The Ant and the Aardvark
|The Ant and the Aardvark|
The Ant (right) and the Aardvark (left)
|First appearance||The Ant and the Aardvark (1969)|
|Portrayed by||John Byner|
Ant (Charlie Ant)|
Aardvark (Blue Aardvark)
The cartoon follows attempts of a blue aardvark named Aardvark (voiced by John Byner, impersonating comedian Jackie Mason), to catch and eat a red ant named Charlie (also voiced by John Byner, but impersonating Dean Martin), usually doing so by inhaling with a loud vacuum cleaner sound. The character is essentially unnamed; in the episode Rough Brunch, he claims his name is simply "Aardvark." Charlie Ant gives his nemesis a variety of names as sly terms of endearment (Ol' Sam, Ol' Ben, Ol' Blue, Claude, Pal, Buddy, Daddy-O). In several bumper sequences of The Pink Panther Show, he is called "Blue Aardvark."
The Ant and the Aardvark series was originally released by United Artists. Seventeen theatrical shorts were produced in the original series, and were subsequently featured in various television syndication packages, usually shown with DFE's other characters such as the Pink Panther and The Inspector. Most of the 17 entries appear in their television syndication form (complete with an audible laugh track added by NBC-TV) on the video on demand service Amazon Video.
When The Ant and the Aardvark first appeared on The Pink Panther Meets the Ant and the Aardvark in 1970, the series became wildly popular, so much in fact that the duo became a featured part of the NBC series. Even though the 17 entries remained popular throughout the broadcast run of The Pink Panther Show, no new entries were produced.
The series used several unique production techniques for the period. The aardvark's body was solid blue: his only clothes—a pair of blue shorts and matching T-shirt—were a matching blue. Similarly, Charlie Ant was solid red, and did not sport any clothing. As such, the character's solid colors allowed them to stand out clearly against the multi-colored backgrounds featured prominently in the series. Charlie also sported half-closed eyes, as a sign of a bon viveur.
Musical director Doug Goodwin was responsible for the jazzy music score. Goodwin assembled an established group of jazz session musicians to perform the series' theme music and musical cues. For the first time in animated cartoons, all six musicians—Ray Brown, Billy Byers, Pete Candoli, Shelly Manne, Jimmy Rowles and Tommy Tedesco—received on-screen credit.
Art Leonardi was responsible for the main title graphic for all DePatie-Freleng entries. For The Ant and the Aardvark series, Leonardi expanded on a technique first introduced for the first Pink Panther cartoon, The Pink Phink. This entailed tearing paper into the forms of objects and characters to form stylized images.
There were additional minor characters in the series. Among them were the following:
- Cousin Term the Termite (Rough Brunch)
- Aunt Minerva, one of the Gi-ants (The Ant From Uncle)
- Tiny the Elephant, an ape, and a look-alike of Roland (from another DePatie-Freleng series, Roland and Rattfink) as Charlie Ant's lodge brothers (Mumbo Jumbo)
- An unnamed green aardvark, similar to the blue aardvark except barrel-chested instead of pot-bellied (I've Got Ants In My Plans, Odd Ant Out)
- Tiger, voiced by Marvin Miller (Scratch a Tiger)
- A Boris Karloff-sounding scientist (Science Friction)
- A nurse at an animal hospital, voiced by Athena Lorde (From Bed to Worse)
- An anteater-eating shark (Isle of Caprice)
- A nearsighted lifeguard who mistakes the Aardvark for a dog (Dune Bug)
- A toastmaster ant based on George Jessel (I've Got Ants in My Plans)
In German-dubbed versions of the cartoon, the male aardvark is transformed into a female anteater named Elise (Eliza). Charlie (voiced by Fred Maire) remains male; Elise is voiced by Marianne Wischmann. The cartoons are known under the title Die blaue Elise (Blue Eliza).
