citizen brain

What would a maverick film director and a lab mouse bent on world domination have in common?

For those who love to overanalyze everything, I plan to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that "The Brain" (Of Pinky and The Brain) is actually a rather strange parody of Orson Welles. Most P&tB fans know this already, but I have felt compelled for some reason to put all of the references and some other related stuff together on one page where you, the surfer (and perhaps P&tB fan.) can decide for yourself. I know what you are thinking: you probably think that it's pretty sad that I have actually thought about this long enough to devote a whole page to it, and you're right!

Disclaimer!!! This is not "official." Its just my own observations, as well as those of other P&tB fans. In fact, Brain claims to have never heard of Orson Welles. They even introduce themselves to each other in one episode.(See the chat transcipt links below.) This page has nothing to do with The WB Network or anything else. 

For those who don't know, Orson Welles (1915-85) was a a director, producer, writer, actor, and all around genius. He worked in theatre and radio, where was responsible for the famous "War Of The Worlds" panic broadcast in 1938. He also made movies like Citizen Kane, (Considered by some to be the greatest movie ever made.) The Magnificent Ambersons, The Lady From Shanghai, and Touch Of Evil. (To name just a few) Find out more at: Voyager's Welles Page or the Internet Movie Database And check out the link below.

I have collected this information from many sources, as well as my own observations. Cites are listed in ( ). Most of this information denoted by "(BRAIN)" is from Brian Norman's (BRAIN)(Bunches of References Accumulated In a Nutshell) THE cultural reference guide to Pinky and The Brain.
A list of helpful links for both Animaniacs and Pinky and the brain can be found at: S.P.O.T. (Super Plethora of Texts)

1. The Face. Brain in The Third Mouse

It's a well known fact among P&tB fans that Brain resembles an older Welles. They also share very similar facial expressions. (BRAIN) Watch one of Welles' movies and see for yourself.

2. The Voice.

Maurice LaMarche is the voice actor who gives Brain his distinctive voice. LaMarche has actually done several impressions of Welles. One was in the film "Ed Wood" (Dubbed over the voice of the actor Vincent D'Onofrio, who played Welles.) and The television show "The Critic."(BRAIN)

A very wise person (other than me),  had this to day about Brain's voice:

"I just want to comment that I noticed the voice Maurice LaMarche uses for the Brain doesn't sound exactly like Orson Welles. I once watched the movie "Arsenic and Old Lace", and the character actor Raymond Massey sounded a lot like Brain. I also recall a radio interview of Mr. LaMarche where the announcer indicated that he thought the development of the Brain voice included some other actor besides Welles - and LaMarche agreed to some extent. The actor mentioned might have been Raymond Massey."

3. The References.

It is not only the apparance and the voice of Brain that is an obvious parody. Here is a list of episodes of P&tB that contain references to Welles.

"Pinky and The Fog" Ep# In this episode, Brain tries to take over the world by "Fogging men's minds." He becomes "The Fog" and tries to take over a radio program called "The Mist." This is an obvious parody of "The Shadow" a radio series that Welles starred in in 1937-38. (BRAIN) In fact, a photograph of Welles as The Shadow and this still from the "Pinky and the Fog" are surprisingly similar:

Welles as the Shadow The Fog

"The Third Mouse"Ep# 13. The title says it all. This black and white ep was based on the 1949 Carole Reed film called The Third Man. The film starred Joseph Cotten, and Orson Welles, as the mysterious Harry Lime. Pinky is in the Cotten role and Brain is in the Welles role. This is what Brian Norman (The current keeper of the BRAIN Bunches of References Accumulated In a Nutshell (a.k.a - BRAIN) for Pinky and the Brain says:)

The title and various plot elements (including the zither music) are taken from the 1949 film "The Third Man". 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.)

