THE HUGE PAGE OF FACTS
|This site once had a "HUGE PAGE OF TINY TOONS/ANIMANIACS FACTS" until I noticed how inaccurate much of the information was and took it off. I didn't get around to revising it until now, but as you'll see, this is quite an upgrade, and it's probably become the best non-Italian WB 90's cartoons factsheet you can Google.|
Back in the late 80's, Warner Bros. noticed the successful venture Disney had taken into syndicated kids television. "DuckTales" was a major hit, and it was being followed up by "Rescue Rangers"--and coming after that, an entire two hours of show material. Now WB wanted to compete. Details are fuzzy as to how Spielberg got involved, but their first series--a revival of the classic Looney Tunes gang as a new generation--was originally called "Tiny Tunes" until 'Berg suggested they use "toon" instead, a word popularized by his own Roger Rabbit film.
Needless to say, 1990 was the hottest year syndication ever had. Tiny Toons AND the Disney Afternoon block premiered at the same time (and so did Captain Planet....uh, yay). "Tiny Toons" got plenty of press, with sneak peeks premiering on all the "Bugs Bunny's 50th Birthday" promotions that year, not to mention Spielberg's backing, unheard of for a "kiddie show" at the time.
|"Elvis was spotted at a mini-mart
in Austin! The cast of Diff'rent Strokes held up Fort
Knox! And MY VOICE causes seizures! But the story of the
year is BABBBZZZ-UH!"
Click Mary Hart to watch the Entertainment Tonight report on the debut of Tiny Toon Adventures.
THINGS TO WATCH FOR: Most of the show clips are
from the early episode "Her Wacky Highness," while the
line Don Messick is recording ("Pleeease don't let the ball
come to me!") is from one of the last episodes of the
season, meaning it was still in production.
The footage of musical scoring is the scoring of the long, long dramatic pan in "Hare Raising Night." Good choice!
Charlie Adler's Buster line "Enough in-jokes already, huh?" does not occur on any actual Tiny Toons episode.
Check out Charlie's MULLET!
|Many TT episodes looked drastically
different animationwise from others. While the intent was
to reproduce the quality of the classic shorts, the grunt
work still had to be shipped overseas--and it often
showed. Here's a list of production companies that
animated for Tiny Toons and many other WB productions:
Tokyo Movie Shinsha
Of the companies in that list, TMS was by far
the best, producing movie-quality motion that never went even a
fraction off-model. I get the sense that if WB could have had TMS
animate the entire show, they would have. TMS also animated
DuckTales before they tackled Tiny Toons.
The WORST animation company (and most fans agree with this 100%) was Kennedy Cartoons. Kennedy's work was so bad that they were fired after the first season, and their last episode was sent back to them to be completely reanimated. As a result of that, the intended season finale ("KACME TV") was actually broadcast as episode 64, and a couple months later the finishing episode of 65 had to be the bad Kennedy episode!
It was around this time that Fox bought the
rights to broadcast WB's cartoons and Tiny Toons was moved off
syndication. Fox ordered a second season and WB planned.....a
TINY TOONS MOVIE!!
"So why didn't I see it?" you ask....because it didn't show up in theaters; WB changed their minds and released the film direct-to-video. There's been no word on a DVD release yet. And actually, you HAVE seen it....it was aired in four parts as the great "How I Spent My Vacation." The epic, ultimate TT episode. Only the talented TT writing cast could come up with such a magnificent thing....
|And that cast included Peter Hastings,
Deanna Oliver and Paul Dini, but there's one thing all
the truly funny Tiny Toon scripts had in common: Sherri
Stoner was either in the writing credits, or wrote the
entire thing herself. I'm not worthy to breathe the same
air element as Sherri. Her stuff was a major influence in
my own career. She's standing next to a giant Ariel,
because the Little Mermaid was modeled after her (you
noticed the resemblance, right?) It was disappointing
when Sherri moved on to editor in the Animaniacs era,
though she still wrote a couple scripts, and is the voice
of Slappy Squirrel.
I'm sure that now someone will point out Sherri is credited as the script writer for the Disney movie adaption of "My Favorite Martian." LA LA LA I'M NOT LISTENIIIING!!!
By the way, you might be wondering how much influence Spielberg actually had on these shows...contrary to his name being on most of his cartoons, he never actually created them. His position of "executive producer" meant he just looked at development, suggested some things, and approved other things. I don't know who created the Tiny Toons, but Yakko, Wakko and Dot were first thought up by producer Tom Ruegger and based on his three children.
Oh yeah, speaking of his kids, they were all over these things. Nathan, Luke and Cody Ruegger all had speaking parts on Animaniacs--Nate was Skippy Squirrel and he was also Baby Plucky (I'm guessing there was a real point in his life where he actually kept saying "Water go down the hoooole!"). Disney Adventures interviewed Nate, who said "I tried out for the role, and they liked me, so I got in." No, you got in BECAUSE YOUR DAD RAN THE SHOW. Wake up and smell the nepotism, squirt.
