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October 10, 2015

Short-Lived Shows: The Ant and the Aardvark

by Adam Finley, posted May 9th 2006 8:06AM

ant and the aardvarkPerhaps "Short-Lived Segment on A Longer-Running Program" would have been a more appropriate title, but I'll take any excuse to talk about one of my favorite cartoons of all time.

The Ant and the Aardvark was created by Friz Freling and aired as a segment on The New Pink Panther Show and The Pink Panther Laff And A Half Hour, two shows which followed the original Pink Panther cartoon and consisted of made-for-TV shorts rather than the theatrical shorts which made up the original Saturday morning cartoon. The Ant and the Aardvark segments aired from 1969 to 1971, totaling seventeen cartoons in all. Each episode would pit a dimwitted aardvark (almost always referred to as an "anteater") who sounded like Jackie Mason against a clever and resourceful ant who sounded like Dean Martin. Both characters were actually voiced by actor John Byner.

While the set up was similar to Chuck Jones' Coyote and Road Runner shorts, The Ant and the Aardvark had the benefit of being a "talkie," which made it a lot more hip and clever than the slapstick of Jones' tribute to the animal kingdom. And I say that as a huge Looney Tunes fan, myself. Also, the Aardvark's mumbling cadence was hilarious, even if you didn't know who Jackie Mason was. When I was young the Pink Panther never really impressed me much, but I always looked forward to the Ant and the Aardvark. If you want to check out some episodes, YouTube has a few. Unlike a lot of the animation found on that site, these are actually pretty decent quality.

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May 09 2006 at 6:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby OB

I'll back up Mike Davis on this one - Joey Bishop and Dino were the inspirations for the voices, in the tradition of all the vocal rip-offs in the Hanna-Barbara cast of characters.

May 09 2006 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Davis

I believe that the Aardvark was supposed to sound like Joey Bishop and the Ant was a dead-on Dean Martin...y'know, the whole hip Rat Pack cartoon thing.


May 09 2006 at 9:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

wow, I so remember that show. It always was more entertaining than the pink panther.

It definitely was still on in the late 70's during Saturday mornings.

May 09 2006 at 8:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show must have aired in re-runs somewhere because I was not alive in '71 but I totally remember this cartoon from my childhood. However, for some reason, I remember this cartoon weirding me out. Maybe it was the fact that I was a little kid and I did not understand why the Aardvark had a voice like that.

May 09 2006 at 8:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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