November 29, 2014

ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE


ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE
(CBS, December 13, 1995-August 30, 1997
Nickelodeon, September 13, 1999-January 21, 2000)

Morgan Creek Productions, Nelvana Ltd.



MAIN CAST:
Michael Daingerfield – Ace Ventura
Richard Binsley – Spike
Vince Corazza – Schickadance (season 1-2)




          The second of three Jim Carrey movies turned into cartoons, based on the film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.



            Ace Ventura (Carrey) was a private investigator residing in Miami, Florida. However, he was unique in that the only cases he took involved animals; missing pets and the like. Ace’s clientele choice is second only to his choice of wardrobe (striped pants, boots and loud shirts), hair styles (a sweeping upward wave), and loud, crude and eccentric personality. All of that together left Ace with insufficient work to pay the bills and the joke of police officers he frequently came in contact with. Regardless, Ace was hired to find out what happened to Snowflake, the bottlenose dolphin mascot of the Miami Dolphins, who had suddenly disappeared from his tank. 

Ace Ventura movie poster.

            The movie was conceived by Jack Bernstein, who wanted to do a comedic take on Sherlock Holmes and gained additional inspiration from one of the “Stupid Pet Tricks” segments on Late Night with David Letterman. Carrey was cast in the role after it was offered to and turned down by Rick Moranis. Ace’s mannerisms and personality was cultivated from one of Carrey’s earlier characters, Overly Confident Gay Man, when Carrey found the script read funnier when done in that style. Carrey also based his performance on the movements of a bird, rounding out Ace’s bizarre persona. Co-written and directed by Tom Shadyac the film was released on February 4, 1994 to mixed reviews. However, it became a box office success and put a sequel on a fast track. Carrey was paid $15 million to reprise his role, and the following year Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls was released on November 10th. This would be Carrey’s first and only sequel to one of his movies until 2014’s Dumb and Dumber To, citing the lack of challenge he faced as an actor returning to the same character.


Ace even more animated than before.

            While the second movie was in production, an animated series was in the works from Nelvana. The series carried on from the movies, following Ace (Michael Daingerfield, who provided a few of Carrey’s ADR lines for the sequel when Carrey was unavailable) and his monkey sidekick Spike (Richard Binsley) as they investigated a series of animal-related crimes. Other characters from the first movie carried over included police officers Emilio (Greg Burson) and Aguado (Al Waxman) and Ace’s landlord Schickadance (Vince Corazza) whom Ace always had to avoid when he came around to collect the rent in a running gag. 


The actual brains of the operation.

Despite being toned down for the Saturday morning audience, Ace retained a good deal of his crude humor from making his butt talk to shoving various items up his nose and showing a general lack of disrespect towards, well, everyone. A large part of the tonality could be attributed to the writing staff including one Seth MacFarlane, who would go on to fame upon creating Family Guy. All the classic catchphrases were in the show, including “Allllllllllllrighty, then!”, “Like a glove!” (whenever Ace crashed his car into a tight parking spot), and “Spank you very much” (instead of a straight “thank you”). 


When you're the only pet detective, you get some really famous clients.

The show debuted with a preview a month after the sequel was released on December 13th, 1995 before beginning its actual run in January on CBS. Ace was predominantly shown wearing a yellow and green Hawaiian shirt over pink pants with purple stripes. However, in several episodes, his shirt was red and yellow with two-toned blue striped pants. Ace also went from having four chips in his teeth (two upper, two lower) to just two upper chips beginning in the second season with one visible at a given time.


Ace wearing The Mask's mask...where else?


            The show’s final episode on CBS featured a crossover with other Jim Carrey-based show The Mask: the Animated Series. The crossover began on the earlier The Mask episode “The Aceman Cometh,” which dealt with Ace being hired by Stanley Ipkiss (Rob Paulsen), aka The Mask, to find his dog, Milo (Frank Welker), who was kidnapped after his brain was switched with that of a scientist. At the end of the episode, Spike stole the mask, forcing Stanley to travel to Florida to retrieve it in “Have Mask, Will Travel.” Both characters retained their distinctive animation styles while appearing on each other’s shows; The Mask’s being a more realistic comic book style while Ace was more stylized to match his cartoonish personality.



            Despite Ace’s inability to find a substantial audience, its ultimate cancellation came when CBS decided to jettison its Saturday morning cartoons in 1997. Nickelodeon acquired the broadcast rights to air reruns of the show and commissioned a third season that began in 1999. While essentially the same show, there were several notable differences between the two runs. The Nick version included a new intro and animated title cards introducing the episode names and their writers, whereas the CBS version just superimposed them over the beginning of the episode. While mostly the same, the character designs received some tweaks and brighter colors, in particular making Ace’s features more exaggerated. Ace also moved his operations from his apartment to an actual office, although he retained the menagerie of animals that lived with him while jettisoning the running gag with his landlord. After those these final 13 episodes, the series ended permanently in 2000. 



            In 1996, a CD-ROM game based on the series was developed by 7th Level, Inc. and released by Bomico Entertainment Software. It was a point and click adventure game with adult-level jokes, actions and dialogue. In 1997, Troll Books published an adaptation of the episode “The Parrot Who Knew Too Much” while in 2000 Scholastic published three books based on the series by Jesse Leon McCann. Although the series had not been released to home video, three episodes were included in the two movie bundle as a bonus disc. 



