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Inspector Gadget (1983)

Discussion in 'Other / Multiple Studios' started by Dave Koch, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Cartoon Admin

    Oct 27, 2013
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    Anyone remember watching this wacky hilarious extremely amusing all around awesome show?

    I do, and i am glad it continues to air on Teletoon Retro from where i am, it combines the silly cluelessness of Inspector Coulesau from the Pink Panther movies (also including the slick DFE Inspector cartoons as well, also serving as a very good reminder that Limited Animation CAN be slick, stylish, lively and very fluid indeed and it doesn't have to be crap, like with Hanna Barbera and especially UPA), and Don Adams' portrayal of Maxwell Smart of Get Smart and of course a certain cartoon penguin from Total Television Productions [​IMG] and also in which the voice was an exaggeration of then famous actor William Powell's voice......

    In fact Don Adams himself would eventually play the Inspector himself and got into several funny hijinks and hilarous madcap gags not unlike The inspector Coluesau..

    The theme was simple and it was not really strictly formula either: An evil criminal secret organization called MAD, led by the evil destructive Dr Claw, would cause trouble in Metro City and there would be evil secret plans with MAD agents, there would be several different henchman specifically for each different story depending on the situation, and they would carry out the dirty deeds and do exactly as Dr Claw intends, of course, the Metro City police force is ALWAYS hot on their trail and Chief Quimby would give out assignments to Inspector Gadget about what, when, and where Dr Claw would stir up trouble, this is all led by a very specific story and Inspector Gadget isn't TOO bright and is completely has not a proper clue to actually beat it competently and normally like The Mystery Incorporated meddling kids with a certain talking dog......

    There is of course, Gadget's niece Penny with her computer book and Gadget's dog Brain, and noticing that the Inspector is a little way too bumbling, she often sends Brain out (in many different guises and is more often a canine Pink Panther himself) to help Inspector Gadget complete his mission exactly as promised, Penny would do her part in screen time to hack into MAD's systems and this unknowingly gives the inspector an chance to pass and destroy it all in the process, eventually Gadget has foiled MAD's plan and has saved the day again.

    Interestingly, Dr Claw does not seemed to mind Inspector Gadget muddling his plans to ruin, he always sees The Police Force's snooping and snitching their recipes of crime and evil a chance to destroy Inspector Gadget himself, in fact this made Dr Claw a very unpredictable villan and an unsuspecting foe for Inspector Gadget, in one episode (Mad Trap) when business is slow for the police force, and with a rat villan character, he wanted really nothing more than to set up a trap to get rid of him for good.

    This series was a co-production of DiC of France (which had been relocated and folded into Cookie Jar Entertainment some ages ago) with the conception and creation by Bruno Bianchi and Toronto-based Nevlana (which is still around,by the way) which did the actual pre-post-production duties proper, thus making it a France-Canada international co-production (i thought DiC, being a French entity was WAY better than Marathon, makers of the horrid Totally Spies and it's sequel Amazing Spies).

    The animation duties in the better remembered regular stellar first season was done by a handful of studios (a few studios who did some episodes under contract were uncredited, and then again Inspector Gadget, like the similar equal Roger Ramjet, all episodes share uniform gang-credits ), but it's also mainly confirmed that TMS did the episodes that had stellar solid and firmly on-model animation (e.g Health Spa, Coo Coo Clock Caper et al.) and Wang Film Productions/ Cuckoo's Nest studio did some really different looking episodes (the afromentioned Mad Trap, Pirate Island and So It is Written), which had a very crude softer look and looked like it was done really early on in the series run, or that's just how they animated the show in it's bitter end.

    i actually really like how they animated the series, the intro sequence looks very slick and fluid for 1983 (contrast to the crappy Australian favored mush from Hanna Barbera at the same period and Filmation in it's waning numbered days is still producing bilge.), a message telling us that regardless of all the parent groups and harsh deadlines of limited television animation, that it doesn't have to be junk, it doesn't have to be crappy, it doesn't have to be a badly drawn series of cheats, and it shouldn't just be 2 fps per second and destroy the minds and imaginations of aspring artists watching these as kids, it tells us that TV animation regardless of it needs to be outsourced CAN be somehow lively, creative, and at least funny and stylish, even if the end result comes out rather flat and stilted and it's not perfect, but still....

