Definitions

metal glove

Inspector Gadget

Inspector Gadget is an animated television series about a clumsy, absent-minded and oblivious detective, Inspector Gadget, who is a human being with various bionic "gadgets" built into his anatomy. Gadget's main nemesis is the mysterious Dr. Claw, leader of an evil organization known as MAD. This was the first syndicated cartoon show from DIC Entertainment (as well as the first from the company to be created specifically for American viewers, along with The Littles and Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats) and ran from 1983 to 1986 in syndication. This article pertains to the original cartoon series and its characters and plots; for information on its later spinoffs, see Inspector Gadget spinoff incarnations.

The series was a co-production between DIC and Nelvana, with the animation work outsourced to foreign studios such as Tokyo Movie Shinsha in Japan and Cuckoo's Nest Studio in Taiwan.

Cast of characters

Inspector Gadget

Inspector Gadget, voiced by Don Adams, is a bumbling detective with gadgets built into his body. His fashion sense resembles that of Inspector Clouseau from the pink panther movies. Often cluelessly stumbling through any case he is given, Gadget frequently ignorantly makes foolish mistakes pertaining to surroundings and current environment, mistaking innocent bystanders (and Brain) for enemies, and believing that the real enemies are friends. His ineptitude always leads him into danger, but he always gets out of trouble through either his trusty gadgets (most notably his springs), Penny's interference, or pure luck. The episode, "M.A.D. Trap", is one of the few episodes in which Gadget actually shows some competence. When Dr. Claw traps him in a steel foundry, he uses his gadgets flawlessly to save Penny and Brain. Later, in "The Moral", Penny and Brain muse that it was a good thing his gadgets were in top shape. Occasionally, he also inadvertently helps Penny solve the case, with his bungling either distracting Dr. Claw or setting things up for Penny to do her work. The nearest Gadget ever gets to capturing Dr. Claw is in the opening teaser of each episode in which Gadget handcuffs a decoy metal glove, only to have a bomb explode in his face. However, this is meant to demonstrate that Claw always manages to escape justice and was never seen in any actual episode. Gadget's catchphrase is "Wowsers!".

Penny

Penny, voiced by Cree Summer, then by Holly Berger, is Gadget's precocious niece. Inspector Gadget is her guardian and caretaker, though often she seems more suited to be his caretaker due to Gadget's clumsiness. Unknown to any of the recurring characters other than Brain, she is a master of investigation and technology who is the one truly responsible for foiling M.A.D.'s schemes. Penny's principal crime-fighting tool is a high-tech Computer Book capable of breaking codes, surveiling buildings and overriding practically any sort of machine or device. Using the book, Penny is able to monitor Gadget's activities and—with Brain's help—surreptitiously help him avoid numerous potential catastrophes that result from his absent-mindedness while uncovering the true nature of Dr. Claw's plot and foiling it. She often plays the helpless damsel-in-distress role and Brain usually saves her, but she escapes by herself sometimes. Her name is Sophie in the French, Italian and German version, Karen in the Israeli version and Lily in few episodes of second season in Polish version.

Brain

Brain, voiced by Frank Welker, is Penny's dog. He assists her in keeping Gadget out of danger and solving the crime. He is a master of disguise and dresses up in order to watch over Gadget and save him from attempts on his life. Although Gadget is in contact with Brain almost the entire time while he is supposedly solving a case, Gadget never sees through his disguises (and as often as not, Gadget assumes Brain is a M.A.D. agent while ignoring all the real ones). Brain's collar is outfitted with a retractable video communications system linked to a computer wristwatch Penny wears that allows her to relay information on Gadget's activity, or warn Brain as to the whereabouts of M.A.D. agents. Brain can speak a human language, though in a gruff "dog" voice (with a speech impediment featuring constant uses of the letter "r"), similar to Astro of The Jetsons or Scooby-Doo. Sometimes it is impossible to understand what Brain is saying. In a pinch, Brain will resort to pantomime and physical gestures to communicate effectively. His name is Finot in the French and the German version.

