Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs, usually referred to as Animaniacs, is an American animated series, distributed by Warner Bros. and produced by Amblin Entertainment. The cartoon was the second animated series produced by the collaboration of Steven Spielberg and Warner Bros. Animation during the animation renaissance of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The studio's first series, Tiny Toon Adventures, was a success among younger viewers, and attracted a sizable number of adult viewers. A major precedent for the series was the success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which featured appearances by many of its famous cartoon characters, and was co-produced by Amblin Entertainment. The Animaniacs writers and animators, led by senior producer Tom Ruegger, used the experience gained from the previous series to create new animated characters that were cast in the mold of Chuck Jones and Tex Avery's creations.
The comedy of Animaniacs was a broad mix of old-fashioned wit, slapstick, pop culture references, and cartoon violence and wackiness. The show featured a number of educational segments that covered subjects such as history, math, geography, science, and social studies. Animaniacs itself was a variety show, with short skits featuring a large cast of characters. While the show had no set format, episode structure varied to suit the needs of the segments included; 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 from 1993 until 1995 and later appeared on The WB from 1995 to 1999 as part of its Kids' WB afternoon programming block. The series had a total of 99 episodes and one film, titled Wakko's Wish.
The Warner siblings
and the other characters lived in Burbank, California
. 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."
Animaniacs had a large cast of characters. The large cast was separated into separate segments, with each pair or set of characters acting in its own plot. The Warners, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot
, were three cartoon stars from the 1930s that were locked away in the Warner Bros. water tower until the 1990s, when they escaped. Pinky and the Brain
were two genetically altered laboratory mice that continuously plotted and attempted to take over the world. Slappy Squirrel
was 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 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
. 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's based Katie Kaboom
on his teenage daughter. 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
cartoons inspired the Animaniacs
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, 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, including Bosko, Felix the Cat, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Bimbo, and the early versions of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.
Tom Ruegger created Pinky and the Brain 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 teens. When McCann joked that Sherri would be playing troubled teens 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]".
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 for Animaniacs
included writers Tom Ruegger
, Sherri Stoner
and Paul Rugg
, Deanna Oliver
, John McCann
, Nicholas Hollander, Peter Hastings, Charlie Howell, Gordon Bressack, Jeff Kwitny, Earl Kress, Tom Minton
, 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.
voice cast came from Animaniacs
predecessor, Tiny Toon Adventures
, including the voices of Yakko and Dot, Rob Paulsen
and Tress MacNeille
, 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. 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
, 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
which he "fell into". Harnell said that at the audition for the show, he did a John Lennon impression
and the audition "went great". Producer and writer Sherri Stoner
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
, is a professional singer and Romano herself wanted her for the role. Other voice actors included Maurice LaMarche
, the voice of the Brain, Squit, and the belching segments \"The Great Wakkorotti\" (although Jess Harnell is commonly mistaken for the role); Frank Welker
, the voice of Runt; and Jeff Bennet. 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
In order to meet production deadlines, 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 Tokyo Movie Shinsha
, Wang Film Productions
, Rough Draft Studios
, Freelance Animators New Zealand
, and AKOM
, and most Animaniacs episodes frequently had animation from different companies in each episode's respective segments. Character layouts
were produced at the Warner Bros. Animation studio in California, while the third-party companies did the animation
and ink and paint
work. Most of the later Kids' WB episodes were animated by Wang Film Productions
Animaniacs was made with a higher production value than standard television animation; the show had a higher cel count than most TV cartoons. The Animaniacs characters often move fluidly, and do not regularly stand still and speak, as in other television cartoons.
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. For its music, Animaniacs used a 40-piece orchestra, with music composed by Richard Stone
and assistant composers Steve and Julie Bernstein. 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, every episode was given an original score, as "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
, 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 an educational twist, 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. Another song, titled "The Presidents", named every US president to the tune of the "Calvary Charge" segment of the William Tell Overture. Non-educational songs included songs that were simply parodies of other songs, like the segment "Slippin' on the Ice", a parody of "Singin' in the Rain"; songs mocking things in everyday life, such as the song "Be Careful What You Eat" that made fun of all the ingredients in junk food; and songs making fun of celebrities and other media, such as the song "Video Revue", which listed movie stars and films. Most of the show's songs were sung by the Warners. Pinky and the Brain occasionally had songs, and the most complicated songs in the series usually went to Rita, voiced by singer Bernadette Peters. Most of the groups of characters even had their own theme songs for their segment on the show.
