Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Texas Toads

One of the theatrical series DePatie-Freleng produced for Mirisch and United Artists was Tijuana Toads, which had 17 shorts released from 1969 to '72. In 1976 they tried to get the shorts to television as part of the Pink Panther Laugh and a Half Hour and a Half Show (a 90-minute block of DFE shorts) on NBC but ran into problems. As David H. DePatie explained in our interview last December:

When they went on television, we had to completely change them around and the series became known as the Texas Toads, and we had to redo all of the tracks that had any type of ethnic content and it really watered down the series down. We all thought it was a hell of a lot more funny when it was the Tijuana Toads, but at the time we had to do it in order to bring the thing on television.
With that the characters, Toro and Pancho, became Fatso and Banjo respectively.

Interestingly enough, both versions of the Toads were shown in syndication at the same time throughout the 1980s. There were two different DFE shorts package that TV stations could have: as a half-hour Pink Panther Show (with three shorts plus bumpers) and also as individual shorts that the stations could run however they want. The Texas Toads version was included in the half-hour Panther Show package, but the original theatrical Tijuana Toads version were available on the individual shorts package.

From 1993 to '95 MGM Animation produced a Pink Panther revival where the formerly silent character spoke, voiced by of Matt Frewer. The new show also featured appearances of DFE stars such as the Ant and the Aardvark (John Byner reprised his role), the Inspector and the Commissioner, and the Dogfather and gang, abet with drastic design change. According to Mike Kazaleh MGM was trying to revive all the DFE theatrical characters at the same time.

And apparently there were plans for a revival of the Toads. The 60th and final episode of the new Panther featured a stand-alone Texas Toads short. It's pretty obvious that this was made as a backdoor pilot for a possible spin-off (the same episode also featured a Ant and Aardvark short).

There's a Portuguese-dubbed version of the cartoon on YouTube (embedded below). I don't know how the voices sound in the English track, but the new designs don't really work here. It's also apparent that they were planning to re-imagine them as sheriffs for the possible new show.


Chris Sig said...

"...MGM was trying to revive all the DFE theatrical characters at the same time..."

That is very interesting to read. In which case, why did they use a French Shark instead of Misterjaws for an underwater episode - or not include Hoot Kloot for one of the western stories? In fact, where the heck were the Blue Racer and Crazylegs??

Sorry, it's things like this that just leaks of further questions to ask :P

Anonymous said...

Is Part 6 of that interview with Donovan Cook coming up, or is there no more continuation?

Brubaker said...

I'll get to it eventually. Thanks for your patience.

rodineisilveira said...


The Tijuana Toads shorts (originally produced for the movies by DePatie-Freleng - in associaition with MGM-United Artists - between 1969 and 1972) are frequently broadcasted on the Brazilian TV.
Alias, the Tijuana Toads shorts were well recieved by the Latin American audiences (including Brazil).