Pink Panther logo
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The Pink Panther is a series of comedy films featuring a bumbling French police detective, Inspector Jacques Clouseau. The series began in 1964 with the release of the film of the same name. The role was originated by, and is most closely associated with, Peter Sellers. Most of the films were directed and co-written by Blake Edwards, with theme music composed by Henry Mancini.
Despite its use in the titles of most of the films of the series, “Pink Panther” is not the Clouseau character, but a large and valuable pink diamond which is first shown in the first film in the series. The phrase reappears in the title of the fourth film, The Return of the Pink Panther, in which the theft of the diamond is again the center of the plot. That film also marked the return of Sellers to the role after a gap of ten years, which may have contributed to some confusion between the character and the diamond. The phrase was used for all the subsequent films in the series, even when the jewel did not figure in the plot (it only appeared in six of the eleven films).
The first film in the series had an animated opening sequence, created by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and set to the theme music by Henry Mancini, which featured the Pink Panther character. This character, designed by Hawley Pratt and Friz Freleng, was subsequently the subject of its own series of animated cartoons which gained its greatest fame when aired on Saturday mornings as The Pink Panther Show. The character would be featured in the opening of every film in the movie series except A Shot in the Dark and Inspector Clouseau.