Animaniacs Return!

Animaniacs Return!

A review/recap of Episode One

The first thing I do at six in the morning (when I usually get up), is check out my news feeds. There were the regular reports of murder, mayhem, and of course the general buffoonery of politicians. But then, lo, and behold, I learned the Animaniacs were given a new home on Netflix! All ninety-nine episodes have been picked up. Be still my heart.

If you don’t know who or what I’m referring to, go to this link, Animaniacs, and when you’ve finished catching up, come back to this article.

Now, there are two basic types of fans of these three Warner siblings. The first group are the children who enjoyed the zany humor and lessons offered from Tom Ruegger’s group of animators. The second being the parents who sat with them. That’s the group I fall in. The ‘rents.

I loved the show. The more subtle adult jokes went right over the heads of my two young sons, I was certain. Of course, in later years, I found that wasn’t necessarily the case. I was much younger then, and confident in my knowledge of what children might perceive.

Then, I watched the first episode of the first season, more than twenty years later. You live, you learn.

The opening song is a catchy little ditty. Throughout the seasons, the lyrics would be slightly altered to fit the current events. One line of lyrics from the opening goes “Wakko packs away the snacks/While Bill Clinton plays the sax.” If you’re unfamiliar with the reference, you can check out old episodes of a talk show called Arsenio Hall. No, Hillary did not appear with her husband.

The entire show comprised of short skits, original music, and silliness. Steven Spielberg had a thirty-five piece orchestra play an original score for every episode. The music is still with me to this day.

The first episode feature was titled “Zanitized” and it offered a flavor of what was to come. Dr. Otto Scratchansniff was explaining to Dot Warner the Rorschach test he wanted her to take. In the explanation, he told her she should tell him what she saw. This is a still of the scene during the exact point in the conversation.

Animaniacs2

What do you see, boys and girls?

No, I’m not going to tell you. Keep looking.

The overt sexuality throughout this series is obvious. The age group which might not fully understand is five and younger. The over-five set might ask about some of the references. Pretty sure today’s ten year old won’t miss a thing. Including what’s in the picture above.

One of the most surprising things (for me) was to learn Bernadette Peters voiced Rita. Never one of my favorite characters during the show, Rita has gained enormous respect since that time. I look forward to watching the episodes featuring her unique (HOW did I not know this?) voice.

The second skit for the episode was, The Monkey Song. This lively number had the cast rollicking through the Warner Bros lot, and gave the audience a brief glimpse into all of the other supporting characters to come. Goodfeathers was an underused trio, IMHO.

The final skit for the episode, Nighty-Night Toon, a nod to the old story Good Night Moon offered the soft voice of a man wishing all of the characters a pleasant good night. Slappy just wanted him to pipe down.

As an intro to an amazing piece of animation, Episode One gets 8 out of 10 stars.

I hope you get the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful piece of nostalgia Netflix has provided. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have 98 more shows to go.

How well do you know your video game history?

 

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been invited to be a guest writer for a new site for nerds called Geek Street Station. Grandma Geek will be my pseudonym. I’ll let you know when the site goes live. I’m rather excited that I get to school some young’uns on the fact that they did not invent the term ‘geek.’

 

Anyway, I wrote one article for them in a quiz form. It was so much fun, I thought I’d make another for my website. I learned a lot while doing the research, and found it pretty cool. Hope you like it too. I would LOVE to hear if you got them all right.

 

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How well do you know your video game history? Take this quiz to find out. You won’t need pen and paper. Just keep a mental tally (you can only reach six). No worries about data mining. The test is fully contained here. So, don’t look at the paragraph following each question, until you’re ready for the answer.

 

Here we go…

 

Question 1)

What was the first two player video game?

  1. Pong
  2. Computer Space
  3. Spacewar!

You’re thinking to yourself, this is so easy. Who doesn’t know this one? Well, you’d be right if you chose 3) Spacewar! Give yourself a point if you knew a group of MIT students were bored and programmed a game so they could play the earliest digital version of “Bang! You’re dead!” Extra point if you knew it was in 1961.

 

Question 2)

What was the first coin-operated video game?

  1. Galaxy Game
  2. Computer Space
  3. Spacewar!

Well, of course, that has to Spacewar! Right? Wrong. Give yourself a point if you knew that 1) Galaxy Game was the first. But only by three months. In September of 1971 the first coin-operated video game was installed at Stanford University, California. Three months later, in November 1971, 1500 (one thousand five hundred) units of the second coin-operated game, Computer Space had been manufactured and was available for commercial use. Which leads us to Q3.

 

Question 3)

Two guys get the credit for the creation of Computer Space. They were…

  1. Nolan and Dabney
  2. Jobs and Wozniak
  3. Gates and Jobs

 

A trick question if ever there was one. If you said 1) Nolan and Dabney you get your point. Since Nolan went on to become Atari, you might also be asking yourself, “What happened to Dabney?” A lot of people my age wonder that same thing about Roebuck.

 

Question 4)

Which firm released the first computer hardware system that went on to support the first two player video game?

  1. Apple
  2. DEC
  3. Magnavox

One really wants to say Apple. If for no other reason than to honor Jobs. Unfortunately, one would be wrong. Give yourself a point if you said 2) DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation). Their Programmed Data Processor-1 (PDP-1) was first sold in 1960. Yeah, the year your grandma was born. The platform went on to be used to build the first two player video game. Which brings us to the final question.

 

Question 5)

In what year was the first online game played?

  1. 1963
  2. 1983
  3. 1993

 

Quick background. The internet, even in its archaic form, was actually around in 1963. It didn’t offer today’s Google or anything, but one could still exchange information while at UCLA with someone at Stanford. But, ’63 is the wrong answer. Give yourself a point if you chose 2) 1983. SuperSet a software firm, created a text-based game called Snipes, which featured the first true network play. The rest, as they say…

 

Tally up the points, boys and girls. Here’s the final scorecard.

POINTS     TITLE

0          Baby Geek. Aww… Ain’t you cute?

1          Wannabe Geek. Well, at least you know what a geek is. Sorta.

2          Geek in Training. Keep going. The world needs more geeks.

3          Second Class Geek. You go ahead and hold your head high.

4          Impressive Geek. Tell me true. Did Google help?

5          General Geek. Sir! Pleasure to have you read my little quiz. Sir!

And if you got that extra point you are, officially…

5          Geek Extraordinaire. The rest of the geek world bows to your knowledge.

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If you’ve enjoyed this article, check out “History of Online Games”

 

Attributes

List Verse – 15 Firsts In Video Game History