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If you're looking for the Pinky and the Brain segments from Animaniacs, go here.

"Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?"
"The same thing we do every night Pinky, try to take over the world!
"
Pinky and the Brain

Steven Spielberg Presents: Pinky and the Brain (simply known as Pinky and the Brain) is an American animated television series produced by Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Entertainment. It is a spin-off of Animaniacs, which focuses on Pinky and The Brain from the segments of the same name, seen in said show. Like the segments, the show focuses on the two laboratory mice that desire world domination, but end up failing in every episode.

Originally starring in segments on Animaniacs, the Pinky and the Brain segments became popular enough for the characters to star in their own spin-off series. The show originally debuted on Kids' WB! and ran from September 9, 1995 to November 14, 1998. It also aired on the standard WB Network's primetime block on Sunday nights during season one.

The show lasted 4 seasons with 65 episodes. The show would later be followed by a controversial short-lived retooling titled Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain; which featured Elmyra Duff from Tiny Toon Adventures as a main character alongside the mice. This retool ran from 1998 to 1999 with 13 episodes (most of which aired under The Big Cartoonie Show).

The finales of both Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain aired together on November 14, 1998 in a special hour-long broadcast: The Ultimate Animaniacs Super Special.

Pinky and the Brain's home of Acme Labs

Synopsis

The names of great conquerors are few and fearsome. Attila the Hun. Genghis Khan. That guy whose fists you attacked with your face in the fifth grade. And now two more: Pinky and The Brain are the names. World domination is the aim.

The two genetically modified Acme Labs mice began 'toon life in supporting segments of Animaniacs. But humble origins could not keep these wannabe rulers from landing their own show. Today, TV. Tomorrow, the world! With a persistence even Wile E. Coyote (Genius) would admire, methodical Brain (Maurice LaMarche) and no-brainer sidekick Pinky (Rob Paulsen) execute one flawed, gadget-driven scheme after another. [1]

History

The ending credits utilized this background painting, which was based off of Brain's blueprints from the Animaniacs cartoon "Jockey For Position."

Following the popularity of Pinky and the Brain on Animaniacs, a stand-alone version had been conceptualized and released on The WB. It's rumored that the half-hour narrative "Spellbound" acted out as a test-pilot of sorts. The series is still faithful to the original segments having the same style of humor and writing that appealed to children and adults. Most of the same people who've worked on the original Animaniacs (e.g. Rusty Mills) worked on the spin-off; and the "Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?" running gag continued. There is however, still some differences from its original counterpart.

This ranges from minor inclusions such as Pinky adopting the catchphrase "Troz!" (It's Zort in a mirror) to more major differences. The mice's classic theme song is extended in its' most well known form, and includes the iconic "Narf!" at the end. The show has also added new characters such as Snowball, Romy/Roman Numeral I, Mr. Sultana... and Larry. Billie from the Animaniacs cartoon "The World Can Wait", also made a few appearances.

In addition, the characters of Pinky and Brain themselves received more character-development. Pinky's accent became less "cockney" while Brain’s voice became higher, becoming what Maurice LaMarche describes as "one-third Vincent Price and two-thirds Orson Welles" (in the original Animaniacs his voice was closer to Orson Welles alone). Both mice also became more expressive, with Brain in particular becoming less "robotic" than he was back on the original Animaniacs. These developments have carried into later productions including the last three seasons of the original Animaniacs. The series also gained an soundtrack album: Bubba Bo Bob Brain; based off the Animaniacs cartoon of the same name.


End of the Series

The spin-off eventually led to yet another spin-off called Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain at the demand of the WB Network. The show’s bad reception and short-run was a factor of Steven Spielberg's lack of interest in producing cartoons with Warner Bros. until the Animaniacs reboot 21 years later. In the time between Elmyra and the Animaniacs reboot, the mice would continue to appear in other Animaniacs-related media (without Elmyra). These included the last issues of the DC Animaniacs comic series, Wakko's Wish, and several video games (including a PATB-branded game in 2002: The Master Plan). Elmyra's lack of appearances and interactions with the mice are indicative of Warner Bros.' desires to move on from the failed retool.

In addition, volume 3 of Pinky and the Brain, released in 2007, appears to mock Elmyra in its' description on the back of the box. The description, which appears to erase Elmyra bills the volume as the final collection of the mice's original run. It has such lines as "The final, must-see Volume Three. This is it, the end of the line; the fat lady is warmed up and ready to sing. It's the last dance, the last roundup, the last train to a place called Clarkville. Pinky and the Brain Vol. 3 - 4 discs and 22 world-conquering, never-before-on-DVD episodes strong - is the last release in the series."


In the United States, the entire series is currently available to stream on Hulu and can be purchased digitally or on DVD.

Home Media

For more information, see the Home Media Releases page
Currently, the series is available in its entirety on DVD, digital outlets, and Hulu.

Production

Voice Cast

Much of the original cast from Animaniacs reprised their roles for this show. Pinky and the Brain, of course, were voiced by Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche. Returning Animaniacs cast members also included Tress MacNeille, Jess Harnell, Frank Welker, Nancy Cartwright, Sherri Stoner, Paul Rugg, Michael McKean, and Jeff Bennett. Billy West also played many characters such as Larry and Brain’s agent before later guest-starring on Animaniacs. The show also featured notable celebrity guest-stars such as Roddy McDowall (Snowball), Nora Dunn (Precious), Townsend Coleman, Ernest Borgnine (Brain's father), Eric Idle (Pinky’s father), Dick Clark (himself), Steve Allen, Joyce Brothers, Gavin MacLeod (himself), Garry Marshall (Mr. Itch), Mark Hamill, James Belushi (Jack Maguire), and many more.

