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Production Throwback

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"Man, the Walt Donkey studio has been on a roll lately!"
The reuse of characters or items from a previous work in Easter Egg cameos in a newer one (similar to a fictional Production Posse or metafictional Continuity Cameo). In some cases, this lays down the basis of a Verse.

If it's something the actor did rather than the production team, it's an Actor Allusion. If the work in question is an unreleased earlier version of the same work, it's a Development Gag. See also Company Cross References, which this trope often overlaps with.

When this is done for works that haven't yet been released, it's Production Foreshadowing.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • AKIRA: In the manga, when the agent is hospitalized and being debriefed, the painting of the bed deliberately mimics the cover of one of Otomo's other works, Domu, which shares themes with AKIRA and came out before Otomo started working on AKIRA.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi is full of Shout Outs to Ken Akamatsu's previous series, Love Hina. Outside the numerous Expys, Tama the turtle has a cameo, the famous "Naru Punch" makes a reappearance, and one of Motoko's sword techniques sees some use in Negima. In addition, several characters from Love Hina make reappearances in Negima. The creator also confirmed that the hotel at which the characters stay in (one of) Negima's Beach Episodes is the same one where Naru and Keitaro stayed.
    • Akamatsu also confirmed that Nitta-sensei is the same Nitta-sensei from his first series, A.I. Love You. Not to mention that Negima's Big Bad Fate Averruncus is a rather obvious expy of Program Number 0.
  • UQ Holder! also has Shout Outs to Love Hina. There is a character named Shinobu with the same design as Love Hina's Shinobu. There is also a recreation of Keitarou's first visit to Hinata inn featuring Shinobu's first visit to Senkyokan inn.
  • Ooyasan wa Shishunki! features the cast of Komori-san Can't Decline! (the anime of which was also produced by Genco, a season before) in its seventh episode, among the crowd of students having soup. This mirrors how the cast of the former appeared in the latter.
  • The Eromanga Sensei anime features multiple cameos from Oreimo, since they both share the same authors. Episode 8 features Kuroneko and her sister as passerbys interviewed on TV, and another episode haves Kyosuke, Kirino, Kuroneko and Saori appear in the background.
  • Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale has the group go a Wagnaria!! branch, alluding to A-1 Pictures' lastest installment of the animated franchise the previous year.
  • When Kaguya's class does a cosplay cafe for the culture festival in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, one of her classmates is dressed up as IA (who was designed by series author Aka Akasaka). There are also several references to the author's previous series ib: Instant Bullet, like a character named Yume who dresses up as a witch and Fujiwara's Love Detective hat looking just like the one that Sera wore.
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun often makes references to the author's other concurrent work, Ore-sama Teacher.
    • Sakura's shelf in Episode 1 of the anime has a charm of Usa-chan from Ore-sama Teacher.
    • While Sakura is diligently "studying" shoujo manga (after being jealous by how well Rei and Nozaki got along with their shoujo manga conversations), she can be heard muttering various tropes—"Ore-sama", "age difference", "cat and dog relationship", and "childhood friends"—that perfectly describes Mafuyu and Takaomi of Ore-sama Teacher.
  • Episode 6 of Interviews with Monster Girls has a scene where Takahashi explains to Himari that her sister is not just either a human or a vampire, but the sum of all her life experiences. This is shown with a scene of film reels coming together to form a picture of Hikari: said picture is identical to the cover of the manga's first volume.
  • Tales of Wedding Rings: In chapter 70, Morion is shown reading a volume of Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, one of the creator Maybe's earlier works.

    Asian Animation 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Vermicious Knids, which appear as antagonists in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, get passing mentions as monsters in a handful of other Roald Dahl books written before and after it.
  • Pale has a few references to the author's prior works:
    • While Avery and Nora are Christmas shopping they make references to Worm and possibly Ward as a movie series. A jigsaw puzzle they pick out depicts a scene from Twig.
    • Snowdrop meets a Lost named Fugly Bob on the Promenade.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Community episode "Investigative Journalism" Jack Black played a character named "Buddy Austen", who shares a last name with Jack Austen, the main character in the unsold TV pilot Heat Vision and Jack (created by by Community creator Dan Harmon) also played by Jack Black. Also, Owen Wilson, who voiced Heat Vision, made a cameo appearance in the same episode.

