Bunches of References Accumulated In a Nutshell (a.k.a - BRAIN)
The official Cultural Reference Guide for the animated series:
Pinky and the Brain
Version 1.0
Release date October-6-1997
Edited and Compiled by Brian Norman (acmelabs1@aol.com).
I believe it was sometime in late 1994, when I first happened upon a document
named the Cultural Reference Guide to Animaniacs, more popularly known as the
GRGA, compiled by Will B. Bell. I was a huge fan of Animaniacs, but as I read
the CRGA, I began to realize that I had been missing many jokes which had
previously gone 'over my head', because I was unaware of the references that
had been made. Watching the episodes again after having read the CRGA gave the
series a whole new level of humor, and I began to appreciate the show even
Which brings me to the present day, and to this document. Pinky and the Brain,
a spin-off series from Animaniacs, contains just as many, if not more,
references to present day culture. Movies, celebrities, politicians -- all are
a target of the brilliant wit of those responsible for creating each episode of
Pinky and the Brain. As I was so impressed with the efforts of Will Bell, and
what his CRGA has done for me, and millions of other fans such as myself, I
have decided to continue the tradition by creating and maintaining this
Cultural Reference Guide to Pinky and the Brain. I hope you will enjoy it.
Many of the references within this guide are taken from the newsgroup
alt.tv.animaniacs. If you wish for your comments to be anonymized, or excluded
from this guide, please notify me via e-mail.
Please forgive references which you may see as "too obvious". Remember, this
is a show which is seen in many different countries, and by many different age
groups. So, those references which may be obvious to you may not necessarily
be obvious to all. Also, those references which are obvious today, may not be
obvious to future generations.
On a final additional note, if you would like to find out more information on a
particular reference featured in this guide, you will want to check out Mark
Elbrecht's companion guide to the BRAIN, known as P.I.N.K.Y. (Packaged
Informational Nuggets with Knowledgable Yakking). The PINKY expands on this
document by providing hypertext links to web sites containing further
information on the references found here and can be found at:
NOTE: The basic format of this document follows that of Will B. Bell's
Cultural Reference Guide to Animaniacs (CRGA). I have simplified the
symbols used by eliminating the verified/unverified symbols. I do not
have the time to verify every reference myself, so I am relying on an
honor system of sorts. If it is discovered that a person is submitting
false references purposely, I will not accept further references from
that person. See the rules for submission to the BRAIN for further
details on submission policy.
+ == A true reference, verified by myself or based on convincing arguments.
- == Random observations, DYN's, and other thoughts which may not be actual
cultural references -- but I liked them and I put them in.
DYN == "Did you notice?" Points out brief appearances that might be missed
or overlooked at first glance.
NIT == Nit-picking. Pointing out small inconsistencies or inaccuracies in
a scene. Always a favorite around a.t.a.
* == Preceding a line indicates material found in the Cultural Reference
Guide for Animaniacs (CRGA) (C) 1993, 1994 by Will B. Bell and is
reprinted with his permission.
Reference contributions are noted with initials following the reference.
For a complete list of contributors, see the final section of the reference
guide (Appendix A).
Thanks to all for your help!
And now... the let the references begin!
+ Notes found on the Brain's blackboard during the title sequence:
. The Theory of Everything Made simple: This is the Brain's version of
the Grand Unification Theory, the "holy grail" of physics. It explains
absolutely EVERYTHING about the universe, and Brain has solved it while
no human has yet come close! (Skel)
. BH-91210: A reference (with incorrect zip code) to the Aaron Spelling
produced show, "Beverly Hills, 90210". (Skel)
. THX-1138: Brain's solution to the formula is actually the title of a
George Lucas student film from his days at UCLA. The title has made
it's way, in one form or another, into almost every film he's ever
done, as well as other Lucasfilm projects (THX Soundsystems, for
example). It has also shown up often on Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, and
Pinky and the Brain before. Best guess is that it's part homage to
Lucas's contribution to entertainment this half of the century, and
part reference to (Exec. Producer) Steven Speilberg and Lucas' long
standing, close friendship. (Skel)
+ Many have noticed the hidden words in the title song. Here is the list of
exactly what appears (besides the lyrics) in the order which they appear,
with some comments in parenthesis: (BN)
. PLH (Producer's initials - Peter Livingston Hastings, who incidentally
is the one responsible for putting the flying lyrics and hidden
messages into the title song.)
. enasni (Why, that's "insane" in a mirror! NARF!)
. Don't tell Brain I hid this secret message. Ha Ha Narf!
. Poit!
. I know about your silly secret message. Pinky.
+ According to Rob Paulsen, Pinky's accent is British with a speech
impediment. The way he explained it was that, when he first saw a drawing
of Pinky, he thought those huge front teeth would cause a speech
impediment. Then he decided that that would offend too many people who
really did have speech impediments, so, being a Monty Python fan, he
cranked in a British accent...and the result is the voice we know and
...er... love. (JM)
* + The Brain's voice is supposed to be a parody of Orson Welles's voice
* cf. "War of the Worlds". As well, the facial features of The Brain
* and the older Welles are pretty similar, too. (AS, MF)
+ According to a radio interview with Maurice LaMarche: He said that when
he saw the early model sheets of the Brain, he immediately thought of
Orson Welles, and did a straight Welles imitation for the voice. It was
decided later that that voice was a little too flat, so Moe added a touch
of Vincent Price and a dab of Peter Lorre to come up with the voice we
hear now.
