The Pink Panther And Friends: The Ant And The Aardvark

Comedian John Byner is likely most recognisable as the host of ’80s sketch comedy show Bizarre or from the sitcom Soap. Yet it’s the work where we don’t see his face that is clearly his best. Initially featured as a segment on the late ’60s/early ’70s The Pink Panther cartoons, The Ant And The Aardvark (note the ingenious title) found Byner in articulate glory, lending his talents as the voice for an accident-prone anteater — in a wonderfully-fitting Jackie Mason imitation — who is hell-bent on catching "Charlie,” an ethos-imparting red ant with an unmistakable Dean Martin accent. Naturally, many wacky situations ensue. Finally recognising the cult status of this short-lived series, Fox has granted the series a DVD release featuring all 17 episodes in chronological order. This not only provides over an hour of almost-brainless slapstick cartoon humour where we witness the devolution of the show but it gives us the opportunity to see how director Friz Freleng managed to recycle the better titbits of his more recognisable works into this particular medium. There’s an unmistakable similarity between The Ant And The Aardvark, Roadrunner/Wile E. Coyote’s "catch that dinner” plot and Sylvester-versus-Other Cat’s battle for Tweety zaniness. Can one plagiarise themselves? So it would seem. Regardless, it works equally well here, almost better, actually, as The Flintstones-esque budget animation is cause to make the most out of limited means. Classic episodes such as "Hasty But Tasty and "The Ant From Uncle” are so simplistically funny that the series truly is timeless; it’s perfect for kids of all ages even without a single DVD extra. (Fox)