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Animaniacs

Animaniacs

Overview
Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs, usually referred to as simply Animaniacs, is an American animated series, distributed by Warner Bros. Television
Warner Bros. Television
Warner Bros. Television is the television production arm of Warner Bros. Entertainment, itself part of Time Warner. Alongside CBS Television Studios, it serves as a television production arm of The CW Television Network , though it also produces shows for other networks, such as Shameless on...

 and produced by Amblin Entertainment
Amblin Entertainment
Amblin Entertainment is an American film and television production company founded by director and producer Steven Spielberg and film producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall in 1981. Amblin is only a production company, and has never distributed its own movies, nor has it fully financed its...

 and Warner Bros. Animation
Warner Bros. Animation
Warner Bros. Animation is the animation division of Warner Bros., a subsidiary of Time Warner. The studio is closely associated with the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies characters, among others. The studio is the successor to Warner Bros...

. The cartoon was the second animated series produced by the collaboration of Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

 and Warner Bros. Animation
Warner Bros. Animation
Warner Bros. Animation is the animation division of Warner Bros., a subsidiary of Time Warner. The studio is closely associated with the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies characters, among others. The studio is the successor to Warner Bros...

 during the animation renaissance of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
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Encyclopedia
Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs, usually referred to as simply Animaniacs, is an American animated series, distributed by Warner Bros. Television
Warner Bros. Television
Warner Bros. Television is the television production arm of Warner Bros. Entertainment, itself part of Time Warner. Alongside CBS Television Studios, it serves as a television production arm of The CW Television Network , though it also produces shows for other networks, such as Shameless on...

 and produced by Amblin Entertainment
Amblin Entertainment
Amblin Entertainment is an American film and television production company founded by director and producer Steven Spielberg and film producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall in 1981. Amblin is only a production company, and has never distributed its own movies, nor has it fully financed its...

 and Warner Bros. Animation
Warner Bros. Animation
Warner Bros. Animation is the animation division of Warner Bros., a subsidiary of Time Warner. The studio is closely associated with the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies characters, among others. The studio is the successor to Warner Bros...

. The cartoon was the second animated series produced by the collaboration of Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

 and Warner Bros. Animation
Warner Bros. Animation
Warner Bros. Animation is the animation division of Warner Bros., a subsidiary of Time Warner. The studio is closely associated with the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies characters, among others. The studio is the successor to Warner Bros...

 during the animation renaissance of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The studio's first series, Tiny Toon Adventures
Tiny Toon Adventures
Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures, usually referred to as Tiny Toon Adventures or simply Tiny Toons, is an American animated television series created by Tom Ruegger and produced by Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. It began production as a result of Warner Bros....

, was a success among younger viewers, and attracted a sizable number of adult viewers. The Animaniacs writers and animators, led by senior producer Tom Ruegger
Tom Ruegger
Tom Ruegger is an American animation writer, producer, and director.-Career:In the 1980s Ruegger worked for Hanna-Barbera, writing and producing various animated series, most notably The Snorks, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo.In 1989 he began...

, used the experience gained from the previous series to create new animated characters that were cast in the mold of Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones
Charles Martin "Chuck" Jones was an American animator, cartoon artist, screenwriter, producer, and director of animated films, most memorably of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts for the Warner Bros. Cartoons studio...

 and Tex Avery
Tex Avery
Frederick Bean "Fred/Tex" Avery was an American animator, cartoonist, voice actor and director, famous for producing animated cartoons during The Golden Age of Hollywood animation. He did his most significant work for the Warner Bros...

's creations.

The comedy of Animaniacs was a broad mix of old-fashioned wit, slapstick
Slapstick
Slapstick is a type of comedy involving exaggerated violence and activities which may exceed the boundaries of common sense.- Origins :The phrase comes from the batacchio or bataccio — called the 'slap stick' in English — a club-like object composed of two wooden slats used in Commedia dell'arte...

, pop culture references, and cartoon violence
Violence in cartoons
Many cartoons contain situations in them that contain blood, hitting, guns, pushing, name calling, and more serious stuff such as chopping off of heads which is considered as violence. Violence has been seen in cartoons more and more as time as increased...

 and wackiness. The show featured a number of comedic educational segments that covered subjects such as history, mathematics, geography, astronomy, science, and social studies, often in musical form. Animaniacs itself was a variety show, with short skit
Sketch comedy
A sketch comedy consists of a series of short comedy scenes or vignettes, called "sketches," commonly between one and ten minutes long. Such sketches are performed by a group of comic actors or comedians, either on stage or through an audio and/or visual medium such as broadcasting...

s featuring a large cast of characters. While the show had no set format, the majority of episodes were composed of three short mini-episodes, each starring a different set of characters, and bridging segments.

Animaniacs first aired on "Fox Kids
Fox Kids
Fox Kids was the Fox Broadcasting Company's American children's programming division and brand name from September 8, 1990 until September 7, 2002. It was owned by Fox Television Entertainment airing programming on Monday–Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings.Depending on the show, the...

" from 1993 to 1995 and new episodes later appeared on The WB
The WB Television Network
The WB Television Network is a former television network in the United States that was launched on January 11, 1995 as a joint venture between Warner Bros. and Tribune Broadcasting. On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation and Warner Bros...

 from 1995 to 1998 as part of its "Kids' WB
Kids' WB
Kids' WB! was Warner Bros. American childrens programing division brand for The WB Television Network. In September 2006, the block moved to The CW Television Network. The CW is the result of The WB's merger with UPN in 2006...

" afternoon programming block. The series had a total of 99 episodes and one film, titled Wakko's Wish
Wakko's Wish
Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs: Wakko's Wish, usually referred to as Wakko's Wish is a 1999 American direct-to-video animated tragicomedy film based on the Warner Bros. 1993-98 animated series, Animaniacs, and also the swan song to the series...

. It later aired on Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon (TV channel)
Nickelodeon, often simply called Nick and originally named Pinwheel, is an American children's channel owned by MTV Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom International. The channel is primarily aimed at children ages 7–17, with the exception of their weekday morning program block aimed at preschoolers...

, Nicktoons Network, and Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network is a name of television channels worldwide created by Turner Broadcasting which used to primarily show animated programming. The channel began broadcasting on October 1, 1992 in the United States....

 in syndication.

Premise


The Warner siblings
Yakko, Wakko, and Dot
Yakko, Wakko and Dot Warner, also known as "The Warner Brothers " or "The Warner Siblings", or just simply "The Warners", are the three titular cartoon characters featured on the animated series Animaniacs. The trio of red-nosed Warner siblings were considered to be the stars of the ensemble of...

 and the other characters lived in Burbank, California
Burbank, California
Burbank is a city in Los Angeles County in Southern California, United States, north of downtown Los Angeles. The estimated population in 2010 was 103,340....

. However, characters from the series had episodes in various places and periods of time. The Animaniacs characters interacted with famous persons and creators of the past and present as well as mythological characters and characters from modern television. Andrea Romano, the voice director and caster for Animaniacs, said that the Warner siblings functioned to "tie the show together," by appearing in and introducing other characters' segments. Each Animaniacs episode usually consisted of two or three cartoon shorts. Animaniacs segments ranged in time, from bridging segments less than a minute long to episodes spanning the entire show length; writer Peter Hastings said that the varying episode lengths gave the show a "sketch comedy" atmosphere.

