Dot's voice gets slightly deeper as the series progresses, a change reflected in Wakko's Wish. This was Tress MacNeille's idea - as she thought it would be a good idea to have the Warners age and have Dot go through puberty.
Yakko's "uuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh" was Rob Paulsen's idea, becoming one of his catchphrases.
The Hub adored this show more than Kids WB, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and FOX ever did. They aired promos for it during every program on the channel including Animaniacs itself, and had constant marathons whenever a holiday was near (Christmas, Martin Luther King Day, Super Bowl Sunday, and even President's Day). Not only that, the show at one point aired for three hours on weekdays. They even got Paulsen, Harnell and MacNeille to record new spots, in character as Yakko, Wakko and Dot respectively, for the show's reruns. Due to this, it gained a new generation of child fans, and parents who watched the channel say that their kids loved it even more than My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Unfortunately, after the channel became Discovery Family, the series was one of the few that was completely removed from the channel, though its predecessor Tiny Toon Adventures stuck around for the next couple of months.
GO!, an Australian family network similar to The Hub, aired this show twice in the morning, noon, and night when they had the rights. It even axed Ben 10, Tom and Jerry Tales and the Tamagotchi anime's English dub just so they could show more Animaniacs.
Banned In China: When Boomerang UK aired the show, episode 26 was rarely run because of the people running that feed finding the "Potty Emergency" segment indecent, a fate which also befell similar episodes of shows on Turner-owned channels in the UK that still continues to this day. This was averted during the original run of the show on CITV.
The Cast Showoff: Maurice LaMarche is able to perform throat singing in the Tuvan style, but only for short durations. Since this sounded like belching, he was the one to provide all of Wakko's belches for the show. He was even asked to "belch" in key, so that they could be sampled into a keyboard patch for musical numbers (think of the pitched-up and down keyboard samples at the start of Ferris Bueller's Day Off.)
Celebrity Voice Actor: While most of the celebrities were impersonated by the cast, there were a few high-profile actors on the show.
Most notably, Bernadette Peters spoke and sung for Rita. Unfortunately, because of her high demand, this would result in her lack of appearances in the remaining three seasons.
Tom Bodett, aka the "Motel 6" guy, narrated the "Good Idea/Bad Idea" and "Mime Time" cartoons, as well as Wakko's Wish.
The iconic comedy team of [Jack] Burns and [Avery] Schreiber voiced Slappy's foes Sid the Squid and Beanie the Bison, respectively.
Ernie Anderson (of Ghoulardi fame), the announcer for the promos of ABC at the time, narrated the biblically-themed episodes "Guardin' the Garden" and "Noah's Lark", where he parodied his promos for America's Funniest Home Videos in the former, and The Love Boat in the latter (complete with the elongated "looooooooooooove").
Ed Asner voiced the Papa Bear-esque Vern in "Garage Sale of the Century".
The late Phil Hartman as the villainous anchorman in "Broadcast Nuisance" (originally named Slam Fondlesome as a parody of Sam Donaldson, but later redubbed as the generic "Dan Anchorman").
Kenneth Mars as noted composer and pianist ("Mmwah! Goodnight, everybody!") Beethoven in "Roll Over, Beethoven".
Harry Shearer as the irritated game show host Ned Flat in "Fair Game".
Ben Stein as the droning Francis "Pip" Pumphandle in "Chairman of the Bored".
Dick Button, an ice-skating analyst, provided his own voice in the wraparounds where Yakko sings all the words in the English language.
Channel Hop: From FOX Kids to Kids WB for its second season, which premiered with the block exactly one day after the show last aired on Fox.
Cross-Dressing Voices: While the series mostly subverts this with young male characters, being voiced by either adult males or actual boys, most dubs play this straight. But one of the more interesting cases is that unlike most versions, Wakko in the Latin American dub is voiced by actress Giset Blanco.
Cut Song: Randy Rogel wrote a song entitled "The Geologic Clock," in which Yakko sings about the history of the Earth, that ultimately went unused.