Dr. Claw

Dr. Claw, voiced by Frank Welker (and in some episodes, Don Francks), is the main villain in the series and leader of the evil organization known as M.A.D. He speaks in a deep, menacing, ominous-sounding voice and his face and the majority of his body are never shown throughout the series; only his arms and gloved hands are visible. He is usually at a computer terminal where he monitors his various schemes, often in a creepy old castle. Even though he's aware of Gadget's stupidity, he believes the Inspector to be his greatest nemesis, never fully realizing that it is actually Penny and Brain who foil his plots in each episode (although he or his M.A.D. agents have captured Penny and sometimes Brain a number of times). His name is Dr. Gang in the French version and in few episodes of second season in Polish version.

M.A.D. Cat

M.A.D. Cat, voiced by Frank Welker, is Dr. Claw's fat pet cat. He is always at Dr. Claw's side, usually curled up next to Claw's control panel. M.A.D. Cat acts as a foil to Claw, often being petted when Claw is happy, to the point of being POUNDED on when Claw gets angry. M.A.D. Cat "talks" in cat sounds, and has an evil, hissing laugh.

Chief Quimby

Chief Quimby, voiced by Chris Wiggins, then by Maurice LaMarche, is Gadget's boss. He appears disguised at the beginning of each episode with his own theme music to deliver Gadget his mission only to be blown up by the self-destructing message due to Gadget's obliviousness, and appears again at the end of most episodes to congratulate Gadget on a job well done. His name is Chef Gontier in the French version.

Corporal Capeman

Corporal Capeman, voiced by Townsend Coleman, was introduced in the second season and appears in eight non-consecutive episodes as Gadget’s sidekick. Capeman is a nerdy and annoying wannabe crimefighter who dresses in stereotypical superhero garb. He is even more clueless than Gadget. The two have a student/mentor relationship, though Gadget is rarely teaching anything nor is Capeman learning. (Gadget generally mispronounces his name "Capman"). Capeman is obsessed with learning to fly and often mistakenly believes he has miraculously acquired the power of flight while in the midst of dire circumstances. His last appearance is in the series' last episode: "Gadget and the Red Rose" (#86).

Plot

Gadget works as an inspector for the Metro City police department. His missions often take him to a different exotic locale, generally without giving any explanation as to how a crime on the other side of the earth was of any interest to the Metro City police.

Although there are the rare exceptions, every single episode of the first season follows a standard plot with little variation:

1: Gadget, Penny, and Brain are engaged in a typical family activity that is interrupted by Police Chief Quimby calling on the Top Secret Gadget Phone. He then appears in an outlandish disguise—a gas barrel, a Gypsy fortuneteller, a turtle shell, even a gargoyle on Gadget's house, but most often, it's in a trash can.

2: Quimby gives Gadget a mission on a self-destructing sheet of paper. As Gadget reads the message, his eyes dart back and forth while the sound of a typewriter, fax machine, or a camera's shutter (in servo mode) is heard in the background. Sometimes, Penny and Brain are near him and listens what Gadget reads. The last line of the message always reads "This message will self-destruct.", a spoof of the exploding taped messages from Mission: Impossible. Sometimes it would say that the message would self-destruct in ten (sometimes thirty) seconds. The second season often had "Caution: This message will self-destruct" as the final line in the message. Gadget says his catchphrase, which is "Don't worry, Chief, I am always on duty.", before he crumples up that paper, and then unintentionally throws the message back at the Chief and walks away in total ignorance. The message explodes seconds later in Quimby's face. The only episodes without the exploding paper are "Gadget's Replacement" (#23), where Gadget is replaced by a computer, and "Health Spa" (#6), in which Gadget doesn't even get a mission. Instead, Gadget slams the door in the Chief's face shortly after Quimby says, "At last, an assignment that didn't blow up in my face." In "M.A.D. Trap" (#20), Gadget did not get an assignment from Quimby, but when it appears that Dr. Claw does not intend to commit any crimes that day, Gadget gives Chief Quimby a paper that reads, "Have you got any assignments for me today? This message will self-destruct." Quimby panics at this and drops it in front of the pigeons he was feeding. While attempting to rescue them, Gadget's message blows up in Quimby's face.

3: Dr. Claw is always somehow visually monitoring this event on his computer from his desk or car, and introduces his scheme and usually a new super villain employee to the viewers. The schemes nearly always include trying to eliminate Gadget as well as stealing valuable things.

4: In most times, Gadget tells Penny and Brain the mission is too dangerous and he leaves to mission, followed by Brain usually and both Penny and Brain sometimes. In fewer times, Gadget takes Penny and Brain to the mission.

