Paul Rugg

Steven Spielberg presents Animaniacs is an animated variety series mainly featuring three "puppy-like" creatures known as the Warner Brothers and the Warner Sister, consisting of Yakko and Wakko, and their sister Dot. The trio live in a water tower on the Warner Bros. studio lot (and often create havoc there). The show featured rotating segments with other characters like The Goodfeathers (a parody of sterotypical mafia characters from movies such as Goodfellas and The Godfather), Mindy and Buttons, Slappy the Squirrel, and Pinky and the Brain, a pair of rodents who are bent on world domination.

Animaniacs premiered on September 13, 1993 and new episodes ran through the 1998 season. A total of 99 episodes were produced along with a direct-to-video movie and a theatrical cartoon short. The show introduced the popular cartoon characters Pinky and the Brain, who were subsequently spun-off into their own TV series in 1995.

Muppet Mentions

  • "Draculee Dracula"
Upon meeting Count Dracula, Yakko asks the vampire "Didn't you used to teach math on Sesame Street?", a reference to the Dracula-esque Count von Count.
  • "Video Revue"
A song full of references to popular movies and specials on video references A Muppet Family Christmas with the line: "Amadeus was a genius, Beethoven was a dog, The Muppet Family Christmas was about a pig and frog!" As each title is mentioned an animated video cover is shown. On the cover, Kermit (dressed as Santa Claus) is crushed as Miss Piggy leaps onto his lap.
  • In the DC Comics comic book Animaniacs #26 (June 1997), spoofing Tales from the Crypt, Buttons and Mindy face a possessed toy in "Tickle-Me Evil!" (referencing Tickle Me Elmo).

Pinky and the Brain (spin-off)

  • "You'll Never Eat Food Pellets In This Town, Again!"
When the duo quit their show and are in need of work, Pinky thinks he can get them a new gig using his puppet Marget to network. He mentions that he "used to lunch with the fella who did Frank Oz's nails."


Many Henson/Muppet actors provided voices for Animaniacs. In addition, staff writer/voice actor Paul Rugg has been a regular performer in The Jim Henson Company's Puppet Up! improv team and other post-2004 projects. Steven Spielberg was producer and was heavily involved in the show.

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