The Danza: Colin, the kid who talks about Randy Beaman, was voiced by Colin Wells.
Defictionalization: The puppets the Warner siblings use in "Lookit the Fuzzy Heads" were made into actual toys around the time the show was still airing.
Edited for Syndication: When Animaniacs aired on Nicktoons Network and Nickelodeon, the opening theme was so plastered with references to the channel (through use of redubbing and digital editing) that fans rejoiced when the DVDs of the original episodes were released.
One major edit that the Nickelodeon versions was to use one of the variable line clips, with "Nickelaney" dubbed in, for every episode.
Another major edit was that the entire theme song was made one pitch making the Warner's voices (up until the "We're Animani" line) much higher than they are.
Averted with Cartoon Network and The Hub, as both channels air the episodes exactly as they used to air on FOX and the WB and on the DVD sets.
Good luck finding a copy of the original version of "Broadcast Nuisance". Word is that Spielberg thought the Warners were way too violent and mean toward the anchorman character. Some excised bits include:
Yakko pieing the anchorman in the face.
A bit in which the Warners act as makeup artists and make the anchorman look like a clown.
A brief cameo by Slappy during the scene in which the Warners change the channel.
In addition, the anchorman's name was initially Slam Fondlesome (as a parody of Sam Donaldson), but parents apparently caught on, so his name was redubbed as the generic "Dan Anchorman" (which can be seen as a nod to Dan Rather).
Aside from the name change, the "William F. Yakkley" sequence (where Yakko does an impersonation of lecturer William F. Buckley Jr.) was also redubbed, since the bit originally occurred after the anchorman was given a bit of breaking news that "Slam Fondlesome is a big fat dope". So instead of discussing whether or not the anchorman is a "big fat dope" or a "big fat stinky dope", instead, they discuss the stinginess of the anchor, since he wouldn't tip them.
In the original Randy Beaman sketch where Colin talks about the time Randy Beaman ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda, Colin was covering his crotch and crossing his legs, clearly having a Potty Emergency. This was changed so that he was simply standing and talking, like most of the other Randy Beaman segments.
Enforced Method Acting: Whenever Nathan Ruegger (Skippy) had to laugh as part of the script but couldn't laugh convincingly enough, his dad would come into the studio to tickle him.
Fake Brit: Wakko and Pinky both have British accents provided by American voice actors, but other than their accents, there's really nothing to indicate that they are British.
From Entertainment to Education: Two of the geography songs, "Yakko's World" and "Wakko's America" have been used to teach the nations of the world and the U.S. states and their capitals.
The original theatrical version of "I'm Mad" (released with Thumbelina, with the title screens, was never released on home video, save for a brief snippet being seen on the "Yakko's World" sing-along tape.
The alternate version of "Potty Emergency" which has a scene where a man using a hose has it turned away from the camera was only ever screened in Canada on Teletoon Retro.
Another hard-to-find original cut of an episode is the version of "Broadcast Nuisance" where Mr. Anchorman is named Slam Fondlesome and the slapstick violence against him is more brutal. The episode does exist, as most international cuts have shown it, but it's not available on DVD or streaming in America.
Missing Episode: Episode #55 has a chase scene bumper that's missing from the DVDs as well as reruns on The Hub. It is, however, on digital releases.
Milestone Celebration: Spoofed by the "65th Anniversary Spectacular!" Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize 1) airing in the mid-90s, it roughly corresponds to when the Back Story claims the Warners were created; 2) it is a 65th - the 65th episode; and 3) it's an actual milestone, as the first season finale.
For the show's 20th anniversary, following a six-year gap, the fourth and final DVD set was finally released containing the remaining episodes.
The exact production order isn't clear, but the first season — which accounts for the majority of the series' run — was clearly aired out of order because some characters' introductory episodes, like Minerva Mink and Katie Ka-Boom, clearly aren't their actual first appearances. The DVD releases retained this error, leading to "Meet Minerva" not showing up until the third volume out of four.