Characters




Animaniacs had a large cast of characters, separated into separate segments, with each pair or set of characters acting in its own plot. The Warners, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot
Yakko, Wakko, and Dot
Yakko, Wakko and Dot Warner, also known as "The Warner Brothers " or "The Warner Siblings", or just simply "The Warners", are the three titular cartoon characters featured on the animated series Animaniacs. The trio of red-nosed Warner siblings were considered to be the stars of the ensemble of...

, were three cartoon stars from the 1930s that were locked away in the Warner Bros. water tower until the 1990s, when they escaped. After their escape, they often interacted with Warner Bros. studio workers, including Ralph, the security guard; Dr. Otto Scratchansniff, the studio psychiatrist, and his assistant Hello Nurse. Pinky and the Brain
Pinky and the Brain
Pinky and the Brain is an American animated television series.The characters Pinky and the Brain first appeared in 1993 as a recurring segment on the show Animaniacs...

 are two genetically altered laboratory mice that continuously plot and attempt to take over the world. Slappy Squirrel is an aged cartoon star that would easily outwit antagonists and educate her nephew, Skippy Squirrel, about cartoon techniques. Additional principal characters included Rita and Runt, Buttons and Mindy, Chicken Boo, Flavio and Marita (The Hip Hippos), Katie Ka-Boom, a trio of pigeons known as The Goodfeathers, and Minerva Mink.

Creation and inspiration


The Animaniacs cast of characters had a variety of inspiration, from celebrities to writers' family members to other writers. Executive Producer Steven Spielberg said that the irreverence in Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes is a Warner Bros. animated cartoon series. It preceded the Merrie Melodies series and was Warner Bros.'s first animated theatrical series. Since its first official release, 1930's Sinkin' in the Bathtub, the series has become a worldwide media franchise, spawning several television...

 cartoons inspired the Animaniacs cast. The general premise of Animaniacs and the Warner siblings were created by Tom Ruegger, who also came up with the concept and characters for Pinky and the Brain
Pinky and the Brain
Pinky and the Brain is an American animated television series.The characters Pinky and the Brain first appeared in 1993 as a recurring segment on the show Animaniacs...

. Ruegger was also the senior producer and creative leader of the show. Writer Deanna Oliver contributed The Goodfeathers scripts and the character Chicken Boo. Producer and writer Sherri Stoner contributed heavily to Slappy Squirrel and Pinky and the Brain. Nicholas Hollander based Katie Kaboom on his teenage daughter.

Senior Producer Tom Ruegger modeled the Warners’ personalities heavily after those of his three sons. Because the Warners were portrayed as cartoon stars from the early 1930s
The Golden Age of American animation
The Golden Age of U.S. animation is a period in the United States animation history that began with the advent of sound cartoons in 1928 and continued into the early 1960s when theatrical animated shorts slowly began losing to the new medium of television animation.Many memorable characters emerged...

, Ruegger and other artists for Animaniacs made the images of the Warners similar to cartoon characters of the early 1930s. Simple black and white drawings were very common in cartoons of the 1920s and 1930s, such as Buddy
Buddy (Looney Tunes)
Buddy is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes series of cartoons.-Looney Tunes:Buddy has his origins in the chaos that followed the severing of relations between animators Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising from producer Leon Schlesinger...

, Felix the Cat
Felix the Cat
Felix the Cat is a cartoon character created in the silent film era. His black body, white eyes, and giant grin, coupled with the surrealism of the situations in which his cartoons place him, combine to make Felix one of the most recognized cartoon characters in film history...

, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is an anthropomorphic rabbit and animated cartoon character created by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney for films distributed by Universal Pictures in the 1920s and 1930s...

, and the early versions of Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse is a cartoon character created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at The Walt Disney Studio. Mickey is an anthropomorphic black mouse and typically wears red shorts, large yellow shoes, and white gloves...

 and Minnie Mouse
Minnie Mouse
Minerva "Minnie" Mouse is an animated character created by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney. The comic strip story "The Gleam" by Merrill De Maris and Floyd Gottfredson first gave her full name as Minerva Mouse. Minnie has since been a recurring alias for her. Minnie is currently voiced by actress Russi...

.

Tom Ruegger created Pinky and the Brain
Pinky and the Brain
Pinky and the Brain is an American animated television series.The characters Pinky and the Brain first appeared in 1993 as a recurring segment on the show Animaniacs...

 after being inspired by the personalities of two of his Tiny Toon Adventures colleagues, Eddie Fitzgerald and Tom Minton. Ruegger thought of the premise of Pinky and the Brain when he wondered what would happen if Minton and Fitzgerald tried to take over the world.

Sherri Stoner created Slappy the Squirrel when another writer and friend of Stoner, John McCann, made fun of Stoner’s career in TV movies playing troubled teenagers. When McCann joked that Sherri would be playing troubled teenagers when she was fifty years old, Sherri developed the idea of Slappy's characteristics as an older person acting like a teenager. Sherri Stoner liked the idea of an aged cartoon character because an aged cartoon star would know the secrets of other cartoons and "have the dirt on [them]".

Producers


Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

 was the executive producer during the entire run, Tom Ruegger was the senior producer, Jean MacCurdy was the executive in charge of production, and Rich Arons, Sherri Stoner, Peter Hastings, Rusty Mills, and Liz Holzman were producers of the show. The producers of the show usually had other jobs on the series; Tom Ruegger, Rich Arons, and Sherri Stoner all served as writers, and Spielberg was very involved in the show’s writing, checking every script for the series. Voice director Andrea Romano said that Spielberg also came up with story ideas, read storyboards, and came to recording sessions.

Writers


Writers for Animaniacs included writers Tom Ruegger
Tom Ruegger
Tom Ruegger is an American animation writer, producer, and director.-Career:In the 1980s Ruegger worked for Hanna-Barbera, writing and producing various animated series, most notably The Snorks, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo.In 1989 he began...

, Sherri Stoner
Sherri Stoner
Sherri Stoner is an American actress and writer. She was born July 16, 1965, in Santa Monica, California.She has worked extensively in animation. She was a writer and producer for such 1990s animated shows as Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs. She is probably best known for Animaniacs, for which...

 and Paul Rugg
Paul Rugg
-Biography:Rugg has worked extensively in the field of animation. His list of credits include writing for, co-producing, and playing the voices of several cartoon characters, first being credited as "Mr. Director" from Animaniacs...

, Deanna Oliver
Deanna Oliver
Deanna Oliver is an American actress who did the voice of Toaster in the 1987 film, The Brave Little Toaster and its sequels. She also is the producer of My Favorite Martian & other films. In addition, she was a writer of the 1993 television show, Animaniacs and the 1990 show Tiny Toon Adventures....

, John McCann
John P. McCann
John P. McCann is an American-born writer, actor and producer who has mostly focused on writing/producing animation and family-friendly scripts in the past. He is best-known for his work on television cartoons, for which he has received numerous awards, but he has also produced live-action...

, Nicholas Hollander, Peter Hastings, Charlie Howell, Gordon Bressack, Jeff Kwitny, Earl Kress, Tom Minton
Tom Minton
Tom Minton is an American animation producer, writer, story editor and storyboard artist. He created and wrote the "Toby Danger" episode of Freakazoid!, wrote the lyrics to the song "Brainstem" and served as head model for the Warner Bros character the Brain in Pinky and the Brain...