All voices provided by John Byner unless otherwise noted.
|№||Title||Directed by:||Story:||Animated by:||Release date:||Additional voices:||Synopsis:|
|1||The Ant and the Aardvark||Friz Freleng||John W. Dunn||Manny Gould
|March 5, 1969|
|2||Hasty But Tasty||Friz Freleng||Gerry Chiniquy||John W. Dunn||March 6, 1969|
|3||The Ant From Uncle||Friz Freleng||George Gordon||John W. Dunn||April 2, 1969|
|4||I've Got Ants in My Plans||Friz Freleng||Gerry Chiniquy||John W. Dunn||May 14, 1969|
|5||Technology, Phooey||Friz Freleng||Gerry Chiniquy||Irv Spector||June 25, 1969|
|6||Never Bug an Ant||Friz Freleng||Gerry Chiniquy||David Detiege||September 12, 1969|
|7||Dune Bug||Friz Freleng||Art Davis||John W. Dunn||October 27, 1969|
|8||Isle of Caprice||Friz Freleng||Gerry Chiniquy||David Detiege||December 18, 1969|
|9||Scratch a Tiger||Friz Freleng||Hawley Pratt||Irv Spector||January 28, 1970||Marvin Miller|
|10||Odd Ant Out||Friz Freleng||Gerry Chiniquy||Sid Marcus||April 28, 1970|
|11||Ants in the Pantry||Friz Freleng||Hawley Pratt||John W. Dunn||June 10, 1970|
|12||Science Friction||Friz Freleng||Gerry Chiniquy||Larz Bourne||June 28, 1970|
|13||Mumbo Jumbo||Friz Freleng||Art Davis||John W. Dunn||September 27, 1970|
|14||The Froze Nose Knows||Friz Freleng||Gerry Chiniquy||Dale Hale||November 18, 1970|
|15||Don't Hustle an Ant with Muscle||Friz Freleng||Art Davis||Dale Hale||December 27, 1970|
|16||Rough Brunch||Friz Freleng||Art Davis||Sid Marcus||January 3, 1971|
|17||From Bed to Worse||Friz Freleng||Art Davis||John W. Dunn||June 16, 1971||Athena Lorde|
- Producers: David H. DePatie, Friz Freleng
- Directors: Friz Freleng, Hawley Pratt, Gerry Chiniquy, Art Davis
- Story: John W. Dunn, Irv Spector, Dave Detiege, Sid Marcus, Larz Bourne, Dale Hale
- Animation: Warren Batchelder, Manny Gould, Manny Perez, Don Williams, Art Leonardi, Robert Taylor, Bob Goe, Tom Ray, Lloyd Vaughan, Bob Richardson, John Gibbs, Phil Roman, Robert Bentley, Ken Muse, Irv Spence
- Graphic Designers: Corny Cole, Dick Ung, Al Wilson, Lin Larsen
- Voices: John Byner, Marvin Miller, Athena Lorde
- Color Designer: Tom O'Laughlin, Richard H. Thomas
- Title Cards: Art Leonardi
- Production Supervisor: Jim Foss
- Coordinator: Harry Love
- Camera: John Burton Jr.
- Film Editor: Lee Gunther
- Musical Director: Doug Goodwin
The first revival featured the characters as part on the 1993 incarnation of The Pink Panther. The characters remained unchanged, though unlike the original 1969-1971 cartoons, they do not appear in their own segments but rather are included in segments featuring the Pink Panther (now voiced by Matt Frewer). John Byner returned to voice both Charlie Ant and the Aardvark.
The second revival occurred in 2010 as part of Pink Panther and Pals. Eddie Garvar voices the Aardvark, who retains his previous characterization. Kel Mitchell, using his natural voice, voices the Ant.
The complete series was digitally remastered and issued on its own single-disc DVD collection by MGM Home Entertainment/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in 2007 as Pink Panther and Friends, Volume 5: The Ant and the Aardvark.
The complete series reappeared in January 2009 as part of the DVD collection Pink Panther & Friends Classic Cartoon Collection by MGM Home Entertainment, a 9-disc DVD set containing all Pink Panther, Ant and the Aardvark, Inspector and (for the first time on DVD) Roland and Rattfink cartoons.
The Ant and the Aardvark was released onto Region 1/A Blu-ray and DVD on 27 April 2016.
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- Scott, Vernon (26 July 1985). "JOHN BYNER IS THE MAN BEHIND CHARACTER'S VOICE". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- Jefferson, Graham (7 December 1993). "Pink Panther breaks silence // The cool cat acquires a voice from Matt Frewer". USA Today (subscription required). Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- Beck, Jerry (2006). Pink Panther: The Ultimate Guide to the Coolest Cat in Town. New York, New York: Dorling Kindersley, Ltd. pp. 38–39, 44–45, 102–103. ISBN 0-7566-1033-8.