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Rita-Runt1
Rita and Runt is a segment that lasted 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).

Throughout their journey in life, the vagabond pair have many exciting adventures during a segment. One is often kidnapped or in any sort of big trouble and it’s the other one to the rescue. Or being strays, they’re often trying to find a home to be properly looked after, but it never really seems to look out and their left to flee or simply leave.

In the end, they’re always trying to find warn enjoyment in each other's company when there's no other and it depends on how they take what's given to them…

Segments

  • When Rita Met Runt - Rita and Runt are disposed of by their original owners, meet each other and escape the pound.
  • Les Miseranimals - Runt and a team of French Poodles save Rita from becoming a recipe for a struggling restaurant.
  • The Cat and the Fiddle - Before he can kill Rita, Antonio Stradivari finds himself having to get Runt out the picture.
  • Home on De-Nile - Rita has herself worshipped in the palace of Marc Antony, while Runt becomes just another face in many. But the joy doesn’t last long for the cat.
  • Phranken-Runt - A mad scientist kidnaps Runt for the big dog’s brain she was use to bring a scary experiment to life.
  • Puttin' on the Blitz - Chances of a new, safe home with a girl and her father end with Rita and Runt being separated by a train the big dog misses to stop Rita from getting hurt by a guard dog after the two.
  • Smitten with Kittens - In a ally, Rita and Runt end up responsible for kittens until they can get rid of them…
  • Of Nice and Men - Runt discovers a terrible secret about a Rabbit Farm Rita grows to despise.
  • Kiki's Kitten - Rita becomes a calming object for a aggressive gorilla and things look painful.
  • Icebreakers - Ross Perot makes every unfair step to prefer Runt over Rita. Until the two strays fall out with him…
  • Up a Tree - On the way for fun to Chicago, Rita thoughtlessly sends Runt away to play while she’s stuck up a tree.
  • Witch One - Rita is accused of being a witch and the whole village comes to watch her be thrown in icy water to try prove their beliefs about the cat.

Notes

  • This segment was dropped after the first season of Animaniacs after Bernadette Peters, voice of Rita, on the payroll became too expensive. Although the sketch was discontinued, they would occasionally appear in nonspeaking cameos in the series, as well as still appear in the show's intro (Rita’s name is also still mentioned, unlike Pinky and the Brain after they get their own spin off and leave the series). Peters and Welker reunited once again as Rita and Runt (now minor characters) for the film, Wakko's Wish.
  • 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.
  • In the whole of Animaniacs, the segment is the least related to the comedy genre and appears to act more similar to likes of the third to firth seasons of the children's show, Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, as it's shown to display many different themes during it's run, throughout some shorts can be considered straying into the comedy genre like the rest of the series.