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Inspector Gadget

Format animated series
Run time 22-23 Minutes
Creator Jean Chalopin
Starring Don Adams
Frank Welker
Maurice LaMarche
Cree Summer
Country United States
Network Syndicated
Original run September 10, 1983��ebruary, 1986
No. of episodes 86 List of episodes

Inspector Gadget is an animated series about a clumsy, absent-minded, and oblivious detective, Inspector Gadget, who is a cyborg with various "gadgets" built into his anatomy. Gadget's main nemesis is the mysterious Dr. Claw, leader of an evil organization known as MAD. This was the merchandising company DiC Entertainment's first syndicated show, and ran from 1983 to 1986 in syndication. This article pertains to the original cartoon series and its characters and plots; for information on it later spinoffs, see Inspector Gadget spinoff incarnations.

The name has passed into common parlance to refer to people similarly obsessed with gadgetry.

Cast of characters

* Inspector Gadget - Bumbling and somewhat Quixotic cyborg detective, who is also the title character.
* Penny - Gadget's niece. Inspector Gadget is her guardian and caretaker, though often she seems more suited to be his caretaker due to Gadget's clumsiness and general cluelessness. In addition, unknown to any of the recurring characters outside of Brain, she is the investigator who is MAD's true foe responsible for foiling its schemes.
* Brain - Penny's dog. He often walks upright, and communicates with Penny through a device built into his collar. Brain can communicate with humans using his voice, but has some difficulty with pronunciation. Aside from speaking in a low gruff voice, he tends to interject most words with the letter "R" similar to the way other cartoon dogs, such as Scooby-Doo and Astro from The Jetsons do. How much the humans in the show understand him is debatable, since he mostly uses pantomime to communicate.
* Dr. Claw - The main villain in the series and leader of the evil organization known as MAD. His face is never seen by viewers, but an action figure of Dr. Claw with his face in full view out of the container was produced in the 1990s.
* Chief Quimby - Gadget's boss. He appears at the beginning of each episode with his own theme music to deliver Gadget his mission, and appears again at the end of each episode to congratulate Gadget on a job well done.
* Corporal Capeman - A nerdy sidekick dressed in a stereotypical superhero costume, he accompanies Gadget in a few episodes during the second season, and is equally clueless. The two had a student/mentor relationship, though Gadget was rarely teaching anything nor was Capeman learning. Capeman was obsessed with learning to fly and often mistakenly believed he had miraculously acquired the power of flight while in the midst of dire circumstances. His last appearance was, unfortunately, in the series' last and worst episode ever: "Gadget and the Red Rose" (#86). He was widely considered the most unnecessary and annoying character in the series by its fan base.

In the first season, nearly every episode saw the introduction of some supervillain who had come to be employed by Dr. Claw to commit a crime suited to their special skills. They were typically arrested at the end of the episode, and did not appear again in the series. These "new faces" in almost every episode was probably a helpful element for the show to maintain its popularity.


Inspector Gadget was apparently employed by the Metro City police department, and all episodes either took place or began some where in Metro City. However, his missions would often take him to a different corner of the earth each episode generally without giving any explanation as to how a crime on the other side of the earth was of interest to the Metro City police.

Every single episode followed a standard plot, with little variation, although there were rare exceptions:

* Gadget, Penny, and Brain are engaged in some family activity that is interrupted by Police Chief Quimby appearing in an outlandish disguise.
* Quimby gives Gadget a mission on an exploding sheet of paper. The sheet of paper always winds up exploding in Quimby's face after Gadget has read it, a spoof of the exploding taped messages in the TV show Mission Impossible. The episode "Health Spa" (#5) is the only episode in which the paper does not explode, as Gadget this time does not even get a mission.
* Dr. Claw is always somehow visually monitoring this event on his computer from his desk or car, and introduces his scheme and usually a new supervillain employee to the viewers. The schemes are always either stealing something or destroying Gadget.
* Gadget bumbles through his mission oblivious to what is going on around him, almost invariably mistaking hostile enemy agents for helpful allies.
* Brain is always instructed by Penny to follow Gadget to make sure he does not get hurt. Brain would make use of various costumes (although how he got them is not explained) and often interacts with Gadget who never recognizes him. Gadget usually considers the disguised Brain to be the main suspect. When intervening to save Gadget from MAD agents, Brain often becomes victim (along with the agents themselves) instead of Gadget being the initial target. Gadget himself rarely comes to any harm and, if he does it's usually self-inflicted.
* Penny investigates and solves the crime, with the help of her Computer Book. Often Penny gets captured and escapes the criminals during her investigation.
* Inspector Gadget invariably gets credit for solving the mission, everyone believing that he had in fact stopped Dr. Claw single-handedly. Chief Quimby appears and congratulates him. No one ever suspects that it was in fact Penny and Brain who did all of the work.
* Common of many 1980s American children's TV shows, Inspector Gadget ends with a safety tip often relating to the episode.