* + The genesis of "NARF" was that TTA director & storyboard artist Eddie
* Fitzgerald *did* and does say that particular thing...though personally
* I always heard it as "neff!". Further, "Pinky" started out as a
* mouse-caricature of Mr. Fitzgerald, though through various redesigns
* it's morphed a bit afield from him. (AS)
- It's a slight possibility that "NARF" may be based on the imperative form
of the German verb "to annoy". Used in the imperative the verb becomes
"nerv", such as, "Do I annoy you?" == "Nerv ich dich?". The 'e' in
"nerv" is pronounced like the 'e' in when. Which may explain why Eddie
Fitzgerald sounded like he was saying "neff". (TorK, BN)
+ The Brain was also modeled after a WBA employee, writer and producer Tom
Minton. (BN)
+ According to Peter Hastings, in the original drawings, both Pinky and
the Brain wore lab coats, and Pinky wore glasses. (BN)
Episode: 1
"Das Mouse" --
+ The title refers to "Das Boot" a 1981 German film about a German U-Boat.
The captain might be the same captain that Jack refers to when he takes
out the nautilus. (BC)
+ This particular episode is a spoof of the technothriller genre,
specifically "The Hunt For Red October" (book & movie - 1990), and "Raise
The Titanic!" (also book & movie - 1980). "Jack Maguire" is a loose
composite of Jack Ryan, from tHfRO, and Dirk Pitt, from RtT. Brain's plan
for raising the Titanic is roughly identical to the one used in RtT. In
addition, the Titanic which Brain finds resembles the depiction of the
Titanic in RtT -- the book/film version was intact save for a lost second
funnel. (JW, BEC)
+ It was also the same technique that was used in the 1961 movie "Mysterious
Island", to raise a sunken pirate ship so everyone could escape the island
before it blew up. There was a sub in that one too - The Nautilus!
Which was coincidentally the name of the 'attack path' P&tB were running.
+ The Titanic, for those who don't know, was an ocean liner that sank on
April 15, 1912 after striking an iceberg. 1500 died due to inadequate
lifeboats. (BEC)
- Brain is looking for crabs, and he may find them. The Titanic has become
an oasis for life on the ocean bottom, with many fish, sponges, worms and
crabs calling the wreak home. (BEC)
+ Poi is Polynesian staple made of mashed taro root, NOT a dessert. After
tasting it, it would be very hard to mistake it for a dessert. (RY)
+ Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is an actual facility located
in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst., in tandem
with the French university INFREMER, discovered the wreck of the Titanic
in 1985. (BN, BEC)
- Both WHOI and NARF are valid radio callsigns for US-registered ships,
though NARF would normally be assigned only to a US Navy ship. (JM)
+ Woods Hole is also home to the Alvin submersible and Jason Jr. robotic
probe seen in this episode, which are actual vehicles used by Bob Ballard
in a 1986 exploration of the Titanic. (KP)
+ Alvin is really one of half dozen or so subs that are capable of diving to
the Titanic's depth. NIT: Alvin must be brought into place by a support
ship, as it only has about 12 hours of battery power. (BEC)
+ Jason Jr. was designed to be a tethered remote for Alvin, and was used
during the second Woods Hole Titanic expedition in 1986, but has since
been retired. Minor nit, the real JJ is blue. (BEC)
- NIT: The radar transponder about the Alvin has two knobs to set the code
in the scene where Pinky scrambles it, and three when they come back from
the first commercial break. (JM)
+ Pinky's asking if he can be Queequeg is a reference to the Polynesian
harpooner in Herman Melville's 1851 novel "Moby Dick". (JS, GJB)
+ Sub Club == The Club, a popular anti-theft device found on many
automobile steering wheels. (BN)
+ Pinky quotes a line from Baywatch. Baywatch is a popular syndicated
program whose plot centers around showing as many beautiful female and
male lifeguards running around the beach in skimpy swimsuits as possible
in one hour. (BN)
+ The book Brain was reading: Jackie Collyns' OXNARD. Check out any
bookstore for the cultural ref. on this Jackie Collins novel. (RJR)
+ "Oxnard" is a real community in Ventura County, California. I imagine
that some of the WB staff probably lives in the area, since it's about
45 minutes from Burbank. (BEC)
+ Brain mentions "The Stud," a 1978 movie starring Joan Collins
(Jackie's sister) which was just as trashy as the Jackie Collins novel
which it was based upon. (AV)
- DYN: The phrases on the soft-drink machine: "CloakaCola machine" and
"Taste the dagger". (ME)
+ DYN: Jack's line "Hold on to your Newton, desk jockey". The Newton is a
popular P.D.A. made by Apple Computer Inc.. The Newton is basically a
hand-held communications device with several functions, and was most
notable during its debut in June 1993 for its ability to translate
handwriting into typewritten text. (ME, DCat, BN)
+ Cheez-Whiz is a processed cheese product in a can. (ME)
+ Jacques Cousteau, who died late June 1997, was the oceanographer whose
television series "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" and other works
(including co-inventing the equipment we now know as "SCUBA" gear for the
military) made him famous, and at the same time showed the wonders to be
found under the sea. (ME, chance)
+ "Davy Jones' locker" is a mariner's term for the bottom of the sea, also
used as a maritime colloquialism for the final resting place of deceased
mariners. (ME, chance)
+ Davy Jones did sing co-lead for the Monkees along with Mickey Dolenz.
