Pac-Man, also known as Pac-Man: The Animated Series, is an animated TV series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and based upon the popular Pac-Man arcade game by Namco and Midway, which aired on ABC from September 25, 1982, to September 1, 1984. During the first airing of the show, the large number of advertisers sponsoring it caused commercial breaks to be double their normal length. Later episodes featured normal commercial break times.
The arcade game Pac-Land was based entirely on the cartoon, and Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures drew significant influence from it as well. Also, the Tengen release of the original Pac-Man arcade game for the Nintendo Entertainment System features box art based on the cartoon.
Pac-Man follows the adventures of the title character, Pac-Man (voiced by Marty Ingels), his wife Mrs. Pepper Pac-Man (voiced by Barbara Minkus), and their child, Pac-Baby (voiced by Russi Taylor). They also had two pets, Chomp-Chomp the Dog (voiced by Frank Welker) and Sour Puss the Cat (voiced by Peter Cullen). The family lives in Pac-Land, a place in which the geography and architecture seem to revolve primarily around spheres and sphere-like shapes.
Most episodes of the series center around the ongoing battle between the Pac family and their only known enemies, the Ghost Monsters: Blinky, Pinky (both voiced by Chuck McCann), Inky (Barry Gordon), Clyde (Neilson Ross), and Sue (Susan Silo). They work for Mezmaron (Allan Lurie), a mysterious figure bearing a likeness to Darth Vader, whose sole mission is to find and control the source of "Power Pellets", which serve as the primary food and power source for the city, as well as the deus ex machina in virtually every episode.
For whatever reason, nearly everything in Pac-Land takes the shape of a sphere (or is round, at the very least). Everything from natural backgrounds to houses to cars to animals and even (or especially) the people assume the form of a ball.
Another recurring theme is the common use of "Pac-" as a prefix for verbs and famous or common existing nouns (an example: Pac-Hollywood, a town famous for its film studios). This is reminiscent of Smurfs or Snorks, both animated series which replaced or altered several existing words with "Smurf" or "Snork," respectively.(In fact, the series was referred to as "Pac-Smurfs" around the Hanna-Barbera studio. Pac-Man himself is often nicknamed "Packy" by Pepper. In a typical episode, the ghost monsters are eaten in the beginning, and their eyes fly back to Mezmaron's lava-lair closet to get new ghost suits and plot something evil.
Power Pellets (which were previously called "power pills", or "energizers") seem to be the focal point of nearly every episode, as Mezmeron and the Ghost-Monsters are intent upon finding them. In actuality, while Power Pellets are plentiful and easy to find around Pac-Land, Mezmeron and the Ghost-Monsters' ultimate goal is to control all power pellets by taking over the Power Pellet Forest (usually referred to as simply the "Power Forest") where power pellets are grown on trees. Although their primary purpose appears to be enabling the Pac-people to "chomp" Ghost Monsters, Power Pellets also seem to be the staple of their diet (as well as the city's source of power in general); Pac-Baby is fed power pellet milk for example.
It's interesting to note that when Pac-Man (or any other Pac-person, or Pac-animal) eats a power pellet, instead of turning blue (as in the video game series) the "Ghost-Monsters" (known as simply "monsters" in the original arcade game, and as simply "ghosts" in the Atari 2600 version) turn "purple with panic" after which they make an obvious note of their situation ("P-P-P-P-P-Pac Power!").
Other changes from the video games include the following:
- Super Pac-Man (voiced by Lorenzo Music) is portrayed as a separate character who lives in a parallel dimension called the Super Time Warp Space Home (and is called "Super-Pac").
- Clyde is the 'head' ghost monster, instead of Blinky (who is the first one out of the monster pen at the beginning of each level in the games); this is probably a reference to "Clyde" of the Ant Hill Mob from The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, another Hanna-Barbera series. Considering the gangster persona applied to Clyde and somewhat to Sue, Clyde may have been made the leader as a reference to Bonnie and Clyde (with Sue fitting the bill for Bonnie).
- Ms. Pac-Man is called "Pepper".
- When the ghosts catch up to Pac-Man in the early episodes, they trap him and "eat his skeleton", leaving him a disheveled version of himself. It was a pretty creepy visual for the predominantly young audience, and in future episodes, Pac-Man just appeared beat up (or in a weakened state) rather than internally gobbled.
- Sue, the only female ghost monster, is now just a separate character and the fifth ghost monster. In Ms. Pac-Man, Sue replaced Clyde in an attempt to give Ms. Pac-Man a rival of her own. When she was around, Pepper was usually the one who chomped the Sue. Even though in the cartoon Sue is purple, in the arcade game she is orange, the same color Clyde is in the Pac-Man game.
