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Episode 1: De-Zanitized/The Monkey Song/Nighty-Night Toon

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Animaniacs Episode 1
Air date: September 13, 1993
Season: 1
Variable verse: Dot: "Here's the show's name-y!"
Gag credit(s): Animal Handler - Kathryn Page
Closing tag: YW&D: "Goodbye nurse!"
Prev: none
Next: Episode 2
List of Animaniacs Episodes

The first episode of Animaniacs. The show premiered on September 13, 1993

Newsreel of the Stars

NewsReel


Animation by Tokyo Movie Shinsha

Plot

A newsreel is shown explaining the origin of the Warners. They were first created in 1930 in Hollywood at the Warner Bros. then-new animation department. However, they were uncontrollable and ran amok all over the Warner Bros. Studios. until they were captured. Their cartoons were locked away in a vault unreleased, and the Warners were locked away in the studio water tower unreleased....until the present day, when they escaped.

Characters

Narrator (voiced by Frank Welker), Lon Borax (nonspeaking), Hello Nurse (nonspeaking), Yakko Warner, Wakko Warner, Dot Warner, Ralph the Guard (nonspeaking), Hamton J. Pig (drawing)

Trivia

  • The animation studio is named "Termite Terrace", which was the nickname of the 1935 Warner Bros. animation studio where producer Leon Schlesinger briefly placed the unit working under director Tex Avery (to hide them from director Tom Palmer so that he wouldn't suspect he was about to be fired). The "Termite Terrace" building was dubbed such by Avery and his animators because it was so old and rickety they thought no one would want to live there except the termites. The animators were only in the original "Termite Terrace" for about a year, but the name has become synonymous with that entire era of the Warner Bros. animation studio. The use this name in 1930 is an anachronism.
  • Among the animators running out of the building are caricatures of Isadore "Friz" Freleng (the bald guy) and Charles M. "Chuck" Jones (the man with freckles) (both of whom would go on to become prominent directors of the Looney Tunes series). As of 1930, Freleng was still an animator (although his caricature looks rather older than Freleng actually appeared in 1930, when he was only 24). Jones's appearance is an anachronism, as he did not actually start at Warner Bros. as an assistant animator until 1933.
  • The Animaniacs Cultural References Guide claims that the two people talking in the middle of the studio are then-producer of the Looney Tunes Leon Schlesinger (whose lisp supposedly inspired Daffy Duck and Sylvester the Cat's voices) and his assistant Henry Binder. While the dark-haired man (seen only from the back) does have hair resembling contemporary Looney Tunes caricatures of Binder, the other man looks almost nothing like Schlesinger.
  • While the Warners' creator bears a strong resemblance to Fred "Tex" Avery (who worked at Warners from 1935 to 1941, and direced of many of the zaniest cartoons ever made), the character was later identified as animator Lon Borax in "The Warners' 65th Anniversary Special."
  • This cold open would be reused in many episodes of the show, including a longer version introduced in Episode 48.
  • Ralph T. Guard and Hello Nurse, or maybe people who somehow look like them, are seen working for the studio in 1930. It is unclear why a nurse would be stationed in an animation studio. (Mental breakdowns? Carpel tunnel?)
  • The first opening "newsreel" lineup of movie stars includes several silent film stars: Lon Chaney Sr. and (a woman who looks nothing like) Mary Philbin in 1925's The Phantom of the Opera, Harold Loyd in 1923's Safety Last (the iconic shot of him dangling from a giant clock), Buster Keaton in 1926's The General (running from a train while carrying a railroad tie), and (an oddly white-haired) Charlie Chaplin in 1925's The Gold Rush (eating a shoe).
  • The second "newsreel" lineup of stars includes an anachronistic group of actors who did not come to prominence until later in the 1930s: Clark Gable (flapping his large ears, also a frequent source of humor in contemporaneous Looney Tunes caricatures of Gable), (a woman who looks nothing like) Mae Clark and James Cagney in the famous "grapefruit" scene from 1931's Public Enemy, Bette Davis in 1941's The Little Foxes, and Humphrey Bogart (drinking whiskey, smoking a cigarette and sitting next to the Maltese Falcon statute from the 1941 film of the same name).
  • Hamton J. Pig makes a cameo as a sketch on Lon Borax's desk. (If Hamton had actually been created in 1930, he would have predated the creation of his mentor Porky Pig by five years).
  • The first man watching the Warners' cartoons (with dark hair and mustache) is studio head Jack Warner. The other two men bear no resemblance to his brothers Harry and Albert.
  • Also appears in Episode 2, 7.