Sidenote: David Bowie's real name is David Jones; he changed it to Bowie
to avoid confusion. (BC)
+ When Jason Jr. goes past the bow of the ship, it is very reminiscent of
the cover of Dr. Robert Ballards (WHOI expedition leader) book "Discovery
of the Titanic" which shows a painting of JJ next to Titanic's bow. (BEC)
+ The large, curved stairway that is shown briefly as the airbag is filling
was Titanic's First Class Entrance. The real stairwell is gone,destroyed
after the sinking. (BEC)
+ Brain's "Rise and be free" sequence is a reference to a famous scene from
the 1993 movie "Free Willy". (BN)
+ While Brain was raising it, the Titanic breaks in two; when in fact, she
broke in two major portions while sinking, in about the place indicated,
with the two portions being about 1/2 mile apart. (This is similar to a
"cartoon character knocks over Leaning Tower of Pisa" joke you sometimes
see.) (JW, BEC)
- NIT - The Titanic in the cartoon had a big gash on the front of the ship,
but it was on the wrong side! (JW)
- NIT 2 - When Brain first shows Pinky a picture of the Titanic on the
computer, it has just three funnels, the Titanic had four. Also, when
they get to the actual ship, the funnels are still intact, they were
ripped off and/or imploded when it sank. (KP)
- Ah, but if you look closely, you'll see a gap where the fourth funnel
would go. If I recall correctly, this is how the Titanic was depicted in
"Raise The Titanic!". (Besides, she *really* only had 3 funnels; the
fourth was a dummy, added solely for appearances.) (JW)
Episode: 2
"Of Mouse and Man" --
+ The title refers to the title of John Steinbeck's 1937 novel "Of Mice and
Man" about two farm workers who desire a small farm of their own. (See
also -- CRGA entry for "Of Nice and Man"). (BN)
- "There must be a way to get this money without running for Congress."
The original airing of this episode had "working for Eisner" (after Walt
Disney chairman and chief executive Michael Eisner) in place of "running
for Congress". All subsequent airings were changed for unknown reasons.
+ Gerald Ford pardon refers to the 38th President of the United States'
controversial pardon of resigned President Richard Nixon for all federal
crimes he might have committed in office [referring to the Watergate
incident]. (BN)
- "We're looking for someone who has no life.": Has to do with the fact
that some employers assume that if you are not married with children that
you can (and will) devote all your time and effort to your job, being
more productive, and increasing revenues. They look on family as
something that will distract you. They also don't have to provide
benefits to your family members, which also costs money. It's not legal to ask questions
about marital status during an interview. (HB)
+ Gallagher is a comedian who at the height of his popularity (late 1970's)
would appear on variety shows (The Muppet Show comes to mind).
One of the parts of his act was smashing fruit, usually watermelons,
with a sledgehammer. The audience would come with plastic sheeting or
rain gear in order to shield themselves. (BC)
+ "American Gladiators" is a game-show style television program in which
contestants put themselves through various physical events against the
program's own 'gladiators'. (BN)
- The cubicles in the office are patterned after the WBA cubicles (seen
previously in TTA's "Toons Take Over") right down to the coloring. (BC)
- When the crowd looks into Brain after his "accident", the man in the
upper right hand corner is WBA director/writer Audu Paden! (BC)
+ The counselor for the insurance company was a parody of actor Christopher
Walken. (RKM)
+ The judge is Judge Lance Ito, the judge of the now infamous O.J. Simpson
criminal trial. (BN)
+ Court TV is a cable television which covers various court cases, and
became extremely popular during the aforementioned O.J. Simpson trial.
- DYN - In the vending machine, Pinky is placed in front of "Ruegger Bars".
(Named after Senior Producer Tom Ruegger) Partially obscured to the left
of them appears to be a candy bar called Spumco. (Named after the people
who made the first season of Ren & Stimpy.) (BN, RO)
Episode: 3
"Tokyo Grows" --
- The title probably refers to Tokyo Rose, a Japanese propagandist during
World War II. She hosted a radio show that tried to demoralize Allied
troops. It was so poorly done, it had almost the opposite effect.
- There actually was never a Tokyo Rose. The name was an invention of U.S.
GI's serving in the Pacific. The name was attributed to any female voice
coming out of Tokyo. No one knows where it came from, but it was in use
by the end of 1942. The young girl who is attributed to Tokyo Rose
actually used a radio name of "Anne" or "Orphan Anne" (her real name
escapes me), and she was one of many young women to do broadcasts from
Tokyo. She had the rather bad misfortune to be a U.S. citizen, and was
convicted of being a traitor after the war, and stripped of her
citizenship (she was a natural born American). She was eventually
pardoned by Gerald Ford. (BEC)
- NIT: Error right off the bat. The graphic writes Tokyo incorrectly.
Firstly, it would be best written in kanji. Secondly, if it were to be
spelled out, it should read what gets romanized as 'Toukyou'. Instead,
on the screen it is written 'Toukiyou'. The difference is a more subtle
one than you might think. The symbols are all correct, but the 'yo'
symbol should be written smaller. (RO)
- "Acmeshita Labs": It was probably based on Matsushita, which might be
considered a real-life equivalent of Acme Corp. Matsushita, under one
brand or another, could probably match Acme gadget-for-gadget. (BM)
+ Having all the trouble start with a miniaturization ray is apt. In the
1950's and 60's, Japan was best known as an exporter of (usually cheap)
electronic gadgets that used transistors to make them smaller. "Japanese
transistor radio" was almost a redundancy. (MB)
- DYN - The kanji on Pinky & the Brain's water bottle? It isn't 'water',
it's "sake", a Japanese liquor made from fermented rice. (RO)
+ The footage of Raymond Burr ("Yes, I see.") parodies the original
Godzilla movie "Gojira" (released in 1954 in Japan) which when it was
released in America in 1956 as "Godzilla, King of the Monsters,"
contained spliced footage of Burr. (BN)
- NIT: Slight continuity error. `Sony' on a radio changes to `Fony' on
another shot. (RO)
+ Either way, it's a reference to electronics manufacturer Sony Corporation
which is headquartered in Tokyo. (LR, BN)
- Most of the characters on the signs and buildings are correct hiragana
and katakana characters, but the "words" are nonsensical. However,
there are a couple of funny exceptions. Two signs when Brain is
directing Pinky with the megaphone read "Oumi o taberu" which means eat
a flea. "Omi" again shows up on the fruit stand when "Brainodo" shows
up. Perhaps 'flea' == 'flee'? (BC, RO)
+ When the people flee from Pinkzilla, some of them are in baseball
uniforms. Baseball is enormously popular in Japan. In fact, it's the
only western sport to have a Japanese name: yakyuu. One of the biggest
baseball stars in Japan currently is nicknamed `Gojira' (Godzilla). (RO)
+ On Gollyzilla taking off his sandals before entering Tokyo: One
generally removes his or her shoes before entering the living area of a
Japanese house. (WN)
+ Now for a Japan specific ref. When Godzilla is chasing after Pinky &
Brain, one of the stores is named "Sogo". That is a name of an actual
department store in Japan. Minor nit: The department store is actually
based in Yokohama. (Just outside of Yokohama St. on the JR and Toyoko
lines) (BC)
"That Smarts" --
- DYN: Brain's robotic suit was on one of the log pages. (SP)
+ Gremlins are imaginary creatures that are blamed for causing machines to
fail. (ME)
+ Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin were a highly successful comedy duo of the
1940's and 50's, having starred in several films together. They split up
in 1956, with Jerry Lewis moving on to direct and star in his own films.
