Inspector Gadget (1983 TV series)
Science fiction 
|Developed by||Jean Chalopin|
Gary Owens (pilot)
Jesse White (pilot)
Cree Summer Francks (Season 1)
Holly Berger (Season 2)
Dan Hennessey (Season 1)
Maurice LaMarche (Season 2)
|Theme music composer||Saban Records|
|Country of origin||
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||86 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
Lexington Broadcast Services Company
First Season only:
Cuckoo's Nest Studios
Mono (Season 1)|
Stereo (Season 2)
December 4, 1982|
(Pilot episode; Special sneak preview only on five stations)
September 12, 1983 – February 1, 1986
|Followed by||Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas|
Inspector Gadget is a French-American-Canadian comic science fiction cartoon series that revolves around the adventures of a clumsy, dim-witted detective named Inspector Gadget–a human being with various bionic gadgets built into his body. Gadget's nemesis is Dr. Claw, the leader of an evil organization known as "M.A.D." The series launched the Inspector Gadget franchise.
This is the first syndicated cartoon show from DIC Entertainment, as well as the first from the company to be created specifically for North American viewers, along with The Littles. It originally ran from 1983 to 1986 and remained in syndication into the late 1990s (with a brief presence on CBS's cartoon lineup for the 1991–1992 season). It was also shown on ABC in Australia from 26 July 1984 to 8 February 1991.
Created by Andy Heyward, Bruno Bianchi, and DiC's founder Jean Chalopin, the series was a co-production between DiC Entertainment (at the time named DiC Enterprises) and the Canadian studio Nelvana, which DiC outsourced the pre-production to. The animation work was outsourced to Asian studios Tokyo Movie Shinsha in Japan and Cuckoo's Nest Studio in Taiwan. It was the first animated television series to be presented in stereo sound.
- 1 Background
- 2 Production
- 3 History
- 4 Merchandise
- 5 Legacy and spin-off incarnations
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Sources
- 9 External links
Inspector Gadget is a famous cyborg police inspector with a seemingly endless amount of gadgets he can summon by saying "Go-Go-Gadget" then the gadget's name. Although he has all this equipment, Gadget is ultimately incompetent and clueless (in a manner similar to Maxwell Smart of Get Smart – who was also played by Don Adams – and the Inspector Clouseau character of the Pink Panther series, including his attire looking similar to Clouseau), and overcomes obstacles and survives perilous situations and malfunctioning gadgets often by sheer good luck. His niece, Penny, and intelligent dog, Brain, secretly help him solve each case. His nemesis is Dr. Claw, the head of the criminal organization M.A.D.
Almost every episode of the first season follows a set formula, with little variation (though many of these elements were tinkered with in season 2). The beginning of each episode follows this pattern:
- Gadget, Penny, and Brain will be doing something together.
- A phone rings, which Gadget identifies as the Top Secret Gadgetphone.
- Gadget answers the call with his hand, into which the Gadgetphone is built. The calls consist mostly of the following conversation: "Is that you, Chief? You're where? Right away, Chief."
- Gadget has a rendezvous with Chief Quimby, who is usually either hiding or in disguise. He receives a brief containing his assignment, which ends with "this message will self-destruct."
- Gadget accepts the mission, usually with the exclamation "You can count on me/Don't worry, Chief, I'm always on duty!" He then crumples the message up and tosses it back toward Quimby, apparently forgetting the self-destruct warning. The message blows up in Quimby's face, after which he usually asks himself, "Why do I put up with him?"
The episode then usually takes Gadget to some exotic locale and somehow Penny and Brain find a way to accompany him. Brain keeps Gadget out of trouble from M.A.D. agents (who Gadget usually mistakes for friendly locals; ironically, Gadget often takes the disguised Brain for a M.A.D. agent, and his gadgets often inadvertently end up foiling or causing injury to the authentic M.A.D. agents), while Penny solves the case.
Frequently, Penny herself lands in trouble with M.A.D. agents – who often truss her up and leave her in a death trap or similar perilous situation (a nod to The Man From U.N.C.L.E.). She occasionally extricates herself at the last possible moment, but more often she is forced to call Brain, who rescues her in the nick of time. With the help of Penny and Brain, Gadget inadvertently saves the day, Dr. Claw escapes, and Chief Quimby arrives to congratulate Gadget on a job well done.
