Histeria! is an American animated series created by Tom Ruegger and produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Unlike other animated series produced by Warner Bros. in the 1990s, Histeria! stood out as the most explicitly educational program in order to meet FCC requirements for educational/informational content for children.
|Created by||Tom Ruegger|
|Voices of||Frank Welker|
|Theme music composer||Richard Stone|
John Philip Sousa
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||52|
|Executive producer(s)||Tom Ruegger|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Warner Bros. Animation|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original network||Kids' WB|
|Audio format||Dolby Surround|
|Original release||September 14, 1998 –|
March 31, 2000
Histeria! aired on Kids' WB from September 14, 1998 to March 31, 2000, which continued to air reruns until August 30, 2001. It was presented as a Saturday Night Live-style sketch comedy, with its cast often filling the roles of historical figures. It was to be WB's most ambitious project since Animaniacs. Like the aforementioned series, 65 episodes were originally going to be made, but due to being $10 million over budget, only 52 episodes were completed before production of the series was canceled in March 2000. Due to the high production costs, footage from previous episode was often re-used and re-timed to match newly recorded audio, as well as several non-educational segments being used as filler. More recently, the show was aired on In2TV, first from March to July 2006, and then returning in October of that year. In January 2009, all of the episodes were taken off the site.
As of January 2020 it has never been released on DVD.
Like other animated series produced at the time by the Warner Bros. animation studio, Histeria! derived most of humor from its slapstick comedy and satire, with the distinction of combining historical figures and events. Episodes would commonly feature a large cast of children and typecast adults in comedic skits and song parodies, e.g. the cause of the American Civil War sung to the tune of The Brady Bunch theme.
- Father Time (Frank Welker) is the main "host" of Histeria!, allowing the cast to "travel" through time. He is dark-skinned, has a long beard and is shown to get quite irritated by the Kid Chorus when they fail to get their facts right. This tends to irritate Loud Kiddington who often screams "SHEESH, WHAT A GROUCH!" after he is out of sight.
- Big Fat Baby (Luke Ruegger) is the egg-shaped sidekick to Father Time, frequently accompanying him as he introduces the sketches. He is known for the foul odor he carries, caused by his constant defecation in his diaper, which is constantly stated to have been unchanged since ancient times. Big Fat Baby is also accident prone, often falling down steps or off of high places. There seems to be multiple Big Fat Babies, including some female versions with a single strand of hair and bow.
- Miss Information (Laraine Newman) is an aptly named ditzy tour guide who leads a group of tourists through various moments in history, as if the world is her own personal museum. As her name suggests, she is constantly getting her facts wrong and sometimes coming up with some demented logic to justify her statement (for example, she believes the Washington Monument is not named after George Washington because it is not called the George Monument).
- The World's Oldest Woman (Tress MacNeille) is a very old woman who claims to remember when air was invented. She also claims to have dated every historical male in history. She seems to have a particular romantic interest in Bill Straitman. She is known to romantically hound every male host of an episode as well.
The Kid Chorus
- Loud Kiddington is a young boy so named for the extremely loud volume in which he talks. He often performs "dramatic reenactments" of loud moments in history, such as the Big Bang and the creation of dynamite; with each of this, the viewer is told to turn up the TV volume "for maximum effect." Sometimes, he also keeps watch of something by almost silently muttering "I see it, I see it..." when it is in sight and then switching to screaming "DON'T SEE IT! DON'T SEE IT!" when he loses sight of it. He is voiced by Tom Ruegger's son, Cody Ruegger, and the character's personality is based on Cody because he "has the tendency to be the loudest kid on Earth".
- Charity Bazaar (Laraine Newman) is the female lead of the Histeria! Kid Chorus, and her main personality trait is that she is usually depicted as being very depressed, as shown by her catch phrase, "I'm not happy." When not singing, she tends to speak in a monotone unless excited. She is willing to take a stand for animal rights, can be easily tempted with promises of being given cookies, and hates doing math homework.
- Froggo (Nathan Ruegger) is a short blonde-haired boy in the Kid Chorus with a low, frog-like voice, hence his name. He often asks historical figures for two seemingly useless items that he can actually make an invention out of, though he does not always receive the requested items. He is also shown to have a large appetite, but dislikes turnips, and in "Americana", it is shown that he is a big fan of Batman.
- Aka Pella (Cree Summer) is an African American member of the Kid Chorus who uses sassy lingo, often delivering comedically timed insults to whoever she is currently hanging out with. Unlike most of the other girls in the Kid Chorus, she is a tomboy and tends to be able to be a voice of reason to the group.
- Pepper Mills (Tress MacNeille) is a hyperactive teenager driven to adoration for any and all celebrities. Virtually everything she says is followed by enthusiastic scream. She constantly gets historical figures to give her autographs, and is then shocked to learn they are not the pop cultural celebrities she has mistaken them for. She also occasionally hosts an interview show titled Pepper's Pep Rally. She seems to be incredibly fast and will pop up and scream until the person she is pestering agrees to give an autograph.
