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 25 September 1982 to 1 September 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 Ms. "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.
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:
- Ms. Pac-Man is called "Pepper".
- 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). The idea of having a Ghost named "Clyde" being the leader would be carried over to Namco's own Pac-Man games; from Pac-Man Arrangement to Pac-Man World 3, the Red Ghost was called Clyde, while the Orange Ghost was given the name of Blinky instead.
- 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. Sue would be re-imagined as a Purple Ghost in later Namco video games, like Pac-Land, Pac-Mania, and Pac-Attack.
- 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 Jr. Pac-Man, the titular Pac-boy would befriend Blinky's daughter, Yum-Yum.
- 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 (25 September 1982 - 3 September 1983)
- The Pac-Man/Rubik, the Amazing Cube Hour (10 September 1983 - 1 September 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 - Pac-Man puts Pac-Baby in his magic hat, and when he fails to say the magic words in reverse, he must find a way to get Pac-Baby back before Ms. Pac-Man finds out.
- The Great Pac Quake - Mezmarion sends the Ghost Monsters to steal a map that contains the location of the Power Pellet Forest, but Pac-Man has a few tricks up his sleeves.
- 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-Man and his family challenge the Ghost Monsters in a game of baseball.
- Pac Baby Panic - Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man try to find Pac-Baby after the Ghost Monsters steal a bag full of Power Pellet seeds.
- The Pac Man in the Moon - Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man must stop the Ghost Monsters from trying to steal the Power Pellets with Mezmaron's special invention.
- Neander Pac Man - Pac-Man reads Pac-Baby a story about their prehistoric ancestors.
- Super Ghosts - Mezmaron's special formula turns all five of the Ghost Monsters into Super Ghost Monsters.
- Invasion of the Pac Pups - A friendly Pac-Stork delivers a bag full of Pac-Puppies, and now Pac-Man, Morris, and even Sour-Puss must take cover from Chomp Chomp's puppies.
- Trick or Chomp - It's Halloween in Pac-Land and the Ghost Monsters have a plan that will chomp the daylights out of Pac-Man and his family.
- 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 - The Fairy Ghost Mother gives the Ghost Monsters a storybook. If they read it, then they can finally get rid of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man once and for all.
- Journey to the Center of Pac Land - Mezmaron has decided to tunnel under Pac-Land so that he can finally search for the Power Pellet Forest.
- Chomp Out at the OK Corral - While taking a vacation out west, the Ghost Monsters along with their bratty cousin, Dinky, tries to ruin the Pac-family's vacation.
- The Bionic Pac Women - The Ghost Monsters kidnap Ms. Pac-Man and replace her with Mezmaron's robot that looks just like her.
- The Great Power Pellet Robbery - Mezmaron orders the Ghost Monsters to steal Pac-Man's delivery truck.
- Back Packin' Packy - With Morris unable to take the Pac-Baby scouts on their outing, Pac-Man promises to take them.
- The Abominable Pac Man - Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man must prevent the Ghost Monsters from trying to get to the Power Forest that is now growing somewhere in the mountains.
- Sir Chomp A Lot - Mezmaron sends the Ghost Monsters back in time before the residents of Pac-Land hid their Power Forest. When Inky messes with the Time Machine, the Ghost Monsters are sent a thousand years into the past.
- Goo Goo at the Zoo - Pac-Baby releases all the animals from the Pac-Land Zoo.
- Attack of the Pac Mummy - Pac-Man must once again save Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Baby from Mezmaron's Pac-Mummy.
- A Bad Case of the Chomps - After chomping all the Ghost Monsters, Pac-Man gets a bad case of chompitis, and Ms. Pac-Man takes him to the hospital.
- The Day the Forest Disappeared - Mezmaron has finally found the Power Pellet Forest, and Pac-Man must get it back before it's too late.
- Nighty Nightmares - The Ghost Monsters accidentally shoot themselves with Mezmaron's nightmare machine.
- The Pac-Mummy - Pac-Man must save Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Baby from Mezmaron's Pac-Mummy.
- Here's Super-Pac! - Super-Pac arrives in Pac-Land and saves Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man from a Ghost Monster attack. Ms. Pac-Man then invites Super-Pac to lunch as Mezmeron creates a giant robotic Ghost Monster.
- Hey, Hey, Hey...It's P.J. - Pac-Man's cousin P.J moves in with Pac-Man and his family. When it becomes a little too annoying, Pac-Man tries to show P.J that school is a great place.
- The Super-Pac Bowl - Super-Pac plays a game of football with Pac-Man and his team in order to save the Power Pellet Packers from Mezmaron and the Ghost Monsters.
- Journey into the Pac-Past - P.J turns the washing machine into a time machine, and along with Pac-Man, they travel to many different places.
- The Old Pac-Man and the Sea - Pac-Man and the Sea Captain land at the bottom of Pac-lantis, and their only way out is to have a ghost chase with the Ghost Monsters.
- Public Pac-Enemy No. 1 - Pretty Boy Pac has escaped from Pac-Land Prison, and the Pac-Police take Pac-Man to prison by mistake.
- The Genii of Pacdad - The Ghost Monsters have found a genie who grants them three wishes. When Clyde wishes for a million wishes, things start to get a little crazy.
- Computer Packy - Pac-Man and P.J must save Pac-Baby after the new home computer goes out of control.
- The Greatest Show in Pac-Land - The Ghost Monsters take their cousin Dinky to the circus for his birthday, where they encounter Pac-Man and his family.
- Pac-A-Lympics - Pac-Man and his family compete against the Ghost Monsters.
- Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Pac-Man - Mezmaron's synthetic power pellets turns Pac-Man into a Pac-Werewolf.
- Around the World in 80 Chomps - Mezmaron and the Ghost Monsters travel around Pac-Land so they can find another Power Pellet Forest.
- 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-Man becomes a stand-in for P.J's movie.
- Pac-Van-Winkle - Pac-Man goes hiking in the woods, but when he drinks a potion from a Pac-Witch, he falls asleep for twenty years and discovers that Mezmaron has finally taken over Pac-Land.
- Happy Pacs-Giving - Nana-Pac tells Pac-Man and his entire family about the story of Thanksgiving.
Christmas Comes to Pac-Land
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 - Pacula
- Frank Welker - Chomp-Chomp the Dog, Morris
On 31 January 2012, Warner Bros. released Pac-Man: The Complete First Season as a manufacture-on-demand DVD. The following 11 September, the release of Pac-Man: The Complete Second Season included the prime-time special Christmas Comes to Pacland.
- Pac-Man Wiki
- Sarcastic review of an episode of Pac-Man at X-Entertainment
- Pac-Man at the Cartoon Scrapbook