(ME, BN)
- NIT: The keypad on the machine when it is first shown has the numbers 1-13.
Later in the episode, it only has 1-12. (JR)
- DYN: The letters on the keys of Brain's machine read "PBWS". This could
possibly stand for "Pinky and the Brain, Warner Studios" (BN)
+ Jimmy Hoffa was the leader of the Teamsters Union who disappeared in 1975.
It is believed that he was kidnapped and later murdered, but his body has
never been found. (ME, BN)
+ If you look closely at Brain's romance novel you will notice the names
Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Both were writers, but the
significance of pairing them together here is that Toklas was Stein's
lover and companion; Stein's best-known book was 'The Autobiography of
Alice B. Toklas'. (RD)
"Brainstem" --
+ The tune is "Camptown Races" by Stephen Foster. (MB)
+ Brain's comment at the end of the song refers to the old blooper on those
Kermit Schaeffer "Pardon My Blooper" records which had the old time
children's radio host "Uncle Don" blurting out (when he thought the mic
was off), "That ought to hold the little b*stards!" (RF)
Episode: 4
"Pinky & The Fog" --
- NIT: Unfortunately, the episode is set a little too early in the
thirties. Quoting from "TUNE IN YESTERDAY" by John Dunning: "The Shadow
made its radio debut in August 1939 on the CBS Detective Story program."
However at that time, the Shadow was just the host of a mystery
anthology. (RN)
- DYN: The radio station where "The Mist" is being produced is WRLD,
making Brain just one letter away from taking over the world (MN)
- NIT: In elevators like the one where the Brain gets flattened, the
handle that moves back and forth controls the up and down movement of the
elevator, not the opening and closing of the doors. Also, there were no
buttons in the 1930's elevators. These types of elevators still exist in
many older buildings in New York City. (DTC)
- The music for The Mist was similar to the music for The Shadow. The
theme for the Shadow was an organ playing Camille Saint-Saens' Omphale's
Spinning Wheel. (RN)
+ The first radio actor is a caricature of Mel Blanc and the actor who
portrayed The Mist looked a bit like Orson Welles, although he looked
like a later Orson Welles than the 1937 Welles. (RN, DG)
- NIT: Orson Welles did not begin playing the Shadow until 1937. (RN)
"Where No Mouse Has Gone Before" --
+ The title of the segment refers, of course, to Star Trek's opening
soliloquy - "To boldly go where no man has gone before." (SC)
- The entire plot is very reminiscent of an episode of the Twilight Zone
entitled "Hocus, Pocus, and Frisby". In which according to the Twilight
Zone Episode Guide (http://www.twilight.com/twilight-zone.guide):
"the town windbag so impresses a visiting group of aliens (who are
masquerading as humans) with his tall tales that they attempt to take him
back to their planet for study as a prime Earth specimen". (SC)
+ The opening shot of Brain floating up to the light is straight out of
the beginning space sequence from the 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey"
complete with the Blue Danube Waltz. (BC)
+ "One day we will live in a world where a mouse rules, and it's the
humans who are forced into these humiliating diversions." "You mean
Orlando?" This is a reference to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Mickey Mouse is the mouse who rules, and the rides are the 'humiliating
diversions'. (Rizz)
- NIT: The seats Pinky and the Brain sit in on the centrifuge are mounted
in the wrong direction to generate the effect they show. The acceleration
they would experience with seats mounted facing perpendicular to the arm
would be towards the outside of the circle, yet they are shown as though
they are being accelerated in the direction they are facing. The
centrifuges NASA used on astronauts have the seats mounted to face back
along the arm; this would produce the effect we see. (JM)
+ The altered paintings are "The Mona Lisa" by Leonardo Da Vinci, "The Blue
Boy" by Thomas Gainsborough, a Warhol print featuring Mickey Mouse
(I forget the name), and of course the immortal dogs playing poker.
(BC, BN)
+ The opera portion parodies Richard Wagner's "Die Walkure", also known as
"Ride of the Valkyries." (BN)
+ Brain's rock 'n' roll bit is Little Richard, complete with his pompadour,
but he performs it closer to Pat Boone. The song BTW, is "Tutti
Fruitti" (BC)
+ There's quite a bit of Tchaikovsky in this episode -- When Pinky asks the
Brain about including ballet in the messages he is sending to the aliens,
a bit of Tchaikovsky's "THE NUTCRACKER" plays in the background. Then
when Pinky talks about the Japenese weeping at "GISELLE" a bit of
Tchaikovsky's "SWAN LAKE" plays in the background. Both "SWAN LAKE" and
"THE NUTCRACKER" are ballets written by Tchaikovsky. However the ballet
to which Pinky refers - "Giselle" - was written by Adolphe-Charles Adam.
