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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Original Production Animation Cels of The Ant and The Aardvark from "The Ant and The Aardvark," 1970-71


Original hand painted production animation cels of The Ant and The Aardvark from "The Ant and The Aardvark," 1970-71, Depatie-Freleng Enterprises; Production numbers lower Ant cel edge; Set on a lithographic background; Size - Aardvark: 6 1/2 x 3 1/4", Ant: 1 1/4 x 1 1/4", Image 9 1/4 x 12 1/2"; Unframed.

To purchase this cel or to visit the Art Gallery, CLICK HERE!

DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, (1963-1981) was an American animation company that was based in Burbank, California. It produced theatrical cartoons, animated series, commercials, film title design sequences, and television specials; but was most known for The Pink Panther film titles and cartoon shorts, as well as the Dr. Seuss cartoon adaptations made for CBS and ABC. The company was founded by two former Warner Bros. Cartoons employees, director/composer/producer Friz Freleng and executive David H. DePatie. Although Freleng and DePatie were no longer working for Warner Bros., they were able to lease the former Warner cartoons studio, complete with equipment and supplies, for only a few dollars each year.


Original production animation cel of The Aardvark.


Close up of the original production animation cel of The Aardvark.

Director Blake Edwards contacted DePatie-Freleng and asked them to design a panther character for Edwards's new film, The Pink Panther; and they would also produce the animated titles for the film. The opening titles were hugely popular and soon DePatie-Freleng contracted with United Artists to produce a series of cartoon shorts featuring the Pink Panther. The first entry in the Pink Panther series, The Pink Phink, was directed by Freleng; and won the studio its only Academy Award in 1964. In 1967, DePatie-Freleng would receive another Academy Award nomination for The Pink Blueprint. The studio created over 100 Pink Panther shorts for both theatrical release and television through 1980.

Henry Mancini composed "The Pink Panther Theme" for the live action films, which was also used in the cartoon series. Doug Goodwin composed the show's opening title music, while William Lava and Walter Greene composed music scores heard throughout the cartoons; many of which were derivations of Mancini's composition.


Original production animation cel of The Ant.


Close up of the original production animation cel of The Ant.

Close up of the production numbers.

The Pink Panther theatrical series of cartoons became the basis of a Saturday morning television series, The Pink Panther Show. The series (1969-1980) also included cartoons of The Inspector; and eventually The Ant and the Aardvark, Tijuana Toads (a.k.a. Texas Toads), Hoot Kloot, Misterjaw, Roland and Rattfink, The Dogfather, and two Tijuana Toads spinoffs: The Blue Racer and Crazylegs Crane. It was produced by Mirisch Films and DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, and was broadcast on two American television networks: from September 6, 1969 to September 2, 1978, on NBC; and from September 9, 1978 to September 1, 1980, on ABC (as The All New Pink Panther Show). After nine years on NBC, the Pink Panther moved to ABC in 1978 and was titled The All New Pink Panther Show, where it lasted one season before leaving the network realm entirely. The ABC version of the series featured sixteen episodes with 32 new Pink Panther cartoons, and 16 featuring Crazylegs Crane.

Over its 11 years on various television networks, The Pink Panther Show had a variety of names:
The Pink Panther Show (1969–1970)
The Pink Panther Meets the Ant and the Aardvark (1970–1971)
The New Pink Panther Show (1971–1974)
The Pink Panther and Friends (1974–1976)
It's the All New Pink Panther Laugh-and-a-Half Hour-and-a-Half Show Introducing Misterjaw (1976–1977)
Think Pink Panther (1977–1978)
The All New Pink Panther Show (1978–1980)

The Ant and The Aardvark cartoon shorts center on a blue aardvark (voiced by John Byner who was impersonating the comedian Jackie Mason) trying to catch and eat a red ant named Charlie (also voiced by John Byner but impersonating Dean Martin). The Aardvark's trunk sucking was the sound of a vacuum cleaner. The series was enormously popular, but only 17 shorts were every produced. Unique techniques were employed for the series, including making the Aardvark and his clothing (shorts and t-shirt) all one color blue; and the Ant was painted all red. This allowed for the two characters to clearly stand out on the brightly colored backgrounds. Another production element was the jazzy musical score that was directed by Doug Goodwin. He assembled a group jazz session musicians to perform the opening/closing credits and the musical cues; and for the first time in animated cartoon history all six of the musicians received on screen credit.

This is a wonderful cel setup of both The Aardvark and The Ant. Both characters are full figure and eyes open; and the muscular Ant is diving into the hole on the top of the ant mound. A very rare and beautiful piece of animation artwork, perfect for any collection!