, and Randy Rogel. Writers Hastings, Rugg, Stoner, McCann, Howell, and Bressack were involved in sketch comedy. Other writers for the series came from cartoon backgrounds, including Kress, Minton, and Randy Rogel.

Made-up stories did not exclusively comprise Animaniacs writing, as writer Peter Hastings said: "We weren’t really there to tell compelling stories(...) [As a writer] you could do a real story, you could recite the Star-Spangled Banner, or you could parody a commercial(...) you could do all these kinds of things, and we had this tremendous freedom and a talent to back it up." Writers for the series wrote into Animaniacs stories that happened to them; the episodes "Ups and Downs," "Survey Ladies," and "I Got Yer Can" were episodes based on true stories that happened to Paul Rugg, Deanna Oliver, and Sherri Stoner, respectively. Another episode, "Bumbi’s Mom," both parodied the film Bambi and was a story based on Stoner’s childhood reaction to the film.

In an interview, writers for the series said that Animaniacs allowed for non-restrictive and open writing. Writer Peter Hastings said that the format of the series had the atmosphere of a sketch comedy show because Animaniacs segments could widely vary in both time and subject. Writer Sherri Stoner said that the Animaniacs writing staff worked well as a team in that writers could consult other writers on how to write or finish a story, as was the case in the episode "The Three Muska-Warners". Writers Rugg, Hastings and Stoner said that the Animaniacs writing was free in that the writers were allowed to write about and parody subjects that would not be touched on other series.

Voicing


The Animaniacs voice cast came from Animaniacs predecessor, Tiny Toon Adventures, including the voices of Yakko and Dot, Rob Paulsen
Rob Paulsen
Robert Fredrick "Rob" Paulsen III , sometimes credited as Rob Paulson, is an American voice actor, best known as the voice behind Raphael from the 1987 cartoon of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Yakko Warner and Dr...

 and Tress MacNeille
Tress MacNeille
Tress MacNeille is an American voice actress best known for providing various voices on the animated series The Simpsons, Futurama, Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Disney's House of Mouse, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Rugrats, All Grown Up!, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, and Dave the...

, respectively. Andrea Romano, the voice director and caster for Animaniacs, said that the casters wanted Paulsen to play the role of Yakko: "We had worked with Rob Paulsen before on a couple of other series and we wanted him to play Yakko." Paulsen also played the roles of Pinky and Dr. Otto Scratchansniff. Romano said that the casters had "no trouble" choosing the role of Dot: "Tress MacNeille was just hilarious (...) And yet [she had] that edge." The voice of Wakko, Jess Harnell
Jess Harnell
Jess Q. Harnell is an American voice actor and singer, best known for voicing Wakko Warner on Animaniacs. Harnell has been the announcer for America's Funniest Home Videos since 1998.-Life and acting career:...

, on the other hand, did not come from Tiny Toons, and said that before Animaniacs, he had little experience in voice acting other than minor roles for Disney
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into...

 which he "fell into". Harnell said that at the audition for the show, he did a John Lennon
John Lennon
John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

 impression
Impressionist (entertainment)
An impressionist or a mimic is a performer whose act consists of imitating the voice and mannerisms of others. The word usually refers to a professional comedian/entertainer who specializes in such performances and has developed a wide repertoire of impressions, including adding to them, often to...

 and the audition "went great". Producer and writer Sherri Stoner
Sherri Stoner
Sherri Stoner is an American actress and writer. She was born July 16, 1965, in Santa Monica, California.She has worked extensively in animation. She was a writer and producer for such 1990s animated shows as Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs. She is probably best known for Animaniacs, for which...

 voiced Slappy the Squirrel. Stoner said that when she gave an impression of what the voice would be to Spielberg, he said she should fill the role. The voice actress who played the voice of Rita, Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters is an American actress, singer and children's book author from Ozone Park, Queens, New York. Over the course of a career that has spanned five decades, she has starred in musical theatre, films and television, as well as performing in solo concerts and recordings...

, is a Tony Award
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

-winning musical theatre
Musical theatre
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...

 actress, and Romano herself wanted her for the role. Other voice actors included Maurice LaMarche
Maurice LaMarche
Maurice LaMarche is an Emmy Award winning Canadian-American voice actor and former stand up comedian. He is best known for his voicework in Futurama as Kif Kroker, as Egon Spengler in The Real Ghostbusters, Verminous Skumm and Duke Nukem in Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Big Bob Pataki in Hey...

, the voice of the Brain, Squit, and the belching segments "The Great Wakkorotti" (Jess Harnell said that he himself is commonly mistaken for the role); Frank Welker
Frank Welker
Franklin Wendell "Frank" Welker is an American actor who specializes in voice acting and has contributed character voices and other vocal effects to American television and motion pictures.-Acting career:...

, the voice of Runt; and various voices by Jim Cummings
Jim Cummings
James Jonah "Jim" Cummings is an American voice actor who has appeared in almost 100 roles. He has appeared in classic animated movies such as Aladdin and The Lion King, as well as taking on roles in more current films, such as Bee Movie, Princess and the Frog, and Winnie the Pooh.-Personal...

, Paul Rugg
Paul Rugg
-Biography:Rugg has worked extensively in the field of animation. His list of credits include writing for, co-producing, and playing the voices of several cartoon characters, first being credited as "Mr. Director" from Animaniacs...

, Vernee Watson-Johnson
Vernee Watson-Johnson
Vernee Watson-Johnson is an American actress. She is best known for her recurring roles as Vernajean Williams on Welcome Back, Kotter and as Viola "Vy" Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, playing the mother of Will Smith's character.She played a small role on Sister, Sister as Lisa's best...

, Jeff Bennett
Jeff Bennett
Jeffrey Glenn "Jeff" Bennett is an American voice actor and musician, listed "among the top names in the voice-over field", best known as the voice of Johnny Bravo in the series of the same name...

 and Gail Matthius
Gail Matthius
Gail Matthius is an American actress and voice actress. She was a cast member of NBC's Saturday Night Live during its critical and ratings low point at the time , and co-anchored the Weekend Update segment with Charles Rocket in 1981.-Recurring characters:*Vicki, a Valley girl who,...

 (from Tiny Toon Adventures). Tom Ruegger's three sons also played roles on the series. Nathan Ruegger voiced Skippy Squirrel, nephew to Slappy, throughout the duration of the series; Luke Ruegger voiced The Flame in historical segments on Animaniacs; and Cody Ruegger voiced Birdie from Wild Blue Yonder.

Animation


Animation work on Animaniacs was farmed out to several different studios, both American and international, over the course of the show’s production. The animation companies included TMS Entertainment, StarToons
StarToons
StarToons International, LLC was an American animation studio located in the Chicago, Illinois area. It was founded by Jon McClenahan, an animator who had previously worked for other studios like Hanna Barbera...

, Wang Film Productions
Wang Film Productions
Wang Film Productions is one of the oldest and most prolific Taiwanese animation studios...

, Freelance Animators New Zealand, and AKOM
AKOM
AKOM Productions is a South Korean animation studio in Songpa-gu, Seoul that has provided much work since its conception in 1985 by Nelson Shin. Its biggest claim to fame is the overseas animation for 200 episodes of The Simpsons, to which that number is consistently rising...