Perhaps they didn't use music from this ballet because it isn't as well
known as the Tchaikovsky ballets. (RN)
+ Verner Von Brain = Wernher Von Braun, a German scientist who came to
America and had a civic center in Huntsville, AL named after him. He
was also heavily involved in the early space program and is famous as
the developer of the liquid-fuel rocket. (JH, BN)
+ Colonel Klink was a German character from the old "Hogan's Heroes" TV
show. (JH)
+ When Pinky makes his remark about practicing, the background music is
what is known as Kreutzer exercises, famous for tormenting hapless
violin students. I believe their purpose is to practice fingering.
+ This strain will be readily recognized by anyone familiar with Jack
Benny, as it was with this sequence that he habitually tortured his
violin teacher. (DG)
+ The "Philbin Space Probe" is a reference to daytime talk show host Regis
Philbin of "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee". Regis seems to be a popular
target of the Pinky and the Brain writers. (BN)
- Fronobulax was the planet that the giant poodle in the Frank Zappa song
"Cheapnis" was from. (MAM)
- The ending was very similar to the ending of another Twilight Zone episode
entitled "People Are The Same All Over." In which Roddy McDowall and some
others take off from Earth and land on an alien planet, where they are put
in a zoo. (RN)
"Cheese Roll Call" --
+ The music is the first two-thirds or so of "Semper Fidelis", which Sousa
wrote in 1888 while he was music director of the US Marine Corps Band at
the suggestion of President Chester A. Arthur. Arthur had asked Sousa
what he thought of "Hail To the Chief", and suggested he write something
else when Sousa replied that he didn't think a lot of it. "Semper
Fidelis" was one of two compositions Sousa produced in response; the
other was "Presidential Polonaise". "Semper Fidelis" was subsequently
adopted as the official march of the USMC. (JM)
Episode: 5
"Brainania" --
+ "Fatty Lumpkin" was the name of Tom Bombadil's pony in J.R. Tolkien's
novel "Fellowship of the Ring". (JeffD)
- The ending of this episode seemed rather unusual. There's a setup that
ends up being ignored. Brain gives the satchel to Pinky, warning him:
"It's leather, so don't get it wet." It gets wet at the end, but there's
no comment about the consequences. Instead, the cheque is perfectly fine,
but Brain tears it up after Pinky makes a paper crane out of it. Why was
this setup ignored? Only the writers would know for sure... (RO)
Episode: 6
"TV or not TV" --
+ The title of the episode is from the famous soliloquy from Shakespeare's
"Hamlet". ("To be or not to be...") (BN)
+ The episode opens with Brain ripping the smile from a magazine photo
of supermodel Cindy Crawford - note the distinctive mole. (BN)
+ The bit about "Clutch Cargo" and "what do they call a Quarter Pounder
in France" are both references to the 1995 film "Pulp Fiction", which
starred John Travolta (pictured in the cutout that Pinky is holding.)
+ "Clutch Cargo" was a 1950's low-budget cartoon where the lip movements
were provided by real human mouths, superimposed on the drawings
through something called "Synchro Vox". With the end result looking
similar to what Pinky was doing with the John Travolta picture. (ME)
+ Pinky's favorite show, "Mr. Belevdere" played on ABC in the mid-1980's.
It stared Bob Uecker, and was about a English butler that stayed with a
rather crass family in Pittsburgh. (It was based on a rather funny
character played by Clifton Webb in several '40s movies.) (BC, JJW)
+ Pinky and the Brain on the motorcycle is a takeoff on the 1969 film "Easy
Rider". The background music even sounded like a variation on "Born to
Be Wild". (RD)
- Brain's alias Jamal Spelling is probably a reference to television
producer Aaron Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, The
Love Boat). (BN)
- Pinky's alias, Jonathan Michael Charles, is most likely a reference to
teen idol Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Note the three first names in both
names. (Jackie)
+ Note the Yawni poster behind the secretary's desk. Yanni is a "new
age" composer and musician. (BN, BC)
+ Jerry Kilmer == Jamie Kellner, head of The WB Television Network. (BN)
+ The show idea that Pinky and the Brain give to Mr. Kilmer sounds
exactly like a description of the NBC sitcom "Friends" (although the
monkey is no longer a part of the show). (BN)
- Everyone was complaining that all the new sitcoms introduced the season
in which this episode aired were clones of "Friends". (RN)
- A minor nit - The way to get a sitcom is not to get on the cover of
"People" Magazine. It's true that people with brilliant ideas are
turned down, but it's usually because they don't have a track record of
working on staff on other shows. You start out as a writer, then you
get a staff position, then you get to create your own shows. It's not
usually the performers who pitch, except for some writer/performers,
such as Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, Roseanne, etc. (RN)
+ "Peeple" == "People," a weekly magazine that has featured a cover story
on Princess Diana an inordinate number of times (over 40 to date), hence
Brain's plan "B" on how to get on the cover of the magazine. (Jackie)
+ In The Brain's book on comedy you see Henny Youngman's famous line:
"Take my wife - please!" (BC)
+ The man with the monocle who introduces Brain at the comedy club is Bud
Freidman, owner of the Improv chain of comedy clubs. (RD, RG)
+ "Did you ever notice..." is a lead-in line inextricably associated with
Jerry Seinfeld. (JJW)
+ Star Hunt == Star Search, hosted by Ed McMahon who is caricatured here,
is a program on which amateur singers, comedians, and otherwise
talented people compete to win prizes. I believe several now famous
celebrities were "discovered" from their Star Search appearances.
+ "G!" == "E!", a cable television station about the entertainment industry.
+ "Howie Tern" == Howard Stern, a radio talk show host who has his own
show on "E!" (Jackie)
+ Brain makes an appearance on "Late Night with David Letterman." The two
men, Dave and Paul, are references to David Letterman and Paul Shaffer.