Each episode ends (as many cartoons did in the 1980s) with Gadget (and usually Penny and Brain also) giving a public service announcement – in direct contrast with his dangerous job and risk-taking behavior in the show, with most of the tips having a connection with problems Gadget had experienced during the episode. For example, in one episode, Gadget tries to hitchhike saying he hopes the approaching motorist doesn't mind him doing so, with the ending PSA making very clear how dangerous hitchhiking can be. In another, Gadget and Penny use the story of the Trojan Horse to relate the danger of dealing with strangers. And another where Gadget is drugged during an auto race and end the episode with a tip about the danger of drinking and driving.
- Inspector Gadget (Inspecteur Gadget in French):
is the title character and main protagonist of the series and movies. He dresses like Inspector Clouseau, drives a minivan that can be converted into a police hatchback, and acts like Maxwell Smart, who was portrayed by Gadget's primary voice actor Don Adams. The clueless Gadget frequently bungles his cases and gets himself into danger, but he always gets out of trouble either by using his gadgets (sometimes inadvertently), through Penny and/or Brain's unseen assistance, or by pure luck (In the earliest episodes, Gadget is halfway brilliant and deduces that Dr. Claw is nearby and even becomes infuriated when he loses his nemesis in a high-speed chase). Gadget cares about his family and often takes risks to protect them, especially Penny. Another trait of Gadget's personality is that he does not believe in the supernatural. One of his most famous catch-phrases in the series is "Wowsers!" While he would never succeed in completing a mission by himself without Penny and Brain, they usually would not succeed in completing a mission themselves without Inspector Gadget and his gadgets unintentionally foiling the M.A.D. agents' plans. It is never clarified in the original series if "Gadget" is his code name or his actual name. The 1999 live-action film names him "John Brown", indicating it to be a code name.
- Penny (Sophie in French):
is Gadget's precocious and intelligent niece. She is a master of investigation and technology who is the one truly responsible for foiling M.A.D.'s schemes, a fact only Brain knows. Using a computer disguised as a book and a utility wristwatch, she monitors her Uncle Gadget's activities, communicates with Brain and foils M.A.D.'s plots. Penny often gets captured by M.A.D. agents before calling Brain for help or escaping by herself.
- Brain (Finot in French):
is Inspector Gadget's and Penny's pet dog and companion. He is bipedal and intelligent, in the same way as a human. He assists Penny in keeping Gadget out of danger and solving crime. Brain uses a variety of disguises which always fool Gadget, although Gadget usually mistakes him for one of the M.A.D. agents. Brain's collar is outfitted with a retractable video communications system linked to a computer wristwatch Penny wears that allows her to relay information on Gadget's activity or warn Brain as to the whereabouts of M.A.D. agents. Brain can communicate with humans through a gruff, Scooby-Doo-like "dog" voice (Frank Welker, Brain's voice artist, would eventually take over that role as well after the death of Don Messick), or pantomime and physical gestures.
- Doctor Claw (Docteur Gang in French):
is the main antagonist of the series and leader of the evil M.A.D. organization. In early advertisements, as well as early merchandise for the show, it was revealed that M.A.D. stood for Mean And Dirty. Throughout the entire series, Dr. Claw's real name is never revealed and his full body is never seen. Only his arms and gauntlet-clad hands are visible, leaving the viewer to guess as to his face and body. He is usually at a computer terminal where he monitors his various schemes, often in a creepy old castle. Although he is aware of Gadget's idiocy, he believes the Inspector to be his greatest enemy, never fully realizing that it is actually Penny and Brain who foil his plots in each episode (although he or his M.A.D. agents have been aware that Brain and Penny are spying on their operations and capture them, which they often dismiss as the orders of Gadget). Dr. Claw's preferred mode of transportation/escape is the M.A.D. Mobile, a black and red vehicle that can transform into a jet or a submarine. He is always seen with his fat pet cat M.A.D. Cat, (a nod to James Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his cat) who reaps the benefits of his brief victories and bears the brunt of his defeats. Dr. Claw's catch-phrase is "I'll get you next time, Gadget! Next time!" It is heard at the end of every episode, during the credits, and is followed by a loud meow from M.A.D. Cat.
