Development Edit

After executive producing Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs at Warner Bros. Animation, Steven Spielberg decided he wanted to work with the crew of Batman: The Animated Series. The crew was tasked with developing ideas for an action-comedy show, and the winning pitch came from writer Paul Dini and character designer Bruce Timm: a teenager who gains super powers and becomes "the Freakazoid." Dini and Timm envisioned the character somewhat like Spider-Man, in terms of telling a story about an immature teenager coping with newfound power. Timm claims that his version of the character would have been similar to the way the Creeper is portrayed in the later Batman: The Animated Series episode, "Beware the Creeper," including sounding the same as the Creeper (who was voiced by Jeff Glen Bennett).[1]

Eventually, Timm realized that Spielberg wanted something much more in an Animaniacs comedy vein, and he was uncomfortable working in that style, so he left the project and Tom Ruegger (senior producer on Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs, as well as executive producer on the early seasons of Batman: The Animated Series) was brought in to revamp the series. Ruegger wrote a sort of pilot script for the show, made up largely of quick, blackout-type gags. The script was 85 pages long, about the length of two episodes. Most of the "in-between" segments in the first season originated in this script, including: "Freakazoid and Friends," "Handman," "The Lobe," the "Mo-Ron" segments in Episode 3, "The Legends Who Lunch," and "Limbo Lock-Up."[2] Spielberg liked the script, but suggested that there be some longer sketches with more story. Ruegger then brought in Paul Rugg (who was a story editor, writer and occasional voice actor on Animaniacs) and John P. McCann (a staff writer on the first season of Animaniacs) to write material. Rugg and McCann were good friends, having performed together in the ACME Comedy improv troupe, and then hired to Animaniacs at the same time. McCann wrote the first full script for the show, "Dance of Doom," and Rugg wrote the second, "Candle Jack."[3]

Ruegger was brought onto the show in January 1995, and McCann wrote "Dance of Doom" in February; since the show was slated to premiere in September, the timeline was very tight. There was no time to write a series bible or set ground rules. Rather, the writers were finding the world of the show each episode as they wrote (as referenced by the characters in episodes such as "And Fan Boy Is His Name"). Timm had already designed almost all of the major characters and villains, including Freakazoid, Steff, Lobe, Candle Jack and Cave Guy; the writers were tasked with keeping the current designs and developing backstories for the existing characters.[4] Many of the first season directors (Dan Riba, Eric Radomski, Ronaldo Del Carmen) came to the show by way of Batman: The Animated Series, and remained committed to the show despite Timm's exit.

References Edit

  1. The Original Freak Documentary.
  2. [1]; The Original Freak Documentary.
  3. Audio Commentary on Episode 1; Audio Commentary on Episode 2.
  4. The Original Freak Documentary.
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