, and most Animaniacs episodes frequently had animation from different companies in each episode's respective segments.

Animaniacs was made with a higher production value than standard television animation; the show had a higher cel
Cel
A cel, short for celluloid, is a transparent sheet on which objects are drawn or painted for traditional, hand-drawn animation. Actual celluloid was used during the first half of the 20th century, but since it was flammable and dimensionally unstable it was largely replaced by cellulose acetate...

 count than most TV cartoons. The Animaniacs characters often move fluidly, and do not regularly stand still and speak, as in other television cartoons like Tiny Toon Adventures
Tiny Toon Adventures
Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures, usually referred to as Tiny Toon Adventures or simply Tiny Toons, is an American animated television series created by Tom Ruegger and produced by Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. It began production as a result of Warner Bros....

 or Casper
The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper
The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper was an animated television spin-off of the feature film Casper, which, in turn, was based on the Harvey Comics character of Casper the Friendly Ghost....

.

Music


Animaniacs was a very musical cartoon, with every episode featuring at least one original score. The idea for an original musical score in every episode came from Steven Spielberg. Animaniacs used a 35-piece orchestra, and was scored by a team of composers, led by supervising composer Richard Stone
Richard Stone (composer)
Richard Stone was an American composer. He played an important part in the revival of Warner Bros. animation in the 1990s, composing music and songs for Tiny Toon Adventures, Taz-Mania, SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Freakazoid!, The Sylvester and Tweety...

. The composing team included Steve and Julie Bernstein, Carl Johnson, Gordon Goodwin and Tim Kelly. The use of the large orchestra in modern Warner Bros. animation began with Animaniacs predecessor, Tiny Toon Adventures, but Spielberg pushed for its use even more in Animaniacs. Although the outcome was a very expensive show to produce, "the sound sets us apart from everyone else in animation," said Jean MacCurdy, the executive in charge of production for the series. Assistant composers Steve and Julie Bernstein said that not only was the Animaniacs music written in the same style as that of Looney Tunes composer Carl Stalling
Carl Stalling
Carl W. Stalling was an American composer and arranger for music in animated films. He is most closely associated with the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts produced by Warner Bros., where he averaged one complete score each week, for 22 years.-Biography:Stalling was born to Ernest and...

, but that the music used the same studio and piano that Carl Stalling used. Senior producer Tom Ruegger said that writers Randy Rogel, Nicholas Hollander, and Deanna Oliver wrote "a lot of music" for the series.

Animaniacs had a variety of music types. Many Animaniacs songs were parodies of classical or folk music with a educational lyrics, such as "Wakko's America", which listed all the states in the U.S. and their capitals to the tune of Turkey in the Straw
Turkey in the Straw
"Turkey in the Straw" is a well-known American folk song dating from the early 19th century.The song's tune was first popularized in the late 1820s and early 1830s by blackface performers, notably George Washington Dixon, Bob Farrell and George Nichols. Another song, "Zip Coon", was sung to the...

. Another song, titled "The Presidents", named every US president (up to Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

, due to production date) to the tune of the William Tell Overture
William Tell Overture
The William Tell Overture is the instrumental introduction to the opera Guillaume Tell by Gioachino Rossini. William Tell premiered in 1829 and was the last of Rossini's 39 operas, after which he went into semi-retirement, although he continued to compose cantatas, sacred music and secular vocal...

. Another song had Yakko listing the "Nations of the World" to the tune of the Mexican Hat Dance. Non-educational songs included parodies, such as the segment "Slippin' on the Ice", a parody of "Singin' in the Rain
Singin' in the Rain (song)
"Singin' In the Rain" is a song with lyrics by Arthur Freed and music by Nacio Herb Brown, published in 1929. However, it is unclear exactly when the song was written with some claiming that the song was written and performed as early as 1927. The song was listed as Number 3 on AFI's 100 Years.....

". Most of the groups of characters even had their own theme songs for their segment on the show.

The Animaniacs series theme song, performed by the Warners, was a very important part of the show. In the series' first season, the theme won an Emmy Award
Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

 for best song. Richard Stone
Richard Stone (composer)
Richard Stone was an American composer. He played an important part in the revival of Warner Bros. animation in the 1990s, composing music and songs for Tiny Toon Adventures, Taz-Mania, SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Freakazoid!, The Sylvester and Tweety...

 composed the music for the title sequence and Tom Ruegger
Tom Ruegger
Tom Ruegger is an American animation writer, producer, and director.-Career:In the 1980s Ruegger worked for Hanna-Barbera, writing and producing various animated series, most notably The Snorks, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo.In 1989 he began...

 wrote the lyrics. Several Animaniacs albums and Sing-along VHS tapes were released, including the CDs Animaniacs, Yakko’s World, and Variety Pack, and the tape Animaniacs Sing-Along: Yakko's World.

Hallmarks and humor


The humor of Animaniacs varied in type, ranging from parody to cartoon violence. The series made parodies of television shows and films. In an interview, Spielberg defended the "irreverence" of Animaniacs, saying that the Animaniacs crew has "a point of view" and does not "sit back passively and play both sides equally". Spielberg also said that Animaniacs humor of social commentary and irreverence were inspired by the Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act, originally from New York City, that enjoyed success in Vaudeville, Broadway, and motion pictures from the early 1900s to around 1950...

 and Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes is a Warner Bros. animated cartoon series. It preceded the Merrie Melodies series and was Warner Bros.'s first animated theatrical series. Since its first official release, 1930's Sinkin' in the Bathtub, the series has become a worldwide media franchise, spawning several television...

 cartoons. Animaniacs, among other Spielberg-produced shows, had a large amount of cartoon violence. Spielberg defended the violence in Animaniacs by saying that the series had a balance of both violent humor and educational segments, so the series would never become either too violent or "benign". Animaniacs also made use of catchphrases, recurring jokes and segments, and "adult" humor.


Recurring jokes and catchphrases


Characters on Animaniacs had catchphrases, with some characters having more than one. Notable catchphrases include Yakko’s "Goodnight, everybody!" often said following adult humor, Wakko's "Faboo!", and Dot’s frequent assertions of her cuteness. The most prominent catchphrase that was said by all the Warners was "Hello-o-o, nurse!" Tom Ruegger said that the "Hello-o-o, Nurse!" line was intended to be a catchphrase much like Bugs Bunny
Bugs Bunny
Bugs Bunny is a animated character created in 1938 at Leon Schlesinger Productions, later Warner Bros. Cartoons. Bugs is an anthropomorphic gray rabbit and is famous for his flippant, insouciant personality and his portrayal as a trickster. He has primarily appeared in animated cartoons, most...

's line, "What's up, doc?" Characters Pinky and the Brain had a catchphrase where Brain would ask Pinky, "Are you pondering what I’m pondering?" to which Pinky would always respond with a non-sequitur. At the start of all Pinky and the Brain episodes, Pinky asks "Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?", to which Brain answers "The same thing we do every night, Pinky... try to take over the world!" in a segment that preceded the theme song. Also, Brain would shout "Yes!" in response to an idea that he liked. Writer Peter Hastings said that he unintentionally created these catchphrases when he wrote the episode "Win Big," and then Producer Sherri Stoner used them and had them put into later episodes. Pinky had several verbal tics, recurring throughout the series, notably 'narf!' which featured at the end of the theme tune. Skippy Squirrel had the catchphrase, "Spew!" which was used whenever something disgusting was brought up. Slappy had the catchphrase, "Now that's comedy!" which she would deliver at the end of every Slappy Squirrel cartoon.