5: Gadget bumbles through his mission oblivious to the dangers and overall situation around him. He frequently makes ridiculous assumptions (such as thinking that the sound of explosions is thunder). He also almost always mistakes enemy agents for helpful allies, and vice versa.

6: Brain is always instructed by Penny to follow Gadget to make sure he doesn't get hurt: "I'm worried, Brain. You'd better follow him." Brain would make use of various costumes (although how he got them is not explained) and often interacts with Gadget, who never recognizes him. Gadget usually considers the disguised Brain to be the main suspect. When intervening to save Gadget from MAD agents, Brain often becomes the victim (along with the agents themselves) instead of Gadget. Gadget himself rarely comes to any harm, and if he does, it's usually self-inflicted. Even when Gadget falls into a MAD agent trap, he always escapes by using his gadgets. Penny often calls Brain if her uncle is okay and Brain tells her everything.

7: Penny in fewer times has a contact with Brain on her school. She stays at home usually when Gadget is on the case. Rarely, she there finds out something in MAD plan and goes to place of crime on her bike. In fewer times, Penny goes to place of crime after having a contact with Brain. She sometimes goes to place of crime with Gadget and Brain.

8: Gadget, while bumbling around, meets up with MAD Agents and thinks they're good people. They're trying to get rid of Gadget again, but Gadget escapes. In episodes "Winter Olympics (a.k.a. Gadget in Winterland)", "Amusement Park" and "M.A.D. Trap" Gadget is trying to arrest the real MAD Agents.

9: Meanwhile, Penny investigates the crimes and is usually the one to solve the case with the help of her Computer Book. With it, she can override the controls of just about anything electronic. She often stops the MAD agents when she overrides the controls of the vehicle MAD agents drive and forces them to crash.

10: Often, Penny may get captured and escape the criminals during her investigation, when Brain usually comes to rescue her. Sometimes, Penny escapes herself when the M.A.D. agents do not lock her up properly, or are distracted by something. She will sometimes use the help of her Computer Book to escape as well. Usually, Penny isn't captured. Penny isn't captured in most episodes of Season 2. In more episodes, she falls into difrennt peril than capture. In episodes "Dutch Treat", "M.A.D Academy", "Prince of the Gypsies" and "Do Unto Udders" Penny is almost captured.

11: Shortly before Penny solves the case, she calls Chief Quimby to the crime scene.

12: Dr. Claw orders his minions to get rid of Gadget again. They were trying, but fail thanks to Brain.

13: Penny sometimes uses her computer book to save the day. Usually, she uses her computer wristwatch. In fewer times, Gadget himself will accidentally save the day while attempting to accomplish a completely different task.

14: Gadget invariably gets credit for solving the mission, with everyone believing that he has in fact stopped Dr. Claw single-handedly. Chief Quimby appears and congratulates him. No one ever suspects that it was in fact Penny and Brain who did all of the work. Typically, they show up and Gadget doesn't even know how they got there, but he is delighted to see them. Like many cartoons, the episode usually ends with them all laughing at something.

15: After this, Dr. Claw is seen either in his hideout or escaping in his MADmobile, which can turn into an advanced jet or submarine, delivering his catch phrase: "I'll get you next time, Gadget... NEXT TIME!". Dr. Claw's cat, M.A.D. Cat, will usually hiss in agreement. This phrase is also played towards the end of the end credits in every episode.

16: In common with many 1980s children's TV shows, Inspector Gadget's last scene is usually a safety tip (known as a Gadget Team Alert) often relating to the episode (similar to Captain Planet's Planeteer Alerts or the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog "Sonic Sez" segments).

While the show is admittedly formulaic (it is often compared with Get Smart, which also stars Don Adams), charming and appealing main characters, exotic and varied locations, and solid writing kept the series entertaining throughout its first season.

Episodes

Inspector Gadget's gadgets

Inspector Gadget's gadgets were the most unusual aspect of the show, and although they are central to his character, they rarely ever actually do him any good when it comes to solving his case. When using his gadgets, he would say "Go-Go-Gadget", and then the name of the gadget to be used. However, the gadget he said would not always be the gadget that appeared. Even when he did get the gadget he requested, it would often malfunction.

The Inspector has an indefinite supply of gadgets located all over his body. However, there are several that appear regularly.

