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Posted on August 21, 2019

The Pink Panther: A Dish Best Served Raw

Depending upon your generation, when you think of Inspector Jacques Clouseau (aka The Inspector) and The Pink Panther, you may think of Peter Sellers, who famously first played the notorious fictional French fumbling detective in the original 1963 film. Or, perhaps you think of Steve Martin, who portrayed The Inspector in the 2006 reboot rendition of the movie. Just don’t think of Jacques Cousteau, who, while there is no connection between the real-life, brilliant oceanographer and the invented, bumbling Jacques Clouseau, may or may not have an ironic physical resemblance to the actor…that’s Cousteau on the left, Sellers on the right:

peter vs jaques le manhattan bistro

Speaking of irony, although Cousteau was, in fact, French, The Pink Panther movie and subsequent franchise are British-American, not French. In fact, most of the original leading actors, director, writers, cartoon character artists, and even composer…are American.

Pink Panther Movie Poster Le Manhattan Bistro

Speaking of the composer, no matter who you are, by now, you are probably hearing in your head the unforgettable and timeless theme song by Henry Mancini. Do yourself a favor when you are done reading this article; check out the composer’s captivating official website where you can navigate to an old-school [virtual] record player and listen to so many Mancini classics such as the beloved theme from The Pink Panther. While that gem was nominated for Best Original Score at the 37th Academy Awards, the award went to the Sherman Brothers for Mary Poppins.

Speaking of gems, The Pink Panther plot is centered around a famous [but fictional] giant pink diamond. In reality, pink diamonds do exist, but most come from Australia. While the pink diamond in the movie is of incredible value, it has a flaw said to resemble a leaping panther, and thus, is ascribed the nickname, The Pink Panther. When the diamond is stolen, Inspector Clouseau takes the case on a hilarious journey of slapstick sleuthing satire.

Speaking of mysteries about diamonds, in November 2013, a flawless pink diamond just shy of 60 carats sold at auction to an anonymous buyer for a record value of $83 million. It is said the theme from The Pink Panther played after the winning bid was confirmed on the famous gemstone known as “The Pink Star” (not to be confused with “The Pink Legacy” diamond). But get ready for a plot twist…dramatic pause…

…in 2017, The Pink Star sold for $71.2 million. However, as CNBC reported, “It first sold at auction in 2013, when Sotheby’s sold it for $83 million to a New York-based diamond cutter. But the buyer defaulted on the deal, so it came back up for auction.” And even with that latest [depreciated] price tag, The Pink Star still holds the title for the most expensive gemstone ever sold at auction. Impressionnante!

Speaking of impressive honors, The Pink Panther film generated numerous nominations, accolades, and awards. The movie is full of raw talent, good old-fashioned fun, and to this day, is still suitable for audiences of almost any age. And, of course, the iconic cartoon character which appears in the title sequence of the movie would go on to become its own legacy, brand ambassador, and cartoon series. Animation historian Jerry Beck has called the Pink Panther “the last great Hollywood cartoon character” and whether you agree with Beck’s assessment or not, the character certainly transcends time.

Pink Panther Le Manhattan Bistro
Source: Personal collection of a friend of Le Manhattan Bistro

Speaking of time, it’s time for you to make your dinner reservation. Or, if you prefer, join us for dinner and a movie. Or, perhaps, imbibe and indulge in our French Wine Dinner? What we are really trying to say is…we’ll see you soon. Case closed!