  • David Bowie:
    • The music video for "Be My Wife" recalls that for "Life on Mars?" six years prior. Both videos feature Bowie in makeup, performing to the camera while alone in a White Void Room.
    • "Heroes":
      • The cover art is partly a nod to Iggy Pop's album The Idiot (which Bowie had produced and co-written a number of tracks on) from earlier in the year, right down to featuring the same photographer. The reference is more than fitting, as The Idiot was more or less a prelude to the Berlin Trilogy.
      • The title track features the synthesized train sounds that previously opened the title track to Station to Station.
      • The closing track "The Secret Life of Arabia" opens with the line "I was running at the speed of life," harking back to the opening track on Low, "Speed of Life".
    • Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps):
      • The back cover references the covers of Bowie's "Berlin Trilogy": Low, "Heroes" and Lodger, as well as the much earlier Aladdin Sane. Bowie's Pierrot getup on the front cover also harks back to the back cover of Space Oddity, which featured a Pierrot leading away an old woman among the cavalcade of surreal imagery on the back cover; the ending of the "Ashes to Ashes" video recreates this, albeit with the roles reversed.
      • "Teenage Wildlife" prominently interpolates the Title Track to "Heroes".
    • The Next Day features copious amounts of it, partly because it was Bowie's first album since Reality ten years prior, partly to tie in with the thematic ruminations on his advancing age (being 66 when the album released).
      • "Love is Lost" re-used puppets that had planned to be used for the filmed-but-unreleased Concept Video for "The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell". The remix of the same song also samples the piano lick from "Ashes to Ashes".
      • The percussion on "Love is Lost" recreates the hollow drum sound that served as a crucial part of Low's sonic aesthetic.
      • The lead single, "Where Are We Now?", references several Berlin landmarks (Potsdamer Platz, Nürnberger Straße, KaDeWe, etc.), nodding back to the trilogy of albums that Bowie recorded while residing in Berlin during the late '70s.
      • In the video for "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)", one of the new neighbors looks and sometimes dresses like Thomas Jerome Newton/the Thin White Duke and the cover of one of the tabloid magazines uses Newton's alien form as an image with the caption "Woman Goes To Oscars Without Makeup On".
      • The penultimate track, "You Feel So Lonely You Could Die", ends with the opening drums from "Five Years".
      • The director of the videos for "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" and "The Next Day" is Floria Sigismondi, who also did two of his Earthling-era videos: "Little Wonder" and "Dead Man Walking".
      • The cover is a modified version of the cover of "Heroes", which has that album's title removed and a large portion of the picture of Bowie covered by a blank white square with this album's title on it.
    • :
      • In some parts of the music video for "Lazarus", Bowie wears a striped jumpsuit identical to the one he was pictured in on the back cover of the Rykodisc CD reissue of Station to Station.
      • The harmonica on the closing track "I Can't Give Everything Away" plays the same tune as the harmonica on "A New Career in a New Town" from Bowie's 1977 album Low; fans have also cited similarities to "Never Let Me Down", "Soul Love", and "Thursday's Child". The music also becomes more reminiscent of Bowie's old styles towards the end of the album.
  • Phil Collins: "In the Air Tonight" reuses the gated reverb drum sound previously heard on Peter Gabriel's "Intruder"; Collins had previously served as a session drummer on the song and its parent album, and while "Intruder" is credited with inventing the drum sound, "In the Air Tonight" is widely considered the song that popularized it.
  • George Harrison's All Things Must Pass features a few:
    • The first version of "Isn't It a Pity" reprises the ending melody of "Hey Jude" in a minor key, making it feel like a Dark Reprise. It's also just a second shorter than the earlier song.
    • "Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp" makes a nod to "The Inner Light".
      My eyes are shining, full of inner light
    • The music video for "My Sweet Lord" (released in 2021) features a brief sequence where a man in the movie theater imitates Harrison's dance moves from the "dancing furniture" music video for "Got My Mind Set On You" (released in 1987), complete with a recreation of his leather chair.