- The ghosts all wear hats or (in Sue's case) earrings. (Possibly so the animators/painters could tell the ghosts apart)
- Pinky and Inky had abilities the other ghost monsters did not. Pinky was able to alter his shape. For instance he changed into an inflatable rubber raft to travel on a body of water. Inky was able to produce many supplies and items from his clothing. Inky is even able to retrieve items larger than himself. An example of this is when he took a very long ladder out of his clothing to climb a wall to escape from Pac-Man. Each of the ghosts has a distinct personality. Aside from Clyde's and Sue's aforementioned personalities, Inky is the stupid one, Blinky is the cowardly one and Pinky is the tough one.
- The ghost monsters have a child cousin named "Dinky". Dinky and Pac-Baby would get along, not like the adults. Dinky appeared in two episodes.
- In the second season, besides Super-Pac, Pac-Man's teenage cousin, P.J. (Darryl Hickman), appears semi-regularly on the show.
Pac-Man aired on ABC Saturday mornings in the following formats:
- The Pac-Man/Little Rascals/Richie Rich Show (September 25, 1982-September 3, 1983)
- The Pac-Man/Rubik, the Amazing Cube Hour (September 10, 1983-September 1, 1984)
Since the original run, reruns have turned up on the USA Cartoon Express in the 1980s and Boomerang in 2005. The series is also available for purchase on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 160 Microsoft Points per episode.
- Presidential Pac Nappers - Mezmaron orders the Ghost Monsters to kidnap the Pac-President in order to get Pac-Man to lead them to the Power Pellet Forest.
- Hocus Pocus Pac Man -
- The Great Pac Quake -
- Picnic in Pac Land - Pac-Man and his family go for a picnic. The Ghosts are also on a picnic and plot to chomp Pac-Man, but each plan goes horribly awry.
- South Paw Packy -
- Pac Baby Panic -
- The Pac Man in the Moon -
- Neander Pac Man - Pac-Man reads Pac-Baby a story about their prehistoric ancestors.
- Super Ghosts -
- Invasion of the Pac Pups -
- Trick or Chomp -
- Pacula - Mezmeron transforms a bat into the vampiric Count Pacula in a plot to get the citizens of Pac-Land to hand over the directions to the Power Pellet Forest.
- Once Upon a Chomp -
- Journey to the Center of Pac Land -
- Chomp Out at the OK Corral - While taking a vacation out west, the ghost monsters along with their bratty cousin, Dinky, try to ruin the Pac-family vacation.
- The Bionic Pac Women -
- The Great Power Pellet Robbery -
- Back Packin' Packy -
- The Abominable Pac Man -
- Sir Chomp A Lot -
- Goo Goo at the Zoo -
- Attack of the Pac Mummy -
- A Bad Case of the Chomps -
- The Day the Forest Disappeared -
- Nighty Nightmares -
- The Pac-Mummy -
- Here's Super-Pac! - Super-Pac arrives in Pac-Land and saves Pac-Man and Mrs. Pac-Man from a Ghost Monster attack. Mrs. Pac-Man then invites Super-Pac to lunch as Mezmeron creates a giant robotic Ghost Monster.
- Hey, Hey, Hey...It's P.J. -
- The Super-Pac Bowl -
- Journey into the Pac-Past -
- The Old Pac-Man and the Sea -
- Public Pac-Enemy No. 1 -
- The Genii of Pacdad -
- Computer Packy -
- The Greatest Show in Pac-Land - The ghost monsters take their cousin Dinky to the circus for his birthday, where they encounter the Pac-family.
- Pac-A-Lympics -
- Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Pac-Man -
- Around the World in 80 Chomps -
- Super-Pac vs. Pac-Ape - An organ grinder's Pac-Monkey eats super-powered Power Pellets and grows to giant size. Now Pac-Man and Super-Pac must stop the giant Pac-Monkey before it wrecks Pac-Land
- P.J. Goes Pac-Hollywood -
- Pac-Van-Winkle -
- Happy Pacs-Giving -
Christmas Comes to Pac-Land
In this Christmas special, Pac-Man and family help Santa Claus (Peter Cullen) after he crash-lands in Pac-Land (after the reindeer were startled by floating eyes of the Ghost Monsters after Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Baby munched them). Mezmeron was the only character from the cartoon who is not in the special (although his castle, which is covered in snow, does appear). It is shown every December on the Boomerang Christmas party.
- Jodi Carlisle -
- Peter Cullen - Sour Puss the Cat
- Barry Gordon - Inky
- Darryl Hickman - P.J.
- Marty Ingels - Pac-Man
- Paul Kirby -
- Allan Lurie - Mezmaron
- Chuck McCann - Blinky, Pinky
- Barbara Minkus - Mrs. Pepper Pac-Man
- Lorenzo Music - Super-Pac
- Neilson Ross - Clyde
- Susan Silo - Sue
- Russi Taylor - Pac-Baby
- Lennie Weinrib -
- Frank Welker - Chomp-Chomp the Dog, Morris
On January 31, 2012, Warner Bros. released Pac-Man: The Complete First Season as a manufacture-on-demand DVD. The following September 11, the release of Pac-Man: The Complete Second Season included the prime-time special Christmas Comes to Pacland.