The Little Man, also known as The White Man and later officially renamed as Big Nose, is a recurrent character in the Pink Panther franchise, mainly appearing in tons of iterations of the cartoon series. He usually appears in an antagonistic role, although sometimes he is friendly or is simply an innocent bystander that has the hard luck of ending up being the unintended target of all sorts of antics by the Pink Panther.
The Little Man was a regular character who appeared in the original Pink Panther shorts created by David DePatie,Friz Freleng and.Blake Edwards He is considered the main antagonist of the Pink Panther series.
The Little Man first appeared in 1964 in the first entry of the Pink Panther animated series, "The Pink Phink". The character became a foil for the Pink Panther and would appear throughout the series in its 16-year duration.
He appears in tons roles throughout the entire original series. He seldom speaks and has a distinctive big nose. He is usually white (with his overall physique resembling an egg), but sometimes skin colored. In some cases, he seems to be wearing nothing, but other times he wears a costume (or at least a hat) fitting to his particular role in the cartoon.
Several cartoons depict him with a white dog as his loyal pet and companion, who consistently tries to defend his master from all sorts of antics carried on by the Pink Panther, only to fail in his good-willed intentions and being blamed for anything bad that happens. A recurrent variant of this scenario has the dog often getting fed up from his master's unfair abuse and siding with the Pink Panther to teach him a lesson.
While he resembles The Inspector in the animated credits of Pink Panther films, the Little Man is usually said to be a caricature of Friz Freleng, with his mustache, short stature, and equally short temper (these same characteristics of Freleng had previously served as an inspiration for Freleng's Warner Bros. cartoon character Yosemite Sam).
The Little Man reappears in the 1993 TV series, The Pink Panther, where he goes by various names and fills multiple roles as he does in the shorts. In this series, he is skin-colored. Most notoriously, he was finally given a proper voice and dialogue lines, leaving behind his until then almost permanent mute demeanor and now going into constant soliloquies where he reveals his various (often malevolent) schemes. His voice was provided by longtime comedian Wallace Shawn.
The Little Man also appears in the Cartoon Network show Pink Panther and Pals, where he was renamed as "Big Nose". He appears as one of the main characters and the main antagonist in the entire series. He always has a plan to get rid of the teenaged Panther, although the latter consistently manages to foil his plans. Sometimes, his dog tries to get rid of the Pink Panther, only to side with the feline later on in the short.
In the Western Publishing comics, the covers show The Inspector as the antagonist to the Pink Panther, although they never cross paths in the stories, with Big Nose continuing to play this role.