumbo (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 10 seconds)
- The aardvark is chasing after the ant, but the ant is being helped by other animals in his forest lodge.
- The Froze Nose Knows (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 12 seconds)
- With an unexpected snowfall, the aardvark goes hunting for the ant.
- Don’t Hustle An Ant With Muscle (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 9 seconds)
- The ant tries taking some vitamins, which gives him super strength against the aardvark.
- Rough Brunch (1971) (Length: 6 minutes, 18 seconds)
- The ant gets help from a termite to avoid the aardvark.
- From Bed To Worse (1971) (Length: 6 minutes, 13 seconds)
- After getting hit in the road, the ant and the aardvark end up in an animal hospital.
In 1963, Friz Freleng and David H. DePatie, both of whom had worked at Warner Brothers Cartoons, formed DePatie-Freleng Enterprises when Warners closed their animation division. With the success of The Pink Panther theatrical shorts (which I’ll be commenting on later), they started branching out with some other series. The Ant And The Aardvark features a blue aardvark (who was never really given a name beyond “Aardvark”) and Charlie Ant. Both characters were voiced by John Byner. The theatrical shorts later became a part of the package show The New Pink Panther Show on TV starting in 1971, and the series proved to be quite popular (although no new shorts were produced for it). The series was revived twice, the first time for The Pink Panther TV series in 1993-1995 (with John Byner returning to voice both Charlie Ant and the Aardvark again) and the second time in 2010 for the show Pink Panther And Pals (with Kel Mitchell voicing the Ant, and the Aardvark mainly being voiced by Eddie Garvar, with John Over also doing some voice work for the character).
Besides the Pink Panther cartoons, The Ant And The Aardvark shorts are the only ones of the DePatie-Freleng group of cartoons that I have any fondness for. I enjoy John Byner’s portrayal of both characters, with the Aardvark’s voice sounding like comedian Jackie Mason and Charlie Ant being based on Dean Martin. The shorts may all be formulaic, in the category of “predator vs. prey” like much of the Sylvester and Tweety or Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons. They’re not *quite* as good as some of those earlier types (not helped by one or two feeling like remakes of some of those earlier cartoons), but they are still well-done and manage to be quite hilarious. The supporting cast also generally makes things better (with the green aardvark being the main recurring character that I can think of), and they keep the formula from getting too stale. These shorts haven’t necessarily been given a full-fledged restoration for the Blu-ray and DVD release, but they still look good enough to keep me happy. The out-of-sync audio on the “Technology, Phooey” cartoon is the only real complaint I have with the set. As I said, I enjoy these shorts, and I have no trouble whatsoever in recommending them for a fun time!
The Ant And The Aardvark Collection is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Kino Lorber. The whole set has a runtime of one hour, forty-seven minutes.