Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's Time For Animaniacs...Merchandise!

The above photo is from the 2000 San Diego Comic-Con of me with Maurice LaMarche, voice of The Brain from Animaniacs and its spinoff series Pinky & The Brain. I didn't plan to wear that specific T-shirt for this photo-op that day, but it was certainly appropriate. I have a closetful of of T-Shirts like this one, and a garageful of related merchandise.

I've been told by fellow collectors of Animaniacs/Pinky & The Brain memorabilia that my collection is possibly one of the largest in the world.* It's a stunning thought, but not something I brag about, nor was that ever a personal goal. It's simply a hobby I love about a show I love, and I've spent a lot of money showing my love for it. In fact, before I got married in 2005 most of my disposable income went towards cartoon memorabilia.

In hindsight, maybe I should have invested in important things like a college education, future career and food, but I digress. Also, it's too late for regret -- I must pay the penalty for having OCD. I'm not kidding -- remember in the movie Conspiracy Theory where Mel Gibson says he doesn't "feel normal" if he doesn't buy a copy of Catcher in the Rye every time he sees one? And he had hundreds of copies of the same book? I used to be like that with A!/P&TB memorabilia.

...okay, maybe my buying habit wasn't that bad, but it was eerily similar.

Anyway, so I've got a lot of stuff. So much stuff in fact that I enjoy it by storing it in boxes in the garage. Except for a selection of my favorite items (like my Pinky and The Brain resin statues, which my wife refers to as "giant rats"), the rest is packed away.

And my friends on The Warner Bros Club at have probably given up on my promises to launch an image archive site of my collection. It was a project I started back in 2000 -- photographed hundreds of items and uploaded them to my PC, and logged something like 50 pages of inventory and detailed notes in multiple MS Word docs. In 2001, I took a job touring with a music group and forgot all about the photos and Word docs, and unfortunately lost them all in The Great PC Crash of 2004.

In 2007, I again began the task of logging inventory and photographing my collection, only to lose it all yet again in The Great PC Crash of 2009.

It makes one wonder if I just wasn't meant to do this. (Or maybe I'm just a moron who doesn't learn from his mistakes.)

But I assure you an archive site will happen -- the project will move forward at toonzone at some point in the future as a fan-contributed database. And I shall acquire a better digital camera for my own contributions to the project, and maybe this time I'll be wiser and backup my files online.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share five recent additions to my collection. (And I should mention that my buying habits inevitably changed after getting married -- I now look for flea market/thrift store/yard sale finds rather than entering bidding wars on eBay. So these were all really cheap finds.)

Item #1 is an official Six Flags Pinky baseball cap, circa 1997.
Found this for $1 at a thrift store in Winder, GA:

Item #2 is a plush doll I've dubbed "Dr. Brain":

This was manufactured Play-By-Play Toys & Novelties, Inc., and was distributed by ACE in 1997. There was also a Pinky plush released in the same outfit (which I also own but it's in storage). If I had the ability to provide a hi-res image, observant fans like the notorious Ron "Keeper" O'Dell would note the "ACME LAB" typo on the labcoat logo.

This was purchased for under $2 at a thrift store in Winder, GA, and it's a rare find when you consider its age and that it was in a dump bin filled with dozens of other plush toys, and yet it's still in great condition. Also rare for a second-hand store item to still have the tag intact.

Item #3 is a clipping of a newspaper comic strip:

This is from Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks (circa March 2000, according to the archive strip at featuring an appearance by Pinky & The Brain. My mother clipped this from The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, TN several years ago, but didn't send it to me until years later. I wish mom had kept the whole newspaper instead, but that's just my inner fanboy whining that mom damaged this by cutting it out.

Item #4 is a Pinky & The Brain graphic tee, circa 1994.
(Frontal view):

Back view:

This is official Warner Bros. apparel, manufactured in the good ol' U.S. of A. I found it at a yard sale in Lawrenceville, GA. Naturally, I asked the owner if he had any others, but sadly he did not. When I asked him how much he wanted for it, he looked at the Animaniacs shirt I was already wearing and said, "Just consider it a gift from one fan to another."

Item #5 is a hand-held electronic game entitled
Animaniacs: Hollywood Hi Jinx!!

This handheld game from Tiger Electronics has two dates on it. On the front in small print there's a WB trademark dated 1994, yet on the back there's a 1990 copyright for Tiger Electronics. Since Animaniacs didn't premiere until 1993, I assume "1990" refers to when Tiger copyrighted the unit design style. Tiger apparently used that same design for many of their handheld games through the early 90s. [Thanks to astute Animaniacs fan "cognitofalcon" for pointing out the discrepancy in the date before I updated this post.]

Surprisingly, this game is still in working condition, and I may record video of the gameplay and post it on YouTube so you can see and hear how annoyingly repetitive it is. (I'm also not sure what the point is -- something about Yakko trying to catch flowers while trying to avoid being grabbed by Ralph the Guard. Over. And Over. And Over. And Over...) A big thanks to my brother Jon for picking this up for me at a thrift store in Memphis, TN.

I hope my fellow fans and collectors out there have enjoyed this, and I promise to add photos of 5 more items with each A!/P&TB merch post in the near future.

Footnote: * It's my belief that diehard A!/P&TB fan Kane Leung (aka "Narfcake") easily has a bigger collection than mine just based on discussions we've had comparing notes. (Kane is/was the official maintainer of the F.A.B.O.O. aka the Animaniacs Merchandise List.) And he for sure has a larger T-shirt collection than I do. Kane, if you're reading this, I'm still looking to replace that Six Flags Animaniacs shirt I traded you at Comic-Con 2003. I was okay parting with it at the time since you basically begged me for it, but I've never seen another one like it since and it was my favorite.


  1. Wow you are way fan! haha. Good ones. I love the comic about Walmart and Pinky and the Brain! :P

  2. I too also had lots of Animaniacs stuff at one time, but sold it all on purging when I was older, I kind of regret it now. But still alright with it.