Another great cartoon from Warner Brothers in the 90s was Animaniacs. It featured the Warner brothers (and Warner sister) Wakko, Yakko and Dot. They insisted that they were zany to the max, and indeed they were. The premise is that many years ago these three had been cartoon characters, but they caused too much chaos and were locked in the WB tower. In the 90s they finally escaped to have more animated adventures.
Beyond the main cast, there was a huge bunch of other characters who got their own stories in the show. These included the cat and dog Rita and Runt, the veteran cartoon character Slappy the Squirrel who was “the crankiest of creatures in the whole wide world”, and three pigeons who were always bickering with one another in the style of gangster films that were popular at the time.
There were also Flavio and Martia the hippos, Buttons and Mindy, a dog who has to babysit a carefree toddler, Katie Kaboom, a somewhat short-tempered girl, and possibly most memorably of all, Pinky and the Brain, who are two laboratory mice. The Brain was rather intent on taking over the world and had always composed a very clever plan, but the useless Pinky always hindered him in various amusing ways.
Pinky and the Brain were so popular that they got their own spin-off show, and I’ll review that separately soon. One character that I must admit I didn’t like was a human-sized chicken who tried to get jobs and never said anything which I found rather creepy, but apart from that I thought the show was great. There were a few other extra bits too, including “good idea/bad idea”, a short sketch explaining what you should and shouldn’t do, a rather attractive nurse occasionally turned up too, and most episodes ended with them spinning a wheel to determine what the moral of the story was. There were also a lot of parodies on the show, one of the most famous ones being when Wakko appeared on a Jeopardy!-style game show.
Animaniacs was another cartoon that I really enjoyed watching on CITV in the mid-90s alongside Tiny Toon Adventures and Freakazoid! and it brightened up many an afternoon for me, I even remember recording a few episodes which I watched back a lot. It was another show where the opening and closing sequences were altered every week, and these were always funny too. In more recent years some episodes were repeated on Cartoon Network.
Animaniacs eventually ran for 99 episodes, and a lot of them were great fun. It seems that once again there have been no episodes released on DVD in this country, which is disappointing as I really do feel that there is a market for this, although there I do remember there being some merchandise at the time including some computer games. And to think that they did it all despite having baloney in their slacks.