They were still making new
episodes of Tiny Toons when they began work on an all-new series.
In fact, Sherri's "Two-Tone Town" episode was a hint
for the viewers at what was to come. Foxy, Roxy and Goopy Gear,
as well as Buddy, Bosko and Honey, were all actual 1920's WB
cartoon characters, though. Yakko, Wakko and Dot were supposed to
be "from the same era" but were clearly made up.
The new characters started out as ducks, but after Hastings complained "ducks have been done to death!!" a round nose was drawn over a duck bill and the Animaniacs started to form. Their actual identities were solidified when Ruegger was staring at the WB water tower one afternoon and suddenly thought that maybe the characters could be called Warner Brothers, and live inside it.
Up there are the original models for the Warners. There were originally four: Yakki, Smakki, Wakki, and an unnamed female. Eventually the freaky colors were eliminated and Smakki and Wakki were combined into one character--Wakko.
While this was going on, Fox was
apparently interested in running a Tiny Toons spinoff series, and
the staff developed two of them. You no doubt remember the
classic episode where Elmyra was kidnapped and we got to see her
entire wacky family, including a superstrong baby and a wacky
inventor dad. That's what I loved about Tiny Toons--they just
abruptly did highly creative things that could have easily been
entire shows on their own(this heavily influenced my own
Well, actually....this particular episode WAS going to be another show. Titled "Elmyra's Family," it was the pilot for a Tiny Toons spinoff that Fox ultimately passed on. WB just added it to the TT episode roster in the second season.
Fox was still interested in a spinoff, so Warner made another pilot, this time for "The Plucky Duck Show." Fox passed on this too--well, sort of. They didn't order any more episodes except the pilot, but they aired it, and pasted together a few other "episodes" from Plucky cartoons on past TT episodes. That's networks for you.....
To this day, "Elmyra's Family" and "The Plucky Duck Show" are legitimately counted as Tiny Toons episodes, though they started out with different motives.
Back to the birthing of Animaniacs! Here's
another early concept sketch, when all three main characters had
been finalized. Wow, see the date stamp? June 8, 1992. The
show itself wouldn't appear on TV for over a year.
Notice something else? Yakko and Wakko are going gaga over a woman, but it's not Hello Nurse.....it's Minerva Mink(originally named Marilyn Mink, but maybe Monroe's estate would have sued). Apparently Minerva was one of the first Animaniacs side characters to be created. I don't know if her role was originally the one that Hello Nurse took, but I do know most of the jokes in her cartoons were the same joke repeated endlessly. She also only had TWO cartoons in the entire run of the series.
The problem was, there wasn't much you could do with Minerva when the only humor you could milk out of her was animals doing Tex Avery takes at her bod. And even that wasn't all that original....It's ultimately up to the writers to decide if a character is worth writing for, and Minerva didn't work very well, so they no longer did anything with her. (An alternate theory is that the censors wouldn't allow more than two hormone-charged Minerva scripts.)
Why did they even keep Minerva in the final show if she was so weak? I don't really know. The Hip Hippos were even worse....
Pinky and The Brain were based on
WB employees. Brain was modeled after Tiny Toons writer Tom
Minton, and Pinky was derived from the equally-freaky Eddie
Fitzgerald. Eddie was well-known around the TT writing offices,
because he was just so nerdy. He even went "NARF" after
everything he said, though according to eyewitness accounts it
sounded more like "nerf." Eddie also worked on Ren
& Stimpy and you can hear him if you buy the R&S DVD.
Many reviewers said Eddie was the most annoying thing on those
discs, so be warned.
Eddie references were all over Tiny Toons. In "Fields of Honey," we got to see an entire theaterful of multicolored Eddies.
Click their pictures to watch video interviews with Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche, the voices of Pinky and the Brain!
As many cartoon ideas made it into the final Animaniacs series, there were many more that never made it. Keeper's Cartoon Files has a near-complete list(towards the bottom), as well as speculation.
MISCELLANEOUS RANDOM FACTS
**The Animaniacs short "I'm
Mad" ran in theaters in an attempt to boost a weak Warner
Bros. animated movie("Thumbelina," remember?). Not many
people saw it regardless; but WB had an Animaniacs movie planned
where Yakko, Wakko and Dot wrote a movie script and tried to get
it published. This was axed shortly, and instead WB had three
more shorts produced, to slightly boost three more weak movies.
As those shorts were being completed, WB changed their minds
AGAIN and didn't use them, sending them to various episodes of
Season 3 of the show. One short, "Variety Speak," was
intended to be a song in the original film idea. Later on, in
season 5, the producers decided to just make the movie idea into
one hour-long two-part episode, and for the sake of preserving it
they used the "Variety Speak" song again in it.
