ant and the aardvark
Guess what? Batfink is coming out on DVD in June. The set will include all one hundred episodes of the series.
Actually, screw Batfink. Here's even better news: every episode of The Ant and the Aardvark on DVD next month.
I'm going to make a confession: I actually like A Pup Named Scooby Doo better than the original Scooby Doo. I found the original rote and unimaginative, and while A Pup Named Scooby Doo wasn't exactly the greatest cartoon either, it had funky animation and a self-awareness I could really dig. As far as Scrappy Doo, the spunky little scamp many fans believe ruined the Scooby Doo series (I never thought he was that bad), you can read about his origins over on Mark Evanier's site.
Perhaps "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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