Most commonly used gadgets

  • Gadget Binoculars: Binoculars lower down out of his hat and over his eyes.
  • Gadget 'Brella: A hand holding an umbrella that comes out of his hat. It can be used as a parachute. More often than not, he will fall rapidly when using his 'Brella' when it turns inside-out.
  • Gadget Coat: His trench coat inflates when he pulls one of its buttons and enables him to float — in water or in the sky. It is almost always deflated by being punctured, causing him to shoot through the sky as the air is released before falling from a great height. However, in "Winter Olympics" (Pilot episode, Season 1), Gadget refers to it as "Gadget blimp".
  • Gadget 'Copter: Helicopter propeller blades that come out of his hat that enable him to fly. Gadget has a second, "Spare" unit available in the event of failure (episode 9).
  • Gadget Cuffs: A handcuff comes out of his forearm just above his hand.
  • Gadget Hands: Several mechanical hands can pop out of Gadget's hat. These hands will sometimes hold various objects including a camera, a motorized fan, a spotlight, a can opener, and other useful things. Of course, there are times when they will also be holding something useless or unhelpful to the situation.
  • Gadget Legs/Arms/Neck: His neck, arms, and legs can telescope and extend to great lengths. Embedded into his left hand is a crank that can be used to retract the arm (episode 1).
  • Gadget Legs (springs): As well as being telescopic, his legs can also extend with springs, which is useful for jumping and landing.
  • Top-Secret Gadget Phone: A telephone in his hand. The earpiece is located in his thumb, while the mouthpiece is located in his pinky finger. This is one of the few gadgets that is not voice activated; Instead, Chief Quimby activates it by calling Gadget. (There is also a regular telephone inside Gadget's hat.)
  • Gadget Skates: Roller skates come out of the bottom of his shoes. He is often very clumsy and struggles to keep his balance on the skates. Later in the series, he tries adding his own modifications in the form of rockets that come out from the sides. These have even more glitches than most of his gadgets for their first few appearances.
  • Gadget Springs: A spring comes out of his hat (he also has one in each shoe), enabling him to bounce, usually when falling head first and hitting his head against the ground.

Other gadgets

  • Gadget Flower: A mechanical hand holding a big sunflower emerges from his hat and can either spray water or sleep gas towards an enemy.
  • Gadget Ears: Metal cones that deploy from his head, around his ears, allowing him to hear better.
  • Gadget Laniard: A mechanical laniard extends from his belt buckle allowing him to attach himself to various objects
  • Gadget Flaps: Mechanical Flaps extend from his waist allowing him to glide smoothly, often used in conjunction with the above allowing him to attach to various forms of transport and escape precarious situations.
  • Gadget Hat Doff: When Gadget greets a lady, instead of doffing his hat, a mechanical hand emerges from his hat, in the hand is another hat; from this other hat emerges a second mechanical hand, which is also holding a hat. This gadget was only seen once, in the episode, Do Unto Udders.
  • Gadget Tie: His necktie becomes a lasso.
  • Gadget Magnets: Magnets come out of the bottom of his shoes. More often than not, the magnets end up sticking to any metallic object with a magnetic attraction, just like Captain Planet's "magnetic" personality. It is sometimes useful when attempting to avoid slipping on slippery surfaces.
  • Gadget Mallet: A wooden hammer held in a robotic hand that also comes out of his hat. It usually winds up bopping someone it should not -- sometimes even the Inspector himself.
  • Gadget Parachute: A relatively small, red parachute which was used only in episode #48, Do Unto Udders.
  • Gadget Respirator: A self-contained breathing mask and the only gadget that Gadget has to physically reach for and pull on as he said his "Go-Go-Gadget" command for it.
  • Gadget Refridge-a-Gadget: A gloved hand holding an unmarked aerosol can appears out of his hat and sprays a substance that immediately reduces the surrounding area to subzero temperatures. This gadget was only used in Health Spa (though its name was not called) and Gadget's Gadgets.
  • Gadget Siren: A police light and siren emerge from the top of his hat.
  • Gadget Skis: a pair of skis that extend out of the front and back of his shoes.
  • Gadget Teeth: Gadget's teeth deploy from his mouth and fly about.
  • Gadget Wind Sail: A huge wind sail emerges from his hat, which, when combined with Gadget Skis, allows him to wind sail down a snowy track (used only once, in Bad Altitude)
  • Gadget Radar: A radar emerges from his hat (used in Dutch Treat)
  • Gadget Pulley: A mechanical hand holding a pulley on a handle emerges from Gadget's hat to allow him to travel down a gondola cable (episode 14).
  • Finger Gadgets: There are several gadgets inside his fingers, accessed by taking the end off his finger to expose the gadget. These include a flashlight, skeleton key, laser, pen, screwdriver, drill bit, snow gun, corkscrew, water pistol, and whistle .