  • King Crimson:
    • Several tracks on In the Wake of Poseidon are written as direct counterparts to pieces from In the Court of the Crimson King the previous year. "Pictures of a City" recalls "21st Century Schizoid Man", "Cadence and Cascade" nods back to "I Talk to the Wind", the Title Track homages "Epitaph", and "The Devil's Triangle" reprises the formatting of "Moonchild".
    • Beat:
      • The album cover directly nods back to that of Discipline, replacing the Celtic knotwork with an eighth note.
      • "Neal and Jack and Me" reprises the technique used on both "Frame by Frame" and "Discipline" where Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew's guitars weave in and out of sync with one another.
      • The Frippertronics piece that forms the intro of "Neurotica" is directly lifted from "Hååden Two" off of Robert Fripp's debut solo album Exposure.
  • Mike Oldfield:
    • "Foreign Affair" reprises the synth xylophone arpeggios from "Mount Teidi".
    • Multiple appear in Tubular Bells III, tying in with its celebration of the 25th anniversary of the original Tubular Bells:
      • Samples from many of Oldfield's prior albums feature throughout Tubular Bells III: "Man in the Rain" features sampled drums from "Moonlight Shadow", "Outcast" features sampled drums from "Shadow on the Wall", and "Far Above the Clouds" features sampled drums from the end of "Ommadawn (Part One)". "Far Above the Clouds" also samples the rhythm guitar from the "Finale" section of "Tubular Bells (Part One)".
      • "Man in the Rain" repeats the structure of "Moonlight Shadow" from his 1983 album Crises; the song was first penned shortly after "Moonlight Shadow", which explains the similarities. The song also reprises elements of the Title Track to Oldfield's 1991 album Heaven's Open, also an aftereffect of its prolonged development (as a 1987 demo of "Man in the Rain" was used as the basis for "Heaven's Open").
  • A couple appear in Pink Floyd's The Final Cut:
    • The line "Do you remember me? How we used to be?" in the chorus of "Your Possible Pasts" quotes the line "Do you remember me? How we used to be helpless and happy and blind?" in "Incarceration of a Flower Child", a song that Roger Waters wrote shortly after Syd Barrett's ousting but never released; the piece would ultimately be given to Marianne Faithfull in 1999.
    • During the outro of "Not Now John", Waters chants, "One, Two, Free, Four!", as a reference to the band's earlier single "Free Four" (from Obscured by Clouds).
  • A couple appear in The Police's Synchronicity:
    • The mention of "Spiritus Mundi" in "Synchronicity I" nods back to "Spirits in the Material World" off of the band's previous album.
    • The line "they say the meek shall inherit the Earth" in "Walking in Your Footsteps", in addition to being a Shout-Out to the Beatitudes, recalls an identical line from the 1979 B-Side "Visions of the Night" (included on "Walking on the Moon" in the UK and "Bring On the Night" in the US).
  • Queen:
    • The cover art for A Day at the Races is a redrawn version of that for A Night at the Opera the previous year. Among other things, the white background is changed to black and the figures are in different poses (some more noticeable than others).
    • Appears frequently throughout Made in Heaven, tying in with that album's nature as the band's Grand Finale following the death of frontman Freddie Mercury four years prior.
      • "Mother Love" samples Freddie Mercury's call-and-response chant from the band's 1986 Wembley Stadium concert (as documented in the 1992 Live Album Live at Wembley '86), with the synth string intro to "One Vision" playing in the background. The last lines of the song are additionally lifted from Mercury's 1973 solo cover of "Goin' Back", which was included as the B-side to Mercury's debut solo single (released under the pseudonym Larry Lurex), a rendition of the Ronettes' "I Can Hear Music".
      • "I Was Born to Love You" samples Mercury's ad-libs from the Title Track to A Kind of Magic.
      • "A Winter's Tale", recorded during the post-Innuendo sessions, has a subtle but charming one: "It's A Kind of Magic in the air".
      • The breakdown in "It's a Beautiful Day (Reprise)" samples the piano riff from the closing track of both Queen and Queen II, "Seven Seas of Rhye".