+ Paul's "Yamahamer" keyboard: possibly a combination of Yamaha and Jan
Hammer, the synthesizer artist who did the "Miami Vice" theme. (BC)
+ We certainly do hope Bob Saget gets trampled by a bear. As the star
of "Full House" and "America's Funniest Home Videos" he has helped to
rot many millions of minds. (JJW)
- DYN: Also on the cover of "Peeple [sic] Magazine": "Pauly Shore,
enough already!" Pauly Shore is an highly untalented actor who starred in
such bombs as "Encino Man", "Son-in-Law" and "Bio-Dome". (JJW, JK)
+ The "show about nothing" description given by Pinky is one commonly
attributed to NBC's hit sitcom "Seinfeld". (RD, BN)
Episode: 7
"Napoleon Brainaparte" --
- DYN: One of the student chefs was seen before in the incomprehensible
foreign film that Dr. Scrachansniff took his date to see in the
Animaniacs short "Drive-Insane". (Episode #53) (WY)
+ The glass pyramid in front of the Louvre was built in 1989 by architect
I.M. Pei, amid some controversy. (JM, BN)
+ London Bridge is in fact located in America. Lake Havasu City, Arizona
to be specific. (JM)
+ "...we are the world!" "Are we the children?": refers to the 1985 song
"We Are the World", written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie which
was performed by over 40 pop musicians, with all profits going to help
fight world hunger. (BN)
+ On the use of Marlon Brando for Napoleon in this episode. Brando
actually played Napoleon in the 1954 Twentieth Century Fox film entitled
"Desiree" (Desiree was the name of one of Napoleon's mistresses). (RN)
+ The Napoleonic Code was the set of laws developed after the French
Revolution as a protest against the diversity of laws governing France
before the revolution. It was a combination of the Germanic law of
northern France and the Roman law of southern and eastern France. Noted
for its clearness and simplicity, the Napoleonic Code remains as the basis
of law for many areas today, including the state law of Louisiana in the
United States. (BN)
+ There is also a reference to Brando's performance in the 1951 film
"Streetcar Named Desire" when Napoleon/Brando screams "Josephine"
(as Brando screamed "Stella" in "Streetcar"). (HMH)
Episode: 8
"Snowball" --
+ The Piggly Wiggly is a funnily-named supermarket chain. (LR)
- DYN: The child's drink bottles contain Alar and DDT (pesticides),
Canal No. 5 (a reference to Chanel No. 5 perfume), and Snipple
(refers to Snapple soft drinks). (JM)
+ "A mouse and a hamster barely alive...they said they could make us
better...faster...smarter." refers to the opening of "The Six Million
Dollar Man". (JM)
+ The cast of the NBC drama "ER" can be seen operating on Brain and Snowball.
+ "Wink Martindale day, except in Arizona" is a jab at that state's
reluctance to adopt a Martin Luther King holiday. (JM)
+ Wink Martindale, by the way, is by far the cheesiest game show host
ever, hosting such classics as "Tic Tac Dough" and "Joker's Wild".
- DYN: Books in the lab: Quantum Hydraulics from Paden Press (director
Audu Paden), something from Rm Publishers (producer Rusty Mills),
something ending in -tics, and Hasting's (sic) Theorems (producer Peter
Hastings). (JM, BN)
+ Microsponge == Microsoft, a Seattle based computer company which many
people feel is trying to take over the world. Bill Grates == Bill Gates,
the founder and CEO of Microsoft. He is also one of the wealthiest people
in the world. (BN)
- "Snowball for Windows": May be a reference to the SNOBOL programming
language, which was developed at Bell Telephone Labs in 1962.(*)
I don't know if it's still in use anywhere, but proposing a Windows
version of it is just the sort of thing Pinky would do.
{* From the forward of "The SNOBOL4 Programming Language," R.E.Griswold,
J.F.Poage, I.P.Polonsky, copyright Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc.
1971, 1968. 13-815373-6 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number:
70-131996} (MH)
+ The scene where the camera starts on the "No Trespassing" sign, and
pans up a mountain to a lonely mansion with a single lit window, then
fades to an extreme close-up on Pinky's face as he says "Brain..." and
drops the snow globe is a direct pull from the opening scene of the 1941
film classic "Citizen Kane". (Kane says "Rosebud...", of course.) (SC)
+ In order to fully appreciate and understand the final scene with the
sudden cut from Mt. Rushmore to Acme Labs you had to have seen the 1959
film "North By Northwest". Near the end of the film, Eva Marie Saint is
trying (with great difficulty) to pull Cary Grant up from his precarious
hanging position on the face of Mount Rushmore. As he's pulled up,
there's a *really confusing* jump-cut to him pulling her up onto the
train; in the space of that 1/24th of a second, she's pulled him up,
they've gotten *married*, and one can only assume that all evil has been
resolved and all goodness has been rewarded, and they're going to live
happily ever after. Same here. (SC)
- DYN: Acme Labs is located in New York City according to this episode. The
envelope Brain receives at the end with the stamp money is addressed to
Mr. Brain, Acme Labs, NY NY 10005. (By the way, to be even more specific,
this zip code is around the Wall Street area of New York City.) (BN)
Episode: 9
"A Pinky and the Brain Christmas" --
+ The airplane is a Cessna 182 on skis, more or less; it's normally a
tricycle gear aircraft and this one's a taildragger, but taildragger
conversions for the 182 do exist, and are primarily used in places like
Alaska. (JM)
- The effects of opening an airplane's door in flight are pretty accurately
portrayed as well: everything gets sucked out in a hurry. (JM)
+ "...although I consider myself a Jungian." refers to the two great schools
of psychology, the other being Freudian. Karl Jung was one of Freud's
early disciples, who later broke with him. (JM, RN)
+ "...joining the Donner party" refers to an ill-fated expedition to
California in the mid 1800s. 87 people were snowbound in a mountain pass
and they ending up resorting to cannibalism. 47 people eventually made it
out alive with the assistance of rescue parties. The pass is now named
after them. (True story: One of the survivors opened a restaurant.)