"Taming of the Screwy" feels like a pilot episode, since it's all about establishing the Warners' personalities, and its style is much closer to Tiny Toon Adventures than Animaniacs, which you'd expect from a first attempt to write a script for a new series. But it aired as the fifth episode (the end of the first week).
In actuality, the real production order is clear. According to this guide, the real first-produced cartoon of the series is Draculee, Draculaa. It was telling that it was meant to be a very early short due to Yakko's rough voice, Wakko's gags solely involving him eating various objects, and the surprisingly rough animation by TMS Entertainment, among other things.
The short "Please Please Please Get A Life Foundation" quoted several posts by fans on the alt.tv.animaniacs newsgroup, specifically two guides about various pop culture references and goofs in the show.
In 1995, a group of twenty fans got to visit the Warner Brothers Studios to meet some of the voice actors on the show, watch several then-unaired shorts, sing a spoof of the theme song with the cast and watch the scoring session for "Bingo".
One fan, Ron O'Dell, known as "Keeper" by the fandom, was known for wearing a distinctive hat. This would later be drawn on The Lobe in fellow WB animated series Freakazoid!.
Tom Ruegger's three sons each play at least one role.
Nathan Ruegger voiced Skippy Squirrel and Baby Plucky (reprising his role from Tiny Toons)
Luke Ruegger voiced The Flame, Bumpo Basset and the Brave Little Trailer.
Cody Ruegger voiced Baby Blue Bird in "The Wild Blue Yonder", "My Mother the Squirrel" and "Twelve Days of Christmas". The latter was merely Tom's way of having his son sing his mangled version of the Christmas carol, by replacing all the gifts with turtledoves.
In addition, Ruegger's ex-wife, Adrienne Alexander, provided the Marlene Dietrich-esque voice of Dr. Phrankenstein in "Franken-Runt".
Colin Wells, son of Deanna Oliver, voiced Colin, aka the "Randy Beaman Kid".
Reality Subtext: Brain's frozen peas homage to Orson Welles was pitched and developed as a surprise for LaMarche, who is an avowed fan of the famous outtakes from that commercial. LaMarche had fallen into depression, so voice director Andrea Romano arranged for the segment to cheer him up and let him riff on something he loved so much.
Recycled Script: The episode "Wakko at the Bat" is basically a rehashing of the Tiny Toon Adventures short "Buster at the Bat" in that it's a retelling of the poem Casey at the Bat that ends with a happy ending after a fake-out of following the original poem's Downer Ending. Ironically, the same episode featured a parody of Disney's Pocahontas called Jokahontas, which featured a musical number accusing Disney of recycling the same old stories in every one of their movies that featured a female protagonist.
Role Reprise: In the German dub, the entire main German cast of Friends reprised their role for the episode Acquaintances. Furthermore, Oliver Feld reprised his role as Jerry Seinfeld.
Science Marches On: The cut song "The Geologic Clock" would have become a victim of this due to claiming none of the dinosaurs survived as "the last one died about 70 million years ago." We now know some dinosaurs DID survive as birds, while the rest died 66 million years ago.
Jamie Kellner (whom you may know as the guy who claimed watching television while skipping ads with a DVR is tantamount to stealing, as well as the guy responsible for cancelling all programming from WCW, leading to the company's bankruptcy in 2001) apparently ignored the very high ratings from older audiences while the show was on WB and found the low ratings from kids to be an excuse to cancel the show, though it shouldn't be a surprise as a lot of cartoons created by Warner Brothers at the time were canceled for similar reasons, like Freakazoid! and Road Rovers.
Series creator Tom Ruegger later confirmed that Animaniacs and several other Warner cartoons saw their cancellations in the 90s due to their higher production costs in comparison to then ratings sensation Pokémon, which was licensed to Kids WB on a discount.