    They gave what they thought would be an extremely special best episode ever and they used the very best high quality studios to put out some REALLY amazing animation that was really something!, gave the BEST episodes to the BEST studios, gave decent mildly-amusing episodes to studios that were not perfect, but could still do a good job regardless, and then gave the weakest, somewhat disjointed episodes to studios of lesser quality that were not as good as even Wang Film Proudctions/Cuckoos Nest.....

    That's why the first series of Inspector Gadget is the best series around - the second series was all done by DiC's originally Animation City in Japan and it really showed:

    As mentioned, the animation became stiffer and it started to REALLY resemble japanese animation like Hayao Miyazaki and isao Takahata;s work of Studio Ghibli and more so Lupin III and even the Pokemon animated series a fair couple of years before it was even invented and as i've recored so far, the sound effects also changed as well, and some of what i heard in this series sound pretty japanese, similar to sound effects off of Boes (a dutch-japan co-production with literally all the animation duties done at Tele-image Japan), Sailor Moon and even computer games like Puzzle Bobble and even other japanese arcade games of the time like King Of Fighters 94 & Ganbare Goemon suddenly strike into mind as well.

    The really seldom-seen second series (i don't think it was syndicated were i lived, even on Global and Teletoon Retro hasn't any access to it yet, similar to how they only show the syndication package of Alvin and the Chipmunks showcasing only the Ruby Spears and Murkami Wolf Swenson episodes, none of the rest of the show including the second half of season 6, Season 7 & the Go To The Movies season, contrast YTV only showed the entire original run of the series uncut, i believe) featured Corporal Capeman in several non-conclusive episodes that made the series continuity very confusing and sort of wrecking it in the process, Corporal Capeman was not a funny character, he did not have the wit of the Inspector himself and he was just plain stupid, he had the personality of all those "retarded cartoon writers who technically, as someone puts, are quite mean", and the vocal talent changed pretty drastically, the most noticeable change was Chief Quimby, his actor in the first series was the exact same actor that does the Cloud Worm in one episode of Care Bears, Dan Hennessy and to me, he IS Chief Quimby, and as the character he is irreplaceable and it IS the character indeed.

    Even with the reasonably talented Maurice LaMarche doing the duties, any time i hear someone else portray Chief Quimby, to my hearing, it just comes off as really weird and out of flow to me, same goes for Penny, although in the second series, it sounds very close to the voice in the first series, the spin-offs (mentioned later) such as Inspector Gadget's Last Christmas (which soundtrack led to the SNES arcade game toy cartridge by Hudson Soft) really not so much at all, still, the other season two episodes featured the Great Wambini and his clumsy assistant and i vastly prefer Presto Chango over the Great Wambini, it's a shame Presto Chango never got a rerun for another episode proper (same goes for other MAD henchman in the first series).

    And as you can see, the second season is actually first tier to the first season compared to the godawful horribly drawn and crappier animated spinoffs like the Last Case and the Gadgetinis show, for starters i absolutely despise the new redesign for Inspector Gadget (or should i say, in the Gadgetinis show, Lieutenant Gadget), it's very ugly and the whole entire color scheme and tone just shows a really dark charlatan fraud shadow of his proper self, and if you can risk yourself into seeing the Last Case film (i won't bother risk to see anything at this writing), you may also see that Chief Quimby is now a complete bastard jerk (he may have been grumbly in the actual show proper, but he played straight man to the usual self-destruct noted antics of Gadget and ALWAYS saw him as the best man for the job) and that the Gadgetmobile was abhorrently redesigned to this talking hip convertible that was really annoying and the computer book was subtracted from Penny and she was given an extremely ugly remodel, the wardrobe of it had her college jacket from the second series and Brain the Dog (which was also the best part of the whole show as he played Pink Panther to the Inspector Coulesau Gadget) was given far too little screen time than he was suposed to have.....

    All in all though, a genius cartoon series and i appreciate it every time it shows up on Teletoon Retro, especially shown with the Care Bears Family (Teletoon Retro also doesn't have access to the DiC episodes with Professor Coldheart and Frostbite, and Auntie Freeze either, but they hopefully might.).

    Any chimes?.



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