Laughing Matters — The Pink Phink

Sometimes comedy illuminates hard truths with a pointed urgency that other means can’t quite achieve. Sometimes comedy is just funny. This series of posts is mostly about the former instances, but the latter is valuable, too.

When moviegoers went to see the new Billy Wilder comedy Kiss Me, Stupid in 1964, they got a bonus bit of entertainment that had its origins in of the prior year’s screen hits. Although the title of the Blake Edwards film that introduced Jacques Clouseau referred to a hefty diamond targeted by a debonair jewel thief, The Pink Panther included an animated title sequence that featured a more literal interpretation. The uniquely hued large cat proved popular enough that the creators of those opening credits, David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng, were recruited to come up with an animated short starring him.

There were many more Pink Panther cartoons to follow, but the first is the surely the best. The Pink Phink brought the forthright feline into conflict with a a squat gentlemen working as a housepainter. The two square off in a battle of coats, and the timing of every gag is absolutely exquisite. If nothing else, this short has a permanent place in my heart because whenever I’m in a circle of futility with a task, I immediately think of Pink Panther and his mustachioed foe on opposite sides of a wide pole, edging along with the brushes in constant motion, perhaps for all eternity

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Laughing Matters” tag.

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