|Created by||Andy Heyward
|Developed by||Jean Chalopin|
|Directed by||Bruno Bianchi
|Theme music composer||Saban Records|
|Country of origin|| Canada
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||86 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Andy Heyward
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||LBS Communications
Tokyo Movie Shinsha
Cuckoo's Nest Studio
Field Communications (S1)
|Distributor||Cookie Jar Entertainment|
|Original channel||first-run syndication|
|Original run||September 10, 1983 – February 1, 1986|
Inspector Gadget is an animated television series developed in joint-venture between France, Canada and the United States about a clumsy, simple-witted detective named Inspector Gadget, who is a human being with various bionic gadgets built into his body. Gadget's arch-nemesis is Dr. Claw, the leader of an evil organization, known as "M.A.D." 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). It originally ran from 1983 to 1986 and remained in syndication into late 1990s.
The series was a co-production between DIC Entertainment (now Cookie Jar Entertainment) in France (the main headquarters did not move to the US before 1987) and Nelvana in Canada; the animation work was outsourced to foreign studios such as Tokyo Movie Shinsha in Japan and Cuckoo's Nest Studio in Taiwan.
Inspector Gadget is the main protagonist of the series and movies. His fashion sense resembles that of Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther movies; his mannerisms also appear to draw on the character of Maxwell Smart, which Adams portrayed in the 1960s.
Often cluelessly stumbling through any case he is given, Gadget frequently ignorantly makes foolish and insufferably clumsy mistakes pertaining to surroundings and current environment, mistaking innocent bystanders (and sometimes Brain, his niece Penny's dog) 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. Another example where he shows some genuine police skill occurs in another episode when he makes an earnest effort to catch Claw during a car chase and becomes infuriated when Claw gets away.
In the early episodes Gadget is halfway brilliant and acknowledges Dr. Claw is nearby. After the first few episodes, however, Gadget has become incompetent. 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!".
In #9, "Race to the Finish", #11, "A Star is Lost", #22, "Sleeping Gas", #43, "No Flies on Us", #65, "Quizz Master", #73, "The Incredible Shrinking Gadget", #77, "Bad Dreams are Made of This", and #80, "N.S.F. Gadget", Gadget falls victim of the M.A.D. spells. He is voiced by Don Adams.
Penny is Gadget's precocious niece and partner. Inspector Gadget is her guardian and caretaker, though often she seems more suited to be his caretaker because of 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. Penny has blonde hair in pigtails and green eyes, and wears a red and white shirt, green pants and red shoes. She has a number of outfits which are worn for certain assignments or free times rather than her normal clothes. In the second season, Penny mostly wears a jacket. She has a number of the perils and plays the helpless damsel-in-distress role, rescued by Brain usually, and escaping by herself sometimes. In the second season, Penny mostly does not have any perils. She is voiced by Cree Summer (then by Holly Berger).
Brain the Dog is Inspector Gadget's and Penny's faithful pet dog and companion. 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 Brain is in contact with Gadget 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, like with Flipper the dolphin. 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. Brain usually walks on 2 legs, and is able to function with anthropomorphic capabilities. He is voiced by Frank Welker.
Dr. Claw is the main antagonist of the series and movies. He is the 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 is 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). He is voiced by Frank Welker (and in a few episodes in the first season by Don Francks).
M.A.D. Cat is Dr. Claw's fat pet cat. M.A.D. Cat is always at Dr. Claw's side, usually curled up next to Claw's control panel. M.A.D. Cat serves as a foil for Dr. Claw, often being petted when Dr. Claw is happy, to the point of getting beaten up when Dr. Claw gets angry. M.A.D. Cat "talks" in cat sounds. M.A.D. Cat has an evil, hissing laugh. He is voiced by Frank Welker.
Chief Quimby is Inspector Gadget's short-tempered boss and the chief of Metro City. He has a moustache and is usually seen with a pipe in his mouth. 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 because of Gadget's obliviousness; he appears again at the end of most episodes to congratulate Gadget on a job well done. He is voiced by Dan Hennessey (then by Maurice LaMarche).
