Entertainers frequently take time out of their busy schedules to visit with troops—singers, actors, sports stars ... cartoon mice. Rob Paulsen, voice of many popular cartoon characters, including Pinky the mouse of Animaniacs’ Pinky and The Brain, has taken Pinky on the road to visit troops. Below, Pinky reflects on those experiences as only he can.
SQ: Well, hello Pinky.
Pinky: Hello, Samantha! How are you today?
SQ: I’m very good. How are you?
Pinky: Well, I’m breathing and I’m not in jail, but the day’s not over yet. Narf! I can say that. I don’t really thing I’m going do anything which would require me to be incarcerated, but you never know. When you’re bent on world domination things do get in the way.
SQ: They do indeed! Speaking of being bent on world domination, Pinky, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Pinky: Um, yes, I can. Next question? Oooh! See, I’m always trying to be happy, because Brain is so dour, I try to be funny. Anyway … Yes, a little bit about myself … well, there really isn’t much to say as I was in born in a laboratory and I’m white and I have a little pink nose and my name is Pinky. That’s about all I know. I wake up in the morning, I eat food pellets and I get on my exercise wheel and then the Brain bonks me on the head with some sort implement because I don’t understand his most recent plan to take over the world and then it’s time for lunch. I’m glad he’s not here at the moment because if he were here and heard me talking to you, he would—again!—bonk me on the head, take the phone and then start to ramble on about his latest endeavor, which you really don’t want to hear about. It’s quite boring.
SQ: That might get us in trouble with the Pentagon.
Pinky: Yes. We don’t need that. We don’t want to get in trouble with the Pentagon or Mr. Obama, or Mr. Biden.
The only people who are really doing a good job are the military. I’m quite impressed with them, I don’t mind telling you.
I understand you went to visit our troops.
Pinky: I did! I had the great opportunity, and the extreme honor, to go and visit a number of the men and women who are in our armed forces, and I’m telling you … I thought Brain was impressive! He’s nothing compared to the people in the military—in the Navy and the Army and the Air Force and the Marines and the Coast Guard! Oh, my goodness! I could not believe the incredible dedication, the wonderful reception—and I have to tell you—I felt like a rock star. They all knew who I was!
Pinky: I walked in there and they said, “Well, let’s see. Last year there was some rock singer, Stevie something or other, from Macwood Fleet, or something. We didn’t know who she was, but you, Pinky! We all have to say, ‘Narf!’” And it was the greatest thing in the world!
So, I was quite shocked, in the most beautiful way, at my reception. And I have nothing but the deepest love and respect for all those lovely people in our military.
SQ: Where were you when you saw them?
The first time, I was at Fort Myer. I believe that’s in Virginia.
Then I went to, Indian Head Naval Station, I think it was. Waaaay, I mean waaaaaaaay out on the edge of some little piece land, I believe in Maryland. There were lots of people there. I said, ‘Did you get in trouble?’
They said, ‘Why?’
‘Because they put you so far away!’
They said, ‘No. We just have to come out here and do our duty.’
That really gives me—not only the incredible amount of dedication—but the fact that these people do whatever they are told to protect our country and I’m so impressed. They don’t care. Even if they’re stuck at the edge of the world, they go, baby!
But then I went to Quantico Marine Station and got a tour of Air Force One. No, no, Marine One, which was really incredible. It was quite amazing to see the helicopter that Mr. Obama and his family get to ride in. It was quite interesting. I was trying to sort of sneak in, but man, did they have really great security. Oh, and they have guns! Haha! So I said, ‘No, no. Thank you very much. I’ll stand over here.’
It was quite exciting!
SQ: It’s hard to behave when you’re around all that fun equipment.
Pinky: It is! I wanted to fly it! I want to jump in it and zip around Quantico and buzz the Pentagon! But I do understand that when one decides to buzz the Pentagon, that that could be met with some … quite aggressive behavior—and understandably so!
SQ: The Brain was not with you on these trips, was he?
Pinky: No, Brain was not with me. Although, he is going to go with me—they’ve asked me if I would like to Afghanistan, and I said, ‘Of course! I would love to go!’ And we might be going to Ramstein in Germany. We may be going to Kosovo and on those trips, we’re going to do our best to get the Brain to go along with me. That would be really exciting. I can’t wait to go! We’ll have a great time. I’ve already talked to the Brain and he has some very lovely ideas about how he can take over the … I mean, how he can help me entertain the troops!
