From the archives: The Secret Identity of Dr. Claw

Contributed by YHN1212.

Now, this is unlikely but not impossible: during the credits of Inspector Gadget, one can hear the words of Dr. Claw near the end: “I’ll get you Gadget, next time…” Typical villanous taunt. Yet at the same time as you hear the words of Dr. Claw, you can see the lips of Chief Quimby move as he speaks to Gadget. What does this mean? Though some might say that the conversation between the two was silenced as the words of Dr. Claw were heard, I believe that it was Chief Quimby speaking. In other words, I believe that Chief Quimby is possibly the greatest master of disguise ever: he is Dr. Claw. It would also explain a lot about things. I mean, how often has Gadget thrown a self-destructing message at Quimby just as it was about to explode? More times than anyone, even loyal fans of the show, can remember. The amount of times it happened may mean that Gadget is doing it on purpose, indicating that he knows that Quimby is Dr. Claw and is secretly trying to kill him. Which would make Gadget an even better master of disguise than Quimby: How else to avoid suspicion from others than by acting incompetent? So to summarize my theory, the two may be carrying out their unending battle secretly, without the eye of the public watching them. Why all this secrecy? Perhaps they have a respect for each other that one has for one’s enemy, leading them to believe their battle with each other is too sacred to share with others.

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29 Responses to From the archives: The Secret Identity of Dr. Claw

  1. Chris says:

    When i was a kid, I had always thought that too.

  2. Inspector Gadget is a cyborg- a chimeric creation of two entities. The man can not comprehend the complex game Quimby/Dr. Claw is playing, but the mechanical elements can. This explains, to a certain extent, the split between the mind and body within the figure of Inspector Gadget. Notice that the gadgets are not internally controlled, but instead require a spoken command to activate (“go go gadget skis!”). Often the Inspector will command the gadgets, but the artificial intelligence will preempt him and choose a different course of action (“Not roller skates!”).

    The irony lies in the fact that while the connection between the Inspector and the Gadgets is the physically closest within the series, it is the most prone to failure. The connection between Penny and her computer book is arguably the most functional. Splitting the mind and body results in comic failure, however supplementing the human mind with the computer (especially a computer using a ‘book’ metaphor) is quite effective.

    Pertaining to the narrative:
    When presented with the most advanced crime-fighting technology available, Chief Quimby, in an effort to conceal his work as Dr Claw, chose the most incapable man to undergo the surgery, assured with the idea that a stupid man could never catch him in his machinations, no matter how good the technology. He was right, in part. The A.I. within the Gadget interface does understand the connection between Quimby and Dr Claw, and takes every opportunity to destroy him at close range. Ultimately, if it were not for the efforts of Penny, Brain and the computer book, Quimby would be successful. However, because Quimby can not perceive a threat from a dog, girl and a book (none of which are cyborgs), the blame for the failure of his plans falls to Gadget (and ultimately to himself, which explains his deep-seated loathing for Gadget). Moreover, Penny plays right into Dr. Claw’s hands by calling the chief when they discover his plans. If she let the Gadget interface play out its elaborate plan Dr Claw might be defeated once and for all.

    The show is not about Inspector Gadget, or even about Penny. The show is about the struggle between a fractured man, playing both sides of the law, hovering somewhere between man and machine- living in a kind of borderland, and his eternal fight with a mechanical being of his own creation.

    • Just Wow says:

      Dude, it’s a cartoon. It’s not about any struggle. It’s about slapstick comedy and little kids.

  3. or he resents gadget BECAUSE gadget keeps throwing bombs at him, unintentionally. mm. He resents the clumsiness of gadget, his unpredictability, chaos. Claw stands for order. Cat owners are like that. Cats are like anally retentive dogs. Hence the little asterisk bum.

  4. Anthony says:

    I seem to remember the Inspector Gadget toys as a child and Claw was unmasked and it just so happened to be Quimby.