Corporal Capeman, voiced by Townsend Coleman, was introduced in the second season and appears in nine non-consecutive episodes as Inspector Gadget’s sidekick. Capeman acts in the manner of a stereotypical crimefighter who is a self-proclaimed superhero and is buck-toothed. He is equally as inept as Inspector Gadget. The two have a student-mentor relationship, though Gadget is rarely teaching anything nor is Capeman learning. (Gadget generally mispronounces his name "Capman" and Penny generally calls him by the nickname "Capey"). 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). His eight other appearances are in six consecutive episodes, starting with his first appearance in #69, "The Capeman Cometh" and continuing with #70, "Crashcourse in Crime", #71, "Gadget's Gadgets", a brief appearance in #72, "Gadget in Minimadness", #73, "The Incredible Shrinking Gadget", and #74, "Gadget Meets the Grappler". Afterwards, Capeman returns in #78, "Focus on Gadget", where he wants to go into space with Gadget on his mission, but can not because he is sick, but returns in the next episode, #79, "M.A.D. in the Moon". Additionally, Jim Carrey once auditioned for the part of Capeman.
Professor Von Slickstein, voiced by Don Francks in the first season, and in the second season by Andy Goldberg, is a scientist and a creator of Gadget's gadgets. Appeared in one episode of the first season (#5, "The Amazon"), and in three episodes of the second season in which Gadget time travelled with Penny and Brain to stop M.A.D. plans to eliminate Gadget's ancestors.
This is a sampling of selected M.A.D. agents or counterparts of Dr. Claw who, with certain exceptions, appeared in one episode. All of the selected agents or villains are those who have names. Other numerous unnamed M.A.D. agents appear in different episodes.
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 would be of any interest to, or even within the jurisdiction of, a city police department like the Metro City police, which included in one episode solving a rash of disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle, which turned out to be another M.A.D. plot.
Although there are rare exceptions, almost every episode of the first season follows a standard plot with little variation (many of these elements were tinkered with in season 2):
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, anything from a gas barrel, a Gypsy fortuneteller, a turtle shell to even a gargoyle on Gadget's house. In many episodes, Quimby appears accompanied by his theme music.
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. Often, Penny and Brain are near Gadget and listen to what he reads. A few times, Brain listens by himself. Very rarely, Penny listens by herself. Occasionally, neither one of them listens to 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. 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'm always on duty.", before he crumples the paper, and then unintentionally throws the message back at the Chief and walks away. The message explodes seconds later in Quimby's face (his smoking pipe normally turns black and disintegrates after every explosion). Often, he will groan after the message explodes in his face and he will make some kind of comment afterwards, the most common being "Why do I put up with him?" 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 does not 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 does 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, the M.A.D.mobile, 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. Later on in each episode, when the agents fail in their attempts to eliminate Gadget, Dr. Claw will berate his men for their failures. In some episodes like "Movie Set" (#13), he will restrain his anger towards his female agents, yet he will still let them know that he is disappointed for their inability to get rid of Gadget. In virtually all episodes, Dr. Claw does not hesitate to convey his displeasure whenever his agents fail during their missions.
4: Usually, Gadget tells Penny and Brain the mission is too dangerous for them to come along, and he leaves to carry out the assignment, followed by Brain, and usually, Penny as well. Very occasionally, Gadget takes Penny and Brain along on 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). His bumbling has gotten him into dangerous situations, yet more often than not, he will also bumble his way out of danger. This will aggravate the M.A.D. agent who is trying to get rid of him. Sometimes, Gadget's actions will injure the M.A.D. agents and, to add insult to injury, Gadget will make a comment to the agent, making him or her feel worse. He also almost always mistakes enemy agents for helpful allies, and vice versa. In "Winter Olympics (a.k.a. Gadget in Winterland)" (#1), "Amusement Park" (#14), "M.A.D. Trap" (#20), "Luck of the Irish" (#44) and "Ghost Catchers" (#75), he is trying to arrest the real enemy agents. In #73, "The Incredible Shrinking Gadget", when Gadget is shrunken twice by Dr. Dummkopf with his shrinking ray gun (later accidentally used by Corporal Capeman inside Gadget's bedroom), Gadget is convinced that M.A.D. has sent him to a giant replica of the Gadget house (despite that most of the episode takes place there), and that the real Penny, Brain, and Capeman are giant M.A.D. replica robots.