In 2009, the Ace franchise received its next, and so far final, installment in the sequel/spin-off Ace Ventura, Jr: Pet Detective. The negatively-received television movie followed Ace Jr. (Josh Flitter) as he attempted to clear his mother (Ann Cusack) of charges that she stole a panda. In 2011 Asmus Toys released a 1/6th scale figure based on the movie with an updated version in 2013, while Funko released a vinyl figure in their Pop! Movie characters series.


EPISODE GUIDE:


Season 1:
“The Reindeer Hunter” (12/13/95) – Santa calls on Ace to find his reindeer on Christmas Eve.

“Bowling for Bear” (1/20/96) – Ace sets out to save a bowling grizzly bear’s life.

“Pet Food” (1/27/96) – Endangered species are in trouble in Miami, and Ace is tasked to find out why.

“The Parrot Who knew Too Much” (2/3/96) – A parrot who knows some important secrets must be kept out of the wrong hands.

“French Dip” (2/10/96) – Ace needs to figure out why a gentle blue whale tries to kill a nature show host.

“Natural Born Koalas” (2/17/96) – Ace tries to find out why a normally nice koala goes aggressive.

“The Hounds of D’Ubervilles” (2/24/96) – Ace heads to England to find a missing hound before an annual fox hunt.

“Remembrance of Trunks Past” (3/2/96) – Ace has to save the city from being overrun by elephants.

“Night of the Gorilla” (3/9/96) – Ace has to clear the name of a cute gorilla framed for a crime.

“Day of the Groundhog” (3/30/96) – A groundhog is in danger on Groundhog Day.

“The Big Stink” (4/6/96) – Ace must rescue a little boy’s kidnapped skunk.

“The Gator Gal” (4/23/96) – Legendary poacher Gator Jane has stolen one of Doc’s gators, putting Ace on the trail.

“The Bull Market” (4/30/96) – Ace is called to the Circle F Ranch to find a missing bull, the pet of the owner’s son.

Season 2:

“Panda-monium” (6/7/97) – Saving some pandas turns out to be problematic.

“Snow Job” (6/14/97) – Ace heads to Siberia to find an Eskimo tribe’s huskies and ends up caught in the middle of a Cold War plot.

“Salmon Rush Hour” (6/21/97) – Aguado’s vacation is ruined by a bear attack, which Ace attributes to the sudden disappearance of the bears’ salmon supply.

“The Search for Spike” (6/28/97) – Spike is nabbed by a smuggler by mistake, setting Ace on the hunt to get him back.

“The Milky Way” (7/5/97) – Aliens seemingly abduct some cows, but Ace discovers their disappearance may be more terrestrial in origin.

“The Golden Kitten” (7/12/97) – Ace discovers a rare breed of cat that leads him to a gold statue and a curse.

“Thunderballrighty Then” (7/19/97) – Ace must protect a dog from a dangerous criminal mastermind.

“Dragon Guy” (7/26/97) – Ace tells the story about a man who saves a dragon from an evil sorcerer.

“Bad Hare Day” (8/2/97) – Ace has to retrieve a magic rabbit stolen by a magician’s rival.

“Robo West” (8/9/97) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Howl of the Weremoose” (8/16/97) – Ace must keep innocent moose from being harmed as hunters look for the legendary weremoose terrorizing the woods.

“Bald Courage” (8/23/97) – The Secret Service hires Ace to investigate the mysterious disappearances of America’s bald eagles.

“Have Mask, Will Travel” (8/30/97) – Ace heads to the space station to find a lost hamster while Stanley Ipkiss retrieves his mask from Spike and joins Ace on his mission.

Season 3:

“Witch’s Brew” (10/29/99) – Ace scours a high school looking for a missing pet bat.

“Bird is the Word” (11/30/99) – Ace must find a golden falcon by midnight so that it can go on its annual display.

“Dino Mite” (12/1/99) – Ace is invited to a remote island to find a revolutionary theme park’s main attraction: living dinosaurs.

“Ace in Space” (12/2/99) – Ace is abducted by aliens in order to find a horse before it gives a bad alien the information he needs to conquer all.

“Get Piggy” (12/3/99) – Ace’s favorite animal star is kidnapped and Ace takes it upon himself to rescue him.

“Ace Off” (12/6/99) – Ace is put on the trail of a general’s kidnapped dog only to discover the kidnapper is…his clone!

“Shell Shock” (12/7/99) – Ace has one hour to find the band Turtle Soup’s pet turtle.

“Beware the Fly” (12/8/99) – A scientist is knocked out and his matter transporter stolen, but not before his molecules were scrambled with that of a housefly.

“Ace in Time” (12/9/99) – On the trail of panther thieves, Ace is sucked through a time vortex and ends up in ancient Rome.

“Putt Detective” (12/10/99) – Ace takes an insane amount of money to remove a gopher from a country club’s golf course before a big tournament.

“Exor-Kitty” (1/7/00) – Ace is hired to deal with a possessed kitty.

“Ace of the Jungle” (1/14/00) – Ace bails out over a jungle and becomes entangled with a group of gorillas while Spike enjoys his time alone.

“Cyber Ace” (1/21/00) – Looking for a virtual puppy leads to Ace being zapped into cyberspace.

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