While the show was admittedly formulaic (at the time, it was often compared with the 1960's TV show Get Smart, which also starred Don Adams), charming and appealing main characters, exotic and varied locations, and solid writing kept the series entertaining. Also, children tend to enjoy formulas and repetition, which helped keep the show popular long after its cancellation.


Season 1 (1983-1984)

1. Gadget In Winterland
2. Monster Lake
3. Down On The Farm
4. Gadget At The Circus
5. The Amazon
6. Health Spa
7. The Boat
8. Haunted Castle
9. Race To The Finish
10. The Ruby
11. A Star Is Lost
12. All That Glitters
13. Movie Set
14. Amusement Park
15. Art Heist
16. Volcano Island
17. The Invasion
18. The Infiltration
19. The Curse Of The Pharoah
20. Mad Trap
21. Basic Training
22. Sleeping Gas
23. Gadget's Replacement
24. Greenfinger
25. Gadget Goes West
26. Lauch Time
27. Photo Safari
28. The Coo-Coo Clock Caper
29. The Japanese Connection
30. Arabian Nights
31. A Clear Case
32. Dutch Treat
33. The Great Divide
34. Eye Of The Dragon
35. Doubled Agent
36. Plantform Of The Opera
37. Don't Hold Your Breath
38. Gone Went The Wind
39. King Wrong
40. Pirate Island
41. M.A.D. Academy
42. No Flies On Us
43. Luck Of The Irish
44. Prince Of The Gypsies
45. Old Man Of The Mountain
46. The Emerald Duck
47. Do Unto Udders
48. Did You Myth Me?
49. A Bad Altitude
50. Funny Money
51. Follow That Jet
52. Dry Spell
53. Smeldorado
54. Quimby Exchange
55. Weather In Tibet
56. Unhenged
57. Snakin' All Over
58. In Seine
59. Tree Guesses
60. Birds Of A Feather
61. So It Is Written
62. Fang The Wonder Dog
63. School For Pickpockets
64. Quizz Master

Season 2 (1984-1985)

1. Magic Gadget
2. The Great Wambini's Seance
3. Wambini Predicts
4. The Capeman Cometh
5. Crashcourse In Crime
6. Gadget's Gadgets
7. Gadget In Minimadness
8. The Incredible Shrinking Gadget
9. Gadget Meets The Grappler
10. Ghost Catchers
11. Busy Signal
12. Bad Dreams Are Made Of This
13. Focus On Gadget
14. Mad In The Moon
15. N.S.F. Gadget
16. Tryannosaurus Gadget
17. Gadget's Roma
18. Gadget's Clean Sweep
19. Gadget Meets The Clan
20. Gadget And Old Lace
21. Gadget And The Red Rose

Unexplained facts

One element of Inspector Gadget's popularity was the fact that a lot of the show's premises were never fully explained, which in turn led to open speculation. The show offered virtually no back-story, which forced viewers to use their imaginations to explain the unexplained.
Chief Quimby
Chief Quimby

For example:

* Dr. Claw's identity, the viewer never sees his face.
* How Dr. Claw is able to visually monitor virtually any event anywhere.
* How Chief Quimby acquired detailed information about every one of Dr. Claws plans.
* The source of Dr. Claw's wealth.
* The history of Dr. Claw's feud with Gadget.
* The location of Penny's parents.
* Gadget's first name and/or real name he used before he had Gadget implants.
* The circumstances under which Gadget had his gadgets installed. (We only know that they were installed by Professor von Slickstein, making the first of his few appearances in the fourth episode to air, The Amazon.)

Inspector Gadget's gadgets
Gadget Copter
Gadget Copter

Inspector Gadget's gadgets were the most unique aspect of the show, and although they were central to his character, they rarely ever actually did him any good when it came to solving his case. The Inspector could activate each of his gadgets by calling its name, "Go-go gadget arms!" (for example). More often than not the called gadget would either malfunction or the wrong one would be activated. When this happened he would muse that he desperately needed to get them fixed, although he apparently neglects to do this. Some of the gadgets were activated by reflex rather than being called, but this was rare.

The inspector seemed to have an infinite supply of gadgets located all over his body. However, there were several that appeared regularly.