Operation of the gadgets

The Inspector can activate each of his gadgets by calling its name, "Go-Go-Gadget Arms!" (for example), but there are times when gadgets appear to be activated by reflex rather than being called, as in Episode 1, Winter Olympics. In this episode, the Inspector also activates some of his gadgets (such as a third hand in his hat, and his extending neck) by simply thinking about it, which is accompanied by a "thinking" or "computer is busy" electronic sound effect. Quite often, either the requested gadget will malfunction, or the wrong one will be activated. When this happens, the Inspector will muse that he desperately needs to get them fixed, although he apparently neglects to ever actually do so. Gadgets also have a tendency to activate en masse whenever the Inspector falls over, sneezes, et cetera — this often occurs at the end of an episode, accompanied by all the characters laughing. The gadgets occasionally seem to have a bit of a mind of their own: in episode #48, Do Unto Udders, one of the hands uses a severe pointing finger to stop Gadget from buying more than one of the expensive MAD products.

The Gadgetmobile

Similar to his body, Gadget's car, the "Gadgetmobile", is also fully loaded with a seemingly limitless arsenal of gadgets. It has all of the clichéd features of any fictional crime fighting vehicle (such as the Batmobile or a James Bond car, or K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider for instance) including a smoke screen, a siren, laughing gas (referred to as "hilarious gas"), the ability to drop a trail of tacks to blow out a pursuing vehicle's tires, ejector seat, glue rockets, and a claw on the front (referred to as the Gadget Claw).

Besides having all of the typical features, it has many specialized ones as well, such as the ability to extend its wheels (not unlike Gadget's arms and legs) to great lengths, and to completely transform into another vehicle altogether, the Gadgetvan, even while in motion. All of the Gadgets on the Gadgetmobile are voice activated in the same way that the gadgets on his body are activated, by calling its name, "Go-Go-Gadgetvan!" (for example), although when changing into the van and back, he usually moves a lever while saying it.

In The Ruby, Gadget summons the Gadgetmobile while on foot ("Go-Go-Gadget Car!"). The Gadgetmobile then arrives on the scene and, responding to the command improperly, drives straight past him.

It is also, for the most part, nigh invulnerable. There are a few occasions where it has taken head-on collisions, attacks, or has fallen from great heights and remained completely intact. While the Gadgetmobile did not have a voice in the series, in all related films, an off-camera voice actor provides one. Its voice actors have been D.L. Hughley (Inspector Gadget, Inspector Gadget 2), Jaleel White (Inspector Gadget's Last Case), and Bernie Mac (Inspector Gadget's Biggest Caper Ever).

Penny and Brain's gadgets

As well as the Inspector, Penny and Brain have a few of their own gadgets:

Penny's Computer Book
A phonebook-sized machine similar to a modern-day laptop computer. It is capable of hacking into and interfacing with any piece of electronic equipment, and some non electronic equipment, like a safe. The 'book' apparently does not have multiple pages, as the exact same control configuration is shown whenever Penny is using it. Penny usually carries her computer book in her backpack (she is only seen wearing it when the book is to be used shortly after).

Penny's Wristwatch
Penny's wristwatch has five known functions:

  • It is primarily used to communicate with Brain (in a manner very similar to a modern cellular videophone).
  • It is used in most episodes to contact Chief Quimby. While the viewer never hears the Chief speak through the watch, Penny can be heard speaking as though she were responding to him, and he has appeared at least once on the watch's screen during a call (episode 13).
  • It can fire a directional laser beam, capable of cutting through a heavy metal door (as seen in quite a few episodes) or merely force it to open.
  • It has magnetic abilities, as seen in one episode, while Penny is locked in a prison cell, she uses the watch to attract the keys from a distance to the cell, hence allowing her to free herself.
  • It seems to have a weaker version of the book's powers (it was once used to hack into a combination lock and find out the combination).

