Rita and Runt is a segment that lasted only during the first season of the series. About the adventures of the feisty cat, Rita (voiced by Bernadette Peters) and the big dog, Runt (voiced by Frank Welker).
After their small moments help each other escape the pound. Rita and Runt have been two homeless strays having big adventures in towns, the countryside or industry. Rita is a lovely and clever cat, but can easily become a bit corrupt when wanting to feel above it all. While Runt often lives in his own world, he believes so much in Rita’s lovely side.
The two long, and even are sometimes searching for a home where they will be loved. However, it never seems to work out for one or both of them and their soon homeless again. Anywhere, their friendship is what leaves a impact on the adventure and what gets them through, with or without a real home that isn’t Runt’s hairdo.
- Their like Abbott and Costello,
- Or like Sonny and Cher,
- Like Martin and Lewis,
- Oh, they're a perfect pair!
- Like Laurel and Hardy,
- Like Fontanne and Lunt,
- They're perfectly mismatched!
- They're Rita and Runt!
- When Rita Met Runt (Episode 7, Prologue)
- Les Miseranimals (Episode 11)
- The Cat and the Fiddle (Episode 17)
- Home on De-Nile (Episode 25)
- Phranken-Runt (Episode 29)
- Puttin' on the Blitz (Episode 31)
- Smitten with Kittens (Episode 39)
- Of Nice and Men (Episode 43)
- Kiki's Kitten (Episode 44)
- Icebreakers (Episode 48)
- Up a Tree (Episode 57)
- Witch One (Episode 62)
- The segment was dropped after the first season, due to the expense of Bernadette Peters, Rita’s voice actor being part of the cast. Afterworlds, Frank Walker voiced other characters for the rest of the series and the only appearance of Rita and Runt would be non-speaking cameos in segments for other characters. However, they’d occasionally have speaking roles as minor characters, with Bernadette Peters being a special guest actor for the series rather than a regular.
- Even after the segment was dropped, Rita still received a mention in the series' intro. Unlike Pinky and Brain, who stopped getting a mention after getting their own spin off.
- Their story is similar to that of George and Lennie from John Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men. Runt and Lennie share their lack of intelligence, while Rita resembles George's shrewd personality, as well as his responsibility to care for his mentally challenged friend. In both stories the characters travel from place to place, searching for a better life. In George and Lennie's case it's a farm of their own, while Rita and Runt are looking for a home, usually somewhere in California. The episodes Of Nice and Men is a direct parody of the novella, indicating some level of resemblance was intentional.
- The segment and titler characters differ from the rest of Animaniacs as their the least restricted to the comedy genre. Like the show, Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends during it’s third to firth season run, many tones are used to tell the stories, while without an attempt to lose the entertainment vibe.
- However, some of the segments can be considered relying heavily on the comedy genre, like the rest of the series.