6: Brain is always instructed by Penny to follow Gadget to make sure that he does not get hurt: "I'm worried, Brain. You'd better follow Uncle Gadget." Brain makes use of various costumes (although how he gets 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 M.A.D. 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 is usually self-inflicted. Even when Gadget falls into a M.A.D. agent trap, he always escapes by using his gadgets. Often, Penny calls Brain to discover if her uncle is all right.
7: 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. Penny usually uses her computer book to figure out Dr. Claw's plan. Occasionally, Penny discovers M.A.D. plan by overhearing.
8: Penny often becomes captured while snooping around, and is usually rescued by Brain, although she occasionally escapes herself. This occurred less in the second series.
9: Usually, before Penny solves the case, she calls Chief Quimby to the crime scene. In #49, "Did You Myth Me?", Gadget calls Chief Quimby. In #75, "Ghost Catchers", Brain calls Chief Quimby. By this time, the current super agent in each episode will be close to completing their mission for Dr. Claw.
10: Penny often uses her computer book to save the day. Occasionally, Gadget saves the day by accident. More often than not, Brain aids Penny in saving the day in addition to his job of keeping Gadget safe. Gadget then always gets the 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 does not even know how they got there, but he is delighted to see them.
11: 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 is not seen in #73, "The Incredible Shrinking Gadget"; instead, Dr. Claw's henchman, Dr. Dummkopf says "I'll get even next time!" when, after he is shrunken by Brain and Capeman, he escapes in a toy airplane owned by Penny. This phrase is also played towards the end of the end credits in every episode.
12: 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, which were both DIC cartoons as with Inspector Gadget). During these segments, Gadget is ironically enough teaching intelligent and responsible safety tips - in direct contrast with his dangerous job and risk-taking behaviour in the show; though most of the safety tips (especially those in season 1) had some connection with problems Gadget had experienced during the episode. Every episode from both seasons includes a safety tip.
Inspector Gadget's gadgets were the most unusual aspect of the show, and although they are central to his character, they rarely 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.
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.
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 the Mach 5 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). The Gadgetmobile seems to resemble a Mark II Supra, a Mitsubishi Starion (similar style car, with vents behind the window), or a Bricklin SV-1. A Supra makes a cameo in the Inspector Gadget film, even though in the film, the Gadgetmobile was changed to a Lincoln Continental.
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 different vehicles altogether, most notably the Gadgetvan, even while in motion. In episode #38 "Don't Hold Your Breath" we see that it can transform into a boat for speeding along water and can also travel underwater in submarine mode. The Gadget Boat features very minorly compared to its other forms of the Gadget Car and Gadgetvan.
At the start of almost every episode the Gadgetmobile is in van mode, probably as it acts as the family vehicle in between adventures. During the course of the episode, usually during a chase of a suspect or rushing to a crime scene after Quimby's briefing, Gadget will call out "Go-Go-Gadget Car!" and the van will transform into a car and speed off faster than the van could go. 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, quite 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).
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 exactly the 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). In episodes "Down at the Farm" and "Art Heist" she uses her computer book to call Chief Quimby. In episodes "The Invasion" and "Gadget's Gadgets" the book is stolen when Penny is captured. Gadget never knows what Penny is doing on her computer book, but in episode "Gadget's Clean Sweep" when Penny used her computer book to locate the time machine, Gadget finally sees what Penny is doing on her computer book.
