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The Ant and the Aardvark is a series of 17 theatrical short cartoons produced at DePatie–Freleng Enterprises and released by United Artists between March 5, 1969 and June 16, 1971.

The Ant and the Aardvark
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer character
First appearanceThe Ant and the Aardvark (1969)
Last appearanceFrom Bed to Worse (1971)
Voiced byJohn Byner
Information
SpeciesAnt (Charlie Ant)
Aardvark (Blue Aardvark)
GenderMale

PlotEdit

The cartoons follow attempts of a blue aardvark named Aardvark (voiced by John Byner impersonating comedian Jackie Mason),[1] to catch and eat a red ant named Charlie (also voiced by John Byner, but impersonating Dean Martin.[2] Aardvark does this by inhaling with a loud vacuum cleaner sound. In the episode Rough Brunch, he claims that his name is simply "Aardvark." Charlie Ant gives his nemesis several names as sly terms of endearment (Ol' Sam, Ol' Ben, Ol' Blue, Claude, Pal, Buddy, Daddy-O).[3] In several bumper sequences of The Pink Panther Show, he is called "Blue Aardvark."

FilmographyEdit

All the voices were provided by John Byner unless otherwise noted.

№: Episode title: Directed by: Story: Release date: Additional voices: Synopsis:
1 The Ant and the Aardvark Friz Freleng John W. Dunn March 5, 1969 The Ant's quiet lunch is upset by a hungry blue Aardvark.
2 Hasty But Tasty Gerry Chiniquy John W. Dunn March 6, 1969 The Aardvark is troubled by the portable "Instant Hole" which removes the ground beneath him on the edge of a cliff. It also lets the air out of a balloon holding the Aardvark in the air.
3 The Ant From Uncle George Gordon John W. Dunn April 2, 1969 To keep the Ant from escaping, the Aardvark tries to plug every ant hole he can find. Unfortunately finds a huge hole the size of a volcanic which is the dwelling of Charlie's huge, older brother or cousin.
4 I've Got Ants in My Plans Gerry Chiniquy John W. Dunn May 14, 1969 After breaking up a formal Ant dinner, the Aardvark fights over the Ant with a rival green aardvark.
5 Technology, Phooey Gerry Chiniquy Irv Spector June 25, 1969 The Aardvark buys a computer (with a speaking voice resembling Paul Lynde) who shows him some tips to help him catch the Ant.
6 Never Bug an Ant Gerry Chiniquy David Detiege September 12, 1969 The Aardvark gets a real vacuum to suck the Ant out of his home.
7 Dune Bug Art Davis John W. Dunn October 27, 1969 The Ant is spending his vacation at the beach. There the Aardvark doggedly pursues him. In addition, a nearsighted lifeguard mistakes the Aardvark for a dog, which are not allowed on the beach without a leash.
8 Isle of Caprice Gerry Chiniquy David Detiege December 18, 1969 Stranded on a desert island, the hungry Aardvark tries to avoid an anteater-eating shark while trying to get to a nearby island full of ants.
9 Scratch a Tiger Hawley Pratt Irv Spector January 28, 1970 Marvin Miller The Ant removes a thorn from a tiger's paw. Then the tiger repays the favor by protecting the Ant from the hungry Aardvark.
10 Odd Ant Out Gerry Chiniquy Sid Marcus April 28, 1970 The green aardvark returns as he wears a pink hat and battles over a can of Chocolate Covered Ants fallen from a truck (in which the Ant is hidden in) with the Aardvark.
11 Ants in the Pantry Hawley Pratt John W. Dunn June 10, 1970 In order to eat, the Aardvark tries to rid a house of its ant infestation.
12 Science Friction Gerry Chiniquy Larz Bourne June 28, 1970 The Aardvark chases after the Ant, who is being studied by a local scientist.
13 Mumbo Jumbo Art Davis John W. Dunn September 27, 1970 The Ant is a member of the Brothers of the Forest Lodge 202. The members promise to always help one another in a time of distress by shouting the call "Timbula Zoombula."
14 The Froze Nose Knows Gerry Chiniquy Dale Hale November 18, 1970 The Aardvark tries his best to capture the Ant during a snowy winter while attempting to avoid a hibernating bear.
15 Don't Hustle an Ant with Muscle Art Davis Dale Hale December 27, 1970 After eating a bottle full of vitamins, the Ant gains super strength to defeat the Aardvark.
16 Rough Brunch Art Davis Sid Marcus January 3, 1971 The Ant seeks refuge from the Aardvark with his termite cousin Term at the termite's huge house.
17 From Bed to Worse Art Davis John W. Dunn June 16, 1971 Athena Lorde After being hit by a truck twice after the Aardvark catches the Ant, they find themselves in an animal hospital along with a dog and later a rhino.

ProductionEdit

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.[3] Even though the 17 entries remained popular throughout the broadcast run of The Pink Panther Show, no new entries were produced.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

Additional charactersEdit

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 and Odd Ant Out)
  • 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)

German versionEdit

In the 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).

CreditsEdit

  • 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:

RevivalsEdit

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.[3]

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.

Home releasesEdit

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.[source?]

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.[source?]

The Ant and the Aardvark was released onto Region 1/A Blu-ray and DVD on 27 April 2016.[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Simonson, Robert (22 June 2004). "Sondheim, Lane and Stroman's The Frogs Finds a Lily Pad at Lincoln Center Beginning June 22". Playbill. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
  2. Scott, Vernon (26 July 1985). "JOHN BYNER IS THE MAN BEHIND CHARACTER'S VOICE". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 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.
  4. [1]