"Snowball"ep#? In a twist, the Welles references are less connected to the Brain himself. In this episode There is a scene of a "No Tresspassing" sign and a house seen through a fence. Then we see Pinky in a bed. He whispers "Br-a-in" as he drops a snowglobe with ACME Labs inside. This is almost exactly like the beginning of the movie Citizen Kane, when he utters the infamous word: "Rosebud."
Also, (Please don't read anything weird into this!) Pinky is very much like Kane's mistress in the movie, whereas Snowball is actually the Kane figure. He builds an amusement park for Pinky, as Kane built an opera house for his mistress (Later, his second wife). Pinky sits at Snowball's feet putting a simple children's puzzle together. (The kind with shaped blocks that fit into holes of the same shape. ) In the movie, Kane's second wife spends a great deal of time putting jigsaw puzzles together.

"Yes, Always"Ep# 8A. According to the BRAIN, the dialogue for this episode was based on commercial outtakes done by Welles.

" Brain's dialogue is 99% word-for-word from a series of outtakes of Orson Welles doing some really low-grade commercials. Only words like "sh*t" were changed to "cheese" for obvious reasons. It's hilarious to listen to, especially to hear Orson intone "show me a way to say that and I'll go down on you." Of course you're kind of missing half the joke if you haven't heard the tape. (AS)"

When he talks about getting someone to do impressions, this may be a reference to LaMarche's impression of Welles. (BRAIN)It has also been said that LaMarche got started doing his Welles impressions after hearing this.

If you have Real Audio 3.0 or higher you can, listen to the outtakes!

"The Battle For The Planet"Ep# 15. Pinky and the Brain interrupt the regularly scheduled program to report that Martians have landed. Rather than causing mass panic, it causes mass fits of laughter. This is obviously a reference to Welles' "The War of the Worlds." broadcast in October of 1938. (BRAIN) Brain actually mentions War of The Worlds to Pinky. Including the fact that it was a Mercury Theatre production, although he never mentions Welles by name.

"Brain Noir"This ep is a parody of the film genre known as Film Noir. There many indirect references to many famous Noir films, including Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, and Chinatown. Near the end, Billie the mouse, says: "He was some kind of a mouse." This is almost identical to Marlene Dietrich's line: "He was some kind of a man" in the 1958 Welles film Touch of Evil. This line referred to Welles character, Hank Quinlan. However, in the cartoon, Billy is actually speaking of Pinky (Whom she fell in love with in another ep), not the Brain.

"Hoop Schemes" Ep #24 In this ep there is a "reference to Peter Bogdanovich, who planned a couple of unrealized projects with Welles, and interviewed Orson for his book titled: This is Orson Welles. He also does an intro, on behalf of Welles, for the short film Return to Glennascaul (ED)

In "The Mouse of La Mancha," Brain re-tells the story of Don Quixote. What was the movie Welles was trying to make for years before he died? Don Quixote. (ED)

4. This Might Be Reaching....

Possible inspiration: When Welles married Rita Hayworth in September of 1943, they were jokingly known as "The Beauty and The Brain"

"Puppet Rulers" In this ep (#7A), Pinky and the Brain start a childrens' TV show. On the first show Brain says "I am the Iconoclast." and is promptly renamed "Noddle Noggin" for obvious reasons. Welles is often refered to as an iconoclast as well, for his maverick approach at making films.

"BRINKY" (#23) There is a Charlie McCarthy reference in this ep. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that Charlie McCarthy's radio show was the Mercury Theatre's main competitor. (ED) It may also be a ref to Joe McCarthy who started a communist witch hunt that lead to the blacklisting of many famous people. This `might' relate to a tidbit I saw in one of the Chronicle of the Century books which had Welles as one of a list of people who were suspected of being commnists (Along with Frank Sinatra and Pearl Buck!) However, I don't know if this was related to McCarthy, but it's after the FBI supposedly closed its file on Welles. (The whole Kane-Hearst fiasco lead to his investigation after Hearst accused him of being a communist.)

The continuing references to Desi-Lu Productions and Desi Arnaz. RKO was taken over by Desi-Lu. They're pretty smart cookies those P&tB writers... (ED)

Cites/contributors: (ED) "Orsongirl" Eve Dutton

T.R's Omnibus (Includes Pinky and The Brain and Orson Welles links) Join

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