11 Secrets You Never Knew About 'Animaniacs', 'Pinky & The Brain', And 'Freakazoid!'
If you're a child of the ’90s or ’00s, Pinky & The Brain, Freakazoid!, and Animaniacs were part of your growing up experience. Turns out, you have Tom Ruegger to thank for that.
The 14-time Emmy Award winner, who also created Tiny Toon Adventures, Road Rovers, Histeria!, and is currently the showrunner for Disney's The 7D, recently did a Reddit AMA to celebrate the fact that you can now stream Animaniacs on Netflix. 🎉
In between quoting jokes from his shows as if he wrote them yesterday, Ruegger talks about reviving one of his hits, his former network, and how he got all of his that infamous innuendo past the censors.
Read some of the highlights from Ruegger's AMA below.
There's a new version of "Nations of the World."
When asked if he would ever update the song, Ruegger said, "Randy Rogel, writer of that song, has done so. Rob Paulsen sings it on his podcast." You can hear it on Episode 110 of Rogel's podcast, Talkin' Toons With Rob Paulsen.
There were some naughty jokes that were cut.
When asked about innuendo, especially in Animaniacs, Ruegger replied that there was a "Fox censor and perhaps someone at Amblin [Entertainment] who might object to a joke here and there." He also remarked that at one point, Steven Speilberg "put a kibosh on fat jokes, which proved smart." No kidding.
He has a favorite joke that made it past the censors.
When asked which one it was, he recalled a joke from Animaniacs episode "King Yakko." One character asks, "Yakko do you know how to conjugate?" and Yakko replies, "No, I haven't even kissed a girl."
He also talked about that "fingerprints" joke.
"It looked innocent on paper," Reugger answered of the infamous joke about fingerprints, starring singing icon Prince. "It was funny in the board so we let it go to animation, then when it came back, the footage made us laugh so hard that we kept it in, and then when no one objected, it went on the air. Yikes!"
He wants to revive Freakazoid!
When asked about a potential revival of 1995-97 Internet-based superhero Freakazoid, Ruegger said he'd "like to make this happen." Come on, Netflix.
Yakko, Wakko, and Dot are based on his kids.
Nathan, Luke, and Cody Ruegger served as inspiration for the unclear-what-animal-they-are characters known as the Warner brothers (and their Warner sister, Dot).
Pinky and the Brain are based on former co-workers.
"Tiny Toon writers Tom Minton and Eddie Fitzgerald were in the next office over from me and it sounded like they were plotting to take over the world," Ruegger said. "They became the inspiration." Judging from what they look like in real life, Ruegger was spot-on!
Sorry, Pinky was not the genius.
There have been countless fan theories that the secret genius of Pinky & The Brain was actually Pinky -- the dimwitted-but-lovable nut in the pair. Ruegger shut that down with the quickness. "According to the visuals in the main title, Pinky is in a straitjacket and Brain is wearing a mortar board like a college grad," Ruegger answered. "But here's my point of view. At a pub quiz, I'll take Brain on my team, you can have Pinky on your team."
"Hello, Nurse" was supposed to be someone else's catchphrase.
"Wrote that line 'Hello Nurse' for Buster Bunny in Tiny Toons as his catchphrase homage to Bugs Bunny's 'What's up, Doc?'" Ruegger said. "But it never quite worked coming out of Buster's mouth. Saved it for Animaniacs where it really works well!"
He shaded his former network.
Ruegger, who works for Disney now, asked if there were any Animaniacs Good Idea/Bad Idea segments that never made it to air. His answer? "Good idea: airing on the Fox Kids Network. Bad Idea: airing on Kids WB." Ouch.
And the most important question: "Was there actually bologna in their slacks?"
"Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays," Ruegger said. "On Tuesday and Thursdays, it was pimento loaf."
To read the full AMA, go on over to Reddit.