Brain's communication collar Used for communicating with Penny, Brain's communicator is hidden in his dog collar. When a call is received, the collar's studs extend out around Brain (usually three studs are shown extending but this number does vary). Normally, the three studs contain a speaker, microphone, and antenna. It also has a tracking device that can direct Brain towards Penny (although he only uses it once). In one episode, the third stud carries a video camera.

MAD

MAD is an organization whose chief operation is committing crime, wreaking havoc and operating above the limits of the law. Headed by the mysterious Dr. Claw, MAD would seem to have numerous agents working for it but on the series only six or seven are seen repeatedly and only the special ones hired from the outside crime world, including Knuckles, Presto Change-O, and Dr. Noodleman, are named. MAD is obviously a spoof on large-scale evil organization (such as SPECTRE and KAOS) with grandiose schemes for world conquest. On some merchandise, MAD is shown as an acronym for "Mean and Dirty" or "Malevolent Agency of Destruction". No mention of this fact is ever made in the series, and it is not considered canon.

MAD corporate identity
For an evil organization, MAD seems oddly enthusiastic about self-promotion and branding. Everything MAD creates seems customized to incorporate the MAD logo, or MAD-like imagery (a stylized cat head with fangs). All MAD agents are given corporate clothing, emblazoned with the MAD logo, even down to the underwear (as seen in Did You Myth Me and Do Unto Udders). All MAD agents drive around in trucks with 'MAD' written on the side. Gadget never recognizes any of the MAD indicia.

MAD salute
MAD agents often show their respect/allegiance to Dr. Claw by performing the MAD salute. This involves swiftly putting a clenched fist to the side of one's head(occasionally with enough force to knock one unconscious). The salute is used more in later episodes.

MAD Academy
MAD has a facility it uses to train prospective agents located under a Metro City skyscraper (MAD Academy). Trainees are indoctrinated in MAD's philosophy and tendency toward self-promotion, as they already wear the official MAD uniform. The facility includes a driving course that is littered with traps. Dr. Claw personally instructs the school's students, and its official slogan is "We Hate Gadget."

The MADmobile
The MADmobile is Dr. Claw's personal vehicle. Like the Gadgetmobile, it has a variety of deterrents for use against pursuing vehicles. It is also able to transform into a jet and a submarine. It also has at least one fault, in that the fumes/smoke produced by the "Backfire" weapon carried by the car will back up into the cab of the vehicle if the nozzle is pinched shut (episode 9).

Conception

The show was created by Andy Heyward, Jean Chalopin and Bruno Bianchi. The initial idea for Inspector Gadget came from Heyward, who also wrote the pilot episode, Winter Olympics (often syndicated as episode #65, Gadget in Winterland), in 1982 with the help of Chalopin. Chalopin, who at the time owned the DIC Audiovisual studio, helped him develop the format and concept for the rest of the episodes together with Bruno Bianchi, who also designed the final main characters and served as supervising director.

According to the bonus featurette "Wowsers" retrospective featurette with co-creators Andy Heyward and Mike Maliani on the four-disc DVD set Inspector Gadget: The Original Series, Gadget went through around 150 sketches before reaching his final design.

Peter Sauder was the head writer during the first season. In Season 2, Eleanor Burian-Mohr, Mike O' Mahoney, Glen Egbert and Jack Hanrahan (a former Get Smart writer, among many other things) took over. (Hanrahan and Burian-Mohr would later write the Christmas special Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas as well as the Gadget Boy series - see also Inspector Gadget spinoff incarnations.)

Original pilot episode

In the pilot episode, Gadget had a moustache. The episode also featured slightly different opening and closing credits. The opening was nearly the same as the regular opening, except , and the clips of the Gadgetvan turning into the Gadgetmobile, Penny discovering her watch (an altered version of her discovering her Computer Book), and Brain helping Gadget across a wire are not shown; instead clips from the pilot appear during those scenes. Also, after he activated his Gadget-Copter and spun away, and before cutting to the turnaround shot of Penny discovering her Computer Book, Gadget landed safely on the road -- in front of an oncoming MAD car! But luckily, he used his Gadget Legs to spring out of the way. The main title of the show was also presented on a green background instead of an orange background. The theme music was exactly the same (only a few on-screen sound effects differed somewhat), as well as on the closing credits, which featured little animations of Gadget using his gadgets. The final credit had Dr. Claw watching Gadget from his monitor, saying "I'll get you next time, Gadget... NEXT TIME!" and MAD Cat doing his snarling meow. This explains why Dr. Claw's voice is heard during the regular credits while Chief Quimby is speaking.