(JM, Ary, BN, SC)
- DYN: The security alarm played the first line of "Jingle Bells"? (JH)
- The Noodle Noggin toy reminded me of something out of "Nightmare Before
Christmas". (JH)
+ Pinky's comment about wanting to be a dentist: the Rankin/Bass production
of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", featured an elf that befriended
Rudolph; the elf was an outcast because he wanted to be a dentist. (SC)
+ On the wall in Santa's office is a portrait of the Abominable Snowman from
"Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer". (BM)
- DYN: When Pinky is impersonating a reindeer, the antler he is wearing
looks a lot like the one Max wore in the Grinch's Christmas. (RD)
+ The scene in the toy factory is from the 1992 Robin Williams movie "Toys".
- Herschel the Hannukah Goblin is a real character from a book whose title I
don't know. (LBL)
- NIT: When the mice shatter The Brain's broadcasting machine on their
landing to Acme Labs through the roof, the colors on the box/lever Pinky
was supposed to push ("when it turns red...") are reversed from what they
are in the next scene. (i.e., the red area is to the left and the
green-yellow area's on the right.) (HG)
- DYN: In the White House Christmas scene, Socks the Clinton's cat has a
Newt Gingrich scratching post. The joke being that Clinton is a Democrat
and Gingrich is a Republican, and they haven't exactly gotten along well
together. (HG)
Episode: 10
"Around the World In Eighty Narfs" --
+ This episode is based largely on the 1956 movie "Around the World in 80
Days" which in turn is based on the Jules Verne book of the same title.
+ The year in which this episode supposedly takes place (1872) is the year
in which the Jules Verne book was first published. (BN)
+ The person that posed the challenge is based upon David Niven's character
in the film: Phileas Fogg. (BC, FB)
+ Benjamin Disraeli *did* become the PM of England in the late 19th century
(1868 & 1874-1880). (BC)
+ Sir Sidney = Sidney Greenstreet, with his "by gad, sir" catchphrase from
"The Maltese Falcon" (1941). (JJW)
+ Pinky and the Brain begin their journey in a hot-air balloon, just as
Niven and Cantinflas did in the movie. The music for this sequence parodies
Victor Young's famous "Around the World" theme for the film. (JJW)
+ The music played during the Western chase sequence is a parody of Elmer
Bernstein's theme music from the movie "The Magnificent Seven". (JJW)
+ "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show" was the most famous of the traveling
Western-themed circuses that basically acted out Cowboys-and-Indians
stories for a paying audience, thus paving the way for innumerable
Hollywood versions of the same legends. (JJW)
Episode: 11
"Fly" --
+ The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is located in Washington,
D.C. (BN)
- NIT: Brain mentions that all of the "Ziggy" jet fighters were sold to
Iceland in 1958. Yet when we see the European scientists flying the
"Ziggy", it has a Norwegian flag on the side of it, not an Icelandic flag.
The difference is minor, both flags look similar, but the colors are
reversed. (i.e. the red area of the Norwegian flag is blue on the
Icelandic flag.) (BN)
- The nerdy guy in mission control with the accent resembles the scientist
from India, Ben (played by Fisher Stevens) from the "Short Circut" movies
(1986, 1988). (AJC)
Episode: 12
"Ambulatory Abe" --
+ Freakazoid! is another WB animated series, and is in fact set in
Washington, D.C. as Pinky points out. (BN)
+ Edgar Bergen was a famous ventriloquist, who created several dummies, of
which Charlie McCarthy was probably his most famous.
(See Episode 23 - "Brinky" for further information.) (BN)
- Actually, it is NOT true that no one today knows what Abraham Lincoln's
speaking voice sounded like. Although there are no recordings (of course)
there are contemporary descriptions. According to several descriptions
from people who heard his voice, it was rather high pitched -- nothing at
all like Tony Danza's voice. (RN)
+ The little boy having his grandfather read the Lincoln Memorial
inscription is a direct cinematic reference to Frank Capra's "Mr. Smith
Goes to Washington" (1939), and was so listed in the published script.
- NIT - The inscription behind the Lincoln statue reads: "In this temple,
as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory
of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever." It is not, as the child reads,
the Gettysburg Address. The Gettysburg Address is found in the south
chamber of the memorial. (BN)
- What the heck is that black thing peeking out in the lower right hand
corner when the tourist asks the statue who his vice president was?
Is it Yakko after playing in a coal mine? (RO)
+ Tony Danza is an actor most famous for his roles in the late 1970-80
sitcoms "Taxi" and "Who's the Boss?". (BN)
- What is it with race cars in these cartoons that they have to look like
1971 Indycars? (RO)
+ Brain's comment, while hosting the Academy Awards, about one-armed
push-ups, refers to the feat performed by Jack Palance at the 1991
Academy Awards ceremony. (BN)
+ The character introducing the 135-year old man is a caricature of Today
show weatherman Willard Scott, noted for giving on-air birthday wishes
to those over 100 years old. (BN)
+ Louis Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo, is considered to be one of the most
influential figures in jazz history as a trumpet player and vocalist.
