Inspector Gadget Penny
Inspector Gadget was a very popular cartoon series that was broadcast on television between 1983-1986 and also rerun until late 1990s. It was one of the rare collaborations between USA, Canada, France and Japan. The name of the cartoon series is given by Inspector Gadget, a private detective who is a strange combination between a man and a rabbit, a kind of bionic character that has lots of gadgets incorporated in his body and he uses them to get rid of his enemies in very unusual ways. The other important character in the cartoon series Inspector Gadget, Penny is actually his niece and a very smart girl, passionate about misteries and crimes.
Penny is a blond girl who wears her hair in two pigtails and is always accompanied by her pet dog called Brain. Even if her uncle has all sorts of gadgets, Penny's only gadget is her book that she carries everywhere with her in her backpack. This book is thick and rather unusual, as it is used as a kind of universal device for getting access into any kind of electronic equipment and sometimes also in things like safes, finding out the codes and passwords. In fact, if you come to think about it, this book looks rather like today's laptop, but long before it was invented.
Penny is very curious and inventive, being the one who solves the mysteries and cases from the shadow, while her uncle is mislead somehow into following some wrong paths and, even if he is helped by all sorts of gadgets, he is the one who needs Penny's help most of the time. Actually, I think all the cases would be solved a lot easier if Inspector Gadget was taken away from the action.
Any way, as the only main feminine character in the cartoon Inspector Gadget, Penny also plays the demoiselle-in-distress part, but she rescues herself or is rescued by the dog, never by the uncle who seems to need help himself all the time. Apart from the book she also has a very useful gadget - her wristwatch that is used mainly for talking to Brain, her dog. It looks like a mobile phone with a screen that shows you the images, too, so you can say it's kind of an ancestor of the video-phone. This wonder watch is also used to call Chief Quimby. It is a mystery how Penny can communicate with him, as we can only see her speaking, in response to the presumed questions of the Chief, but we can't actually hear what he is saying. We can also see the Chief's face on the watch screen every time he is contacted for help. Actually the watch seems to have some of the book's power, but in a smaller quantity, as Penny used it in one episode to find out a cipher. It is a very useful tool, as it can be used as a laser gun, being able to cut through metal or any other hard object and it also has magnetic powers, as it is used to attract the keys from the prison in another episode.
This cartoon series was the source of inspiration for the movie with the same title starring Matthew Broderick and here Penny was played by Michelle Trachtenberg.