1 9 9 5 – 1 9 9 9 (USA)
99 x 22 minute episodes
After decades of imprisonment in the water tower at Warner Bros studio lot, three cartoon characters – the Warner Brothers Yakko and Wakko and their sister, Dot – escaped to wreak madcap mayhem and drop sight gags galore – often to musical accompaniment.
Each episode consisted of either one adventure or two to three shorts.
The Warner trio were joined in their “zany to the max” antics by a crayon case of comic creature creations, among them: Slappy Squirrel, an ageing cartoon star struggling to revitalise her once-glorious career; the Goodfeathers, three mobster pigeons – God Pigeon, Bobby Pigeon and Pesto Pigeon – in a clever spoof of the 1990 film Goodfellas; the Hip Hippos – wealthy hippos Flavio and his wife, Marita, who lead the good life; the Monroe-esque Minerva Mink; Chicken Boo – a chicken who pretends to be human by donning various disguises; Mr Skullhead, a skeleton who lives in a spooky home next to the cemetery; genetically-altered lab mice Pinky and the Brain; Rita and Runt – a smart cat and a dim-witted dog; Katie Ka-Boom, a seemingly normal teenage girl who explodes (literally) when situations don’t go her way and she loses her temper; and Mindy & Buttons, a very mischievous baby girl and her heroic dog who constantly risks his life to save her.
Other regular characters around the WB lot included Thaddeus Plotz, the CEO who
was plagued by the antics of the Warners; Ralph, the security guard hired to catch them; Dr Scratchensniff, the studio psychiatrist hired to analyse them; and Hello Nurse, the doctor’s buxom assistant.
Intended as a successor to Warner Bros’ Tiny Toon Adventures the show combined classic Warner Bros animation with rapid-fire pop culture references (eg: Gorbachev walking the streets with a board proclaiming “Will sell secrets for food”) to enjoy crossover success.
The Executive Producer for Animaniacs was Steven Spielberg – indeed its full title was Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs. He personally supervised each script.
The characters of Pinky and The Brain were eventually spun-off to their own show.
Ralph the Guard
Dr Otto Scratchensniff