The show got even worse treatment on Nickelodeon. The show was heavily edited, with the theme song being shortened (and the Couch Gag changed to simply having Dot say "Nickel-aney" in every episode), random scenes removed for time (one example was the "Can you do the funny thing?" gag in "Cutie and the Beast") and references to other networks (like the "Coming soon to Kids' WB" line in "Pinky and the Ralph") excised. And if that wasn't bad enough, the show only lasted three months in its' afternoon timeslot before being moved to 6 in the morning to make room for reruns of CatDog. While Nicktoons treated the show slightly better, the edits made on Nickelodeon stayed on Nicktoons (despite the channel being ad free at the time). It got removed in 2003 on Nickelodeon and August 2005 on Nicktoons (a month before the Nicktoons Network rebrand).
Shrug of God: There are conflicting explanations on where Skippy's parents are. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo Clock" implies that they are dead - as he's sent to a foster home when Slappy can't look after him. Slappy however appears in The Nostalgia Critic to say that she is just babysitting while his parents are away on a long trip.
So My Kids Can Watch: A variation. When the final drafts of the characters were being approved by Steven Spielberg, Mindy and Buttons were chosen by his daughter.
Tom Ruegger: I mean, we've obviously put that in, and we just said, "Oh, let the censor have a laugh and call us." [laughs] And I guess the censor was away that week, because that's still in there. It's amazing.
Notably Paulsen, who voiced Yakko, Dr. Scratchansniff and Pinky.
The director and Mr. Klump from "The Sunshine Squirrels" were both voiced by Corey Burton, and were the only two of the three characters Corey Burton played in that short to interact with one another.
Chick Vennera when the Godpigeon and Pesto talk to each other.
MacNeille voices Dot and Hello Nurse. She also voices Martia the hippo and Mindy's mom, but those characters never interact with each other - or with Dot and Hello Nurse, for that matter.
Throw It In!: If time was running short on an episode, they would use a "Wheel of Morality" segment to pad it out.
Unintentional Period Piece: Less so than other '90s shows, but the 1994 segment "Baloney & Kids" includes two separate references to the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding altercation from earlier that year note Though Kerrigan's stint on Dancing with the Stars and the film I, Tonya have given it renewed relevance. Moreso for the Kids' WB episodes, due to it being much heavier on the 90's pop culture references then the earlier episodes. Jokes referencing films, TV series and songs at the time such as Speed, Fargo,Friends and the Macarena didn't exactly age well. The episode parodying American Gladiators was particularly bad about this, due to airing only a few months before the actual show was cancelled. The Beauty and the Beast parody was another noteworthy example, airing five years after the film's release. There's also the references to Michelle Pfeiffers Catwoman, even though, nowadays, Anne Hathaway has become the definitive Catwoman.
It's been said that the episode "Bumbie's Mom" was based on Sherri Stoner's own trauma at seeing the death of Bambi's mother when she was a child.
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo Clock" was based on Tom Rugger's last few visits with his grandmother as she was growing more and more senile.
Many of the segments were based on experiences that the writers had.
"I Got Yer Can" was based on a brief altercation Stoner had with a neighbor when she threw her empty Diet Coke can into her recycling bin.
"Ups and Downs" was inspired by the time Rugg and Oliver were trapped in an elevator for hours.
"Survey Ladies" was inspired by actual survey ladies Oliver and Stoner kept bumping into at the mall.
Word of Saint Paul: While in character as Mr. Director during an interview with The Nostalgia Critic, Paul Rugg admits that the uncanny resemblance between Mr. Director and the Clown in Clown and Out is no coincidence. The Clown is in fact Mr. Director, who was a bit down on his luck at the time.
Deanna Oliver based the creation of Mindy and Buttons off two sources from her life. One of them was her little sister Cathy, who like Mindy would be tethered outside the house and would runoff, and their dog, who was actually named Buttons go out and get her back.
Another source of inspiration was the voice of a neighbor kid who lived next door to Deanna, who would always say "OK I love you buh- bye"