- Chief Quimby (Chef Gontier in French):
is Inspector Gadget's short-tempered boss and the chief of police of Metro City. He has a mustache and is usually seen with a pipe in his mouth. Accompanied by his own theme music, he appears disguised and/or hidden at the beginning of each episode to deliver Gadget his mission only to be blown up by the self-destructing message (a parody of the Mission: Impossible messages) because of Gadget's obliviousness; he appears again at the end of most episodes to congratulate Gadget on a job well done, but he never realizes that it is Penny who is truly the one responsible for foiling Doctor Claw's plots (even though she often alerts him using her watch).
- Corporal Capeman, voiced by Townsend Coleman, is a recurring character introduced in the second season as Inspector Gadget's sidekick. Capeman is a self-proclaimed superhero who acts in the manner of a stereotypical crime fighter. Though he is more observant of details than the Inspector, he is equally as inept at interpreting them. Capeman is obsessed with learning to fly and often mistakenly believes he has miraculously acquired the power of flight while in the midst of dire circumstances. Gadget almost always mispronounces Capeman's name as "Capman."
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The series was created by Andy Heyward, Jean Chalopin, and Bruno Bianchi. The three developed the project for DIC Entertainment. The initial idea for Inspector Gadget came from Heyward, who also wrote the pilot episode with the help of Jean Chalopin in 1982 ("Winter Olympics", often syndicated as episode #65, Gadget in Winterland). Chalopin, who at the time owned the DIC Audiovisual studio, helped develop the format and concept for the rest of the episodes together with Bruno Bianchi, who designed the main characters and served as supervising director. Part of the project's existence was to recoup costs incurred by DiC and TMS when their planned project, a spin-off of Lupin III called Lupin VIII was halted in the middle of production.
According to the DVD bonus film "Wowsers", a retrospective featurette with co-creators Andy Heyward and Mike Maliani on the four-disc DVD set Inspector Gadget: The Original Series, Gadget went through approximately 350 sketches before reaching his final design. Gadget's design also included a mustache in the pilot before it was dropped for the rest of the series, due to DiC being sued by MGM. A fourth version of the pilot was recorded where lines were added to explain the mustache away.(Penny:"You know uncle, I really like your new mustache" Inspector Gadget:"It's so that nobody will recognize me. I'm on vacation absolutely, totally and completely off duty")
The titular character of the series, Inspector Gadget, is both a police inspector and a cyborg. Gadget is dressed in a Mackintosh raincoat and trilby hat. When he uses the phrase "go-go gadget", various "useful bionic gadgets" are activated and emerge from underneath his coat and hat. The gadgets are built into his body. The gadgets often malfunction.
Inspector Gadget is a bionic man with enhancements attached to his body. Dan Roberts finds him similar to Steve Austin, the bionic man introduced in the novel Cyborg (1972). Unlike Steve Austin, Inspector Gadget has no origin story to explain his bionic enhancements. The original television series gave no background for him. The spin-off television series Gadget Boy & Heather (1995–1998) gives an origin story for him. In this version, Gadget was conceived as a bionic child who has the mind of an adult detective. His bionic enhancements are creations of Myron Dabble, an inventor who lives in Switzerland.
The various hidden appliances within Gadget render him a cyborg equivalent of a Swiss Army knife, a multi-tool. The enhancements were intended to grant him status as a "super sleuth". His body has been upgraded, but his intellect has received no equivalent enhancements. Gadget has access to many different weapons and gadgets, but seems to lack in intellectual skills. Gadget habitually blunders his way through cases, in a style similar to Inspector Clouseau. Terry Rowan describes Gadget as "clumsy" and "dimwitted". Despite his advanced equipment, Gadget is clueless and incompetent. He constantly faces obstacles and perils, but manages to survive by either his own good luck or covert help by Penny and Brain.
