The Inspector is a series of theatrical cartoons produced between 1965 and 1969 by DePatie–Freleng Enterprises and released through United Artists. The shorts revolve around on the comical French police officer, The Inspector, who bumbles his way to victory, similar to the character in the Pink Panther series of live action movies. The Inspector cartoons also inspired an Inspector comic series.
- Main article: List of The Inspector cartoons
In contrast to Inspector Clouseau, who is sometimes portrayed as completely inept, the unnamed cartoon Inspector, while prone to bad judgment, was generally competent. Humor came from the sometimes surreal villains and situations to whom the Inspector was exposed, with a healthy dose of stylized cartoon slapstick. Through these difficult circumstances, criminals often get the better of him and he must face the wrath of his ill-tempered, bullying Commissioner (based on Herbert Lom's Commissioner Dreyfus) who holds him in well-deserved contempt.
In the majority of the cartoons, the Inspector usually tells Sergeant Deux-Deux, whenever Deux-Deux says "Si", "Don't say 'Sí', say 'Oui'", to which Deux-Deux would reply "Sí, I mean 'Oui'". In Reaux, Reaux, Reaux Your Boat, Deux-Deux was advised not to say "Oui-sick", but "Seasick". At a time of panic, Deux-Deux exclaims "¡Holy frijoles!", meaning "Holy beans!". Sometimes, Deux-Deux ends up as the winner, when he arrests the culprit, usually without much of a struggle, as in The Pique Poquette of Paris and Ape Suzette.
While both characters bore the brunt of the slapstick, a sense of dedication to the police force and repeated attempts would achieve mixed success, as the Inspector and Deux-Deux would generally either apprehend the wanted criminal or recover the item assigned to them.
Pat Harrington, Jr. provided voices for both the Inspector as well as his assistant, the Barcelona-born Spanish gendarme Deux-Deux (pronounced "Du-Du"), a common French nickname for Eduard/Eduardo. The frustrated Commissioner was voiced primarily by Paul Frees. Larry Storch, Marvin Miller and Mark Skor also alternated providing the Commissioner's voice. Miller also assumed the role of both the Inspector and Sgt. Deux-Deux in the wraparound bumpers produced for the inaugural season of The Pink Panther Show.
The first entry in the series, The Great DeGaulle Stone Operation, preceded screenings of the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball.
While the Inspector character design remained basically the same throughout the DePatie-Freleng shorts, and was used in the opening credit sequence of the 1968 live-action film Inspector Clouseau (which had Alan Arkin portraying Clouseau), the Inspector featured in the opening titles of later Pink Panther features starting in the 1970s changed dramatically to first resemble Sellers more closely and then Steve Martin in the remake series in the 2000s.
The music used for the titles of the cartoon was the song "A Shot in the Dark" by Henry Mancini, borrowed from the 1964 feature film of the same name (the second entry in the Pink Panther film series). Additional music in the shows was composed initially by William Lava, then by Walter Greene later on. Two shorts had their own unique version of the theme music, Napoleon Blown-Aparte and Cock-A-Doodle Deux-Deux.
All 34 entries appeared during the inaugural season (1969–1970) of The Pink Panther Show.