the warner bros. animation archive
august, 2002


the web's first editorial magazine dedicated to warner bros. animation

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Pinky and the Brain  

A look at the evolution of Pinky's voice

by Samuel Feldman


Occasionally in an animated series, a voice of a character can change or go through a series of evolutions. Nathan Ruegger’s Skippy the Squirrel voice changed drastically throughout the life span of Animaniacs, but that is expected as a child voice actor grows up. Other voice actors, such as Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson), hone their talent and alter a character’s voice bit by bit until they reach a sound they are comfortable with. Rob Paulsen's Pinky voice is an example of this voice evolution. In the first Pinky and the Brain episode, "Win Big", Pinky's voice seems to have the nasal sounding quality predominate, and the register of his voice is just a little lower then. The voice quality seemed pretty much the same until "Pavlov's Mice", where the register had gone up slightly, and Pinky's english accent showed just a little more.

The Pinky and the Brain episodes that followed seem to have a jump back and fourth between voice qualities; most likely, the recording sessions didn't necessarily follow the release dates for a given episode. When Pinky and the Brain went into it's own series, Pinky's voice seemed to have a slight increase in register, while the other qualities remained rather the same.

There are a few reasons why these variations occur in a character's voice. While on a phone conversation on a shopping channel, Rob Paulsen mentions these changes. Rob says the changes occur because over time he gets a handle on the character; to be more comfortable with how the character sounds, how sometimes changes in the actor's timbre can have an effect, and to be just willing to try a change to see what can happen.

Regardless of the the slight changes that have happened over time, he's still recognizable as Pinky, narf!