Gadget dresses in a style similar to Inspector Clouseau from The Pink Panther movies, but also has similarities in behavior to Maxwell Smart, the protagonist of the television series Get Smart (1965–1970). The original voice actor for Gadget was Don Adams, who also portrayed Maxwell Smart. The car which Gadget drives is recognizable as a Matra Murena.
Gadget's boss is Chief Quimby. Gadget is covertly assisted by his niece Penny, who is typically the person who actually solves their cases. Penny is a master of investigation and technology. Her main technological devices are a computer in the form of a book, and a wristwatch that is actually a device with multiple uses. She secretly monitors her uncle's activities and intervenes to help him. She foils the plans of M.A.D. Due to the secrecy of her activities, she never receives credit for them and only her dog is aware of them.
Penny herself is assisted by her pet dog Brain. Brain has human-level intellect and seems to be bipedal. Brain is often tasked with keeping Gadget safe and uses various disguises. The second season of the series also introduced an actual sidekick for Gadget, called Corporal Capeman.
The main opponents to Gadget and his supporting cast are the members of the evil organization M.A.D. Gadget's archenemy is Dr. Claw, the leader of the organization. Claw serves mostly as an unseen character. Typically only his hands and arms are visible. His hands are covered by gauntlets. Claw is depicted sitting in front of a computer terminal, from where he monitors the developments of his various schemes. The location of his headquarters seems to be an old castle.
Niall Richardson and Adam Locks, cultural studies scholars, cite Inspector Gadget as an example of the "physical cyborg" concept. These types of characters are part man, and part machine. The concept was popularized by cinema and television. The writers cite as other examples of this type Steve Austin, Darth Vader, Iron Man, and RoboCop.
In their published book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News (2010), the editors of Cracked.com interpret the series as implying serious problems for Penny. The parents of Penny never appear in the television series and are not even mentioned. The implication is that the parents have either disappeared or are deceased. Like many child characters from "classic cartoons", Penny is an orphan. Inspector Gadget is her legal guardian. While Penny is referred to as Gadget's "niece" and not as his ward, the editors question whether the two characters are biologically related. There is no resemblance in the physical features of Gadget and Penny. Penny also differs from Gadget in behavior and in her superior competence.
The editors view Gadget as a "retarded" version of RoboCop. A running gag of the series is how Gadget handles explosives. He disposes clearly-labeled explosive devices by "carelessly tossing" them away. The devices always end up exploding in proximity to Gadget's employer. The editors see Gadget as incapable of surviving on his own and point that his machinery tends to malfunction. A recurring situation in the series, is Gadget warning Penny not to follow him on a mission supposedly too dangerous for her. The editors view Penny as having no choice in actually ignoring the warnings. If she fails to ensure Gadget's survival, she will lose her legal guardian and end up in an orphanage.
According to the A Dictionary of Sociology, Inspector Gadget is a science fiction series. It is one of several works in this genre to be inspired by the concept of the cyborg, as defined in the 1960s by electronic engineers Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline. The term referred to organisms with cybernetic enhancements which would be capable of surviving in extraterrestrial environments. The idea was that advancements in engineering would enable human functions to be replaced with mechanical parts and computer-controlled systems. Clynes and Kline were not science fiction writers, but their concept inspired "much science fiction writing". Besides Inspector Gadget and its eponymous character, other examples cited in the dictionary include RoboCop, Steve Austin, Luke Skywalker, and the Borg.
Animation historian David Perlmutter places the series in its historical content for American television animation. He considers the original Inspector Gadget television series to be the first production of DIC Entertainment intended for American television and the most famous creation of this production company. He states that the series set the company on the course that it would follow for the next three decades, but he considers most of its subsequent series to be less successful.
Despite being an inspector, Gadget is depicted more as a "globe-trotting secret agent" than a detective. The series was action-oriented, but much of the action was intended to be comical. It managed to effectively blend elements of action fiction and comedy, in a manner that was unusual for the 1980s. The series was created for the syndication market and turned out to be a profitable hit. A total of 86 episodes were produced. In part, its success was fueled by good publicity. In the United States, the series received unusually extensive press coverage for a work of television animation. The attention of the press was attracted by the casting of Don Adams in the title role.
