Rita and Runt are two homeless characters who almost always appear together. Rita, voiced by Bernadette Peters, usually sings some songs while dim-witted Runt, voiced by Frank Welker, listens. Throughout their journey in life, the vagabond pair have many exciting adventures during the segment. Despite having a desire to find a nice permanent new home, the two manage to live quite comfortably by offering each other a close unbreakable friendship in defending one another for protection and giving moral support.

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 episode Of Nice and Men is a direct parody of the novella, indicating some level of resemblance was intentional.



  • This segment was dropped after the first season of Animaniacs because it became too difficult to create a new song for Rita to sing in each episode, and keeping Bernadette Peters on the payroll became too expensive. Her costar Frank Welker, however, remained a series regular, as he voiced multiple characters in addition to Runt. Although the sketch was discontinued, they would occasionally appear in nonspeaking cameos in the series, as well as appear in the show's intro. Peters and Welker reunited once again as Rita and Runt for the film Wakko's Wish.