February 1984. Following the lukewarm reception of Trail Of The Pink Panther, 1982's first attempt at recovery since star Peter Sellers died in 1980, series creator Blake Edwards and studio MGM release the eighth Pink Panther movie, Curse Of The Pink Panther. They substitute no-name actor Ted Wass for Sellers as a New York detective (with Roger Moore as the rhinoplasticized Inspector Jacques Clouseau). They assume that if they get enough series regulars to appear in cameos (filmed for the previous film), the public will fork over the money and forgive. They do not, and the movie tanks. Wass, it should be noted, is only slightly more convincing in the role than Ed Wood's chiropractor, Tom Mason, was in filling in for the deceased Bela Lugosi in the legendary bronzed turd, Plan 9 From Outer Space (and Mason was nearly a foot taller than the horror legend and spent most of the movie with a cape over his face).

Strike 1.

August 1993. In another attempt to resurrect the franchise, MGM introduces to suspicious fans a relatively unknown Italian comedian named Roberto Benigni as the son of the bumbling Clouseau in Son Of The Pink Panther. While the wide-eyed Benigni would go on to win an Oscar for 1997's Holocaust drama, Life Is Beautiful, life is definitely not beautiful for the studio, which sees their cash cow dry up after being savaged by the critics and most painfully, ignored by ticket buyers, who waited for the video...and skipped it then, too. Sadly, Bobby McFerrin's opening take on Henry Mancini's infectous theme is the best part of the movie.

Strike 2.

June 2005. MGM announces that their August 5th berth for their very loose remake of the 1963 original, which is to star Steve Martin, has been cleared so that new corporate owners Sony Pictures can have more time to plan a PR campaign. The movie will now come out in February 2006. Sony does not comment on the fact that early reviews have been largely negative.

And here comes the pitch...

February 2006. The new Pink Panther is released, and it's not very good, either.

Strike 3...and time to euthanize the poor cat.