Besides his own ineptness, Gadget's effectiveness as a detective was undermined by his cheerful optimism. As conceived by Andy Heyward, from Gadget's view of the world, the Sun is always shining. He is usually unable to perceive danger. Gadget's villains are similarly ineffective. Their attempts to get rid of Gadget are as flawed as those of Boris Badenov to get rid of his own opponents.
Penny is a more effective character than her uncle. Despite being a pre-teen girl, she is the one actually conducting investigations and solving cases. She was often kidnapped, but this did not reduce the importance of the character to the series. Perlmutter considers Penny to be an unusually resourceful and intelligent female character, by the standards of the 1980s. Penny's "computer book" was effectively a handheld computer, an electronic organizer, and a mobile phone. Perlmutter considers this element of the series to have anticipated real-life technological advancements in these fields.
Brain seems to have a super-human intellect and is a master of disguise. He acts more like Penny's field agent than her pet dog. M.A.D. is depicted as an efficient criminal cartel, and its leader Dr. Claw is seemingly an effective administrator. However, most of Claw's agents are depicted as buffoons, and Perlmutter finds them similar to the characters depicted by the Three Stooges. Claw himself is the most menacing figure among them. At the end of episodes, Claw's wrathful and intimidating voice is heard, threatening to "get" Gadget when their paths next cross.
Besides the main cast of the series, the episodes feature another recurring character, Chief Quimby. His scenes typically involve a running gag inspired by the television Mission: Impossible (1966–1973). The Chief informs Gadget about his assignments through self-destructing paper messages. Inevitably, the messages blow up the Chief himself. The explosions are played for laughs.
Due to various recurring elements in the series, often the basic plot of each episode was the same. The geographic location of each episode differed, however, and provided for some variety in the series. The series effectively provided viewers with both comedic and dramatic moments. Despite the censorship standards for American animated series in effect during the 1970s and 1980s, the series also included elements of slapstick comedy. This was nearly forbidden at the time, but the censorship was less strict for syndication series and the studio got away with it. The success of Inspector Gadget encouraged DIC Entertainment to invest in the production of more animated series for the American market, starting with The Littles (1983). Multiple new series were produced in 1984.
Nelvana writer Peter Sauder was the head writer for season 1, which was co-produced by DiC and the Canadian Studio Nelvana. As Nelvana was no longer part of the production by season 2, the show was written by the D.I.C studio employees Eleanor Burian-Mohr, Mike O'Mahony, Glen Egbert and Jack Hanrahan (a former Get Smart writer, among much else). Hanrahan and Burian-Mohr would later write the Christmas special Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas as well as many episodes of the Gadget Boy spinoff series, and Burian-Mohr additionally wrote dialogue for the educational show Inspector Gadget's Field Trip.
After the pilot, the first 64 22½-minute episodes were written, designed, storyboarded and voice-recorded in Canada at Nelvana Animation Studio (which co-produced the series under DiC's supervision), with creative supervision by Jean Chalopin. Bruno Bianchi was the Supervising Director. Most of these episodes were animated in Tokyo, Japan by Tokyo Movie Shinsha, the studio that animated most DiC cartoons of the 1980s, while a few episodes were animated in Taiwan by Cuckoo's Nest Studio (or also known as Wang Film Productions Co. Ltd.), before being finished in post production by DiC and Nelvana. The pilot episode, "Winter Olympics" (a.k.a. "Gadget in Wonderland"), was animated by Telecom Animation Film and had a slightly higher budget than the rest of the episodes.
In the second season, the show was animated by DiC's own then-new Japanese-based animation facilities.
The role of Gadget went through two different voice actors for the pilot episode before Don Adams was cast. In the first version of the pilot episode, the voice of Gadget was provided by Jesse White. This version has not been seen since its initial production. A second version of the pilot was made with the only difference being Gary Owens re-recording all of White's dialogue with a deep-toned English accent. Eventually, producers decided to cast actor Don Adams in the role, re-recording all of Gadget's dialogue in the pilot to make it more reminiscent of Maxwell Smart of Get Smart (also played by Don Adams), one of the series' inspirations. A fourth version of the pilot was made for broadcast with Frank Welker re-recording one line as Gadget to explain away the mustache.
