The Pink Panther Theme

"The Pink Panther Theme"

"The Pink Panther Theme" cover
Song by Henry Mancini from the album The Pink Panther
Released 1963
Recorded 1963
Genre Jazz
Length 2:40
Label RCA Victor
Writer(s) Henry Mancini
Producer(s) Henry Mancini

"The Pink Panther Theme" is an instrumental composition by Henry Mancini written as the theme for the 1963 film The Pink Panther and subsequently nominated for the 1964 Academy Award for Best Original Score. The eponymous cartoon character created for the film's opening credits by David DePatie and Friz Freleng was animated in time to the tune. The tenor saxophone solo was played by Plas Johnson.

The tune was included on the film's soundtrack album and issued as a single (in the United States) in 1964; the single reached the Top 10 on the U.S. Billboard adult contemporary chart and won three Grammy Awards.

Various recordings of the tune were featured in the opening credits of all The Pink Panther films, with the exception of A Shot in the Dark and Inspector Clouseau. It has also been used in countless works featuring the animated Pink Panther character.

"The Pink Panther Theme", originally played in the key of E minor, is noted for its quirky, unusual use of chromaticism which is derived from the Hungarian minor scale (gypsy/romani scale[1]) with raised 4th and 7th degrees.


Other versions

In the 1978 film Revenge of the Pink Panther, the theme, and much of the soundtrack from this entry in the series, draw heavily from the disco sound of the late 1970s. The theme itself was reworked to include a more dancy bassline, electric piano, and guitar solo. A similar thing was done for 1983's Curse of the Pink Panther, where it had more electronic sounds incorporated.

The theme was used in John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola's live version of Chick Corea's Short Tales of the Black Forest, from the 1981 album Friday Night in San Francisco.[2]

In the 1993 film Son of the Pink Panther, the theme was rearranged and performed by Bobby McFerrin in the opening titles. This version was unique in being the only one to be performed a cappella.

Actresses Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz, featuring The Pussycat Dolls dance troupe, danced to the Pink Panther Theme in the film Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.

Christophe Beck rearranged the music for the 2006 reboot, as well as its sequel, The Pink Panther 2. Paul Oakenfold remixed the theme song for the 2006 film.

In 2007, saxophonist Dave Koz recorded a version for his album At the Movies.[3][4]

The tune was used as background music for "Safe Crackers," one of the pricing games on the CBS game show The Price Is Right, from 1976 until 1992.


  1. Silverman, Carol (24 May 2012). Romani Routes: Cultural Politics and Balkan Music in Diaspora. Oxford University Press. p. 300. ISBN 978-0-19-530094-9.
  2. Greenberg, Donna (2002-11-18). "John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola, Paco DeLucia: Friday Night in San Francisco". Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  3. "At The Movies overview".
  4. "Dave Koz's Secret Symphony Gig".
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