SQ: What are his suggestions?
Pinky: How to entertain the troops?
SQ: Song and dance?
Pinky: Yes, a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants. Of course, the seltzer bottle to Brain, once he squirts himself in the face, it could knock him back a hundred feet. Brain is actually, quite an excellent dancer. There was an episode in which he did sort of a performance art in a little kind of a leotard. Now, I have to tell you, fashion-wise, it was quite disturbing to watch. But! In terms of Brain’s dedication to his craft and his performance, well, it was quite interesting.
Pinky: He’s just not here at the moment, but as I said, he’ll be back from the hardware store in a little bit.
SQ: I’m not even going to ask what he’s buying at the hardware store.
Pinky: No, because if I told you, then you know, I would have to call the CIA, ’cause it’s a very clandestine operations. It’s special ops, is what it is.
SQ: See, I didn’t know you had a military background, the two of you.
Pinky: Oh, yes. Well … it’s not really a background. My father was in the military school. One of my dearest friends who wrote all the songs from Animainiacs … , Randy Rogel is the graduate of the Military Academy at West Point., So I have a deep and abiding appreciation for all things military. Truly, truly, truly, I can’t wait to do more.
SQ: When you did go to see these troops, what was the reaction?
Pinky: Can I just tell you, it was incredible? Especially when we went to Quantico. I walked in there and there were about 60 strong Marines. Boy, they were all like, very, very tough, all business. They were very polite, you know, very military and all that—very well behaved. But quite low key.
Well! Once they heard me say, ‘Egad! Narf!’ They were all 9 years old again! I made phone messages for every one of them. Then they started calling their friends and saying, ‘Hey Sarge, Hey Captain, Hey person whose rank I don’t really know! Come over here. Pinky’s going to make a phone message for you!’
By the end of my little trip there I made about 60 phone messages just at Quantico. It was quite exciting.
One of the things that I’m so happy to find out is that people know us. They know those of us who are lucky enough to do cartoon voices. All the mean ages of the soldiers—of the men and women—whom I get to hang out with are sort of between 19 and 30. So, they love Animaniacs. They love Pinky and the Brain. They love Ninja Turtles. They love all these shows. And I have many friends who have worked on those shows. We had a great time and I can’t wait to go back.
SQ: It’s just like being a kid again.
Pinky: Exactly! It’s like being a kid again! But, with well-trained kids.
SQ: Is there anything else about our troops or any upcoming tours or events with troops that we should know about?
Pinky: Well, the only thing that I can tell you is that I hope to be spending a lot more time on behalf of the USO traveling around the world. I can’t wait to go back. I have a lot of personal appearances to go on this year, but I have to tell you there is no place than I would rather be in terms of being in front of people than being with a group of soldiers. I’m so impressed and I truly, truly mean this from the bottom of my tiny little, pea-sized, pumping, Pinky heart, thank you so much for all you do. You can’t imagine how much it’s appreciated. You don’t hear it enough. But, let me tell you, not everybody gets to hear ‘NARF!’ and have somebody really mean it. And I really mean it.
SQ: What would you say to talking to our military kids and introducing them?
To Pinky and the Brain? Oh! I would say, if you think the cartoons that are on right now are very good—and there are quite a few of them that are quite excellent—you should go back and watch Pinky and the Brain. The cool thing is that you can watch Pinky and the Brain and Anamaniacs with your Mum and Dad and both of you will laugh! Oh, the whole family will enjoy them because they’re funny, they’ve great music and they appeal to adults and children and you find that there was one particular thing that you will be left with when you end up watching the show and the show is over. And that is that I am about the most handsome mouse you will ever see in your life. So, it’s all good and you can watch them with your family. I highly recommend that you fall in love with me, I mean the show!
SQ: Hey, Pinky? Are you pondering what I’m pondering?
Pinky: Well, I think so Samantha, but camouflage? I don’t know, darling, I’m more of a Spring, really. Narf!
SQ: Pinky, I’d like to thank you very much for taking time out of your morning to talk with us. I know we’ve thrown you all off of your exercise schedule now.
Pinky: That’s quite alright, darling. I’m on my third thimbleful of coffee and I’m pretty wired anyway. It’s been an absolute pleasure and, as I’ve said, an honor to do anything on behalf of the USO and the troops—really, really an honor and a pleasure. God bless them all, and God bless the United States of America!
Samantha L. Quigley is the editor in chief of ON★PATROL.