Goofs

  • The narrator says in this newsreel that the Warners were created in 1930, however, it would later be shown that cartoons were made starring them in 1929. This would later be referenced in the "Please Please Please Get a Life Foundation" cartoon and "The Warners' 65th Anniversery Special"

De-Zanitized (406-705)

Dezanitized

Written by Paul Rugg
Directed by Rusty Mills and Dave Marshall

Animation by Wang Film Production                                                      

Plot

Dr. Scratchansniff explains how he first attempted to make the Warners sane after they escaped from the water tower, and how he lost his hair in the process. After his first encounter with the kids, the good doc is ordered by the CEO, Thaddeus Plotz, to keep the zany kids under control. After one unsuccessful try with the siblings together, he decides to talk with them separately, with no success either.

Characters

Dr. Scratchansniff, Yakko Warner, Ralph the Guard, Porky Pig, Wakko Warner, Dot Warner, Hello Nurse, Thaddeus Plotz, Bugs Bunny (background picture), Daffy Duck (background picture)

Trivia

  • The "biggest star in the world" is once again Humphrey Bogart, accompanied by a Richard Stone twist on "As Time Goes By," the love theme from Casablanca. (Ralph's presence in the Bogie era again implies that either the studio employed a Ralph lookalike years earlier or that Ralph is ageless).
  • In a reference to Ronald Reagan's former occupation as an actor, Dr. Scratchansniff decides "Mr. Reagan"'s delusions of grandeur are incurable upon hearing Reagan's dreams of being president.
  • Photos on Dr. Scratchansniff's wall show: Edward G. Robinson, Rex Harrison (as Caesar in 1963's Cleopatra), Bette Davis, a cowboy, Peter Lorre (again with the Maltese Falcon), the Invisible Man (presumably Claude Rains from the 1933 Warner Bros. version), Clint Eastwood (also mentioned as a current patient of Scratchansniff's), Jack Nicholson (with Scratschansniff handing him a piece of toast, referencing the scene in 1970's Five Easy Pieces in which Nicholson fights with a waitress who won't give him a side of toast because the restaurant does not do substitutions), (an inexplicably blond) Cher, and Michael Keaton as Batman (from Tim Burton's 1989 and 1992 films).
  • The boardroom scene with Dr. Scratchansniff is a parody of the 1974 film Network (one of writer Paul Rugg's favorite films[1]).
  • Bugs and Daffy briefly cameo as portraits in Plotz's office.
  • Plotz is never referred to by name in this episode. Scratchansniff and his office door merely call him the "Chairman of the Board," while the end credits list him as "C.E.O."
  • Plotz says that the studio has not endured so much chaos since they made Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead. This Christina Applegate-starrer was notorious for being a box office flop.
  • The clip of Yakko guessing who Dr. Scratchansniff is as well as Scratchy saying, "No, you stupid kid, you don't understand!" from this cartoon is used in the opening of Rob Paulsen's podcast "Talking Toons".

Quotes

Dot: Did ya miss us?

Dr. Scratchansniff: I hardly even know you.

Yakko and Wakko: We're the Warner Brothers!

Dot: And the Warner Sister!

Dr. Scratchansniff: Nurse! Nurse!

Hello Nurse: Yes, Dr. Scratchansniff?

Dr. Scratchansniff: Get these kids out of here!

Yakko and Wakko: HELLOOOOOOOO, NURSE!