Running gags and recurring segments were very common in the show. One example is the close-up of the Warner's water tower after the closing credits; right before the end of the episode, the water tower door would open, one or more of the characters would come out, say something to the audience, and the water tower door would close. Something similar happened in the last few lines of the opening theme, where after the phrase "We're Animaney, Totally Insane-y", one or more of the Warners would chime in with a rhyming phrase. Director Rusty Mills and senior producer Tom Ruegger said that recurring segments like the water tower gag, such as the segment The Wheel of Morality, eased the production of episodes because the same animated scenes could be used more than once. The Wheel of Morality was also used to take up time in an episode that was running short.

Another running gag was that characters would make a brief appearance in other characters' segments and sometimes point out that they are not in the correct episode. Animaniacs even devoted an entire episode to characters and segments being switched around. Characters from Tiny Toon Adventures also made appearances in some episodes of Animaniacs. Because of Steven Spielberg's involvement in the series, a running gag was that his films were mentioned in the series and even a caricature of Spielberg himself appeared a few times; for instance, in the episode "Hooked on a Ceiling", Spielberg was made "eminence
His Eminence
His Eminence is a historical style of reference for high nobility, still in use in various religious contexts.-Catholicism:The style remains in use as the official style or standard of address in reference to a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, reflecting his status as a Prince of the Church.A...

" of the Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel is the best-known chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City. It is famous for its architecture and its decoration that was frescoed throughout by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio...

, and the Warners painted an E.T.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Melissa Mathison and starring Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, and Peter Coyote...

 picture on its ceiling (in the place of God) reaching out to Elliott (in place of Adam).

Humor and content intended for adults


A great deal of Animaniacs' humor and content was aimed at an adult audience. The comic opera
Comic opera
Comic opera denotes a sung dramatic work of a light or comic nature, usually with a happy ending.Forms of comic opera first developed in late 17th-century Italy. By the 1730s, a new operatic genre, opera buffa, emerged as an alternative to opera seria...

s of Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan . The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S...

 Pirates of Penzance and H.M.S. Pinafore
H.M.S. Pinafore
H.M.S. Pinafore; or, The Lass That Loved a Sailor is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and a libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It opened at the Opera Comique in London, England, on 25 May 1878 and ran for 571 performances, which was the second-longest run of any musical...

 were parodied in episode 3, "HMS Yakko"
Cultural influence of Gilbert and Sullivan
In the past 125 years, Gilbert and Sullivan have pervasively influenced popular culture in the English-speaking world. Lines and quotations from the Gilbert and Sullivan operas have become part of the English language, such as "short, sharp shock", "What never? Well, hardly ever!", "let the...

. Animaniacs parodied the film A Hard Day's Night and the Three Tenors, references that The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 wrote were "appealing to older audiences". Some content of Animaniacs was not only aimed at an adult audience but were suggestive in nature. For example, one character, Minerva Mink had episodes that network censors considered too sexually suggestive for the show's intended audience, for which she was soon de-emphasized as a featured character. The word sexy was said twice in the series. In the episode Turkey Jerky, a pilgrim says "Give me the bird", Yakko responds saying "we'd love to, really, but the Fox censors won't allow it".

The Animaniacs characters had personalities and character traits similar to those of film stars in movies marketed to adults. The Warners personalities were made similar to those of the Marx Brothers and Jerry Lewis, in that they, according to writer Peter Hastings, "wreak havoc," in "serious situations". In addition, the show's recurring Goodfeathers segment was populated with characters based on characters from the 1990 WB film Goodfellas
Goodfellas
Goodfellas is a 1990 American crime film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is a film adaptation of the 1986 non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scorsese...

, an R-rated crime drama neither marketed nor intended for children.


Parodies



Animaniacs parodied popular TV shows and movies and caricatured celebrities. One episode even made fun of a large Animaniacs competitor, Power Rangers
Power Rangers
Power Rangers is a long-running American entertainment and merchandising franchise built around a live action children's television series featuring teams of costumed heroes...

, and another episode caricatured Animaniacs' own Internet fans. Animaniacs spoofs were multi-layered, with the episode parodying one specific subject and referencing other subjects along the way. For instance, the episode "Hooked on a Ceiling" did not only parody The Agony and the Ecstasy
The Agony and the Ecstasy
The Agony and the Ecstasy could refer to:* The Agony and the Ecstasy :A 1961 novel about Michelangelo* The Agony and the Ecstasy :A 1965 film starring Charlton Heston based on the novel.* The title of the 1975 Smokey Robinson single....

, but it also featured Quasimodo
Quasimodo
Quasimodo is a fictional character in the novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo. Quasimodo was born with a hunchback and feared by the townspeople as a sort of monster but he finds sanctuary in an unlikely love that is fulfilled only in death. The role of Quasimodo has been played by...

 shouting "Sanctuary! Sanctuary!", a reference to The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939 film)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1939 American monochrome film starring Charles Laughton as Quasimodo and Maureen O'Hara as Esmeralda. It was directed by William Dieterle and produced by Pandro S. Berman...

. Animaniacs made fun of celebrities, major motion pictures, television shows for adults (Seinfeld
Seinfeld
Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998, lasting nine seasons, and is now in syndication. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself...

 and Friends
Friends
Friends is an American sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from September 22, 1994 to May 6, 2004. The series revolves around a group of friends in Manhattan. The series was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television...

, among others), television shows for children, and trends in the US. Animaniacs also made potshots of Disney films, creating parodies of such films as The Lion King
The Lion King
The Lion King is a 1994 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series...

, Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast (1991 film)
Beauty and the Beast is a 1991 American animated fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. The thirtieth film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series and the third film of the Disney Renaissance period...

, Pocahontas
Pocahontas (1995 film)
Pocahontas is the 33rd animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. It was produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and was originally released to selected theaters on June 16, 1995 by Walt Disney Pictures...

, Bambi
Bambi
Bambi is a 1942 American animated film directed by David Hand , produced by Walt Disney and based on the book Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Austrian author Felix Salten...

, and others. Animaniacs Director Russell Calabrese said that not only did it become a compliment to be parodied on Animaniacs but also that being parodied on the series would be taken as a "badge of honor".

Response


Animaniacs became a very successful show, gathering both child and adult fans. The series received ratings higher than its competitors and won eight Daytime Emmy Awards and one Peabody Award.

Ratings and popularity


During its run, Animaniacs became the second-most popular children’s show in both demographics of children ages 2–11 and children ages 6–11 (behind Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers). Animaniacs, along with other animated series, helped to bring "Fox Kids" ratings much larger than those of the channel’s competitors. In November 1993, Animaniacs and Tiny Toon Adventures almost doubled the ratings of their rival shows, Darkwing Duck
Darkwing Duck
DarkWing Duck is an American animated television series produced by The Walt Disney Company that ran from 1991–1992 on both the syndicated programming block The Disney Afternoon and Saturday mornings on ABC. It featured the eponymous anthropomorphic duck superhero whose alter ego is mild-mannered...

 and Goof Troop
Goof Troop
Disney's Goof Troop is an American animated television series from The Walt Disney Company featuring Goofy as a father figure and bonding with his son Max.-Premise:...