But, uhh.....in my opinion this two-parter was the weakest of all Animaniacs episodes; and if this is what the movie was going to be like then maybe WB did the right thing after all.
**In the two-parter that was made, two sequences in it were written and animated to be seperate cartoons: "There's only one of you" and "LA Dot." But they were spliced into this one, and things were rewritten to "explain" why these two particular songs were being sung. Now you realize how badly this was done....
**"There's only one of
you" was probably several years old at the time of its
release in this special, as well. How do I figure so? Because
that song was actually on "Yakko's World," a CD of
songs written for the CD and not intended to be used in the show.
This was released in 1994, and the special was released on New
Year's Eve, 1997.
Apparently, they animated ONE of the songs in the event that they might want to use it. But they never did, until then. The difference is obvious though--you can tell the song is animated by Startoons and the rest of the movie is animated by Wang.
|CLICK HERE TO WATCH ROB PAULSEN'S
INTERVIEW BY DONNY AND MARIE OSMOND!
THINGS TO WATCH FOR: The clip is actually from
Pinky, ELMYRA and The Brain.
**In "The Learning Principal," a Tiny Toons cartoon, you may notice a purple Plucky Duck in the classroom of children. He was colored this way due to an error that wasn't spotted until the ink dried and the color was left--Plucky appears OUTSIDE the door of the class when Buster walks OUT. So they just colored the duplicate Plucky another color and tried to pass him off as "a different duck."
**Speaking of Plucky, you may notice he was in the cartoon where Elmyra sang "The Name Game," but not mentioned. There's a reason for this as well...in the original voice recording, which found its way to CD, someone shouted, "LET'S DO PLUCKY!!" Everyone else went, "E-e-e-hhhh..." and Elmyra then said, "I don't think soooo!" If you don't understand, think about what word would be created if Plucky's name was put through the motions: "Plucky Plucky Bo-Bucky Banana Fanna Fo F...." When it came time for the song to be animated, the censors wouldn't let the "suggestion" here pass. Plucky remains undone.
**Beginning with TT episode 97, "Best of Buster Day," John Kassir took over as Buster's voice after Charlie Adler quit(over a money issue). Kassir's Buster sounds pretty close to Charlie's, but a little quieter and less crazy. You CAN notice the difference if you listen hard enough. Both Adler and Kassir had Buster lines recorded in "Best of Buster Day."
**Fox ordered no new episodes of Animaniacs for the 1994 season (probably because they knew WB would be taking it from them in 1995). The four new episodes that DID air were made of leftover cartoons that there was no space to fit into the first season. A fifth second-season episode, reportedly to be comprised of "Amusement Park" where the Warners terrorize the owner of one and "Katie Ka-Boom: Bad Hair Day," was listed somewhere but didn't air because the cartoons it spoke of were never actually made!
**The Pinky and The Brain episode in which Brain is hunted by a brain-eating alien named Zalgar didn't start out as a P&B episode. It was a pilot for a show about Zalgar! In every episode he was supposed to go after a different brain but fail, and of course in the first episode he was supposed to go after The Brain. Much of the dialogue was rewritten to shift the focus back to Pinky and The Brain and the episode aired as part of P&B's second season. Zalgar's first appearance was in the B-movie Wakko was watching in "Potty Emergency"!
**The eventual death of Animaniacs
was slow but painful. WB ordered 13 new episodes for the 1995
season, then announced after success that it would make 20 in
That announcement was shortly taken back and WB said they would be only making EIGHT new episodes! What happened? Here's what happened...the advertising companies paying for airtime weren't pleased with Animaniacs' large adult audience. They felt the thing pleased viewers outside of their demographic a little TOO much, and there would have been a profit loss if WB had made 20 Animaniacs cartoons in 1996.
So *sigh* they made eight, and aired new episodes less and less. Pinky and The Brain had spun off into a show of their own, and were being given generous helpings of new episodes, but the Warners were out of luck. P&B didn't forget its roots though: the last P&B episode, "Star Warners," featured the entire Animaniacs cast, back one more time. (WB aired this as part of an "Animaniacs Super Special" in 1998, but it was intended to be a P&B episode.)
Pictured: several of the aliens from the Animaniacs cartoon where the Warners were abducted (including Toe), Gossamer, Egghead Jr, Freakazoid, Fan Boy, Mo-Ron, Patrick Stewart, Zalgar, Duck Dodgers, C.L.Y.D.E, the Abominable Snowman from Merrie Melodies, Baloney(!!), two of the Mon-Stars from Space Jam, Mr. Skullhead, Barbra Streisand, Marvin the Martian, the Iodizer, Kirk and Spock, and a Street Shark(???)
**The "cantina scene" of Star Warners featured every alien created for the Tiny Toons/Animaniacs/P&B run, as well as Freakazoid, Fan Boy and Mo-Ron at the instruments. It was the most glorious cameo scene ever, and the perfect sendoff.