Song:The Pink Panther Theme
Album:Midnight, Moonlight & Magic: The Very Best Of Henry Mancini
Though it was not his biggest chart hit, Henry Mancini's theme from the 1964 film The Pink Panther is probably his most durable and memorable song. After RCA Records botched the release of Mancini's theme from the TV show Peter Gunn, they had more confidence in Mancini's movie and TV themes and they got better chart and record sales results. Mancini may have been the first film composer to be considered marketable as a recording artist. Mancini's hit singles in the early 60s included the theme from the TV show Mr. Lucky, Moon River from Breakfast At Tiffany's, Baby Elephant Walk from Hatari! and The Days Of Wine And Roses. That brings us to The Pink Panther. Mancini had much of his success working with director Blake Edwards starting with Peter Gunn. Edwards hired legendary Looney Tunes animation director Friz Freleng to design an animated Pink Panther for the opening titles. Mancini took his cues from Freleng's design and came up with a jazz influenced theme featuring sax player Plas Johnson. Johnson was a Los Angeles session musician and a member of The Wrecking Crew studio musician group. I'm sure you have heard Johnson on many recordings but The Pink Panther is his most memorable performance. Of course The Pink Panther was a very successful film and spawned sequels and remakes all using Mancini's original theme. The single charted. The soundtrack album was a big seller and Mancini won three Grammys. And Freleng and partner David DePatie turned The Pink Panther into an animated TV series. The song is still popular today as a ringtone. You can get The Pink Panther Theme on this budget comp. Here's Henry Mancini with The Terry Gibbs Band featuring Plas Johnson performing The Pink Panther Theme on The Steve Allen Show 1984.