, in both the 2–11 and 6–11 demographics that are very important to children's networks. On "Kids' WB", Animaniacs gathered about one-million children viewers every week.

While Animaniacs was popular among younger viewers (the target demographic for Warner Bros.' TV cartoons), adults also responded positively to the show; in 1995, more than one-fifth of the weekday (4 p.m., Monday through Friday) and Saturday morning (8 a.m.) audience viewers were 25 years or older. The large adult fanbase even led to one of the first Internet-based fandom
Fandom
Fandom is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest...

 cultures. During the show's prime, the Internet newsgroup alt.tv.animaniacs was an active gathering place for fans of the show (most of whom were adults) to post reference guides, fan fiction
Fan fiction
Fan fiction is a broadly-defined term for fan labor regarding stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator...

, and fan-made artwork about Animaniacs. The online popularity of the show did not go unnoticed by the show's producers, and twenty of the most active participants on the newsgroup were invited to the Warner Bros. Animation
Warner Bros. Animation
Warner Bros. Animation is the animation division of Warner Bros., a subsidiary of Time Warner. The studio is closely associated with the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies characters, among others. The studio is the successor to Warner Bros...

 studios for a gathering in August 1995 dubbed by those fans Animania IV.

The series gained high ratings even under disadvantageous circumstances. During November 1993, a Dallas Fox affiliate had a three-day transmitter failure, resulting in a blank screen instead of an episode of Animaniacs; during this period, about 11,000 homes were channeled to watch the Animaniacs episode, which was almost double the rating of the rival KXTX-TV children's show.

Nominations and awards


Animaniacs first major award came in 1993, when the series won one Peabody Award
Peabody Award
The George Foster Peabody Awards recognize distinguished and meritorious public service by radio and television stations, networks, producing organizations and individuals. In 1939, the National Association of Broadcasters formed a committee to recognize outstanding achievement in radio broadcasting...

 in its debuting season. In 1994, Animaniacs was nominated for two Annie Awards
Annie Award
The Annie Awards have been presented by the Los Angeles, California branch of the International Animated Film Association, ASIFA-Hollywood since 1972...

, one for "Best Animated Television Program", and the other for "Best Achievement for Voice Acting" (Frank Welker
Frank Welker
Franklin Wendell "Frank" Welker is an American actor who specializes in voice acting and has contributed character voices and other vocal effects to American television and motion pictures.-Acting career:...

). Animaniacs also won two Daytime Emmy Awards
Daytime Emmy Award
The Daytime Emmy Awards are awards presented by the New York-based National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles-based Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in recognition of excellence in American daytime television programming...

 for "Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition" and "Outstanding Original Song" (Animaniacs Main Title Theme). In 1995, Animaniacs was nominated four times for the Annie Awards, once for "Best Animated Television Program", twice for "Voice Acting in the Field of Animation" (Tress MacNeille and Rob Paulsen), and once for "Best Individual Achievement for Music in the Field of Animation" (Richard Stone). In 1996, Animaniacs won two Daytime Emmy Awards, one for "Outstanding Animated Children's Program" and the other for "Outstanding Achievement in Animation". In 1997, Animaniacs was nominated for an Annie Award for "Best Individual Achievement: Directing in a TV Production" (Charles Visser for the episode "Noel"). Animaniacs also won two more Daytime Emmy Awards, one for "Outstanding Animated Children's Program" and the other for "Outstanding Music Direction and Composition". In 1998, the last year in which new episodes of Animaniacs were produced, Animaniacs was nominated for an Annie Award in "Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Daytime Television Program". Animaniacs also won a Daytime Emmy Award in "Outstanding Music Direction and Composition" (For the episode "The Brain’s Apprentice"). In 1999, Animaniacs won a Daytime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition". When Animaniacs won this award, it set a record for most Daytime Emmy Awards in the field of "Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition" for any individual animation studio. In the Nostalgia Critic's countdown of the "Top 11 Best Animated Nostalgic TV Shows", Animaniacs was named #2, losing to Batman: The Animated Series
Batman: The Animated Series
Batman: The Animated Series is an American animated series based on the DC Comics character Batman. The series featured an ensemble cast of many voice-actors including Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Arleen Sorkin, and Loren Lester. The series won four Emmy Awards and was nominated...

. In 2009, IGN
IGN
IGN is an entertainment website that focuses on video games, films, music and other media. IGN's main website comprises several specialty sites or "channels", each occupying a subdomain and covering a specific area of entertainment...

 named Animaniacs the 17th-best animated television series.

History




Preproduction


Before Animaniacs was put into production, various collaboration and brainstorming efforts were thought up to create both the characters and premise of the series. For instance, ideas that were thrown out were Rita and Runt being the hosts of the show and the Warners being duck characters that Senior Producer Tom Ruegger drew in his college years. After the characters from the series were created, they were all shown to Executive Producer Steven Spielberg, who would decide which characters would make it into Animaniacs (the characters Buttons and Mindy were chosen by Spielberg's daughter). The characters' designs came from various sources, including caricatures of other writers, designs based on early cartoon characters, and characters that simply had a more modern design.

"Fox Kids" Era: Episodes 1–69


Animaniacs premiered on September 13, 1993, on "Fox Kids", and was on "Fox Kids" until September 8, 1995; new episodes aired from the 1993 through 1994 seasons. Animaniacs aired with a 65-episode first season because these episodes were ordered by Fox all at once. While on "Fox Kids", Animaniacs gained fame for its name and became the second-most popular show among children ages 2–11 and children ages 6–11, second to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is an American live-action children's television series based on the 16th installment of the Japanese Super Sentai franchise, Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger. Both the show and its related merchandise saw unbridled overnight success, catapulting into pop culture in mere months...

 (which began that same year). In 1994, Yakko, Wakko and Dot also starred in the theatrical short "I'm Mad". New episodes were aired on "Fox Kids" until the 65th episode aired; Fox then ordered no more new episodes, with the exception of a short, four-episode long second season that was quickly put together from unused scripts during the Animaniacs syndication period on "Fox Kids". After "Fox Kids" put Animaniacs into syndication for a year, Animaniacs switched to the new Warner Bros. channel, "Kids' WB".

"Kids' WB" Era: Episodes 70–99


The series was popular enough for Warner Bros. Animation to invest in additional episodes of Animaniacs past the traditional 65-episode marker for syndication. Animaniacs premiered on the new "Kids' WB" line-up on September 9, 1995, with a new season of 13 episodes. At this time, the show's popular cartoon characters, Pinky and the Brain
Pinky and the Brain
Pinky and the Brain is an American animated television series.The characters Pinky and the Brain first appeared in 1993 as a recurring segment on the show Animaniacs...

, were spun-off
Spin-off (media)
In media, a spin-off is a radio program, television program, video game, or any narrative work, derived from one or more already existing works, that focuses, in particular, in more detail on one aspect of that original work...

 from Animaniacs into their own TV series. While on "Kids' WB", Animaniacs gathered over one million children viewers every week. However, Animaniacs was only successful in an unintended way, bringing in adult viewers and viewers outside the "Kids' WB" target demographic of very small children. This unintended result of adult viewers and not enough very young viewers put pressure on the WB Network from advertisers and caused dissatisfaction from the WB network towards Animaniacs. Slowly, orders from the WB for more Animaniacs episodes dwindled and Animaniacs made it through a couple more short seasons, relying on leftover scripts and storyboards. The fourth season had eight episodes, which was reduced from 18 because of the WB's dissatisfaction with Animaniacs. Finally, in 1998, Animaniacs was cancelled by the WB, led by executive Jamie Kellner
Jamie Kellner
Jamie Kellner is an American television executive. He was chairman and chief executive officer of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a division of Time Warner which includes TBS, TNT, and Cartoon Network. Kellner took over the post in 2001 and handed over the company to Philip Kent in 2003...

