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#1081; The Lingering Icebergs (1 of 3)
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Six things I just learned about Inspector Gadget

Inspector Gadget costume available from HalloweenCostumes.co.uk.

Last week at Gen Con I had the pleasure of learning a bunch of dumb stuff I didn’t know about Inspector Gadget! And now I will share it all with you.

Like everyone in the world, I watched the television program as a kid, and chuckled along to the antics of the terrible lawman and his orphan ward and cryptid dog. I knew about the two live-action movies as well, though I’ve never actually watched them all the way through. And I vaguely knew that there were some various other Gadget adaptations out there.

NOW, however, I know all that AND these six other things, which I will share with you now:

THING ONE: Inspector Gadget had a moustache in the original pilot, but DiC (the production company) was sued by MGM because he too closely resembled their own Inspector Clouseau.

Rather than re-animating the pilot, a line of dialogue was added to later showings, in which Penny comments on the moustache and Gadget says: “It’s so that nobody will recognize me. I’m on vacation, absolutely, totally and completely off duty.”

Here’s the original version of the opening theme with the moustache present: [On YouTube]

THING TWO: In the 1999 live-action movie, there is a scene in which Inspector Gadget covers a lady with 100 gallons of toothpaste. It’s just as terrible as it sounds:

I agree with one of the YouTube commenters: “Why would they even put that much toothpaste in him anyway? How often is he gonna come across a situation that requires a crap load of toothpaste like that?”

THING THREE: There have been THREE spinoff television shows since the original:

Gadget & the Gadgetinis (2002–2003), in which the Inspector has been promoted to Lieutenant and Penny has built him two miniature robot sidekicks. [On YouTube]

Gadget Boy & Heather (1995–1998), in which the brain of an adult policeman has been placed into the body of a child for some reason, and the child given all the typical crimefighting gadgets. The villain is an 8-armed spider-lady named Spydra. [On YouTube]

A current CGI version of Inspector Gadget (2015–present), a “sequel” to the original, presently available on Netflix in the US. In this version, Dr. Claw has a teenaged nephew, whom Penny has a crush on. [On YouTube]

There have also been two animated movies: 2002’s Inspector Gadget’s Last Case [wiki/YouTube], which features Jaleel White (Urkel) as Gadget’s car, and 2005’s Inspector Gadget’s Biggest Caper Ever [wiki/YouTube], which features Bernie Mac as Gadget’s car.

THING FOUR: Inspector Gadget once met the Mario Brothers:

For this live-action segment, Gadget was played by Maurice LaMarche, who would go on to voice Gadget in several of his other animated incarnations once Don Adams had retired from the character (and from this world).

If anyone can make it through the entire thing, let me know what happens.

THING FIVE: There are, surprisingly, not that many interesting covers of the Inspector Gadget theme song on YouTube, but this one done in Mario Paint is rather charming:

I particularly like its judicious use of the Yoshi sound effect.

THING SIX: Speaking of the Inspector Gadget theme song, it turns out that the one we in the English-speaking world all know so well is merely a VASTLY INFERIOR ITERATION when you learn that in other languages, IT HAS MORE LYRICS.

Here’s the French version:

It doesn’t have the “Go, Gadget, go” breakdown in the middle, but oh là là, DOES IT EVER HAVE LYRICS.

Our friendly local Francophone at Gen Con broke them down for us. There is a lot of repetition, but in summary and with some idiomatic translation, it goes something like this:

Eh la qui va là // Hey there who is that
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Eh la ça va pas // It’s not going well
Ouh Ouh! // Ooh ooh!
Oh la je suis là // Hey there I am here
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget

C’est moi que voilà // It’s me, I am here
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Ca va être la joie // It’s going to be fun
Ouh Ouh! // Ooh ooh!
Au nom de la loi // In the name of the law
Moi je vous arrête // I will arrest you
Je vous arrête là! // I’m gonna stop you there!

