hey, Ant...
March 7, 2011 11:18 AM   Subscribe

Not much is stranger than a small red ant talking like Dean Martin and a giant blue aardvark that talks like Jackie Mason. The Ant and the Aardvark were a series of 17 theatrical short cartoons produced between 1969 and 1970 by animator Friz Freleng's studio, DePatie-Freleng. (MLYT).

First shown as shorts before United Artist kids movies in movie theaters alongside The Blue Racer and the stereotyped Tijuana Toads, the Ant and the Aardvark hit the bigtime in 1970 with a spot on television's Pink Panther Show.
Thanks to someone on Youtube, you can now enjoy the bright blue Aardvark again.

1. The Ant and the Aardvark
2. Hasty but Tasty
3. The Ant from UNCLE
4. I've got Ants in my Plans
5. Technology, Phooey
6. Never Bug an Ant
7. Dune Bug
8. Isle of Caprice
9. Scratch a Tiger
10. Odd Ant Out
11. Ant in the Pantry
12. Science Friction
13. Mumbo Jumbo
14. The Froze Nose Knows
15. Don't Hustle An Ant With Muscle
16. Rough Brunch
17. From Bed to Worse

Like most cultural products of the last 50 years, the Ant and the Aardvark has been recycled and updated for better or worse as part of 2010's Pink Panther and Pals show. I doubt they'll ever bring back the Toads though.
posted by kuujjuarapik (36 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
John Byner did the voices, right? Pretty good Jackie Mason, pretty goo Dean Martin?
posted by Trochanter at 11:22 AM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

goo goo gadget edit window!
posted by Trochanter at 11:22 AM on March 7, 2011

Nice post! :)

I believe they're also available on Netflix Streaming.
posted by zarq at 11:26 AM on March 7, 2011

posted by spicynuts at 11:26 AM on March 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

Oh wow. Talk about stuff that I didn't even remember I knew. I doubt that I've seen these in 35 years but as soon as I read the first paragraph of your post, I could hear both of their voices.
posted by octothorpe at 11:26 AM on March 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

It boggles my mind that there were only 17!
posted by kimota at 11:27 AM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Holy vermilingua, these 'toons are embedded in my subconscious like dreams from in utero. Thanks!
posted by steef at 11:28 AM on March 7, 2011


As with many of the things I remember as great from my childhood, there are like 5 good PP episodes and 105,000 bad ones.
posted by DU at 11:29 AM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Sort of an aside, but recently I popped the original Star Wars in the DVD player, and when it was over I absent-mindedly gazed at the credits. I was rather shocked to see the name Depatie-Freleng Enterprises in the credits! A little googling revealed that a DFE employee devised the lightsaber effects.
posted by evilcolonel at 11:32 AM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

The anteater cartoons were some of my faves, but I'm a little afraid to go back and watch 'em now...
posted by Mister_A at 11:32 AM on March 7, 2011

Well, if you are afraid to watch, just listen...cuz the jazz soundtracks were amazing.
posted by spicynuts at 11:37 AM on March 7, 2011

Ugh, a laugh track.
posted by Bonzai at 11:39 AM on March 7, 2011

I always thought the laugh track was part of the joke. Sort of an inside dig at sitcoms of the day. I even remember thinking so at 10 years old.
posted by JeffK at 11:42 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't forget Pat Harrington Jr. as "The Inspector", riffing on Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau.
posted by briank at 11:42 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

The first season of NBC's Pink Panther Saturday Morning show used "The Inspector" (the character design which was based on the titles of "A Shot in the Dark", the one Pantherless-Clouseau movie) sandwiched between two "Panther" theatricals, but it was never clear how many of the toons had been theatrical and how many were made specifically for the show. The 17 cartoons of "Ant and the Aardvark" fit perfectly the standard order of episodes for Network Cartoons at the time (3 runs per year), so those (and most of the 2nd season Panthers) were probably made specifically for the series with a token movie theater pre-release or simultaneous-release.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:19 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was 12 when these came out and despite being in the prime of my cartoon watching years, I can't for the life of me recall them at all. That doesn't happen very often. I wonder what I was watching instead...
posted by tommasz at 12:24 PM on March 7, 2011

As with many of the things I remember as great from my childhood, there are like 5 good PP episodes and 105,000 bad ones

Best Pink Panther ever
posted by Redhush at 12:26 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Love, Love, LOVE the Ant and the Ardvaark! I can hear it now...."Hey Ant!"
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:33 PM on March 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

oops...Aardvark. AaardvaaarK?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:34 PM on March 7, 2011


