The Ant and the Aardvark

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The Ant and the Aardvark
DePatie–Freleng Enterprises characters
Aardvarkant.jpg
The Ant (right) and the Aardvark (left)
First appearanceThe Ant and the Aardvark (1969)
Voiced byJohn Byner (1969–1995)
In Pink Panther and Pals:
Ant: Kel Mitchell
Aardvark: Eddie Garvar/ John Over
In-universe information
SpeciesAnt (Charlie Ant)
Aardvark (Blue Aardvark)
GenderMale

The Ant and the Aardvark is a series of 17 theatrical short cartoons produced at DePatie–Freleng Enterprises and released by United Artists from 1969 to 1971.[1]

Plot[edit]

The cartoon series follows attempts of a blue aardvark (voiced by John Byner,[2][3][4] imitating Jackie Mason[5]) attempting to catch and eat a red ant named Charlie (also voiced by Byner,[2][3][4] imitating Dean Martin[5]), usually doing so by inhaling with a loud vacuum cleaner sound. The aardvark character is essentially unnamed; in the episode "Rough Brunch", he claims his name is simply "Aardvark". Despite this, and his identification in the series title as an aardvark, in many of the shorts he refers to himself (and is referred to by the ant) as an anteater. The ant gives his nemesis a variety of names as sly terms of endearment (Ol' Sam, Ol' Ben, Ol' Blue, Claude, Pal, Buddy, Daddy-O).[6] In several bumper sequences of The Pink Panther Show, he is called "Blue Aardvark."

Production[edit]

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 New Pink Panther Show in the fall of 1971, the series became wildly popular, so much in fact that the duo became a featured part of the NBC series.[6] Even though the 17 entries remained popular throughout the broadcast run of The Pink Panther Show, no new entries were produced.[6]

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.[6]

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.[6]

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.[6]

Additional characters[edit]

There were additional minor characters in the series. Among them were the following:

  • Computer (voiced by John Byner) - A computer that the aardvark built to help come up with ideas to catch the ant (Technology, Phooey)
  • 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) - Charlie Ant's lodge brothers (Mumbo Jumbo)
  • An unnamed green aardvark - He is 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) - A tiger that helped Charlie (Scratch a Tiger)
  • A scientist (Science Friction)
  • A nurse at an animal hospital (voiced by Athena Lorde) - She tended to the ant and the aardvark when they ended up in her hospital (From Bed to Worse)
  • An anteater-eating shark (Isle of Caprice)
  • A nearsighted lifeguard - Despite wearing glasses, he tends to mistake the Aardvark for a dog (Dune Bug)
  • A toastmaster ant - An ant (I've Got Ants in My Plans)

International versions[edit]

  • In the German dub, the Aardvark is a female anteater named Elise (Eliza) voiced by Marianne Wischmann while Charlie (voiced by Fred Maire) remains male. The cartoons are known under the title Die blaue Elise (The Blue Eliza).
  • In the Latin-American Spanish dub, the Aardvark is a male anteater voiced by Pedro D'Aguillón (original dub) and Javier Rivero (dub on some re-airings). Charlie (voiced by Álvaro Carcaño and Salvador Nájar) remains unchanged. The series title is La hormiga y el Oso hormiguero (The Ant and the Anteater).
  • In the Brazilian Portuguese dub the Aardvark is an anteater voiced by Ionei Silva (while in the European Portuguese he remains an aardvark.
  • In the French dub, the Aardvark is a male anteater voiced by Michel Gatineau while Charlie is voiced by actress Marcelle Lajeunesse. The title is known as Tamanoir et Fourmi Rouge (Aardvark and Red Ant).

Filmography[edit]

All voices provided by John Byner unless otherwise noted.