His voice is famous for being gravely. (BN, RO)
"Mouse of La Mancha" --
+ The title is based upon the 1966 Broadway musical "Man of La Mancha",
which was based on the Miguel de Cervantes novel "The History of Don
Quixote de la Mancha" or better known as simply "Don Quixote". (BN)
- NIT - The punning doorman mentions that "It must be winter, the knights
(nights) are getting shorter". But, in the winter, the nights get
longer, not shorter. (BN)
+ "Why would Sophia Loren do a musical?" refers to her role as Aldonza in
the 1972 film version of "Man of La Mancha", which was a box office
failure. (BN)
+ The punning gatekeeper tells Brain "don't work blue". "Blue" was a
term derived from the blue lighting that was used in certain female
dance acts. It definitely goes back a ways -- perhaps well back into
the 19th century. So the shows became known as "blue shows" and of
course as always the term took on a life of its own, and when motion
pictures came around, it was adapted for "blue movies" and so on, and
then got bent around to being used just to describe naughty language,
rather than actual naughty acts. In this case, the phrase means don't
use dirty words and sexual or scatological humor in your standup routine.
(RD, RO)
+ The phrase "don't work blue" was what Milton Berle says to Lenny Bruce
in the 1974 film "Lenny". (GJB)
+ The scenes shown during the final song are scenes from the following
episodes (NOTE - The animation is not the same as in the original
sequences): (RO, BC)
. A set of plans from `Where Rodents Dare'.
. The plans for pretending to be Jimmy Hoffa from `That Smarts'.
. Running into the time machine from `When Mice Ruled the Earth'.
. Leaving the lab in his mechanical suit from `Win Big'.
. Pinky running on the globe from `Jockey For Position'.
. Infiltrating the summit from `Where Rodents Dare'.
. Changing into a monster from `Brain Meets Brawn'.
. Confronting the guard from `Where No Mouse Has Gone Before'.
. Climbing the mountain from `Where Rodents Dare'.
. Getting tomatoed from `Meet John Brain'.
. Sitting on his throne from `Where No Mouse Has Gone Before'.
. Writing on a piece of paper with a makeshift crossbow behind him,
from 'Win Big'.
+ "What are we going to do tomorrow night, Brain? Brigadoon?": BRIGADOON
is a 1947 musical by Lerner & Loewe. Apparently Pinky has developed a
taste for classic Broadway. (JJW)
Episode: 13
"The Third Mouse" --
+ The title and various plot elements (including the zither music) are
taken from the 1949 film "The Third Man". (BN)
+ It should also be noted that, aside from the plot, many of the characters
are also brought over from the original movie, including the British army
officer and his sidekick, the two slightly sinister ci-devant aristocrats,
the elderly Vienna native who is done in, the Mysterious Woman, Pinky's
riff on Joe Cotten's role, and, naturally, Moe LaMarche having great fun
as Harry Lime/Orson Welles. Note the fact that, like the original, the
cartoon was rendered in black and white. (The credits sequence is also
very well done and a faithful spoof of the original.) (EOC)
+ Rueggerstrasse - named after Senior Producer Tom Ruegger. (BN)
- The hotel clerk's speech, where he tries to explain that Herr Brain is
dead, may refer to the Monty Python "Dead Parrot" sketch, which contains
a similar string of synonyms for "dead." (JJW)
- When Trudy asked Pinky "Why? What do you know?", he said "the lyrics to
Yakko's World", a reference to Rob Paulsen (voice of Pinky) also voicing
Yakko on Animaniacs. (JO)
+ Note the wacky camera angle when the Major says "will you come with me,
please?" just before the end of act 1. In "The Third Man", director
Carol Reed set up many shots where he tilted the camera to increase the
sinister atmosphere. (JJW)
- Pinky's girlfriend Phar FigNewton seen again in photograph.
(See "Jockey for Position") (BN)
+ The waving Dot is of course Dot Warner from Animaniacs.
+ Brain's speech about Switzerland and Italy parodies Welles' famous speech
from the film, where he points out that Italy, with centuries of murder
and bloodshed, produced great Renaissance art, while Switzerland, with
centuries of brotherly love, produced only the cuckoo clock. (JJW)
+ "Heidi" is the classic children's story by Johanna Spryi. The story has
been adapted several times for movies and television. (ME)
"The Visit" --
+ Young kids (kindergartners, etc...) are given 'time-outs' as punishment.
Basically they have to sit in a corner for a pre-set amount of time. (DN)
+ Strictly speaking, a time-out is not a punishment. It's meant as a
recognition that kids sometimes get excited and do things in the heat
of the moment that they wouldn't do on calm reflection, and provides
time for that to happen without allowing the situation to escalate
meanwhile. To say "Do you want a time-out?" in the tone used by
Brain's dad is a distortion of the concept. (BHar)
- Another distortion of concept is found in the line "Don't make me
separate you." A term usually used on two (or more) bickering siblings
which sounds like an overly painful punishment when directed towards a
single person. (BN)
- The "time-out" gag seems to be popular at WB; it was also used in "The
Island of Dr. Mystico" in Freakazoid! (EOC)
+ Al Gore is the 45th vice president of the United States (BN)
- Great opportunity missed: Brain should of referred to his mother as
Desiree. (From "Pavlov's Mice") (BC)
+ Broderick Crawford, referred to by Brain's Dad, was an actor noted for
playing gangsters and villainous cowboys in several B films, and an
Oscar winning performance in the 1949 film "All the King's Men". (BN)
+ Wolfgang Puck owns many restaurants but most notably the hip-and-trendy
Spago in Los Angeles. (ME)
+ The courier service used to ship Brain's folks to Florida, "Fed Up" is
of course a parody of "Fed Ex," the popular nickname for Federal Express,
a leading courier service. (EOC)
The Pinky and the Brain characters and names are trademarks and (C) 1993, 1994
by Warner Bros., Inc. This document is neither endorsed nor approved by Warner
Bros., Inc.
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Lines denoted by '*' represent reprinted information from the Cultural
Reference Guide for Animaniacs (CRGA) (C) 1993, 1994 by Will B. Bell,
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