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. It was also the last installment of the Ace franchise featuring Carrey, with a poorly-received 2009 televised sequel/spin-off film, Ace Ventura Jr.: Pet Detective, capping things off entirely.
|Ace, even more animated than before.|
|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. Butch Hartman, who would find great success with The Fairly OddParents in 2001, also contributed a script to an episode. All the memorable 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.|
Ace Ventura: Pet debuted on CBS with a preview on December 13th, 1995 before beginning its actual run on January 20th. 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. Along with Capizzi, MacFarlane and Hartman, writers included Robert Schechter, Alicia Marie-Schudt, Ernie Jon, Steve Roberts, Alexx Van Dyne, Tara Ison, Dean Stefan, Ralph Soll, Jan Strnad, Tom Mason, Dan Danko, Bill Matheny, Scott M. Gimple and Steve Marmel. The theme was composed by Joe Curiale and Tim Torrance, with the rest of the music done by Ray Parker, Tom Szczesniak and Ralph Cole.
|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 (which incidentally shared several of the writers). 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 was a matter of circumstance and timing. CBS had decided to jettison its Saturday morning cartoons in 1997 and turn to outside companies to provide their content. Nickelodeon acquired the broadcast rights to air reruns of the show and commissioned a third season that began on September 13, 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. 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.