The song "Yakko's World," with lyrics by Randy Rogel, is perhaps the series' most famous. Other songs include "Yakko's Universe", "U.N. Me", and "Schnitzelbank", among others. The Animaniacs series theme song, which was sung by the Warners, was a very important part of the show. The theme song had a variety of alternate endings and in the series' first season won an Emmy Award for best song. Richard Stone composed the music for the title sequence and Tom Rugger 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. Animaniacs
made parodies of television shows and films, one of which being a parody of a large Animaniacs
competitor, Power Rangers
. 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 and Looney Tunes
, 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 became 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 of 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
'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 utilized them and had them put into later episodes. Skippy Squirrel had the catchphrase, "Spew!" which was used whenever something disgusting was brought up. Slappy had the catchphrase, "Now that's comedy!" which would be said at the end of every Slappy Squirrel cartoon. Catchphrases were also found in the segments Goodfeathers
and Buttons and Mindy
Running gags and recurring segments were very common in the show. One example is the close-up of the 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 (usually a catchphrase or a reference to one of the episodes), and the water tower door would close. 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, were good for easier 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 appear in one another’s segments. While one set of characters would be moving along in their episode’s plot, another set of characters would make a brief appearance, 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. Animaniacs took this recurring joke even further, and Animaniacs characters appeared in other Spielberg shows, such as Pinky and the Brain, Freakazoid, and Histeria. Characters from Freakazoid and Tiny Toon Adventures also made appearances in Animaniacs. Because of Steven Spielberg's involvement in the series, a running gag was that his films were mentioned in the series and a caricature of Spielberg appeared numerous times; in the episode "Hooked on a Ceiling", Spielberg was made the "eminence" of the Sistine Chapel, and the Warners also painted an E.T. picture on its ceiling.
Included in each episode's closing credits was a gag credit for Kathryn Page, who was also properly credited as "Assistant to Producer" for the series. The gag credits included "Animal Handler", "Lemming Herder", "Shark Handler", and others.
"Adult" humor and content
A great deal of Animaniacs' humor and content was aimed at an adult audience. The comic operas
of Gilbert and Sullivan Pirates of Penzance
and H.M.S. Pinafore
were parodied in episode 3, "HMS Yakko"
. Furthermore, jokes and statements that are double entendres (such as Yakko’s song of eight of the nine planets in the Solar System, after which Wakko reminds Yakko that he forgot Uranus
) were used throughout the duration of the show. 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 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, an R-rated crime drama neither marketed nor intended for children.
parodied popular TV shows and movies and caricatured celebrities. One episode, "The Please Please Pleese Get a Life Foundation", even made fun of 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
, but it also featured Quasimodo
shouting "Sanctuary! Sanctuary!", a direct reference to The Hunchback of Notre Dame
also made fun of celebrities, major motion pictures, television shows for adults, 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
, Beauty and the Beast
, and others. Animaniacs
Director Russell Calabrese said that not only did it become a compliment to be parodied on Animaniacs
but that being parodied on the series would be taken as a "badge of honor".
became a very successful show, gathering fans in both demographics of children and adults. The series received ratings higher than its competitors and won eight Daytime Emmy Awards and one Peabody Award during its run.
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. Animaniacs
, along with other animated series, helped to bring "FOX Kids" ratings much larger than those of the channel’s competitors. For instance, in November 1993, Animaniacs
and Tiny Toon Adventures
almost doubled the ratings of their rival shows, Darkwing Duck
and Goof Troop
, 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.
Although 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 21 percent of the weekday audience (4 p.m., Monday through Friday) and more than 23 percent of the Saturday morning (8 a.m.) viewers were 25 years or older. The large adult fanbase even led to one of the first Internet-based fandom 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, 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 studios for a gathering in August 1995 dubbed by those fans Animania IV These people also received a sneak preview of a sketch that parodied the fans themselves, "Please Please Pleese Get a Life Foundation".
Furthermore, the series even gained high ratings under disadvantageous circumstances. During November 1993, the Dallas Fox affiliate had a three-day transmitter failure; in this time period, 11,000 homes tuned in to the blank screen during the Animaniacs timeslot, which was almost double the rating of the rival KXTX-TV children's show.
