Big Nose, initially known as The Little Man and sometimes referred to as The White Man, is a pivotal figure in the Pink Panther universe, gracing numerous versions of the beloved cartoon series.
While he often emerges as the primary antagonist, there are instances where he shares a friendlier rapport with the Pink Panther.
At times, he’s just the unsuspecting individual caught in the whirlwind of Pink Panther’s unpredictable escapades, becoming an unintentional recipient of the iconic cat’s mischievous deeds.
Pink Panther – The Little Man
Watching this was an absolute delight for me. Sellers nails his role by keeping it subtle. His restrained performance, devoid of any over-the-top antics, amplifies the humor in his clumsiness.
For me, Blake Edwards embodies the vibrant and sophisticated ambiance of the cinematic sixties, reminiscent of a shimmering martini. Looking back at the Pink Panther, it feels like a seamless progression from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
David Niven’s charisma and Claudia Cardinale’s radiant presence enhance the movie’s allure. Despite being the central figure, Inspector Clouseau steals the spotlight as a standout character. Due to his overwhelming popularity, he eventually took center stage in subsequent sequels, notably the renowned second film, Shot in the Dark, directed by the same brilliant Blake Edwards.
Who Was Big Nose / The Little Man
Big Nose consistently took center stage in the original Pink Panther shorts crafted by David DePatie, Friz Freleng, and Blake Edwards. He’s recognized as the Pink Panther series’ primary antagonist.
Making his debut in 1964 with “The Pink Phink,” the first installment of the Pink Panther animated series, Big Nose quickly became the Pink Panther’s primary rival. Over the series’ 16-year span, he made regular appearances.
Throughout the original series, Big Nose took on numerous roles. He rarely uttered a word and his pronounced nose became a signature feature.
While he often showcased a white, egg-like physique, his skin sometimes bore a more natural hue. Depending on the episode’s plot, he either went without clothing or donned costumes and hats that suited his role in the cartoon’s narrative.
He rarely utters a word, and his big nose stands out prominently. While he often sports a stark white hue, there are instances where creators shade him with a Caucasian tone.
Depending on the storyline, he might go without attire or sport a costume and, frequently, a hat that aligns perfectly with his role in the animated tale. This appearance variability adds depth to his character and showcases the creators’ attention to detail and commitment to context-driven design.
- Wallace Shawn (1993-1995)
- Barry Carrollo (1996)
- Alex Nussbaum (2010-2011)
The Many Hats He Wears
The brilliance of the Little Man’s character lies in his versatility. He might be chasing the Pink Panther in a cat-and-mouse game in one episode. In another, he’s grappling with his unique challenges, showcasing a range of human emotions from anger and frustration to joy and delight.
This versatility keeps audiences guessing and perpetually engaged. The creators deftly ensured he wasn’t pigeonholed into one specific role, making him a wild card in the animated series.
- David H. DePatie
- Friz Freleng
- Blake Edwards
The Little Man In The Pink Phink (1964)
In 1964, The Little Man debuted in the inaugural episode of the Pink Panther animated series. In this episode, titled “The Pink Panther,” he takes on the role of a house painter committed to painting a house blue.
However, the Pink Panther has a distaste for blue and ardently tries to paint the house pink. The Pink Panther and The Little Man engage in a spirited color competition, with The Little Man oblivious to the Panther’s antics.
When The Little Man eventually spots the Pink Panther, anger drives him to grab a shotgun, aiming to shoot the meddling cat.
Yet, the clever Pink Panther tricks him into shooting pink paint (loaded by the Panther) onto the house. In a bid to rid the scene of the pink hue, The Little Man buries the Panther’s paint cans, only to watch in astonishment as pink grass and trees emerge from the ground.
The climax sees the Panther painting The Little Man pink, prompting a frustrated response from the painter, who vents his annoyance on a mailbox. As the episode closes, the Pink Panther confidently strides into his newly pink domicile, with even the setting sun taking on a pink tint.
A Very Pink Christmas
In the Christmas special, “A Very Pink Christmas,” Big Nose emerges as the central antagonist. He and the Pink Panther vie for the title of top Christmas tree seller, each hoping to buy the world’s most luxurious sports car.
Big Nose employs various tactics to sabotage the Pink Panther’s ventures but to no avail. He escalates his schemes, stealing money, blowing up a safe, and attempting to frame the Pink Panther by planting the cash in the Panther’s house.
However, a young boy discovers the “walking panther sticks” – evidence of Big Nose’s scheme. As fate would have it, Big Nose loses control on the snow, scattering his stolen money.
Ultimately, Big Nose, defeated but not downtrodden, joins the Pink Panther and the boy’s family for a heartwarming Christmas celebration. His gift from the Pink Panther? A toy car, bringing the competition full circle.
Pink Panther and Pals
In the Cartoon Network’s “Pink Panther and Pals,” Alex Nussbaum lends his voice to The Little Man, now renamed Big Nose. As a central character and primary antagonist in the Pink Panther segments, Big Nose constantly hatches plans to oust the teenage Panther.
However, the Panther adeptly thwarts his every move. On occasion, Big Nose’s dog also attempts to chase away the Pink Panther but often ends up aligning with the cunning cat by the short’s end.
A Mirror to Society
While the antics between the Pink Panther and the Little Man bring laughter, there’s a deeper layer of social commentary present. The Little Man represents the everyday individual, navigating a world filled with unpredictability, symbolized by the Pink Panther’s mischievous nature.
The dynamics between the two mirror society’s complexities, where unforeseen challenges constantly arise, requiring adaptability and resilience. Their interactions, although comical, reflect larger societal themes of conflict, resolution, and coexistence.