“The Pink Panther” – Henry Mancini (arr, cond, p) & orchestra
The film director Blake Edwards brought into existence what is probably the best opening sequence to his comic crime film when he commissioned a young enterprising company to produce an animated Pink Panther cartoon film. The creative team came up with the idea of giving the cold, glittering diamond the guise of a cool, pink panther, which leads a bungling detective on a merry dance to the slinky sound of the Panther theme.
Mancini would not be Mancini if he did not bathe the film location – the skiing resort Cortina d’Ampezzo –in highly varied musical colours and genres. His well-known love for dance music finds itself in the samba (“It Had Better Be Tonight”), the shuffle (“Champagne And Quail”), and the cha-cha (“Something For Sellers”). But also the ballad, sung by a muted trumpet and saxophone (“Royal Blue”), or the simple combination of keyboard and strings (“Piano And Strings”) are all woven into the story. One of the most memorable and delightful sounds is that of the accordion, whose melodies evoke an atmosphere that is filled with the Bohème, Paris and the sound of the musette. This music is never gaudy, but subtle, just like a panther padding quietly along. And if your appetite is now whetted for more, there is an extra portion of Mancini to be found in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” (RCA LSP 2362).
This Speakers Corner LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the master tapes through to the cutting head. All royalties and mechanical rights have been paid.
Recording: September 1963 at RCA Victor’s Music Center of the World, Hollywood, by Jim Malloy
Production: Joe Reisman