  5. drew says:

    i think penny should of fought her foes more cause of her watch

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  8. Mesterius says:

    Dr Claw was not Quimby, and the original series proves it. Watch the episode “Quimby Exchanged”. In it, Dr Claw actually kidnaps Chief Quimby and holds him as a hostage.

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  10. Bryan Green says:

    It’s funny that I came across this. When I was younger (like I was 10 or 11 years old) I was at a touristy restaurant by the beach (I wanna say it was in Destin Florida) and there was this man doing caricatures. As he was drawing me he asked me if I had ever watched the show Inspector Gadget. The show had ended before I was even born, but I was a big fan considering they played it on Nickelodeon at the time. He then told me he was the voice of Dr. Claw and even did the voice perfectly. This is a very vivid memory for me. Now if the guy was full of crap will never be known, but after he did the voice and I was all amazed, he said “Do you know who Dr. Claw was?” and I said, “No. Who was he?” and he told me it was Chief Quimby.

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  13. Prime Evil says:

    RE: Mesterius

    The theory also falls apart because Dr. Claw gets away in the Clawmobile at the same time Chief Quimby congratulates Gadget. Someone will come along and say that someone else is piloting the car, but it stands to reason that NOBODY touches Dr. Claw’s keys!

    However, character designer Brian Lemay, on his official website, posits the following (courtesy his FAQ page) :

    “I do have my own theory on The Claw though. Here’s how I see it: We all know that Inspector Gadget is a robot, here’s how I think he came into being. The real live Inspector Gadget was caught in the middle of some police force conspiracy and was set up to “take the fall”. In the ensuing explosion that was meant to kill him he was actually horribly disfigured and crawled away a la the Phantom of the Opera. The police force, in order to cover up the mishap secretly created the new robotic Inspector Gadget to take the real Gadget’s place. The real Inspector Gadget sunk into a terrible psychotically maddened state sought to destroy his artificial replacement and it has since become an obsession. The voice is a result of the explosion effecting his vocal cords.”

    I myself have another theory: Dr. Claw is really Rupert Murdoch, causing trouble as usual (judging from the action figure’s likeness, of course).

  14. Lord of Shadows says:

    If quimby was Dr claw, it would explain how the police keep getting all the info on claw’s plans.

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  16. Blaze Master says:

    Im Impressed by the logic but Dr Claws identity is already known , his name is George and his face appears in a video game and a toy figure. Thought this would explain why Quimby is always aware of Dr Claws plansmaybe Quimby was corrupt by Dr Claw or works under cover pretending to ally himself with Claw to get information……Ironically in some eps Dr Claws voice sounded like Quimby, so maybe in older episodes this was an issue. Thought I must clear it out that in order to understand the show you must first understand the specifics of the eighties, it wasn’t uncomom for the cartoons cliche to use masked bad guys or mysterious villiain as bad characters, try watching Yatta Man , there too we have a similiar design of un-seen enemy leader leading a crime syndicate, and the syndicate was a common element of these shows , the last time it was used was the Pokemon franchise , basically these were enemies that were easy to use as the evil guy would return in a next episode with some absurd evil plan, if you read wkipedia you also notice that the show was popular because of certain specific gags and jokes that needed to appear in every episode kinda like modern echism of anime , where every good anime needs to either have a hot spring scene or some fanservice, these jokes made it easy for fans to remember the series, one of these jokes were the exploing message scene , Also as with most cartoons these shows had little regard to reality , as shown times and time again when Gadget could survive a fall from 10 stories hight… so looking at it with modern eyes might really distort the image and give false impressions , where at the time of its release these things would be obvious . Basically you must understand the rules of 80’s cartoons in order to know this

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  19. David says:

    Didn’t the video game and action figure come out many years after the cartoon stopped being made so that is not a valid reference as to Dr Claws Identity,
    I still like the theory that Gadget is a Cyborg replacement of Claw after an unfortunate accident.

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