      • Mercury's interjection of "yeah!" in both "It's a Beautiful Day (Reprise)" and the aptly-titled "Yeah" is sampled from "Action This Day"
  • R.E.M.:
    • The interjection of "gentlemen, testify!" in "Cant Get There from Here" nods back to the band's cover of "Tighten Up" by Archie Bell & the Drells (which features several yelps of "testify!" throughout and its own "gentlemen, testify!" at the end), tying in with the former song's soul influences.
    • Green:
      • "Pop Song 89" reprises the lead riff of "Feeling Gravitys Pull" off of Fables of the Reconstruction, albeit in a major key and faster-paced this time around.
      • "Turn You Inside-Out" is more or less a remake of "Finest Worksong" off of Document, just with the chord progression reversed; the lyrics also act as a thematic continuation.
    • Automatic for the People:
      • Mike Mills and Bill Berry's backing vocals on "Find the River" hark back to a similar technique on "Harborcoat" nearly a decade prior, a similarity that Mills confirmed to be an intentional creative decision in an interview with Melody Maker.
      • The verses of "Try Not to Breathe" reprise the melody and rhythm of "Swan Swan H".
    • Accelerate:

    Tabletop Games 

    Theme Parks 
  • Disney has practically made an art form of this in their theme parks. If a ride is remade, expect some reference to the original to be present somewhere in the new version, typically in the queue area. It would actually be easier to list the rides that DON'T follow this trope. Some notable examples:
    • In the most recent incarnation of the Imagination ride (Journey into Imagination with Figment), one of the offices in the Imagination Institute Sense Lab belongs to one "Dean Finder", a call-back to Dreamfinder from the original version of the ride.
    • In Test Track, the emblem to the pavilion's original ride, World of Motion, is visible in the queue.
    • In the Magic Kingdom version of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, various references to the site's former occupant, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. These include pictures in Owl's house of Mr. Toad handing Owl the deed to Toad Hall, and of Pooh meeting Moley. A statue of Toad was also placed in the pet cemetery outside of the Haunted Mansion.
      • Similarly, Disneyland's version of the attraction made a nod to its previous occupant, the Country Bear Playhouse, by featuring the heads of Max, Huff, and Melvin mounted on a wall.
    • In the new version of Star Tours, the previous version's host, REX, can be seen in a crate bound for his home factory (with a "DEFECTIVE" label stamped on it).
    • Horizons was a dark ride that ran in Epcot's Future World from 1982 to 1999. It was torn down then, and replaced in 2003 with Mission: SPACE. The center of the gravity wheel in Mission: SPACE's queue has the Horizons logo, and a stylized version also appears on the front of the checkout counter in the Cargo Bay gift shop at the exit to the attraction.
      • The post-show for Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom received several tributes to Horizons following a 2009 refurbishment.
  • Universal Studios also does this from time to time. Most notably they paid homage to the now-defunct "Back to the Future: The Ride" by including a reference to a (bankrupt) Dr. Brown in the queue for the ride that replaced it, "The Simpsons Ride".

    Video Games 
  • A solid third of The Binding of Isaac features characters from Ed McMillen's other games. Meatboy of Super Meat Boy fame shows up as an item (he's a familiar that'll follow you around and munch on your enemies) and several other SMB characters show up as either items or bosses. Gish shows up as a boss and related drop, Steve from Time Fcuk likewise, and even the obscure Triachnid has been made into a boss.
  • Chapter 7 of Celeste is one big throwback to the original freeware version of the game. Madeline ditches her backpack, making her look more like the player sprite from the freeware version, and her hair changes color as she gains a second air dash as a result of her Enemy Without finally agreeing to merge with her and help her climb back up the mountain after knocking her off, an ability that you get partway through the freeware version. Also like the freeware version, the game starts measuring how high up you are in meters after finishing each part of the chapter.
  • Chicory: A Colorful Tale:
    • In the "Teatime Meadows" area, there's a bird named Kiwi that's dressed exactly like the Wandersong protagonist (who's also called Kiwi by the devs), who asks that you help make music using said game's directional mechanic. As a reward, you're given a brush style that lets you stamp music notes on the environment.