(Here Comes the Grump!)
posted by mrgrimm at 12:44 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wow. I had completely forgotten about Tijuana Toads. Oddly, I don't find them that really offensive, even on rewatching. Speedy Gonzalez and his cousin Slow-poke McGoke were much more uncool overall (even if I do love those characters). Maybe my growing up 45 miles from the border and going to an elementary school that was 65% hispanic has given me a bit more of a tolerance for the wide range of possibility within the population, so I don't find this any more representative or stereotyped than I find Elmer Fudd? I dunno. Something to mull over.
posted by hippybear at 1:27 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Holy shit, I thought I'd imagined these - thanks!
posted by Space Kitty at 1:51 PM on March 7, 2011

Man, I dug those cartoons back when I was a kid. Wait -- I still do.
posted by Gelatin at 2:14 PM on March 7, 2011

I've never done drugs in my life and these cartoons give me acid flashbacks.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:19 PM on March 7, 2011

Yes! Pink Panther was the worst part of his own cartoon.
posted by absalom at 2:43 PM on March 7, 2011

I liked these a lot growing up, and still do - partly because I felt bad for them. I used to imagine they were actually buddies who had never managed to land jobs in the well-drawn cartoon worlds of Tom & Jerry or Road Runner, but soldiered on at a lower-budget studio in hopes of one day getting their big break.
ANT: That was great today. You know something? you're a real pro.
ANTEATER: I don't know. I can't take much more of this.
ANT: Aw, don't be blue.
ANTEATER: That's easy for you to say. I want to end up in a hole in the ground, I gotta dig the hole and then jump in it.
ANT: Hey, I do what I can to help.
ANTEATER: I know you do. I know. But once in a while, why couldn't there might be something different? Maybe an anvil. Or a grand piano. And I could just stand there and something -- something would -- happen.

They DRINK in silence. Enter YOGI, a BAR.

YOGI: Hey hey hey, has somebody gotta tha blues?
ANTEATER: Are you talkin to me?
ANT: Oh, man...here we go.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:45 PM on March 7, 2011 [10 favorites]

Something to mull over.

Yeah, it's possible that I have misremembered the toads a bit, and I definitely conflated them with the crazy cracker talking Crane (or some other wading bird). But I do remember the Beetle in the Blue Racer cartoons as having a stereotypical comic Japanese accent, I just can't find any examples on the youtubes.

Ugh, a laugh track.

I know, right? At least it's a different laugh track than the cheap knock-off one that Hanna-Barbera used. There was one guy's laugh I used to always hear in those cartoons, sort of an ascending phlegmmy HOOHOOHOOHOO. Fucker haunts my waking life.

Here is everything you probably don't want to know about laugh tracks.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:31 PM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh! I know exactly that hoohooHOO you mean. It was on sitcoms, too, for sure.
I want a sample of that to use as a ringtone.
posted by bink at 5:19 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

As a kid in the Midwest, I got that Ant's voice was a Dean Martin impression. But the Aardvark? Who knew?

So you can imagine my surprise the first time I saw Jackie Mason perform.
posted by pmurray63 at 5:24 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Same here. I had no idea who Jackie Mason was until I saw a TV commercial for his one man show sometime in the late 80s and thought "that's the Anteater guy". Then spent the next half-hour wearing an old gas mask and shouting Hey Ant at everyone nearby.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:34 PM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

What instantly comes to mind is:
"A rubber mallet? It can't hurt to try" WHAM "I was wrong, it could/did hurt"
posted by birdsquared at 5:44 PM on March 7, 2011

Does the opening title typography and musical style remind anyone else of "Monsters, Inc"?
posted by underthehat at 5:56 PM on March 7, 2011

I remember the 1976 reruns, apparently. I was 3 or 4. It's interesting to be reminded of something from a time when I was so small; I'll have to watch the clips to see if anything really stuck about them apart from the color scheme and the music.
posted by eegphalanges at 10:15 PM on March 7, 2011

underthehat, I'm pretty sure the fellow that did the Monsters Inc. intro was going for a Pink Panther type of thing. Probably more the movies, but they were after that look. I think they talk about it on one of the dvd commentary tracks.
posted by Trochanter at 12:08 AM on March 8, 2011

Sooo.... maybe I was predisposed to root for Deano in Cannonball Run because I'd already been primed by Ant when I was 4?
posted by easement1 at 9:18 AM on March 8, 2011

You were rooting for the Ant?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:26 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

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