- Toast (Tress MacNeille) is a clueless surfer teenager whose name comes from the idea that his brain is fried like toast. His name is also due to the fact that his skin is perpetually sunburnt. He hosts a talk show titled Ask Me If I Care, in which he invites historical celebrities to tell him what they are famous for, only for him to eventually eject them into the sky (sometimes even into space), because he never does care about what they are telling him. He also once mentions having a rock band, which he names Nasty Head Wound, and also mentions that he has an uncle named Melba.
- Cho-Cho (Tress MacNeille) is a little Chinese girl who is more devious than she looks. Always accompanied by Lucky Bob, she likes to follow people around, refusing to leave them alone until they buy what she is selling. Her dialogue is almost always accompanied by "Chopsticks" as the background music.
- Lucky Bob (Jeff Bennett) is a boy with a very noticeable overbite. He tends to speak with a dim-witted drawl. He usually only speaks when agreeing with something another character has said (regardless of whatever they said), using Ed McMahon catchphrases such as "You are correct, sir," "Yes now," and "Hi-yo!"
- Pule Houser (Frank Welker) is an overweight kid in the show's cast who tends to take abuse and is prone to pitching fits.
- Susanna Susquahanna (Tress MacNeille) is a little Native American girl with beady eyes and a large gap in her front teeth that gave her a gigantic, Sylvester-like lisp.
- Kip Ling, Chipper the Crooked Mouth Boy, and the Bow-Haired Girl are three additional Kid Chorus members who usually only show up in the songs or in crowd shots. They do not seem to have any distinguishing characteristics like the rest of the group.
- Bill Straitman (James Wickline) is the straight man to the rest of the characters. He typically winds up interviewing both historical figures and the World's Oldest Woman, the latter of which he struggles to fight off the advances of.
- Mr. Smartypants (Rob Paulsen) is a shy genius who wears exceedingly large pants and spouts various tidbits of knowledge. The only part of his upper body ever seen are the top of his head and his hands. In a piece of irony, he harbors romantic feelings for Miss Information. Mr. Smartypants often explains historical facts of crude nature, such as the invention of the toilet, which exasperates Lydia Karaoke as the network censor.
- Chit Chatterson (Billy West) is an eccentric commercial salesman, often attempting to swindle his customers.
- Fetch (Frank Welker) is Loud's aptly named talking dog, who loves chasing tennis balls and frequently asks the historical figures if they want to play catch with him. He always appears with Loud whenever the latter is attempting to sell something, with Loud claiming that he will make Fetch eat something unpleasant should he fail to make a sale, which Fetch is never prepared for. He appears to be of the same breed of dog as Hunter from Road Rovers.
- Lydia Karaoke (Nora Dunn) is an employee for Kids' WB who has been assigned as the network censor for the show, and given the show's nature, this can be quite a hassle for her. Often, she interrupts the sketches to complain that what is about to be or has just been shown is inappropriate for children's television (usually violence, foul language, nudity, and anything considered gross or rude). Infrequently, her attempts to moderate the show results in physical harm for her, resulting in her conceding to the original point. Lydia is also the host of "What's My Job?", a game show in which the contestants must guess the job of the historical figure featured, which, to her frustration, they can never come close to doing. According to the episode "Histeria Goes to the Moon", Karaoke used to work for the Weather Channel.
- Sammy Melman (Rob Paulsen) is a spoof of the smarmy and desperate television executives, constantly belittling and demeaning the Histeria! cast for the sake of ratings.
- Molly Pitcher constantly offers refreshments in the form of water with a wide grin, saucer-sized eyes and overly cheery disposition, modelled after Martha Stewart.
- Nostradamus (Paul Rugg) claims to be able to "predictiate" the future, though he is proven wrong on occasion. He often acts erratically and impatiently, and will constantly yell "Shutup" in the middle of a sentence, usually to quiet any sort of audience.