Gadget's nemesis Doctor Claw – as well as his pet cat M.A.D. Cat and Gadget's loyal dog Brain – were voiced by Frank Welker. Welker and Adams recorded their dialogue in separate recordings in Los Angeles, while the rest of the first season's cast recorded in Toronto. Don Francks initially replaced Welker as Dr. Claw for about 25 episodes following the pilot before Welker was called in to replace him for those episodes, and onward. However, Welker was unable to re-record a few episodes, where Francks' voice remained. Francks remained with the show, however, and usually performed the voice of a henchman of Dr. Claw. Sometimes Francks would portray a secondary M.A.D. agent, with Welker (who usually performed the voices of the agents otherwise) as the other in episodes where Francks' voice was necessary. Penny was originally voiced by Mona Marshall in the pilot and was subsequently portrayed by Don Francks' daughter, Cree Summer, for the rest of the first season in her first voice acting role. Chief Quimby was voiced by John Stephenson in the original pilot, and later by Dan Hennessey for the remainder of the first season.
When production of Inspector Gadget moved from Nelvana in Toronto to DiC's headquarters in Los Angeles for the second season, all of the Canadian-based voice artists were replaced. Holly Berger replaced Cree Summer Francks as the voice of Penny while Maurice LaMarche replaced Dan Hennessey as the voice of Chief Quimby. Occasionally, LaMarche would fill in for Don Adams as Gadget whenever necessary.
The theme music was inspired by Edvard Grieg's movement "In the Hall of the Mountain King" and was composed by Shuki Levy. For many years, Levy had a partnership with his friend Haim Saban, with Levy composing the music and Saban running the business. Their records company, Saban Records, (now Saban Music Group) has provided music for many DiC cartoons and children's shows in the 1980s and 1990s, and is still running today.
Many of the background music cues were some sort of variation of the Gadget melody. Even at festivals or dances in the cartoon, the Gadget theme was often played. Occasionally during an episode, such as in Launch Time and Ghost Catchers, Inspector Gadget would hum his theme. Levy also had a range of other musical cues for each character, as well as cues for the various moods of the scenes. Penny and Brain each had several different versions of their respective musical themes.
The theme song was sampled in the song "I'll Be Your Everything," performed by Youngstown, which served as the theme song for the live-action Inspector Gadget film starring Matthew Broderick as both Inspector John Brown-Gadget and a robotic impostor of him whom Dr. Claw creates. It was also sampled in "The Show" by Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick and "Rockin' to the P.M." by Raw Fusion on the album Live from the Styleetron.
In her book Robot Takeover: 100 Iconic Robots of Myth, Popular Culture & Real Life, Scissor Sisters singer Ana Matronic says she considers the theme music to be widely recognizable around the world. The series was a "global hit" and its theme song became "iconic". However, she notes that copies of the original television soundtrack had become extremely rare by the 2010s.
The pilot episode featured a slightly different opening and closing credits and a moustached Gadget. In a later version of the pilot, dialogue by Penny and Gadget was re-dubbed explaining Gadget's mustache as a disguise for the holiday. Since DiC was a French company looking to expand its operations to the US, the show was produced for release in both France and the USA. It was broadcast in North America in September 1983, 9 months after the Pilot was previewed on five stations. A month or so later, the series premiered in France, whose version also featured a theme song with French lyrics and the French title Inspecteur Gadget appearing in front of the episode.
The first season was aired on weekdays from September 12, 1983 to December 9, 1983, comprising sixty-five 22½-minute long episodes. The show quickly became a worldwide hit.
In the first season, nearly every episode saw the introduction of some new supervillain who had come to be employed by Dr. Claw to commit a crime suited to their special skills. They are typically arrested at the end of the episode and do not appear again in the series.
The first-season episodes were repeated during the 1984–1985 season, with 21 new episodes airing on Saturdays for the second and last season of Inspector Gadget from September 1985 to February 1986 making 86 in all. Several changes were made to the established formula.
