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The Real-Life Pinky and the Brain Are Still 'Dear Friends' 18 Years After Show Went off the Air

Pinky and the Brain Stars Are Still 'Dear Friends'
Pinky and the Brain
Everett Collection

04/28/2016 AT 05:15 PM EDT

If you are in the right Los Angeles restaurant at just the right time, you might catch Pinky and the Brain enjoying a meal together (but not plotting to take over the world).

Voiceover icon Rob Paulsen, who is known for his work on Animaniacs (Yakko), Pinky and the Brain (Pinky) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Raphael) says he is still "dear friends" with Maurice LaMarche, The Brain to his Pinky – and the pair cause a stir when they are out together (but only if someone finds out who they are).

"Nobody knows who I am walking down the street and I'm fine with that. I absolutely understand the characters are famous and I'm not," Paulsen, 60, tells PEOPLE. "But if you and I were at a restaurant and the wait staff found out who I was, within five minutes it would be like, 'Are you kidding me? Yakko is over there and Pinky is over there? Please do the voice. Would you do my voicemail?' It elicits such happiness. It's just a purely, joyful thing."

The Real-Life Pinky and the Brain Are Still 'Dear Friends' 18 Years After Show Went off the Air| People Picks, TV News

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Pinky and the Brain, which ran from 1995–98, was a spinoff of Animaniacs, and won him an Emmy.



"That relationship and the love we have for each other, it can't help but show through. To this day he is one of my dear friends," Paulsen says of his Pinky and the Brain co-star. "I talk to him once or twice a week. [Animaniacs star] Tress MacNeille, it's the same thing. We're all very close."

Paulsen is about to get the chance to spend even more time with his Animaniacs friends Jess Harnell (Wakko) and MacNeille (Dott) as well as songwriter Randy Rogel for a tour in which they will perform classic songs from the series. Animaniacs , which ran from 1993–98, also got a recent boost after being put on Netlix this month.


Paulsen says one of his proudest moments from the show was recording "Yakko's World," which rapidly lists the nations of the Earth.

"I remember when Randy Rogel gave me the music to 'Yako's World,' I went home with it and I called him the next day and said, 'What the hell have you done here? This is crazy!' Randy said, 'Yeah, well you know, I was helping my kid with geography and I thought, oh there's a song here,' " recalls Paulsen. "I rehearsed it for a few days and we actually recorded it in one take."

The Real-Life Pinky and the Brain Are Still 'Dear Friends' 18 Years After Show Went off the Air| People Picks, TV News

Rob Paulson

Courtesy of Rob Paulson

As for the show's continued appeal, he credits its impressive pedigree (it was created by animation legend Tom Ruegger, and executive produced by Steven Spielberg) – as well as the fact that they went to the expense of using a real orchestra for the songs.

"It wasn't about ratings or action figures or money. It was just a pure, gut, joy response. It was just fantastic," says Paulsen.
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