Two versions of the pilot were produced. One had Jesse White voicing Inspector Gadget, and the other had Gary Owens voicing him (the version with Gary Owens can be found on the Australian Inspector Gadget DVD set).

Season 1

The first sixty-five 22½-minute episodes were written, designed, storyboarded, and voiced-recorded in Canada at Nelvana Animation Studio, while being directed (long distance) by a French director. Most of these episodes were animated in Tokyo, Japan by Tokyo Movie Shinsha, the studio that animated most DiC cartoons of the 1980s (perhaps also most well-known for their work on Lupin the Third, Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs), while a few episodes were animated in Taiwan by Cuckoo's Nest Studio and Wang Film Productions, before being finished in post production by Nelvana, the same Canadian studio that did preproduction. Apparently, the show was produced for release in both France and the USA. It was broadcast in the North America in September 1983. A month or so later, the series premiered in France, whose version also featured a theme song with French lyrics and the French title Inspecteur Gadget appearing in front of the episode.

The first season was aired from September to December 1983, comprising sixty-five 22½-minute long episodes. The original pilot episode had a slightly higher budget than the rest of the series, but because of several animation problems and a far from established formula, the other 64 episodes of the season generally stand out as better. After the first season, the show was a worldwide hit.

In the first season, nearly every episode saw the introduction of some supervillain who had come to be employed by Dr. Claw to commit a crime suited to their special skills. They are typically arrested at the end of the episode, and do not appear again in the series.

Changes for Season 2 and declining popularity

The first season episodes were repeated during the 19841985 season, with 21 new episodes premiering during the second and last season of Inspector Gadget from September 1985 to February 1986 making 86 in all. Several significant changes were made to the established formula in the cheaper episodes in the second season:

  • Evil henchmen have recurring roles, appearing in as many as three episodes in a row without being arrested. Even though this allowed for more continuity, the show lost some of its moral fiber that way, and it also became confusing that most of the villains merely disappeared from the show after their third episode, still not in jail (such as "The Great Wambini, World's Greatest Magician", and his assistant, "The Lesser Wambini").
  • The crime would more often revolve around simply getting rid of Gadget.
  • The Gadget Team move into a high-tech house filled with many gadgets, where a few of the episodes are actually located — probably another result of the lower budgets.
  • Penny doesn't get into trouble as often, something which may have made the show less appealing to children, and also weakened both her own character and the unpredictability of the episodes.
  • In the season's fourth episode, the writers introduced a sidekick named Corporal Capeman, who was (and is) widely unpopular with the show's fan base, and is often considered when the show jumped the shark. He appeared in eight non-consecutive episodes. This also made the intended continuity even more confusing.
  • The season, and the series, concluded with a small three part story arc revolving around a "retirement home" for ex-criminals run by Claw's mentor. Gadget overcomes, in his usual way, all of the ex-mobsters who attempt to eliminate him for one big pay-off, and the retirement home racket is shut down, with Claw escaping. Gadget is finally honored by the city during this storyline.

Although these differences lessened the repetition, the show's popularity sank. Apparently the removed elements had all been part of the great success of season one. The full reason for the show's cancellation is unknown, though the overall decline in quality and the lesser budgets during the second season is the most common theory, as this most probably led to lower ratings. Another reason may be that the Disney Studio purchased DiC in 1986, leaving many of their shows to syndicated reruns.

Don Adams, the voice of Inspector Gadget in the American version of the cartoon, had also played Maxwell Smart, the lead character in Get Smart, giving both shows a certain resemblance to North American viewers. When recording moved to the U.S. for the second season, several of the voices (among them Cree Summer, who played Penny) were replaced.

Music

The theme music for the show was composed by Shuki Levy. Levy has had a long-running partnership with his friend Haim Saban, with Levy composing the music and Saban running the business. Their production company, Saban Records, has provided music for many Dic cartoons and children’s shows in the 80s and 90s, and is still running today.

