Starring: Larry Storch, Rich Little
Directed By: Friz Freleng
Studio: Kino Lorber
Buy On Amazon.com
The Pink Panther cartoons are something I always love putting on and watching along with Looney Tunes, Droopy Dog, and Tom and Jerry. Now the first 2 years of the cartoon are available on Blu-Ray and it’s good to watch these in HD as well!
The Pink Panther was born out of the Blake Edwards movie from 1963. There, the Pink Panther became a star of his own cartoons produced by DePatie-Freleng studios. This volume is the shorts from 1964-1966, which were the beginning of the cartoon character. Each short sees the cool-headed Pink Panther doing something, and going up against the little man. All the cartoons are set to the brilliant jazzy score from Henry Mancini.
Back in 2006, there was a Pink Panther cartoon collection DVD that was close to complete as you can get. I still currently have that but with the release of these volumes, hopefully I won’t be needing that one soon. It was a good set but with most things, rather have them in HD. This collection was great to see, although I think the beginning cartoons weren’t as good as the shorts got older. The first few seemed like they didn’t know if the character should speak or not. I always remember the shorts being silent for the most part except for the score, and the sound effects. During the TV shows, they added a laugh track in there which I always hated about cartoons…especially Scooby Doo. Thankfully, they don’t do that and removed the awful laugh track. I think I laughed the hardest when little man was conducted and someone was coughing like crazy. He just takes out a gun and shoots him. I’m pretty sure that gag was done to death in Looney Tunes or Tex Avery cartoons as well but still made me laugh.
I sometimes watch these in batches but you really can’t watch them for too long back to back because the music does get repetitive. Still, can’t deny these cartoons are still pretty funny, especially the later date shorts. The animation looked great on Blu-Ray, and everything is really sharp. Just like the other releases from Depatie/Freleng on Blu-Ray, everything is so crisp that you can really make out the pencil lines and the style of Freleng and the animators. Particularly, you can see the little man has these jagged edges and it’s really noticeable on the Blu-Ray. It’s not an issue with me but some people might find it distracting. Since I’m an artist, I can appreciate it and actually like it to see how they drew these characters.
The Blu-Ray has some audio commentaries but I didn’t end up listening to them. I have the Blu-Ray so I will at some point. Not really a fan of commentaries but wish there was some other featurettes on here instead.
Volume 1 is a good taste of Pink Panther cartoons but if memory serves me right, the shorts get better and better as they go along. I like the silent style of the cartoons, the slapstick comedy of the characters and in a way, it’s like Tom & Jerry minus the screaming. Of course can’t beat the music either! Bring on Volume 2!
Commentary on select shorts
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.33:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Bottom Line: Excellent batch of Pink Panther cartoons.
Running Time: 128 mins