October 04, 2011

The Ant and the Aardvark

The Ant and the Aardvark is a series of 17 theatrical short cartoons produced at DePatie-Freleng Enterprises (DFE). The cartoon follows attempts of a blue aardvark named Aardvark (voiced by John Byner, impersonating Jackie Mason) to catch and eat a red ant named Charlie (also voiced by Byner but impersonating Dean Martin), usually doing so by inhaling with a loud vacuum cleaner sound. The character goes unnamed until Rough Brunch, where he states his name is indeed Aardvark. The ant has given him names as well, always beginning with "Old" ("Old Sam," "Old Ben,"...etc.).

In The Ant From Uncle, Charlie calls Aardvark "Dad" the entire episode. In the episodes I've Got Ants in My Plans and Odd Ant Out, the Aardvark tussled against a rival green aardvark (also voiced by Byner), similar to the way Sylvester fought other cats over Tweety in a few of Freleng's earlier shorts at Warner Brothers. Because many Warner alumni worked for DFE, a lot of familiar plots were recycled in the latter studio's cartoons. In Technology, Phooey, the Aardvark utilizes a computer to help think up ideas to catch the ant — very similar in concept to a Chuck Jones short with Wile E. Coyote. This cartoon also features yet another vocal impersonation from Byner, as the Paul Lynde-esque computer.

Also, the last short ever made, From Bed to Worse, borrowed heavily from the Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes short, Greedy For Tweety. There were many minor characters in the series. Among them was Cousin Term the Termite, the unnamed cousin ant, Aunt Minerva (one of the Gi-Ants), Tiny the Elephant (Ant's lodge brother), Tiger (voiced by Marvin Miller), the faceless scientist with a Boris Karloff-like voice, the unnamed nurse (voiced by Athena Lorde), the mischievous dog, the anteater-eating shark, the lifeguard who mistook Aardvark for a dog (he always said, "OFF THE BEACH!"), were amongst other classic gags. Most of the minor characters were also voiced by John Byner.

Enjoy the entire series showcased above.

Title Director: Story: Released:
1 "The Ant and the Aardvark" Friz Freleng John W. Dunn 1969
2 "Hasty But Tasty" Gerry Chiniquy John W. Dunn 1969
3 "The Ant From Uncle" George Gordon John W. Dunn 1969
4 "I've Got Ants in My Plans" Gerry Chiniquy John W. Dunn 1969
5 "Technology, Phooey" Gerry Chiniquy Irv Spector 1969
6 "Never Bug an Ant" Gerry Chiniquy David Detiege 1969
7 "Dune Bug" Art Davis John W. Dunn 1969
8 "Isle of Caprice" Gerry Chiniquy David Detiege 1969
9 "Scratch a Tiger" Hawley Pratt Irv Spector 1970
10 "Odd Ant Out" Gerry Chiniquy Sid Marcus 1970
11 "Ants in the Pantry" Hawley Pratt John W. Dunn 1970
12 "Science Friction" Gerry Chiniquy Larz Bourne 1970
13 "Mumbo Jumbo" Art Davis John W. Dunn 1970
14 "The Froze Nose Knows" Gerry Chiniquy Dale Hale 1970
15 "Don't Hustle an Ant with Muscle" Art Davis Dale Hale 1970
16 "Rough Brunch" Art Davis Sid Marcus 1971
17 "From Bed to Worse" Art Davis John W. Dunn 1971

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