The Pink Panther cartoon character is the main character in a series of animated short films. The character originally appeared in the opening and closing credit sequences of the 1963 live-action feature film The Pink Panther. The popularity of the character spawned a series of animated short films, and the character would appear in the opening sequence of every film in The Pink Panther series (except A Shot in the Dark and Inspector Clouseau). The cool cat starred in one-hundred twenty-four shorts (either theatrical or made-for-television), ten television shows and three prime-time television specials.The animated Pink Panther character's initial appearance in the live action film's title sequence, directed by Friz Freleng, was such a success with audiences and United Artists that the studio signed Freleng and his DePatie-Freleng Enterprises studio to a multi-year contract for a series of Pink Panther theatrical cartoon shorts.The first entry in the series, 1964's The Pink Phink, featured the Panther harassing his foil, a little moustached man resembling an animated version of the feature films' Inspector Clouseau, by constantly trying to paint the little man's blue house pink. The Pink Phink won the 1964 Academy Award for Animated Short Film, and subsequent shorts in the series, usually featuring the Panther opposite the little man, were successful releases.In an early series of Pink Panther animated cartoons, the Pink Panther generally remained silent, speaking only in two theatrical shorts, Sink Pink and Pink Ice. Rich Little provided the Panther's voice in the latter shorts, modelling it on that of David Niven (who had portrayed Clouseau's jewel-thief nemesis in the original live-action film). Years later Little would overdub Niven's voice for Trail of the Pink Panther and Curse of the Pink Panther. All of the animated Pink Panther shorts utilized the distinctive jazzy theme music composed by Henry Mancini for the 1963 feature film.