The Ant and the Aardvark

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.

The Ant and the Aardvark
DePatie–Freleng Enterprises characters
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
Information
SpeciesAnt (Charlie Ant)
Aardvark (Blue Aardvark)
GenderMale

Plot

The cartoon follows attempts of a blue aardvark named Aardvark (sometimes he claims he's an anteater) (voiced by John Byner,[1][2][3] impersonating comedian Jackie Mason), to catch and eat a red ant named Charlie (also voiced by John Byner,[1][2][3] but impersonating Dean Martin), 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." 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).[4] In several bumper sequences of The Pink Panther Show, he is called "Blue Aardvark."

Production

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.[4] Even though the 17 entries remained popular throughout the broadcast run of The Pink Panther Show, no new entries were produced.[4]

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.[4]

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.[4]

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.[4]

Additional characters

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)

German version

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).

Filmography

All voices provided by John Byner unless otherwise noted.

No. Title Directed by: Story: Animated by: Release date: Additional voices: Synopsis:
1The Ant and the AardvarkFriz FrelengJohn W. DunnManny Gould
Warren Batchelder
Manny Perez
Don Williams
March 5, 1969The ant spots a picnic and goes there to relax and collect some food. When the aardvark shows up, he tries to eat the ant.
2Hasty But TastyFriz FrelengGerry ChiniquyJohn W. DunnMarch 6, 1969The aardvark uses something called "Instant Hole" to try to catch the ant. When it fails, his trick backfires on him.
3The Ant from UncleFriz FrelengGeorge GordonJohn W. DunnApril 2, 1969The aardvark tries to invite the ant to a "Relaxation Club." The club is actually the aardvark's stomach.
4I've Got Ants in My PlansFriz FrelengGerry ChiniquyJohn W. DunnMay 14, 1969The Blue Aardvark has a battle against another anteater called the Green Aardvark to see who gets to eat the ant.
5Technology, PhooeyFriz FrelengGerry ChiniquyIrv SpectorJune 25, 1969The Aardvark builds and programs a computer to help him try to catch the ant. He listens to the computer's advice, but it doesn't do the aardvark much good.
6Never Bug an AntFriz FrelengGerry ChiniquyDavid DetiegeSeptember 12, 1969The aardvark tries to use his vacuum inhale trick so he can have the ant for lunch.
7Dune BugFriz FrelengArt DavisJohn W. DunnOctober 27, 1969The aardvark finds the ant at a beach and tries to catch the ant like always, however, he must get past the lifeguard, who believes he's a dog and won't allow him on the beach.
8Isle of CapriceFriz FrelengGerry ChiniquyDavid DetiegeDecember 18, 1969The 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 won't make it easy for him.
9Scratch a TigerFriz FrelengHawley PrattIrv SpectorJanuary 28, 1970Marvin MillerA tiger who owes the ant a favor is tasked with keeping him and his fellow ants safe from the Blue Aardvark.
10Odd Ant OutFriz FrelengGerry ChiniquySid MarcusApril 28, 1970The Blue Aardvark and the Green Aardvark have another battle for who gets to eat a can of chocolate-covered ants.
11Ants in the PantryFriz FrelengHawley PrattJohn W. DunnJune 10, 1970The aardvark takes over an exterminator's job for catching ant. The aardvark tries to get to get rid of the ant by, like always, try to make him his meal.
12Science FrictionFriz FrelengGerry ChiniquyLarz BourneJune 28, 1970A scientist is trying to study the ant and won't let the aardvark ruin his studies.
13Mumbo JumboFriz FrelengArt DavisJohn W. DunnSeptember 27, 1970The ant, as a member of the Brothers of the Forest Lodge 202, has a gang of animal friends, especially an elephant, that won't let the aardvark eat the ant.
14The Froze Nose KnowsFriz FrelengGerry ChiniquyDale HaleNovember 18, 1970A very heavy snowstorm hits the forest, forcing the aardvark to use winter-themed tactics to catch and eat the ant.
15Don't Hustle an Ant with MuscleFriz FrelengArt DavisDale HaleDecember 27, 1970The ant discovers a jar of vitamin strength pills that make him have stronger and larger muscles, giving him the upper hand against the aardvark.
16Rough BrunchFriz FrelengArt DavisSid MarcusJanuary 3, 1971A termite helps the ant by keeping the aardvark out of his way. How does the termite do it? He uses his wood-eating teeth to hurt the aardvark.
17From Bed to WorseFriz FrelengArt DavisJohn W. DunnJune 16, 1971Athena LordeThe 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.

Credits

  • 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

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.[4]

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 releases

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.[5]

References

  1. 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.
  2. Scott, Vernon (26 July 1985). "JOHN BYNER IS THE MAN BEHIND CHARACTER'S VOICE". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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