Writing

As with the voice-cast, much of the original writers from Animaniacs returned for this show. Headed up mostly by Peter Hastings, the writing staff included Gordon Bressack, Charles M. Howell IV, Earl Kress, Wendell Morris, and Tom Sheppard. Classic Warner Bros. cartoon director Norm McCabe also guest-wrote the episode Pinky and the Brainmaker.

Awards and Nominations

Year Association Award category Nominee Result
1996 48th Primetime Emmy Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program For the episode "A Pinky and the Brain Christmas" -
Steven Spielberg, executive producer
Tom Ruegger, senior producer
Peter Hastings, producer/writer
Rusty Mills, producer/director
Won
24th Annie Awards Best Achievement in Voice Acting Rob Paulsen as Pinky Won
Best Individual Achievement: Storyboarding Rusty Mills for the episode "A Pinky and the Brain Christmas" Won
23rd Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Music Direction and Composition Steve Bernstein and Richard Stone Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Animation Andrea Romano (director)
Liz Holzman (director/storyboard artist)
Al Zegler (director)
Peter Hastings (writer)
Nominated
1997 24th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Children's Animated Program Steven Spielberg (executive producer)
Tom Ruegger (senior producer)
Peter Hastings (producer)
Liz Holzman (producer/director)
Rusty Mills (producer/director)
Andrea Romano (director)
Kirk Tingblad (director)
Charles Visser (director)
Brett Baer (writer)
Dave Finkel (writer)
Earl Kress (writer)
Wendell Morris (writer)
Tom Sheppard (writer)
Charles M. Howell IV (writer)
Nominated
Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Rob Paulsen as Pinky Nominated
25th Annie Awards Best Animated TV Program Warner Bros., Warner Bros. Animation, Amblin Entertainment Nominated
Best Achievement in Voice Acting, Male Rob Paulsen as Pinky Won
1998 25th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Maurice LaMarche as The Brain Nominated
Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Rob Paulsen as Pinky Nominated
Outstanding Music Direction and Composition Julie Bernstein (composer)
Steve Bernstein (composer)
Richard Stone (composer)
Tim Kelly (composer)
Carl Johnson (composer)
Nominated
26th Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Daytime Television Program Warner Bros., Warner Bros. Animation, Amblin Entertainment Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Primetime or Late Night Television Program For episode "A Pinky and the Brain Halloween" Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Television Production Rob Paulsen as Pinky Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Television Production Nelson Recinos for the episode "Brain Acres" Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Television Production Maurice LaMarche as The Brain Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production Barry Caldwell for the episode "Brain Acres" Won
Outstanding Writing in an Animated Television Production For the episode "The Family That Poits Together, Narfs Together:
Charles M. Howell IV
Earl Kress
John Ludin
Won
1999 The Third Annual Prism Awards Television Children's Animated Series Episode or Special The WB/Kids' WB! and Warner Bros. Animation for the episode "Inherit the Wheeze" Won
26th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Music Direction and Composition Julie Bernstein (composer)
Steve Bernstein (composer)
Tim Kelly (composer)
Gordon Goodwin (composer)
Nominated
Outstanding Original Song Julie Bernstein (composer)
Wendell Morris (lyricist)
Tom Sheppard (lyricist) For the song "Brain Doggy Mambo"
Nominated
Outstanding Original Song Julie Bernstein (composer)
Charles M. Howell IV (lyricist)
Gordon Bressack (lyricist) for the song "Pinky's Memories"
Nominated
Outstanding Special Class Animated Program Steven Spielberg (executive producer)
Tom Ruegger (senior producer)
Rusty Mills (supervising producer/director)
Liz Holzman (producer/director)
Charles M. Howell IV (producer/writer)
Gordon Bressack (writer)
Jed Spingarn (writer)
Wendell Morris (writer)
Tom Sheppard (writer)
Earl Kress (writer)
Andrea Romano (director)
Russell Calabrese (director)
Kirk Tingblad (director)
Mike Milo (director)
Nelson Recinos (director)
Charles Visser (director)
Won
Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Rob Paulsen as Pinky Won

List of Episodes

See: Episode Guide

References in other media

See here.

Notes

  • Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche's vocal evolutions and mannerisms performing Pinky and the Brain from this show were carried into future Animaniacs productions, including later episodes of the original series, Elmyra, video games, and Wakko's Wish.
    • Rob and Maurice's performances as the duo in the 2020 Animaniacs reboot are also slightly aged versions of their spin-off voices.
  • There were additional "episodes" that Kids WB! aired that consisted of Animaniacs-era Pinky and the Brain cartoons in a pattern similar to the "H#" episodes from Animaniacs that were labeled as "#Letter". [2] With the exception of "4b" and "4c", these episodes didn’t make it into any additional widely-circulated prints. These listings can be viewed here.
    • As of January 2022; none of these "compilation" episodes have made it to the show's present prints released to digital outlets, Hulu, and DVD.

References

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