Inspector Gadget shows who's boss.


Original Medium: TV animation
Produced by: DiC
First Appeared: 1983
Creators: Andy Heyward, Jean Chalopin and Bruno Bianchi.
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Cross Inspector Clouseau (the bumbling policeman who inspired DePatie-Freleng's toon The Inspector) with TV's …

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… Maxwell Smart, and throw in a healthy dollop of Plastic Man — and you still won't quite equal Inspector Gadget.

Gadget was a cartoon cop whose 86 episodes were originally syndicated between 1983 and '85, and have been rerun endlessly ever since. In attitude and outlook, he closely resembled the title character of the secret agent sitcom Get Smart — and was even voiced by Get Smart's star, Don Adams (whose other toon connections include having been the voice of Tennessee Tuxedo). But he went a step farther than Max by having all those sci-fi accoutrements (which, like the earlier Dynomutt, he hasn't quite mastered the use of) built right into his body. Aided by his niece, Penny (who called him "Uncle Gadget") and Penny's dog, Brain, he fought a wide variety of menaces, a majority of which were instigated by the evil organization M.A.D.

Inspector Gadget was never a comic book star, tho he did appear in one Little Golden Book, Inspector Gadget in Africa. Other than that and a prime-time special in the late 1980s, Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas, he remained just a cartoon character in syndicated reruns until well into the 1990s — albeit, a very fondly remembered one. Then, in 1996, The History Channel did a series called Inspector Gadget's Field Trips, in which the character hosted a show about the history of various parts of the world. And in 1999, he followed in the footsteps of Mr. Magoo and George of the Jungle by appearing in a live-action Disney feature film.

But as that film showed, after all these years, he still hasn't completely learned to use all his gadgets.


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Text ©2000-07 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DiC.