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13 Fun Facts About Pinky and the Brain

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Compared to ruling the entire world, it isn’t much. But after first starring in a recurring one-act segment on the classic Animaniacs, the two genetically enhanced mice known as Pinky and the Brain earned a promotion and got their own series in 1995. Here are 13 things you might not have known about Pinky and the Brain, which premiered over 20 years ago.

1. PINKY AND THE BRAIN WERE INSPIRED BY TWO ANIMANIACS PRODUCERS.

Animator and Tiny Toon Adventures writer Eddie Fitzgerald was prone to saying “egad,” “narf,” and “poit” a lot (although it’s usually noted that his “narf” sounded more like “nerf”). The Brain resembled a caricature of Animaniacs writer/producer Tom Minton.

2. PINKY WAS A TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE.

Rob Paulsen (Pinky) was the voice of Raphael during the original animated run of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Yakko on Animaniacs. Before playing the Brain, Maurice LaMarche was Chief Quimby on Inspector Gadget, Henry Mitchell and George Wilson on Dennis the Menace, and Destro on G.I. Joe.

3. PAULSEN AND LAMARCHE FIRST MET ON ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES.

LaMarche played Zoltan and Tomato Guy on the short-lived cartoon based on the cult movie (which he had never seen). Paulsen voiced Mummato and Tomato Worm.

4. PINKY HAD A BRITISH ACCENT BECAUSE OF MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS.

Paulsen was a big Monty Python fan and correctly figured that Pinky and the Brain's producers—including executive producer Steven Spielberg—might like “that English thing” for the character.

5. THE BRAIN IS 70 PERCENT ORSON WELLES.

LaMarche told The A.V. Club that his voice for "The Brain is 70 percent Welles, 20 percent Vincent Price, and I don’t know, there’s another 10 percent of something else in there ... Some people think it’s Peter Lorre."

6. THE ANIMANIACS SEGMENT "YES, ALWAYS" WAS BASED ON WELLES’ INFAMOUS FROZEN PEAS COMMERCIAL.

Sometime in the 1980s, LaMarche was first given a tape of the recording of Welles arguing with a recording engineer as a reward for missing a fun New Year's Eve party in order to finish a long day of voice work. The actor listened to it constantly, gradually memorizing it and reciting Welles’ rants as part of his vocal warm-ups.

7. FAMILY GUY'S LOIS GRIFFIN WAS A STAFF WRITER.

Alex Borstein was still working in advertising when she began writing for Pinky and the Brain. It was while she was writing for the show that she also managed to audition with MADtv and become a part of the sketch show’s original cast.

8. THE SHOW HAD SOME MAJOR GUEST STARS.

Eric Idle, Dick Clark, Ed McMahon, Mark Hamill, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Garry Marshall, Steve Allen, and Michael McKean all lent their voices to the series.

9. EACH EPISODE WAS SCORED TO A 30-PIECE ORCHESTRA.

As was the case with all 1990s Warner Bros. cartoons. The theme song’s lyrics were written by show creator Tom Ruegger, and the music was written by Richard Stone, considered the modern-day successor of Carl Stalling, who composed the scores for Warner's shorts for more than 20 years. In 2001, at the age of 47, Stone passed away from pancreatic cancer.

10. IT ORIGINALLY AIRED OPPOSITE 60 MINUTES AND SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL.

In its primetime debut on the fledgling WB Network on September 10, 1995, Pinky’s ratings (1.3) were more than nine times smaller than that of 60 Minutes’s (11.8).

11. "BRAIN" IS ACTUALLY AN ACRONYM.

It was revealed in the episode “Project B.R.A.I.N.” that the two mice are a result of a gene-splicing program called B.R.A.I.N., or “Biological Recombinant Algorithmic Intelligence Nexus.”

12. IT WAS (UNSUCCESSFULLY) RE-TOOLED AS PINKY, ELMYRA & THE BRAIN.

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In 1998, the WB's new network executives wanted the show to become more of an ensemble program, like The Simpsons. Tentatively titled Steven Spielberg Presents the Further Adventures of Pinky & The Brain, the two mice were adopted by Elmyra Duff from Tiny Toon Adventures. It lasted for just 13 episodes.

13. IT WON AN AWARD FOR ITS ANTI-SMOKING MESSAGE.

For the episode “Inherit the Wheeze,” Brain suffers the side effects of smoking after acting as a lab rat for a tobacco company. The Entertainment Industries Council presented the show with a PRISM Award for its accurate depiction of the dangers of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use.

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The Beatles’s Yellow Submarine Is Returning to Theaters for Its 50th Anniversary
MGM Home Entertainment
MGM Home Entertainment

The Beatles are coming! The Beatles are coming!

In early 1968, at the height of Beatlemania, The Fab Four lent their voices—and visages—to Yellow Submarine, a somewhat strange and slightly surreal animated film, purportedly for children, which saw the band travel to Pepperland aboard the titular watercraft in order to save the land from the music-hating Blue Meanies. (Hey, we said it was strange.)

Though it would be another year before the film’s iconic soundtrack was released, 2018 marks the film’s 50th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, Pitchfork reports that the psychedelic cartoon will be making its way back into theaters in July with a brand-new 4K digital restoration and a surround sound remix, to have it looking—and sounding—pristine.

To find out where it will be screening near you, visit the film’s website, where you can sign up for updates.

[h/t: Pitchfork]

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science
Stephen Hawking's Big Ideas, Made Simple
DESIREE MARTIN, AFP/Getty Images
DESIREE MARTIN, AFP/Getty Images

On March 14, 2018, visionary physicist Stephen Hawking passed away at the age of 76. You know his name, and may have even watched a biopic or two about him. But if you've ever wondered what specifically Hawking's big contributions to science were, and you have two and a half minutes to spare, the animation below is for you. It's brief, easy to understand, and gets to the point with nice narration by Alok Jha. So here, in a very brief and simple way, are some of Stephen Hawking's big ideas:

If you have more than a few minutes, we heartily recommend Hawking's classic book A Brief History of Time. It's easy to read, and it's truly brief.

[h/t: Open Culture]

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