Dr. Scratchansniff: What do you want?

Yakko: We asked you first!

Dr. Scratchansniff: Well, I want—hey, no, you didn't!

Dot: Well, we meant to.

Dr. Scratchansniff: Do you know who I am?

Yakko: Dr. Otto Scratchansniff, world famous psychoanalyst to the stars?

Dr. Scratchansniff: Correct!

Yakko: I won! I won! What did I win?

Dr. Scratchansniff: Nothing.

Yakko: Say, what kinda game show is this?

Dr. Scratchansniff: This isn't a game show.

Yakko: Well, I'll say it isn't. Nobody wins anything. You'll be lucky to be on the air for one week. 

The Monkey Song (406-600KK)

1-2-TheMonkeySong

Written by Norman Span and Irving Burgie (both uncredited)
Adapted by Tom Ruegger
Directed by Gary Hartle and Rich Arons

Animation by Tokyo Movie Shinsha

Plot

Dr. Scratchansniff, the Warners, and the Hip Hippos sing a re-written version of "The Monkey Song" about the Warners. Squit tries to play the flute throughout the song, but keeps getting beat up by Pesto.

Characters

Squit, Bobby (nonspeaking), Pesto, Ralph the Guard (nonspeaking), Marita, Flavio, Dr. Scratchansniff, Yakko Warner, Wakko Warner, Dot Warner, Hello Nurse, The Mime, Skippy Squirrel (nonspeaking), Slappy Squirrel (nonspeaking), The Brain (nonspeaking), Pinky (nonspeaking), Mindy (nonspeaking), Buttons (nonspeaking)

Trivia

  • The original version of the song, "Monkey," appeared on Harry Belafonte's 1961 album Jump Up Calypso. The lyrics and arrangement are very similar to the Animaniacs version (and, unlike most Animaniacs song parodies, the tune is identical).
  • This cartoon features appearances by many of the main characters that would be a staple part of the series for the next 98 episodes.
  • This cartoon also features what may be considered the first instance of hidden innuendo on the show. when Hello Nurse sings, "I don't know what to say, the monkeys won't do!" Yakko sings, "For a nickel I'll give ya a clue."

Nighty-Night Toon (406-721)

1-3-NightyNightToon

Written by Nicholas Hollander
Directed by Rusty Mills

Animation by Freelance Animators

Plot

In a parody of Goodnight, Moon, a narrator (voiced by Jim Cummings, using a Winnie-the-Pooh-esque voice) says nighty-night to all of the characters of the series (who are all in the water tower).

Characters

Narrator (Jim Cummings doing his Sterling Holloway impression), Ralph the Guard, Squit, Bobby (nonspeaking), Pesto, Mindy (nonspeaking), Buttons, The Brain, Pinky, Rita (nonspeaking), Runt, Slappy Squirrel, Yakko Warner, Wakko Warner, Dot Warner, Marita, Flavio, Dr. Scratchansniff (nonspeaking), Hello Nurse (nonspeaking), Mr. Skullhead

Trivia

  • This short was the first televised speaking appearance of Pinky and the Brain.
  • Junior Bear, Mama Bear and Papa Bear, who appeared in several Chuck Jones-directed Looney Tunes cartoons, are seen in a portrait on the wall.

Music

Cast

Voice Actors: Character(s):
Rob Paulsen Yakko Warner, Pinky, Dr. Scratchansniff, Porky Pig
Jess Harnell Wakko Warner, Humphrey Bogart
Tress MacNeille Dot Warner, Hello Nurse, Marita Hippo
Frank Welker Ralph the Guard, Thaddeus Plotz, Flavio Hippo, Buttons, Runt, Ronald Reagan, Newsreader
Maurice LaMarche The Brain, Squit
Chick Vennera Pesto
Sherri Stoner Slappy Squirrel
Jim Cummings Narrator

References

  1. http://froynlaven.blogspot.com/2009/04/paddy-chayefsky-as-prophet.html
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