The Pink Panther is a British-American media franchise primarily focusing on a series of comedy-mystery films featuring an inept French police detective, Inspector Jacques Clouseau. The franchise began with the release of the classic Pink Panther film in 1963. Elements and characters inspired by the films were adapted into other media, including books, comic books and an animated series.
The first film in the series derives its name from the eponymous pink diamond that has an enormous size and value. The diamond is called the "Pink Panther" because the flaw at its centre, when viewed closely, is said to resemble a leaping pink panther. The phrase reappears in the title of the fourth film The Return of the Pink Panther, in which the theft of the diamond is again the centre of the plot. The phrase was used for all the subsequent films in the series, even when the jewel did not figure in the plot. The jewel ultimately appeared in six of the 11 films.
This first film's Pink Panther character, designed by Hawley Pratt and Friz Freleng, was subsequently the subject of his own series of theatrical cartoons, beginning with The Pink Phink in 1964. The cartoon series gained its highest profile on television, aired on Saturday mornings as The Pink Panther Show.