Title Directed by: Story by: Original air date
1"The Ant and the Aardvark"Friz FrelengJohn W. DunnMarch 5, 1969 (1969-03-05)
The Ant spots a picnic and goes there to relax and collect some food. When the Aardvark shows up, he tries to eat the Ant.
2"Hasty But Tasty"Gerry ChiniquyJohn W. DunnMarch 6, 1969 (1969-03-06)
The Aardvark uses something called "Instant Hole" to try to catch the Ant. When it fails, his trick backfires on him.
3"The Ant from Uncle"George GordonJohn W. DunnApril 2, 1969 (1969-04-02)
The Aardvark tries to invite the Ant to a "Relaxation Club." The club is actually the Aardvark's stomach.
4"I've Got Ants in My Plans"Gerry ChiniquyJohn W. DunnMay 14, 1969 (1969-05-14)
The Blue Aardvark has a battle against another aardvark called the Green Aardvark to see who gets to eat the Ant.
5"Technology, Phooey"Gerry ChiniquyIrv SpectorJune 25, 1969 (1969-06-25)
The Aardvark builds and programs a computer to help him try to catch the Ant. He listens to the computer's advice, but it does not do the Aardvark much good.
6"Never Bug an Ant"Gerry ChiniquyDavid DetiegeSeptember 12, 1969 (1969-09-12)
The Aardvark tries to use his vacuum inhale trick so he can have the Ant for lunch.
7"Dune Bug"Art DavisJohn W. DunnOctober 27, 1969 (1969-10-27)
The Aardvark finds the Ant at a beach and tries to catch the Ant like always; however, he must get past the nearsighted lifeguard, who believes he is a dog and will not allow him on the beach.
8"Isle of Caprice"Gerry ChiniquyDavid DetiegeDecember 18, 1969 (1969-12-18)
The Aardvark is marooned on a deserted island, with another one full of ants in the distance. He tries to get to the other island by any means possible, but a shark will not make it easy for him.
9"Scratch a Tiger"Hawley PrattIrv SpectorJanuary 28, 1970 (1970-01-28)

A tiger who owes the Ant a favor is tasked with keeping him and his fellow ants safe from the Aardvark.

10"Odd Ant Out"Gerry ChiniquySid MarcusApril 28, 1970 (1970-04-28)
The Blue Aardvark and the Green Aardvark have another battle for who gets to eat a can of chocolate-covered ants.
11"Ants in the Pantry"Hawley PrattJohn W. DunnJune 10, 1970 (1970-06-10)
The Aardvark takes over an exterminator's job for catching ants. The Aardvark tries to get to get rid of the Ant by, like always, trying to make him his meal.
12"Science Friction"Gerry ChiniquyLarz BourneJune 28, 1970 (1970-06-28)
A scientist is trying to study the Ant and will not let the Aardvark ruin his studies.
13"Mumbo Jumbo"Art DavisJohn W. DunnSeptember 27, 1970 (1970-09-27)
The Ant, as a member of the Brothers of the Forest Lodge 202, has a gang of animal friends, especially an elephant, that will not let the Aardvark eat the Ant.
14"The Froze Nose Knows"Gerry ChiniquyDale HaleNovember 18, 1970 (1970-11-18)
A very heavy snowstorm hits the forest, forcing the Aardvark to use winter-themed tactics to catch and eat the Ant.
15"Don't Hustle an Ant with Muscle"Art DavisDale HaleDecember 27, 1970 (1970-12-27)
The Ant discovers a jar of vitamin strength pills that make him have stronger and larger muscles, giving him the upper hand against the Aardvark.
16"Rough Brunch"Art DavisSid MarcusJanuary 3, 1971 (1971-01-03)
When the Aardvark, yet again, tries to eat the Ant, a termite helps the Ant.
17"From Bed to Worse"Art DavisJohn W. DunnJune 16, 1971 (1971-06-16)

The Aardvark and the Ant both get broken legs, so they are put in a hospital where the Aardvark still tries to have the Ant for lunch.

  • Additional voices: Athena Lorde

Credits[edit]

  • 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
  • Musicians:

Revivals[edit]

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.[6]

The second revival occurred in 2010 as part of Pink Panther and Pals. Eddie Garvar (occasionally John Over) voices the Aardvark, who retains his previous characterization. Kel Mitchell, using his natural voice, voices the Ant.

Home video[edit]

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 The Pink Panther and Friends Volume 5: The Ant and the Aardvark.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

The Ant and the Aardvark was released onto Region 1/A Blu-ray and DVD on 27 April 2016.[7]

See Also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 51. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b Simonson, Robert (22 June 2004). "Sondheim, Lane and Stroman's The Frogs Finds a Lily Pad at Lincoln Center Beginning June 22". Playbill. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
  3. ^ a b Scott, Vernon (26 July 1985). "JOHN BYNER IS THE MAN BEHIND CHARACTER'S VOICE". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
  4. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ a b Arnold, Mark. Think Pink! The DePatie-Freleng Story. BearManor Media.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h 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.
  7. ^ "Ant and the Aardvark, the 17 Cartoons". Amazon. 26 April 2016.

External links[edit]