Nominations and awards
' first major award came in 1993, when the series won one Peabody Award
in its debuting season. In 1994, Animaniacs
was nominated for two Annie Awards
, one for "Best Animated Television Program", and the other for "Best Achievement for Voice Acting" (Frank Welker
also won two Daytime Emmy Awards
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.
was put into production, various collaboration and brainstorming efforts were thought up in order 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 had since 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
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
. 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 hastily put together from unused scripts during the Animaniacs
syndication period on "FOX Kids". After "FOX Kids" put Animaniacs
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
, were spun-off
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 canceled by the WB, led by executive Jamie Kellner
, who has also been held responsible for the cancellations of Freakazoid!
and Pinky and the Brain
. The last new Animaniacs
episode was aired on November 14, 1998. Animaniacs
was ended one episode short of having 100 episodes. Afterwards, Animaniacs
segments were being shown along with segments from other cartoons as part of The Cat&Birdy Warneroonie PinkyBrainy Big Cartoonie Show
. On December 21, 1999 a direct-to-video movie starring the Warners, titled Wakko's Wish
, was released.
Aftermath and syndication
, Spielberg collaborated with Warner Bros. Animation for a third time to produce the short-lived series Freakazoid
, along with the Animaniacs
spin-off series Pinky and the Brain
, from which Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain
was later spun off. Warner Bros. also produced two additional "zany" series in the later half of the decade entitled Histeria!
, a series focusing on American and World history, and Detention
, an animated sitcom of quirky junior high kids trying to get out of after-school detention
; both series were eventually canceled. 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, from January 24, 1997 until Nickelodeon bought the rights to air the series for spring 2001. Animaniacs does not currently air on Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, or its sister network, Nicktoons Network. Although the series was scheduled to re-run on Warner Bros and AOL's new broadband internet channel Toontopia TV, Animaniacs is no longer a featured show on the site.
Yakko, Wakko, and Dot first theatrically appeared in the animated short, "I'm Mad
", which opened nationwide alongside the full-length animated feature, Thumbelina
, 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
The Warners, along with the entire Animaniacs
cast of characters, starred in the feature-length, direct-to-video movie Wakko's Wish
. The movie takes place in the fictional country of Acme Falls, in which the Warners and the rest of the 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 release.
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. So far, these DVD box sets are available only in United States and Canada. Sales overseas have yet to be confirmed. The fourth volume is currently on hiatus in order to make way for productions on DVDs for Tiny Toon Adventures and Freakazoid.
||Additional information |
|| 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 in studio via satellite TV with Animaniacs friends (voice actors, composers, etc.) as they comment on the show. The video is presented in its original television aspect ratio, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio in English, with French, Portuguese, and Spanish subtitles. |
|| December 5 2006
|| This five disc box set contains the second 25 episodes (26–50) from season one. Includes the featurette "The Writer's Flipped, They Have No Script", where Maurice LaMarche leads a gathering of writers on what their favorite Animaniacs episodes are that they wrote. |
|| 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": Discussion on the music of Animaniacs, highlighted by a tribute to the late composer. |
comic book, published by DC Comics
, 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. Eventually, the Pinky and the Brain comic was discontinued, and was merged back into the Animaniacs
series, which was then titled as Animaniacs! featuring Pinky and the Brain
. The Animaniacs
comic series, like the show, parodied TV and comics standards, such as Pulp Fiction
and The X-Files
, among others.
An Animaniacs comic strip with art by Walter Carzon ran in the United Kingdom, but was never printed in the United States.
Animaniacs was soon brought into the video game
industry to produce games based on the series. Early notable games include Play Zone!'s PC game Animaniacs Game Pack!
(1997) and Konami
for Super Nintendo
(1994). More modern games include Animaniacs: The Great Edgar Hunt
and Animaniacs: Lights, Camera, Action!
. Other Games include Animaniacs
for Sega Genesis
and Game Boy
; Animaniacs: A Gigantic Adventure
; Animaniacs: Splat Ball!
; Pinky and the Brain: World Conquest
; Animaniacs: Ten Pin Alley
for the Playstation
and Pinky and the Brain: The Master Plan
for Game Boy Advance
had many songs, albums featuring songs from the show were produced. These albums include Animaniacs
(1993), Yakko's World
(1994), A Christmas Plotz
(1995), The Animaniacs Faboo! Collection
(1995), Animaniacs Variety Pack
(1995), A Hip-Hopera Christmas
(1997), The Animaniacs Go Hollywood
(2003), and The Animaniacs Wacky Universe
- Sandler, Kevin (1998). Reading the Rabbit: Explorations in Warner Bros. Animation. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-2538-1.
- Animaniacs [Theatrical Short]. In The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons (1999). Checkmark Books. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. .
- Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs [Television Series]. In The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons (1999). Checkmark Books. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. .