The format of the show changed significantly. In the second season, the episodes would feature three episodes in a row sharing the same general theme and often the same villains, who more often than not, were still not arrested by the end of their 3rd and final episode. Many of the episodes simply revolved around M.A.D. trying to get rid of Gadget, rather than Dr. Claw's spectacular crimes and plots to dominate the world from the first season.
New characters and settings were introduced. Gadget, Penny, and Brain moved into a high-tech house filled with many gadgets, where a few of the episodes were actually located. Penny spent much less screen time solving M.A.D.'s crimes. In the season's fourth episode, Corporal Capeman was introduced as Gadget's sidekick. The Catillac Cats from another DiC cartoon, Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats, made a few cameo appearances in the second season, just as Gadget had cameos in their show.
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A soundtrack LP to accompany the series, named Inspecteur Gadget: Bande Originale de la Serie TV, was released in France in 1983 by Saban Records. The LP is extremely rare. However, Wagram Music has also made it available on online services such as Spotify and iTunes. There, vocals are credited to Jacques Cardona, who is a French singer that also provided the vocals for the French version of the theme for The Mysterious Cities of Gold.
The soundtrack features the following tracks:
- Inspector Gadget (with French vocals)
- Penny's Theme (with French vocals)
- Brain The Dog — The Song (with French vocals)
- Gadget on Mars
- Mad Art in Museum
- Gadget in Japan
- Chocolate Factory
- M.A.D's Theme
- Heroes in African Jungle
- Gadget with the Incas
- Look Out Penny
- Gadget in Trouble
- Arabian Desert
- Sophisticated Gadget
- Train Machine
- Car Race
- Penny's Theme (Instrumental)
- Inspector Gadget (Instrumental)
With the exception of the first three-song tracks and the tracks "M.A.D's Theme" and "Penny's Theme", all the music on this album is background scores for the TV series. The album is far from a complete soundtrack, as there were probably several hours of source music used in the series. Some tracks on the album are more location/episode-specific or for special sequences. There were also at least two other records released by Saban Records (both in French). One of these was the single of the theme music (with French vocals, released both in 1983 and 1985 with different sleeve covers), and another was an audio story named "La Malediction du roi Touthankarton", based on the episode "Curse of the Pharaohs". French title is a word play with the name of Pharaoh "TouthankAMon. In french, "TouthankARTon" sounds like "Tout en carton" (all in carton). An English-language soundtrack LP, entitled "Inspector Gadget – The Music", was released in Australia in 1986 through ABC Records. While many of its tracks overlapped with those of the French LP, 5 tracks were exclusive to the Australian LP: "Inspector Gadget Theme" (an extended version of Inspector Gadget's American opening theme), "Brain The Dog" (an instrumental background music version of Brain's theme), "Max's theme" (a misspelling of "Mad's theme", this is an alternate version of the same composition on the French LP, with slightly different orchestrations), "Italian Gadget" (a piece of background music) and "Gadget Closing" (the American end credits theme for the show).
Home video releases
UAV Entertainment released two single disc collections on DVD in 2004. Inspector Gadget: The Gadget Files, released on July 6, 2004, contains the first five episodes of the series and an interview with Andy Heyward answering 10 questions voted upon by fans.
On August 31, 2004, UAV Entertainment released the 1992 special Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas and episodes 56, 61 and 62 of the original series: "Weather in Tibet", "Birds of a Feather" and "So It is Written".
In 2006, Shout! Factory acquired the rights to the series and subsequently released Inspector Gadget: The Original Series, a four disc set featuring the first 22 episodes of the series on DVD on April 25, 2006, with Sony BMG Music Entertainment. There are errors on the box concerning which episodes are on each disc. The last episode listed on each disc is actually the first episode on the next disc. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment would later acquire the home video rights for the series. This release has been discontinued and is now out of print.
On May 24, 2013, TV Shows on DVD noted that New Video Group had acquired the home video rights to the series. New Video Group released the complete series on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time in 4 volume sets on October 8, 2013. They also re-released Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas on October 29, 2013.
All season one episodes except for Quizz Master were released on a trio of 3 disc box sets by Magna Pacific on November 9, 2006, July 3, 2007, and October 11, 2007. These are named Inspector Gadget – The Original Series: Box Set 1, ...2 and ...3, respectively. Box Set 1 contains the first known DVD release of the Gary Owens-voiced version of the "Winter Olympics" pilot episode, where Owens gives Gadget a very different vocal interpretation than Don Adams would later on. On Box Set 3, three of the episodes were edited: "Funny Money", "Tree Guesses" and "Fang the Wonderdog" all had small edits made to them. For instance, in "Tree Guesses", a scene with a lumberjack M.A.D. agent throwing numerous axes at Gadget were cut out.
All three box sets (64 episodes in total) were packaged together as Inspector Gadget: 25th Anniversary Collection (9 Disc Box Set), released in Australia by MagnaPacific on November 5, 2008.
Inspektor Gadget: Die komplette Staffel 1 (eng. Inspector Gadget: The complete Season 1) was released in Germany by More Music and Media on March 19, 2010. The 10 disc set includes all 65 episodes from the first Season, but with only German Audio. The complete series has yet to be released in Britain, but some episodes are available on DVD. In Hungary, Dr.Claw is called "Doktor Fondor", it is actually the first two syllables of "fondorlat", meaning intrigue, deviousness, or fraud. In the UK Platform Entertainment Ltd. released these episodes on DVD.
Legacy and spin-off incarnations
Inspector Gadget was adapted into a 1999 live-action Disney film starring Matthew Broderick as the title character (real name: John Brown), his WarGames co-star Dabney Coleman as Chief Quimby, Michelle Trachtenberg as Penny, Rupert Everett as Doctor Claw (real name: Sanford Scolex) – whose face was totally visible this time – and even Don Adams as the voice of Brain. It scored 21% on Rotten Tomatoes.
A direct-to-video sequel was released in 2003. Broderick did not reprise his role as the title character and was replaced by French Stewart from 3rd Rock from the Sun. Elaine Hendrix was the lead female character as G2 replacing Joely Fisher as Dr. Brenda Bradford, Caitlin Wachs replacing Michelle Trachtenberg as Penny. D. L. Hughley reprises his role as the Gadgetmobile; he is the only star from the first movie who performs in the sequel. However, Cree Summer and Frank Welker performed parodies of their Inspector Gadget roles for the animated sketch show Robot Chicken in a segment of the episode "Adoption's an Option" in 2006. The Inspector Gadget role was voiced by Joe Hanna (as Don Adams had died the previous year) and Chief Quimby was voiced by Seth Green.
In January 2009, IGN named Inspector Gadget as the 54th best in the Top 100 Best Animated TV Shows.
In 2011, a new Inspector Gadget comic book was published in the United States by Viper Comics. Written by Dale Mettam and illustrated by José Cobá, the style of the book is based on the original 1983 television show. A preview comic was released on May 7, 2011, as part of the Free Comic Book Day, before the entire story was officially published as a 48-page book in August.
A new CGI animated Inspector Gadget TV series has been in development since at least the start of 2012, possibly earlier. It was commissioned by Teletoon Canada, which will air the show, and put into preproduction by The Cookie Jar Company. In January 2012, the in-development show was mentioned by Ray Sharma, the CEO of XMG Studio, which produced the hit mobile game "Inspector Gadget: M.A.D. Dash". Sharma described how the success of the game had resulted in a new TV series being in the making: "We did 1 million downloads in a week, and it's reinvigorated the TV brand with a new TV series in production." In September 2012, Cookie Jar issued a short press release about the upcoming series, as part of the advertising for it during the MIPCOM market that October, stating: "Cookie Jar Entertainment is celebrating Inspector Gadget's 30th anniversary with the launch of a brand-new series with its Canadian broadcast partner TELETOON. The series will again revolve around the iconic bionic bumbling detective." On June 9, 2013, Teletoon officially announced the reboot show with two press pictures of Gadget's new look as well as a press release The 26 episode series is produced by DHX Media, which purchased Cookie Jar in 2012. It's currently airing on Boomerang in Europe and Australia as of 2015. The series can also be found on Netflix.
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- Richardson, Niall; Locks, Adam (2014), "Physical Cyborg", Body Studies: The Basics, Routledge, ISBN 978-1317692614
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