, who has also been held responsible for the cancellations of Freakazoid!
Freakazoid!
Freakazoid! is an American animated television series created by Steven Spielberg, Bruce Timm, and Paul Dini for the Kids' WB programming block of The WB. The series chronicles the adventures of the title character, Freakazoid, a manic, insane superhero who battles with an array of super villains....

 and Pinky and the Brain
Pinky and the Brain
Pinky and the Brain is an American animated television series.The characters Pinky and the Brain first appeared in 1993 as a recurring segment on the show Animaniacs...

. The 99th and final Animaniacs episode was aired on November 14, 1998. Afterwards, Animaniacs segments were being shown along with segments from other cartoons as part of The Cat&Birdy Warneroonie PinkyBrainy Big Cartoonie Show
The Cat&Birdy Warneroonie PinkyBrainy Big Cartoonie Show
The Cat & Birdy Warneroonie Pinky Brainy Big Cartoonie Show, or The Big Cartoonie Show for short, is a compilation program that aired on Kids' WB from January 16, 1999, to August 24, 2000...

. On December 21, 1999, a direct-to-video movie starring the Warners, titled Wakko's Wish
Wakko's Wish
Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs: Wakko's Wish, usually referred to as Wakko's Wish is a 1999 American direct-to-video animated tragicomedy film based on the Warner Bros. 1993-98 animated series, Animaniacs, and also the swan song to the series...

, was released.

Aftermath and syndication


After Animaniacs, Spielberg collaborated with Warner Bros. Animation again to produce the short-lived series Freakazoid, along with the Animaniacs spin-off series Pinky and the Brain
Pinky and the Brain
Pinky and the Brain is an American animated television series.The characters Pinky and the Brain first appeared in 1993 as a recurring segment on the show Animaniacs...

, from which Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain
Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain
Steven Spielberg Presents Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain is the retooling of the American animated television series Pinky and the Brain , with the title characters being joined by Elmyra Duff from their other show Tiny Toon Adventures...

 was later spun off. Warner Bros. also produced three other series in the later half of the decade titled Histeria!
Histeria!
Histeria! is a 1998 American animated series created by Tom Ruegger and produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Unlike other animated series produced by Warner Bros. in the 1990s, Histeria! stood out as the most explicit edutainment program in order to meet FCC requirements for...

, Toonsylvania
Toonsylvania
Toonsylvania is an animated television series, which ran for 2 seasons in 1998 on FOX's Saturday morning cartoon block in its first season, then was moved to Tuesday afternoons from September 14, 1998 until December 21, 1998, when it was cancelled...

, and Detention
Detention (TV series)
Detention is a cartoon that premiered on Kids' WB! on September 10, 1999 and was created by Bob Doucette . This is one of the shortest lived programs by Warner Bros...

. Later, Warner Bros. cut back the size of its animation studio because the show Histeria! went over its budget, and most production on further Warner Bros. animated comedy series ceased.

Animaniacs, along with Tiny Toon Adventures, continued to rerun in syndication through the 1990s into the early-2000s after production of new episodes ceased. Animaniacs aired in syndication on the WB's sister network, Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network is a name of television channels worldwide created by Turner Broadcasting which used to primarily show animated programming. The channel began broadcasting on October 1, 1992 in the United States....

, from January 24, 1997 until Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon (TV channel)
Nickelodeon, often simply called Nick and originally named Pinwheel, is an American children's channel owned by MTV Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom International. The channel is primarily aimed at children ages 7–17, with the exception of their weekday morning program block aimed at preschoolers...

 bought the rights to air the series for spring 2001. Animaniacs does not currently air on Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, or its sister network, Nicktoons, nor does it (or any other 1990s Warner Bros. show) air on Boomerang
Boomerang (TV channel)
Boomerang is a 24-hour American cable television channel owned by Turner Broadcasting System, a division of Time Warner. Boomerang specializes in reruns of animated programming from Time Warner's extensive archives, including pre-1986 MGM, Hanna-Barbera, Cartoon Network, DePatie-Freleng Enterprises...

, the usual "dumping ground" for Warner Bros.' animated reruns. Although the series was scheduled to re-run on Warner Bros and AOL
AOL
AOL Inc. is an American global Internet services and media company. AOL is headquartered at 770 Broadway in New York. Founded in 1983 as Control Video Corporation, it has franchised its services to companies in several nations around the world or set up international versions of its services...

's new broadband internet channel Toontopia TV
In2TV
In2TV was a website offering ad-supported streaming video of classic TV shows in the USA only .The main appeal of the service was that it made available numerous old shows which were rarely, if ever, aired on broadcast television...

, Animaniacs is no longer a featured show on the site. The show aired on the Australian digital channel GO!
Go! (Australian TV channel)
GO! is an Australian free-to-air standard definition digital television channel launched by the Nine Network on Sunday 9 August 2009.-Origins:...

 from August 2011 to October 2011 but has now returned to the channel on November 2011. The theme song is presented unaltered.

"I'm Mad"


Yakko, Wakko, and Dot first theatrically appeared in the animated short, "I'm Mad
I'm Mad
"I'm Mad" is a 1994 Animaniacs cartoon short starring Yakko, Wakko, and Dot along with Dr. Scratchansniff and it was directed by Rich Arons, Dave Marshall and Audu Paden...

", which opened nationwide alongside the full-length animated feature, Thumbelina
Thumbelina (1994 film)
Thumbelina is a 1994 American animated film directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman from a screenplay by Bluth based on Hans Christian Andersen's Thumbelina. The film was produced by Don Bluth Entertainment and was released to movie theaters by Warner Bros...

, on March 30, 1994. The musical short featured Yakko, Wakko, and Dot bickering during a car trip. Producers Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, and Jean MacCurdy wanted "I’m Mad" to be the first of a series of shorts to bring Animaniacs to a wider audience. However, "I'm Mad" was Animaniacs only theatrical appearance. The short was later incorporated into Animaniacs episode 69.

Wakko's Wish



The Warners starred in the feature-length, direct-to-video movie Wakko's Wish. The movie takes place in the fictional town of Acme Falls, in which the Warners and the rest of the Animaniacs cast are under the rule of a greedy dictator. When the Warners find out about a star that will grant a wish to the first person that touches it, the Warners, the villagers (the Animaniacs cast), and the dictator race to get to it first. Although children and adults rated Wakko’s Wish highly in test-screenings, Warner Bros. decided to release it direct-to-video, rather than spend money on advertising. Warner Bros. released the movie on VHS on December 21, 1999; there has not yet been a DVD or Blu-ray release, but is available for download on iTunes
ITunes
iTunes is a media player computer program, used for playing, downloading, and organizing digital music and video files on desktop computers. It can also manage contents on iPod, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad....