List of Inspector Gadget's Gadgets:

* Gadget Binoculars ��Binoculars lowered down out of his hat and over his eyes.
* Gadget Brella ��A hand holding an umbrella that came out of his hat. It could be used as a parachute.
* Gadget Coat ��His trench coat inflated when he pulled one of its buttons and enabled him to float. It was almost always deflated by being punctured.
* Gadget Copter ��A helicopter that came out of his hat that enabled him to fly.
* Gadget Cuffs ��A handcuff came out of his forearm just above his hand.
* Gadget Ears ��Enabled him to hear better when necessary.
* Gadget Lasso ��His necktie turned into a lasso.
* Gadget Legs/Arms/Neck ��His neck, arms, and legs could extend to great lengths.
* Gadget Mallet ��A wooden hammer held in a robotic hand that also came out of his hat. It usually wound up bopping someone it should not ��sometimes even the Inspector himself.
* Gadget Phone ��A telephone in his hand. The antenna came out of one finger and the speaker and receiver on others. This was one of the few gadgets that were not voice activated. Possibly a loose reference, also, to Maxwell Smart's shoe-phone.
* Gadget Respirator ��A self contained breathing mask and the only hat gadget Gadget has to physically reach for and pull on.
* Gadget Siren ��A police light and siren popped out of the top of his hat.
* Gadget Skates ��Roller skates came out of the bottom of his shoes. Also, sometimes rockets would come out of the sides.
* Gadget Skis ��Skis extended out of the ends of his shoes.
* Gadget Spring ��A spring came out of his hat, enabling him to bounce usually when falling head first and hitting his head against the ground.
* Hand Gadgets ��There were several gadgets inside his fingers, accessed by taking the end off his finger to expose the gadget. These included a flashlight, key, laser, pen, corkscrew, and whistle.


Similar to his body, Gadget's car, the "Gadgetmobile", was also fully loaded with a seemingly limitless arsenal of gadgets. It had all of the clich辿d features of any fictional crime fighting vehicle (like the Batmobile, or a James Bond car for instance) including a smoke screen, ability to drop a trail of tacks to blow out a pursuing vehicle's tires, and a winch on the front. Besides having all of the typical features, it had many specialized ones as well, such as the ability to extend its wheels (not unlike Gadget's arms and legs) to great lengths, and to completely transform into another vehicle altogether (see also the vehicle in The Chan Clan, the Gadgetvan, even while in motion. All of the Gadgets on the Gadgetmobile were voice activated in the same way that the gadgets on his body were activated, by calling its name, "Go go gadget van!" (for example).

Background information

The theme music for the show was composed by Shuki Levy & Haim Saban.

The first season was aired from September 10, 1983 to November 1984, comprising of 65, 22 1/2 minute long episodes. After the first season the show became a worldwide hit.

The first season episodes were repeated during the 1984��985 season, with 21 new episodes premiering during the second and last season of Inspector Gadget from September 1985 to February 1986 making 86 in all. Several significant changes were made to the established formula in these cheaper episodes. For instance, evil henchmen would have recurring roles, appearing in as many as three episodes in a row without being arrested. The show lost some of its moral fiber that way, that "the bad guys should get punished." The crime would also center more often around simply getting rid of Gadget. Gadget, Penny and Brain moved into a high-tech house filled with many gadgets, where a few of the episodes actually were located; probably another result of the lower budgets. Penny did not get into trouble as often, something which may have made the show less appealing to children. In the season's fourth episode, the writers introduced a sidekick named Corporal Capeman, who was and is widely unpopular with the show's fan base.

The cartoon was written in France, then animated in Tokyo, Japan and (a few of the episodes) in Taiwan, before being voiced in Canada and broadcast in the USA for the first time in September 1983. Only a month or so later, the show premiered in France. Don Adams, the voice of Inspector Gadget in the American version of the cartoon, had also played Maxwell Smart, the lead character in Get Smart, giving both shows a certain resemblance to U.S. viewers. When recording moved to the U.S. for the second season, several of the voices (among them Cree Summer, who played Penny) were replaced.


* Around the same time Inspector Gadget was being made, DiC Entertainment was also making a syndicated cartoon version of the comic strip Heathcliff. It was not at all uncommon to see characters from one show very briefly on the other, however no characters from either made any full blown guest appearances. For example on one episode of Heathcliff, some characters are watching a television program called "Inspector Gadget on Ice" and the inspector is visible on the television figure skating. Also, on one episode of Inspector Gadget, "Bad Dreams Are Made Of This", a detour through an alley in the Gadgetmobile startles Hector, Mungo, and Leroy, the "Catillac Cats" from the Heathcliff cartoon, who are eating out of trashcans there. Inspector Gadget was also occasionally mentioned in the live-action segments of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. One episode even featured a special guest appearance by Don Adams playing the role of his character.
* Inspector Gadget appeared in the pilot episode sporting a mustache. It was never seen afterwards.

See also

* Inspector Gadget spinoff incarnations

External links

* DiC Page
* Character sheet for Inspector Gadget
* Inspector Gadget at
* Inspector Gadget
* Opening Sequence


* Adrian Room, Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable


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