[CHORUS]
Go Go, Gadget à main // Go Go Gadget hand
Flash, Gadget au chapeau // Flash! Gadget in hat
Hé ho, Gadget au poing // Hey ho, Gadget fist
Oh la, Elastico-Gadget // Oh that’s Elastico-Gadget

Les bandits sont là // There the villains are
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Ils n’échapperont pas // They will not escape
Ouh Ouh! // Ooh ooh!
Si l’inspecteur fait gaffe // If the Inspector watches out
Fait gaffe aux gadgets // Watches out for his gadgets
Qui marchent ou marchent pas // Which may or may not work

[CHORUS]
Go Go, Gadget à main // Go Go Gadget hand
Là-haut, Gadget au chapeau // Up there, Gadget in hat
Go Go, Gadget au poing // Go Go Gadget fist
Qui c’est? // Who is that?
C’est Elastico-Gadget // That’s Elastico-Gadget

Et puis patatrac // And then, bang!
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Voilà le chef qu’est là // Look, here is the Chief
Ouh Ouh! // Ooh ooh!
Salut chef c’est moi // Hello, Chief, it’s me
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Ça n’en finit pas // It just never ends!

I’m super charmed by the mention of both Gadget “hand” and “fist” (they’re different?), and then the mysterious “Elastico-Gadget.” It sounds like it could be his springy legs, but the video shows his helicopter hat at that point! WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON.

If anyone can advise if either the Spanish version or German version communicates any new insight, please leave a comment on this post…

Until then, I’ll be humming “C’est moi que voilà, Inspecteur Gadget” for the foreseeable future.

YOU’RE WELCOME

Edited to add: Lots of good comments on the Twitter thread for this post, too!



Roll-a-Sketch drawings from San Diego! And NEXT WEEK: Gen Con!

Here are a few of the Roll-a-Sketch drawings I made for folks at San Diego Comic-Con last week!

Next week I’ll be in Indiana once again for Gen Con, and if you’ll be there as well, you can grab one of these sketches from me there! My cartoonist buds and I will be at booth #2129, around the back.

I’m quite happy with these drawings and I can’t wait to do some more at Gen Con! (Click any of the pictures for a closer look.)

CHRISTMAS + PANDA:

DISNEY + INSPECTOR GADGET + CATFISH + KNIGHT:

CAVEMAN + CAT:

ELEPHANT + ROYALTY + SULTAN + SUPERMAN:

FANCY + WHALE:

And finally, a special roll for Juneau’s own Pat Race, MOOSE + ROYALTY (and he won the moose honestly, I should add):

I asked TWO DIFFERENT CANADIANS for caption suggestions for this one, and they both independently answered the same thing. Sometimes the obvious thing is the best thing.

Thanks to all who came by this year!!



A high-flying commission

Recently, reader Julie M. contacted me to ask if I could make a commissioned portrait as a gift for her husband’s birthday.

I rarely attempt portraits — and I’d never tried to make an actual likeness in the Wondermark collage style, where one is limited to the source material one can unearth — but in this case, I happened to get lucky in my search, and was able to create something approaching a resemblance from chunks of about five different source images and judicious use of the Photoshop warp tool.

Plus, Julie’s husband is a pilot, and there are few things that can get me more excited about a commission than the prospect of making a weird Victorian airplane collage.

I think it turned out quite well! (Click the plane for a closer look.)

All that is well and good, and I would have been happy to leave it there and chalk it all up to a lovely experience.

BUT HISTORY HAD TO SHOW ME UP.

The other day I saw this tweet from the fascinating account @SovietVisuals:

A vintage postcard, reading “Greetings from Leningrad” on the tailplane; “Country of Soviets” betwixt the wings.

Everything old is new again, it seems.

My favorite part is how it appears that the pilot is sticking his head and arm through a canvas, upon which the airplane and landscape have been painted as a backdrop.

Julie, perhaps consider this technique for his next birthday. Everyone at the party can take a turn!