, and occasionally shown on Cartoon Network (mainly in Christmas-special marathons)

Home video



Episodes of the show have been released on DVD and VHS during and after the series run.

VHS videos were released in the United States and in the United Kingdom. All of those videos are out of production, but are still available at online sellers. The episodes featured are jumbled at random and are in no particular order with the series. Each video featured four to five episodes each and accompanied by a handful of shorter skits, with a running time of about 45 minutes.

Beginning on July 25, 2006, Warner Home Video began releasing DVD volume sets of Animaniacs episodes in order of the episodes' original airdates. Volume one of Animaniacs sold very well; over half of the product being sold in the first week made it one of the fastest selling animation DVD sets that Warner Home Video ever put out.
DVD nameEp #Release dateAdditional information
Volume 1 25 July 25, 2006 This five disc box set contains the first 25 episodes from season one. Includes the featurette "Animaniacs Live!", where Maurice LaMarche hosts an interview via satellite TV with Animaniacs voice actors, writers, and composers as they comment on the show.
Volume 2 25 December 5, 2006 This five disc box set contains the second 25 episodes (26–50) from season one. Includes the featurette "The Writers Flipped, They Have No Script", where Maurice LaMarche leads a gathering of writers on what their favorite Animaniacs episodes are that they wrote.
Volume 3 25 June 19, 2007 This five disc box set includes the last 15 episodes (51–65) of season one, all four episodes of season two, and the first six episodes of season three. Includes two featurettes: "They Can't Help It if They're Cute, They're Just Drawn That Way": Production commentary from the character designers, storyboard artists and art directors of the series; and "They're Totally Insane-y: In Cadence with Richard Stone": A discussion on the music of Animaniacs and a tribute to the late composer Richard Stone.


In April 2010, a discussion at the Home Theater Forum with Warner Home Video representatives revealed that Warner Bros. has "no plans at this time" for more Animaniacs releases on DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

.

Print


An Animaniacs comic book, published by DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...

, ran from 1995 to 2000 (59 regular monthly issues, plus two specials). Initially, these featured all the characters except for Pinky and the Brain, who were published in their own comic series, though cameos were possible. The Animaniacs comic series was later renamed Animaniacs! featuring Pinky and the Brain. The Animaniacs comic series, like the show, parodied TV and comics standards, such as Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction (film)
Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American crime film directed by Quentin Tarantino, who co-wrote its screenplay with Roger Avary. The film is known for its rich, eclectic dialogue, ironic mix of humor and violence, nonlinear storyline, and host of cinematic allusions and pop culture references...

 and The X-Files
The X-Files
The X-Files is an American science fiction television series and a part of The X-Files franchise, created by screenwriter Chris Carter. The program originally aired from to . The show was a hit for the Fox network, and its characters and slogans became popular culture touchstones in the 1990s...

, among others.

Video games


Animaniacs was soon brought into the video game industry to produce games based on the series. Early notable games were Play Zone!'s PC game Animaniacs Game Pack
Animaniacs Game Pack
Animaniacs Game Pack is a computer software program that features five arcade games starring the Animaniacs, published by Warner Bros. Interactive and developed by Funnybone Interactive...

! (1997) and Konami
Konami
is a Japanese leading developer and publisher of numerous popular and strong-selling toys, trading cards, anime, tokusatsu, slot machines, arcade cabinets and video games...

's Animaniacs
Animaniacs (video game)
Animaniacs is a video game that is based on the hit animated series of the same name. Unlike regular platform games, the player usually runs from the enemies rather than fighting them. Characters include Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, Pinky and the Brain, most of the supporting cast, as well as Ralph, the...

 for Super Nintendo
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System is a 16-bit video game console that was released by Nintendo in North America, Europe, Australasia , and South America between 1990 and 1993. In Japan and Southeast Asia, the system is called the , or SFC for short...

 (1994). More modern games include Animaniacs: The Great Edgar Hunt and Animaniacs: Lights, Camera, Action!
Animaniacs: Lights, Camera, Action!
Animaniacs: Lights, Camera, Action! is an action game for the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance. It was developed by Warthog and Ignition Entertainment. The game was released on November 14, 2005. The game in the UK was originally to be rated 12+ due to its mild cartoon violence & comic mischief but...

. Other Games are Animaniacs
Animaniacs (video game)
Animaniacs is a video game that is based on the hit animated series of the same name. Unlike regular platform games, the player usually runs from the enemies rather than fighting them. Characters include Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, Pinky and the Brain, most of the supporting cast, as well as Ralph, the...

 for Sega Genesis and Game Boy
Game Boy
The , is an 8-bit handheld video game device developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was released in Japan on , in North America in , and in Europe on...

; Animaniacs: A Gigantic Adventure
Animaniacs: A Gigantic Adventure
Animaniacs: a Gigantic Adventure is a video game developed by EAI Interactive and Southpeak Interactive and released on June 15, 1999.-Plot:...

 for PC
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

; Animaniacs: Splat Ball! for PC
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

; Pinky and the Brain: World Conquest for PC
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

; Animaniacs: Ten Pin Alley
Ten Pin Alley
Ten Pin Alley is a ten-pin bowling simulation game released by American Softworks in 1996 and developed internally at Adrenalin Entertainment....

 for the PlayStation
PlayStation
The is a 32-bit fifth-generation video game console first released by Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan on December 3, .The PlayStation was the first of the PlayStation series of consoles and handheld game devices. The PlayStation 2 was the console's successor in 2000...

 and Pinky and the Brain: The Master Plan for Game Boy Advance
Game Boy Advance
The is a 32-bit handheld video game console developed, manufactured, and marketed by Nintendo. It is the successor to the Game Boy Color. It was released in Japan on March 21, 2001; in North America on June 11, 2001; in Australia and Europe on June 22, 2001; and in the People's Republic of China...

 (Europe only).

Musical collections


Because Animaniacs had many songs, record labels Rhino Entertainment
Rhino Entertainment
Rhino Entertainment Company is an American specialty record label and production company. It is owned by Warner Music Group.-History:Rhino was originally a novelty song and reissue company during the 1970s and 1980s, releasing compilation albums of pop, rock & roll, and rhythm & blues successes...

 and Time Warner Kids produced albums featuring songs from the show. These albums include Animaniacs (1993), Yakko's World (1994), A Christmas Plotz (1995), Animaniacs Variety Pack (1995), A Hip-Opera Christmas (1997), The Animaniacs Go Hollywood (2003), The Animaniacs Wacky Universe (2003), and the compilation album, The Animaniacs Faboo! Collection (1995).

See also

  • List of Animaniacs episodes
  • List of Animaniacs characters
  • Tiny Toon Adventures
    Tiny Toon Adventures
    Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures, usually referred to as Tiny Toon Adventures or simply Tiny Toons, is an American animated television series created by Tom Ruegger and produced by Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. It began production as a result of Warner Bros....

  • Pinky and the Brain
    Pinky and the Brain
    Pinky and the Brain is an American animated television series.The characters Pinky and the Brain first appeared in 1993 as a recurring segment on the show Animaniacs...

  • Freakazoid!
    Freakazoid!
    Freakazoid! is an American animated television series created by Steven Spielberg, Bruce Timm, and Paul Dini for the Kids' WB programming block of The WB. The series chronicles the adventures of the title character, Freakazoid, a manic, insane superhero who battles with an array of super villains....


External links