Pinky and the Brain are an imbecilic white mouse and his genius companion, voiced by Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche who started in their own segment. Despite the name of the pair placing Pinky first, the Brain is clearly the leader; he continuously launches attempts to take over the world, accompanied by Pinky, but something always goes wrong with their plans (usually, it is at least partially Pinky's fault). The Brain and his environment evoke Orson Welles and Citizen Kane. The series is quite famous for Brain's line "Are you pondering what I'm pondering?" and Pinky's non sequitur replies. In 1995, their adventures were spun off into a dedicated series with the same name.
Creation and inspirationEdit
Pinky and the Brain were inspired by the peculiar personalities of two of producer Tom Ruegger's Tiny Toon Adventures colleagues, Eddie Fitzgerald and Tom Minton, respectively. Ruegger wondered what would happen if Minton and Fitzgerald tried to take over the world. Fitzgerald (who has also worked on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Ren and Stimpy) is said to have constantly said "Narf" and "Egad" around the Tiny Toons production office. The gag credit for the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "You Asked For It" credits Eddie Fitzgerald as "Guy Who Says 'Narf'". Series producer Peter Hastings described Eddie by saying, "He always greeted you like you were wearing a funny hat – and he liked it." The Fitzgerald/Minton connection to Pinky and the Brain is shown in the episode "The Pinky and the Brain Reunion Special". Two characters shown as writers for Pinky and the Brain cartoons within the short are caricatures of Fitzgerald and Minton.
While Ruegger initially based The Brain after Minton, the Welles connection came from Maurice LaMarche, a big fan of the actor/director, who had supplied the voice for Orson Welles in the 1994 movie Ed Wood. LaMarche describes Brain's voice as "65% Orson Welles, 35% Vincent Price". Brain's similarity to Orson Welles was made explicit in the Animaniacs episode "Yes, Always", which was based upon an outtake from one of Welles' television commercials, colloquially known as Frozen Peas, in which he ranted about the poor quality of the script. This cartoon was described by writer Peter Hastings as "a $250,000 inside joke": LaMarche used excerpts from it as sound check material, and Hastings took it to its logical conclusion. The series also alluded to Welles with an episode in which Brain took on the mind-clouding powers of a radio character called "The Fog": a parody of The Shadow, a popular radio character for which Welles once provided the voice. Other Welles allusions included the episode "The Third Mouse", a parody of The Third Man in which the Brain played the part of Welles' character Harry Lime (with Pinky as Holly Martins), and "Battle for the Planet", in which Brain, inspired by Welles' infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast and the hysteria it provoked, stages an alien invasion on television. A caricature of Orson Welles appears in a late episode of the series ("What Ever Happened to Baby Brain"), echoing a rant of the Brain's and introducing himself afterwards.
The episode "Win Big" was the very first Pinky and the Brain segment. It was developed for Animaniacs, written by Ruegger with a script by Peter Hastings, and directed by Rusty Mills. According to Ruegger, most of the elements that would become part of Pinky and the Brain can be found in Hastings's original script. It held many dialog bits that became conventions of the entire series, including Brain's "Are you pondering what I'm pondering?", Pinky's "Oh wait…but no…" in response to a plan, and Pinky's final question, "What are we doing tomorrow night?"
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