    • Additionally, one of the final boss' attack patterns is the falling feathers from Celeste.
  • The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, made by Vicarious Visions as a remake of the original Naughty Dog trilogy, contains a musical reference to the VV-made Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced in the fight with Dr. Nefarious Tropy in the remake of the third game. Near the beginning of his battle theme, three repeating notes get emphasized more than in the original - the same notes that were repeated throughout most of Tropy's battle theme in N-Tranced.
  • The arcade version of Double Dragon features the red sports car from Data East's Road Blaster inside Billy and Jimmy's garage, as well as a billboard advertising Nekketsu Koha Kunio-kun (the Japanese version of Renegade) just before the first boss battle. Both were games previously directed by Yoshihisa Kishimoto, the director of Double Dragon. In the arcade version of Double Dragon II, the helicopter from Cobra Command (Kishimoto's other FMV game he did for Data East) appears in the garage at the beginning as well.
    • The WayForward-developed River City Girls has a reversed situation by incorporating various Double Dragon characters owned by Arc System Works, most notably the Lee brothers, Marian and Abobo, who are all clearly the Neon incarnations of them since WayForward developed that game. It even includes an appearance by its main villain Skullmageddon, still voiced by that game's director Sean Velasco.
  • It's common practice to reuse musical themes and legendary weapon names in Fire Emblem in later installments in new contexts.
  • Toby Fox has included remixes of his song "Megalovania" in various projects of his, most notably video games. First appearing as the final boss theme for The Halloween Hack, it later appeared in Homestuck (which he contributed music to), and its latest appearance being Undertale, where it plays during the boss fight with Sans, during the Genocide route. Undertale, particularly the endings and final bosses of its multiple routes, contains plenty of references to The Halloween Hack, including the Game Over screen during the Flowey boss fight being similar to Dr. Andonuts's, Sans claiming he's simply leaving when you mortally wound him being exactly what Andonuts did, and the final set of minibosses being called Amalgamates.
  • Kingdom Hearts III:
    • While the game largely cut back on Square-Enix characters beyond the Moogles, one notable exception was made. As the devs for the Gummi sections were from the team that made Einhänder, that game's penultimate boss, Schwartzgeist, makes a return as the Gummi superboss, complete with its Clipped-Wing Angel form Monitor and a remix of Thermosphere. As an Easter Egg, if you find the hidden Endymion blueprint and fight Schwartzgeist with it, the original version of Thermosphere plays instead.
    • The Game Within a Game Verum Rex is a pretty blatant knockoff of Final Fantasy XV, of which Kingdom Hearts series director Tetsuya Nomura was working on when it was still known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. The main character is even named "Yozora", whose meaning is identical to "Noctis", "night sky". The endings of both the main game and Re Mind double down on the Versus XIII references, with the Secret Ending track "Secrets of the Night" having a Musical Nod to "Somnus" (both composed by Yoko Shimomura) and the Limitcut Episode ending being an almost-perfect shot-for-shot recreation of the opening of Versus XIII's 2011 trailer.
  • Before creating Kingdom of Loathing, Team Asymmetric created a game called Krakrox the Barbarian. At least one item from that game appears in Kol, the Ring of Half-Assed Regeneration.
    • And there's also an item that lets you play as Krakrox for a few adventures.
    • And now Krakrox's Loincloth, "originally owned by the famous barbarian adventurer Krakrox," is part of the Seal Clubber's Legendary Regalia.
  • Hideo Kojima has a habit of inserting references to his previous works in his newer works, beginning with Snatcher, which included references to Metal Gear (such as Gillian's robotic companion modeled after the Metal Gear mecha), and then with Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (which referenced the Snatcher Project and canonized Dr. Pettrovich's surname as "Madnar"), Policenauts (which included plenty of Metal Gear and Snatcher references), and the Tokimeki Memorial Drama Series (which included several Policenauts and Metal Gear Solid references). The most popular example is the transplant of Meryl Silverburgh, originally a Policenauts character, into Metal Gear Solid.