Penny's wristwatch has five known functions:
Whenever the wristwatch's standard time screen is seen in an episode, the time is always the same: 02:30PM.
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 and in another his standard antenna cannot pick up her whereabouts so a satellite dish extends out of the collar (visually similar to an Elizabethan Collar) which helps to triangulate her global position.
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 a criminal 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 insignia.
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 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 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).
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 versions of the main characters and served as supervising director.
According to the DVD bonus film "Wowsers", a 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.
Nelvana writer Peter Sauder was the head writer for Season One, which was co-produced by DiC and the Canadian Studio Nelvana (exactly which/how many writers the first season had is unknown). In Season Two, as Nelvana was no longer part of the production, the show was written by Eleanor Burian-Mohr, Mike O' Mahoney, Glen Egbert and Jack Hanrahan (a former Get Smart writer, among many other things). (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.)
In the pilot episode, "Winter Olympics", 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 for 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, using 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 original credit on the pilot episode also 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 on screen. When the new end credits were made, the same music and voices were reused, something which explains why Dr. Claw's voice is heard during the regular credits while Chief Quimby is seen speaking.
Also noteworthy is that Gadget actually says early in this episode that he is "off duty", while in many following episodes he would say, "I'm always on duty."
The first sixty-five 22½-minute episodes were written, designed, storyboarded, and voice-recorded in Canada at Nelvana Animation Studio (which produced the series under DiC's supervision), while being directed (long distance) by French director Bruno Bianchi. 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 (the pilot was animated by Telecom Animation Film), before being finished in post production by Nelvana. Since DiC was a French company looking to expand its operations to the US, 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. After the first season, the show was a worldwide hit.
In the first season, nearly every episode saw the introduction of some new 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.
The first season episodes were repeated during the 1984 – 1985 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:
Although these differences lessened parts of the repetition, many of the stories were far weaker and thinner in content and structure than those of the first season, and the animation visibly cheaper. The full reason for the show's cancellation is still unknown.
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 records company, Saban Records, (now Saban Music Group) 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.
The theme music is based on Edvard Grieg's movement, "In the Hall of the Mountain King," from his opera Peer Gynt.
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:
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".
An English version of the album was also released in Australia at around the same time through ABC Records. It is substantially similar to the French version with the obvious major change that the vocals are the original English language vocals.
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 (Don Adams died in 2005), with a brief appearance of Chief Quimby, voiced by Seth Green.
In January 2009, IGN named Inspector Gadget as the 54th best in the Top 100 Best Animated TV Shows.
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. There are 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. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment would later acquire the rights to the cartoon.
|Cover Art||DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date||Additional Information|
|Volume 1||22||April 25, 2006||
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.
Inspector Gadget: The Go Go Gadget Collection — a single disc DVD released by Fox on September 9, 2009. It features 10 episodes not on the volume 1 release.
Australia has had 3 volume sets released by MagnaPacific on November 9, 2006, July 3, 2007, and October 11, 2007.
Inspector Gadget: 25th Anniversary Collection (9 Disc Box Set) — released in Australia by MagnaPacific on November 5, 2008. This release contains the first 64 episodes from the original series' Season One.
Inspektor Gadget: Die komplette Staffel 1 (eng. Inspector Gadget: The complete Season 1) will be released in Germany by More Music and Media on March 19, 2010. It's a 10 Disc Set which includes all 65 episodes from the first Season, but only with german Audio.
(dubbed into Irish and entitled
Elements of the franchise pay homage to the 1960s series Get Smart, Gadget's voice was even provided by Don Adams who was the star of Get Smart. Other elements are homages to things like Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther movie series. On the series, Inspector Gadget is a cyborg or andriod detective and secret agent, who must stop an evil organization called MAD lead by Dr. Claw. He is usually helped by his niece, Penny and his dog, Brain. Gadget has many gadgets and special devices inside his body which he uses, but not very well and he is not very smart, but he usually with the help of Penny and Brain, ends up saving the day.