While Nickelodeon was creating history with powerhouse animated series in the mid ’90s, Warner Brothers’ Kids’ WB held its own with original cartoons born from visionary producers and directors.
With the success of the network’s Steven Spielberg-produced Animaniacs, the team tried to re-create their triumph with a spin off about the series’ two genetically spliced mice, Pinky and the Brain. Airing from 1995-1998 (and leaving the airwaves 18 years ago today), Pinky and The Brain followed the enhanced test subjects through their joint efforts to “take over the world.”
After a short run, the show was rebranded with another character, Elmyra, to achieve a more sitcom-like vibe, but the adult humor and witty parody of the original series was ultimately lost. From the involvement of iconic historical figures, to the hilarious ‘Odd Couple’ relationship of the main rodents, Pinky and the Brain was truly one of a kind in its original form. Here’s some things you might not have known about the series.
Pinky and the Brain are both based on real people.
Pinky and the Brain were inspired by real people – not real mice, real people. The show’s producer, Tom Ruegger, was once struck by the idea of two of his Tiny Toon Adventure co-workers attempting to take over the world.
Artist Eddie Fitzgerald and Tom Minton were well known as oddballs around the office – so much so, that Ruegger decided to model his animated stars after them.
Even some of Pinky’s phrases come directly from his inspiration: Fitzgerald constantly said things like “narf” and “egad.”
But Brain is basically also Orson Welles.
Maurice LaMarche, the Emmy-award winning voice actor behind the Brain, has lent his vocals to a slew of characters over the years, including Futurama‘s Kif Kroker. The character he’s played most repeatedly, however, is not a character at all.
LaMarche’s Orson Welles impression is so uncanny, that he’s rolled it out for many programs. And it even crept it’s way into the characterization of the Brain.
“I always say, ‘The Brain isn’t Welles,’ ” LaMarche told the AV Club. “The Brain is 70 percent Welles, 20 percent Vincent Price, and I don’t know, there’s another 10 percent of something else in there. I don’t know what. Some people think it’s Peter Lorre. I don’t know what it is. So I don’t think of Brain as Welles, but people do.”