Most of the background music cues are some sort of variation of the Gadget melody. Even at festivals or dances in the cartoon, the Gadget theme is usually played. Occasionally during an episode, such as in Launch Time and Ghost Catchers, Inspector Gadget will hum or even sing his theme. Levy also had a range of other musical cues for each character as well as for the various moods of the scenes. Penny and Brain each have several different versions of their respective musical themes.

Soundtrack

A soundtrack LP to accompany the series, named "Inspecteur Gadget - Bande Originale de la Serie TV", was released in France in 1983 by Saban Records. The LP is extremely rare.

The soundtrack features the following tracks:

  1. Inspector Gadget (with French vocals)
  2. Penny's Theme (with French vocals)
  3. Brain The Dog — The Song (with French vocals)
  4. Gadget on Mars
  5. Ghost
  6. Mad Art in Museum
  7. Gadget in Japan
  8. Chocolate Factory
  9. Rodeo
  10. Mad's Theme
  11. Heroes in African Jungle
  12. Gadget with the Incas
  13. Look Out
  14. Gadget in Trouble
  15. Arabian Desert
  16. Sophisticated Gadget
  17. Train Machine
  18. Kingdom
  19. Car Race
  20. Pharaohs
  21. Penny's Theme
  22. Inspector Gadget (Instrumental)

With the exception of the first three tracks, all the music on this album is incidental music directly from the TV series. The album is far from a complete soundtrack, although this would be impossible as there were probably several hours of source music used in the series. Some tracks on the album are more location/episode-specific or for special sequences. There were also at least two other records released by Saban Records (both in French). One of these was the single of the theme music (with French vocals, released both in 1983 and 1985 with different sleeve covers), and another was an audio story named "La Malediction du roi Touthankamon", based on the episode "Curse of the Pharaohs".

Parody

In 2006 — for the first time in 22 years — Cree Summer and Frank Welker reprised their Inspector Gadget roles for the animated sketch show Robot Chicken in a segment of the episode “Adoption's an Option”. The parody was based on the 1983 original series, with Dr. Claw and Brain voiced by Frank Welker; and Penny voiced by Cree Summer. Gadget himself was voiced by Joe Hanna, with a brief appearance of Chief Quimby, voiced by Seth Green.

DVD releases

Inspector Gadget: The Original Series — a four disc DVD set collecting the first 22 episodes, released in North America on April 25, 2006 by Shout! Factory. The DVD was also released in Australia by Magna Pacific though without any special features.

Due to the previous overexposure from live-action movies to direct-to-video sequels, and other various spin-off shows, the public grew a distaste of the series as a whole, which led to lower sales than hoped. As a result, they discontinued releasing the remaining episodes. In November 2006, Fox Home Entertainment got the DVD rights to Inspector Gadget along with some other DiC cartoons. Shout! Factory's DVD producer Brain Ward stated that Fox will continue where Shout! left off, though no further plans are announced as of now.

There are also errors on the box concerning which episodes are on each disc. The last episode listed on each disc is actually the first episode on the next disc.

Cover Art DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
Volume 1 22 April 26 2006

  • Retrospective look at Inspector Gadget with Andy Heyward (DiC Chairman & CEO) and Mike Maliani (DiC Chief Creative Officer)
  • Original Art Gallery
  • An original sketch of Inspector Gadget done by a recent contest winner.

The website www.ezydvd.com.au confirms the release of the second box set of Inspector Gadget episodes, in Australia at least, which was released on July 4, 2007. The third box set has also been released there on October 10, 2007

Inspector Gadget: 25th Anniversary Collection (9 Disc Box Set) according to MagnaPacific, this release will contain the first 64 episodes from the original series' Season One, to be released on 5th November 2008. This leaves out episode 65-86, which have yet to be released in complete form on English-language DVD.

Inspector Gadget: The Gadget Files — a single disc DVD released by UAV Corporation on July 6, 2004; containing the first five episodes and an interview with Andy Heyward answering 10 questions voted upon by fans.

Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas — a single disc DVD released by UAV Corporation on August 31, 2004; containing the 1992 special Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas and episode 56, 61 and 62 of the original series: "Weather in Tibet", "Birds of a Feather" and "So It is Written". No special features regarding background were included.

Broadcast history

See also

References

External links

Search another word or see metal gloveon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature