Inspector Gadget (franchise)

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Inspector Gadget
Inspector Gadget DIC animated series title card.png
Original title in the original version
Creator Andy Heyward
Jean Chalopin
Bruno Bianchi
Original work Inspector Gadget
Print publications
Comics Inspector Gadget
Films and television
Television series
Video games
Soundtracks Inspector Gadget

Inspector Gadget is a media franchise that began in 1983 with the DIC Entertainment animated television series, Inspector Gadget. Since the original series, there have been many spin-offs based on the show, including additional animated series, video games and films.

The franchise follows the adventures of a powerful, but dimwitted, cyborg police inspector as he investigates the criminal schemes of Dr. Claw and his organization, MAD, as they fruitless attempt to stop him.. However, neither side is aware, until recently, that it is Gadget's niece, Penny, and his dog, Brain, are truly responsible for thwarting MAD.

Series & TV Specials[edit]

Inspector Gadget[edit]

Main article: Inspector Gadget

The original animated television series in the franchise, Inspector Gadget, debuted in 1983 and introduced audiences to the adventures of a clumsy, simple-witted bionic detective named Inspector Gadget – a human being with various bionic gadgets built into his body. Gadget's nemesis is Doctor Claw, the leader of an evil organization, known as "M.A.D."[1]

Inspector Gadget was the first cartoon show from DiC Entertainment to be produced directly for syndication. Its two seasons originally ran from 1983 to 1986 and remained in syndication into the late 1990s. It continues to air successfully in reruns around the world.

Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas[edit]

In 1992, DiC produced an animated Christmas special based on the series, Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas. In the special, Dr. Claw has locked up Santa Claus at the North Pole and hypnotized his elves, forcing them to break all toys that are being produced. Christmas will be ruined unless Dr. Claw is stopped. Inspector Gadget, Penny, and Brain travel to the North Pole in an attempt to stop Dr. Claw and save Christmas. This special was nominated for an Emmy. Don Adams, Frank Welker, Erica Horn and Maurice LaMarche provide the voices for the characters.

Gadget Boy[edit]

Main article: Gadget Boy & Heather

The 1995 Gadget Boy and Heather series was spun off from the original show. The series is about a younger version of Gadget, "Gadget Boy" (also voiced by Don Adams). Instead of Penny, Gadget Boy was assisted by the resourceful Heather. Just as maladroit as his adult self is, Gadget Boy was usually bailed out of situations by the more practical Heather, though he was also helped greatly by his myriad high-tech gadgets and extendable arms and legs. In this series, traditional nemesis Dr. Claw was replaced by the villainess Spydra. In addition, the chief, Strombolli had a "fax tie" that exploded after the mission was read, continuing the running gag from the original series in which Chief Quimby would get blown up by an exploding message.

Gadget Boy's Adventures in History[edit]

Two years later, in 1997, the series spawned an educational spinoff, Gadget Boy's Adventures in History, which aired on The History Channel. This series marked the last time Don Adams would perform a voice role for an animated Gadget series.

Inspector Gadget's Field Trip[edit]

In 1996, Gadget took students around the world in this series of 50 field trips, mainly created to market to stations to fulfill the FCC E/I requirements. The show put an animated Inspector Gadget on top of live-action filming of the locations that Gadget guided viewers through. Don Adams returned as Gadget's voice.

Inspector Gadget and the Gadgetinis[edit]

In 2002, the French studio SIP Animation (Saban International Paris), in cooperation with DiC, produced 52 episodes of the new TV series Gadget and the Gadgetinis. The series debuted on the French channel M6 in September 2002 and was aired on Fox Kids channels across Europe from 2003. It has never been broadcast or released in the United States.

Inspector Gadget (again voiced by Maurice LaMarche) is now a lieutenant, and a member of an organization called "WOMP" (World Organization of Mega Powers). He is aided in his work by Penny (who is now twelve years old), as well as the new robot characters Digit and Fidget, the titular Gadgetinis invented by Penny. Brain and Chief Quimby make brief appearances in the series as well. It follows the same plot as the original series, with the clumsy Gadget attempting to fight crime on his own, while Penny and her helpers do all the work. Doctor Claw, now with the first name George, returns as the main villain, with his relatives introduced in some episodes. In some stories, he is replaced by other villains.

The production values of this series were higher than any of the previous revivals and spinoff series. Also, the original creators of Inspector Gadget were all involved: Andy Heyward was one of the executive producers; Jean Chalopin wrote or co-wrote all the episodes, in addition to being credited as the new show's creator; whereas Bruno Bianchi directed and produced the series.

Inspector Gadget - (2015)[edit]

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."[2]

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."[3] 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: "MAD Agents, look out! Criminals, beware! Bystanders … take cover! Inspector Gadget is back to battle Dr. Claw with all-new gadgets – and all-new gadget-related chaos. But the loveable, bumbling, accidentally-destructive Inspector is not alone in the fight to take down MAD. His ever trusty police-dog, Brain, is still by his side and he's getting extra crime-fighting help from his new partner, Inspector-in-training Penny (voiced by Tara Strong). With MAD more powerful than ever and with the arrival of Dr. Claw's evil-genius (and totally crush-worthy) nephew, Penny and Brain will need to use every ounce of their training to keep the world safe from Dr. Claw … and Gadget."[4]

Unlike the other shows, Penny is more of the protagonist and Dr. Claw is as incompetent and useless as Gadget (if not more so). The series is being produced by DHX Media, which purchased Cookie Jar in 2012. According to a DHX Media distribution catalogue released as a PDF on January 15, 2014, the show premiered in 2015 on Netflix.[5][6]

On December 4, 2014, it was announced that the series has 26 episodes and that it would air on Boomerang's international channels in 2015.[7] The series premiered on Boomerang in Australia on January 5, 2015.[8]


Live action[edit]

Inspector Gadget was adapted into a 1999 live-action film by Walt Disney Pictures, starring Matthew Broderick as the title character and Rupert Everett as Doctor Claw. As opposed to the animated series, where Gadget is bumbling and clueless and Claw's face is never shown, Gadget appears to be more reliable and competent in detective work and Claw's face appears many times in the film.

A second film, Inspector Gadget 2 featured many changes from the first one, such as Doctor Bradford no longer assisting Gadget or being his romantic interest, instead being replaced by a well-meaning and upbeat scientist named Baxter. Being a year later in the movie's timeline, Gadget had begun displaying his cartoon namesake's glitches by receiving the wrong gadget when he calls out a specific device. He falls in love with his intended replacement: the fully robotic G2.


Two full-length animated films, and one compilation feature consisting primarily of footage from the original series' episodes, have been released direct-to-video.

Released on VHS in 1999 to coincide with Disney's live-action theatrical film, Inspector Gadget: Gadget's Greatest Gadgets takes the format of a clip show in which Gadget has a flashback to his past adventures in the original TV series, using footage from episodes "The Capeman Cometh", "Prince of the Gypsies", and "Gadget's Gadgets". Maurice LaMarche did Inspector Gadget's voice in the modern segment, marking his first cartoon voice appearance as Gadget, who had previously been voiced by Don Adams. Cree Summer voiced Penny in the modern segment, like she did in the first season of the original series.

In 2002, DiC released another animated feature film called Inspector Gadget's Last Case, directed by Michael Maliani. It premiered on television on Nickelodeon Sunday Movie Toons and was released on DVD and VHS shortly afterward by MGM Home Entertainment. The film is about Lt. Gadget giving up his beloved but aging Gadgetmobile, while his archenemy Dr. Claw uses a competing crime fighter to discredit Gadget and cost him his badge. Penny and Brain make appearances as minor supporting characters. In this, Gadget is more competent, yet he is still bumbling, similar to his persona in the pilot episode. This film uses the same character designs as the concurrent Gadget & The Gadgetinis TV series, which debuted on the French channel M6 in September 2002.

2005's Inspector Gadget's Biggest Caper Ever was the first Inspector Gadget animated production to be completely rendered using 3D computer animation, and returned Gadget to his position as a police inspector in Metro City. Brain and Chief Quimby also return as does Penny, now 16 years old. Lt. Gadget is again voiced by Maurice LaMarche and Penny and Claw are once again voiced by Tegan Moss and Brian Drummond, while Bernie Mac voiced the Gadgetmobile. The plot features Dr. Claw breaking out of jail with the help of a specially hired Scottish agent named Bombaboy. He and Bombaboy seek out a pterodactyl to get revenge on his captors and launch yet another scheme to conquer the world. The working title for this movie was Inspector Gadget Saves the Day... Maybe. It was originally intended to be the first in a series of several animated Inspector Gadget movies, but because of poor sales and backlash from fans, no subsequent films were released.

Video games[edit]

The first game developed based on the series was Inspector Gadget and the Circus of Fear developed by Beam Software and scheduled for release by Melbourne House in the UK in 1987 for the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum. It resembled the arcade title Metro-Cross and was a left-to-right scrolling racing/jumping game with a quasi-isometric forced 3d perspective. Although the game was completed, and preview copies were reviewed (unfavourably) in the computing press, it was scrapped on the verge of release. The game featured a cameo by the titular character from the Horace series of games. An adventure game game based on the series, Inspector Gadget: Mission 1 - Global Terror! was eventually released on the PC in 1990 by a company called Azeroth.

An NES game was planned for release by Hudson Soft, but was quietly cancelled. Instead, Hudson released an SNES game in 1993 simply called Inspector Gadget. The game features a rare glimpse of Dr. Claw's face.

Years later, Ubisoft released Inspector Gadget: Gadget's Crazy Maze for the PlayStation and Inspector Gadget: Operation Madkactus, for the Game Boy Color. DreamCatcher Interactive and Magic Pockets released another game, Inspector Gadget: Advance Mission for Game Boy Advance.

Light and Shadow Productions also released Inspector Gadget: Mad Robots Invasion for the PlayStation 2 and Inspector Gadget Racers, a racing game for the Game Boy Advance.

Gadget and the Gadgetinis was the first game based on one of the animated spin-offs and was released for the PlayStation 2 and PC in Europe.

Inspector Gadget's MAD Dash was released for iOS devices, iPhone and iPod Touch, by XMG Studio in 2010. It features Shuki Levy's original theme music and also includes original voices from the show. In the same game, Doctor Claw reveals his face and is once again given the first name George.

Other media[edit]

In 1985, two early rap albums were released with The Inspector Gadget Theme heavily sampled. Brownsville rap group Bad Boys & K-Love, made a record on Starlite Records called "Bad Boys", which was featured on the UK hip hop compilation "Street Sounds Electro 9." And also earlier that same year The Kartoon Krew released "Inspector Gadget" on ZYX Music, which actually had vocal samples and quotes from the popular cartoon series, which were reenacted by the Rap Group for the song. Following the trend, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh used samples of Inspector Gadget on their single The Show. The theme song since then has been heavily sampled.

A new Inspector Gadget comic book, based on the original 1983 TV series, was launched in the U.S. by Viper Comics in 2011. A preview issue was published as part of the Free Comic Book Day on May 7, 2011; the entire story was then released officially in August as a 48-page comic book titled "Inspector Gadget: Gadget on the Orient Express". The comic book was written by Dale Mettam and illustrated by José Cobá. No follow-up issues have been released to date.

Other appearances[edit]

On an 1989 episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, another DiC production, a live action bumper segment titled "Defective Gadgetry" had a guest appearance by Inspector Gadget, in which he came to the Mario Bros. for help in repairing him. Maurice LaMarche (who would assume the voice role in "Inspector Gadget: Gadget's Greatest Gadgets" ten years later) plays Gadget in this segment. A second live-action segment, "Treasure of the Sierra Brooklyn" had Gadget returning to help the Mario Bros. find a lost treasure.

The Robot Chicken episode "Adoption's an Option" featured a sketch featuring the Inspector Gadget characters in a parody of The Terminator. In this sketch, Gadget replaces a faulty part with a Cyberdyne part, only to be turned into an unstoppable killing machine when Skynet goes online. The sketch goes on to revolve around Penny and Brain trying to avoid being killed by the now-evil Gadget, eventually killing him in a factory. Meanwhile, Mad Cat dies of leukemia; at the end of the show, Dr. Claw blames Gadget for Mad Cat's death. Ironically, Dr. Claw claims that he somehow found out it was Penny and Brain who were behind all of Gadget's successful missions, and planned to gain control of Inspector Gadget via Skynet, and use him to kill them using the Cyberdyne technology that gained control of him. (Penny is voiced by Cree Summer and Brain & Dr. Claw by Frank Welker, who were the original voice actors for the characters).


External links[edit]