    • According to the artbook, Snake's long hair in the briefing sequence in Metal Gear Solid is supposed to be the same hairstyle as Jonathan from Policenauts. His Important Haircut is a joke signaling to the player that they should forget about Policenauts, because it's time for Metal Gear Solid now.
    • There was a strange Running Gag across Metal Gear's non-canonical stories with the mention of someone called "Dr. Koppelthorn". Mei Ling tries to quote this person in Metal Gear: Ghost Babel but is always cut off by Snake, and they're mentioned again in the same game in the Show Within a Show "IdeaSpy 2.5". Then, in External Gazer (one of the bonus stories in MGS2: Substance), a device called the Koppelthorn engine kickstarts the plot. Finally, Metal Gear Ac!d 2 introduced a Doctor Thomas Koppelthorn as a prominent character and one of the main antagonists.
  • The movie-themed floor in Luigi's Mansion 3 has a gallery of pictures referencing games that its developer Next Level Games has previously worked on, including one of Little Mac and Mario kicking a ball.
  • As mentioned on the Production Foreshadowing page, Madworld has an ad in the subway for The Gates of Hell, the bar from Bayonetta, which was still in development at that time. Then, in Bayonetta, Madworld receives a Call-Back, at The Gates of Hell coincidentally.
    Rodin: No matter how much you ask, I'm not strapping a chainsaw to your arm. note 
  • Masahiro Sakurai was the man responsible for both Kirby and Super Smash Bros., and both franchises have referenced each other from the start. Master Hand, the traditional Final Boss of the latter series, was based on Wham Bam Rock from Kirby Super Star, and even appeared alongside Crazy Hand from Melee in Kirby & the Amazing Mirror as the ninth boss. The remake of Super Star, acknowledging the roots of Master Hand, made Wham Bam Rock a Trick Boss in one of the new modes while introducing Wham Bam Jewel, a nod to Crazy Hand.
  • Telltale's first game, Telltale Texas Hold'Em featured a mustached character named "Boris Krinkle", in which one possible line of dialogue has the character of Grandma telling him that he looks more like a 'Leonard Steakcharmer'." Naturally, when you first meet Leonard, sans mustache, in Telltale's Sam & Max episode The Mole, The Mob, and The Meatball, you get the option to say he looks more like a Boris Krinkle.
  • Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair makes use of a remix of "Jungle Challenge", a music track originally made for the Yooka-Laylee kickstarter pitch but never added to the actual game, as its menu theme.


    Web Original 
  • Occasionally done during Escape from Vault Disney! in reference to Some Jerk with a Camera episodes and other videos on Tony's YouTube channel:
    • When they are disgusted at Sandra Bullock's character dipping an Oreo in milk her cat just drank in While You Were Sleeping, Kit speculates this is where the cat flu from Escape from Tomorrow started, something that was frequently mocked in Tony's review of the latter film.
    • In the podcast discussing the Lesley Ann Warren episode of The Muppet Show, Tony says that since the episode contains a segment with a ballet based on Beauty and the Beast, he'll probably have to co-review it with Kyle Kallgren someday.
    • In the High School Musical: The Musical: The Holiday Special episode, Chris wonders why this disposable special is on Disney Plus instead of the many better things that could be, leading to a reference to a recurring bit in Tony's "Top 15 Attractions That Closed in 2017 (And the First Couple Months of 2018)" State of the Parks video.
    Tony: Well, what's the point in removing it?
    Chris: Well, in theme park terms, they had nothing to replace it with.
    • Tony describes the escape scene on the Death Star in A New Hope as when "Luke lassos that thing, and the princess kisses him and they swing off together", a reference to this 70's commercial that was used in a couple of Tony's Star Wars-related vlogs to show how much discourse around the franchise has changed since the original movie's debut.
  • Anders Sandberg, one of the big contributors to Orion's Arm has worked on several rpgs in the past, including Big Ideas Grand Vision. Every human colony from this game has been transplanted into Orion's Arm, after being suitably altered to fit in with the new setting.
  • Artist Ursula Vernon created a line of fake merchandise for the non-existent Red Wombat Tea Company ("We dig tea"). In her podcast The Hidden Almanac, Red Wombat Tea Company is said to be the Almanac's major sponsor.

    Western Animation