Most of the recurring real-life historical figures in Histeria! were portrayed as caricatures of real-life celebrities from the modern era. The intent was to make analogies to contemporary individuals in terms of personalities and attitudes.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||46||September 14, 1998||July 17, 1999|
|2||6||September 20, 1999||March 31, 2000|
Season 1 (1998–99)
|No.||Title||Original air date|
|1||"Inventors Hall of Fame – Part I"||September 14, 1998|
|2||"The U.S. Civil War – Part I"||September 15, 1998|
|Abe Lincoln provides a monologue, and gives a Histeria! version of the Gettysburg Address. The Histeria! gang also listens to The Hits of the 1860s and The Emancipation Proclamation Hoedown.|
|3||"The Attack of the Vikings"||September 16, 1998|
|The gang sing about being a Viking, play "See It/Don't See It", and Meet the Vikings with Bill Straitman.|
|4||"The Wild West"||September 17, 1998|
|The Histeria! gang present The Billy the Kid Show, sing about the gold rush, meet the Earps, and learn about the Pony Express.|
|5||"The American Revolution – Part I"||September 18, 1998|
|The gang listen to George Washington give his monologue, visit Molly Pitcher, and attend the Showdown at York.|
|6||"The Know-It-Alls"||September 21, 1998|
|The gang meet René Descartes; a talk show discussing the age-old question "Which came first: the chicken or the egg?", and Miss Information appears on a Dating Game-style show with history's greatest inventors, philosophers, and geniuses lined up as potential suitors.|
|7||"The Renaissance"||September 22, 1998|
|The gang meet Leonardo da Vinci, see masterpieces of the Renaissance, and explore the book formerly known as The Prince.|
|8||"The U.S. Civil War – Part II"||September 23, 1998|
|The gang dive back into the Civil War and sing about it, Lydia Karaoke learns why "Damn the torpedoes!" should not be censored, and a visit to Abe Lincoln's Tall and Geeky Shop.|
|9||"Really Oldies But Goodies"||September 24, 1998|
|It is a musical trip to Egypt as the gang sing about mummies, slaving on the pyramids, and see the Egyptian musical "Cats".|
|10||"The American Revolution – Part II"||September 25, 1998|
|Histeria! takes another look at the American Revolution as the gang listen to George Washington sing a duet with his wife, attend the Boston Tea Party, and see Midnight Line.|
|11||"A Blast in the Past"||September 26, 1998|
|The gang spew their guts at a Roman vomitorium (despite Lydia Karaoke's best efforts to warn viewers that bingeing and purging is not allowed on TV), listen to the Big Fat Twin Babies sing, and meet Romulus and Remus.|
|12||"China"||September 28, 1998|
|The gang take a pop quiz and join the Confucius Group again.|
|13||"Tribute to Tyrants"||September 30, 1998|
|The gang meet Attila the Hun and hear more from Miss Information.|
|14||"The Montezuma Show"||October 2, 1998|
|The gang visit the Sacrificial Well, stop in on The Order of the Eagle, and browse the Inca Shopping Network.|
|15||"Great Heroes of France"||October 7, 1998|
|The gang meet Joan of Arc and sing the Invasion song. Napoleon sells the Louisiana Purchase to make up for the money lost by his shopping addict wife, Josephine.|
|16||"The Terrible Tudors"||October 8, 1998|
|The gang play Name Thy Cure, and tell the tale of the Tudors.|
|17||"The Wheel of History"||October 9, 1998|
|The gang spin the Wheel of History and visit four places in history.|
|18||"When Time Collides"||October 10, 1998|
|The gang look at the United Nations and honor more Great Women in History.|
|19||"Around the World in a Daze"||October 14, 1998|
|The gang explore explorers exploring the world, Columbus and Magellan.|
|20||"Histeria Satellite TV"||October 16, 1998|
|Tune in to Histeria! Satellite TV for looks at various points in history.|
|21||"General Sherman's Campsite"||October 17, 1998|
|In this parody of the 1980s CBS kids' show Pee-Wee's Playhouse, Pee-Wee Herman is a gray-suited man-child, General William Sherman, who plans to burn Atlanta and turn the tide of the Civil War in favor of the North with the secret word of the day, "Total War". In the meantime, the Histeria! kids pester Harriet Tubman (voiced by CCH Pounder), who think her Underground Railroad is an actual train line, and Lydia Karaoke briefly interjects to complain about the line "War is hell".|
|22||"Return to Rome"||October 23, 1998|
|The gang take a day and look at how Rome was built and sing about it.|
|23||"The Russian Revolution"||October 24, 1998|
|The gang take a look at Stalin and the Soviets.|
|24||"Inventors Hall of Fame – Part II"||October 30, 1998|
|The gang once again dig into the Inventors' Hall of Fame to honor Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and others.|
|25||"Megalomaniacs"||October 31, 1998|
The gang take a look at some of the big bad guys of history.Note: Two versions of this episode exist: a sketch about Custer's Last Stand — in which the kids mistakenly believe Custer is running a custard stand — replaced a sketch depicting the Spanish Inquisition as a game show called "Convert or Die", hosted by Tomás de Torquemada after a complaint from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, who claimed the sketch "[taught] children to reject Catholicism". The "Convert or Die" sketch has since been restored when the show aired online on In2TV.
|26||"Hooray For Presidents"||November 6, 1998|
|The gang meet President Lincoln again and explores even more presidents.|
|27||"The Thomas Jefferson Program"||November 7, 1998|
|Thomas Jefferson leads the fun when the gang learn handwriting from John Hancock (played by Chit Chatterson), and make a flag with Betsy Ross.|
|28||"More Explorers"||November 13, 1998|
|More from the Confucius Group and learn why one should never explore without the Discoverer Card.|
|29||"Super Writers"||November 21, 1998|
|Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain join forces to bring writing to the world, Histeria! style!|
|30||"History Of Flight"||February 6, 1999|
|The gang meet the Wright Brothers and park in the No Parking Zone.|
|31||"Presidential People"||February 13, 1999|
|A heavy musical look into the lives and doings of more presidents.|
|32||"Writers of the Purple Prose"||February 20, 1999|
|Famous writers Samuel Butler and William Shakespeare and see Mary Had A Little Lamb 2000.|
|33||"Histeria Around the World I"||February 27, 1999|
|The gang learn the complete and unabridged history of Greenland, Antarctica, and New Zealand and play "Ask Me If I Care".|
|34||"When America Was Young"||March 6, 1999|
|Daniel Boone and Benedict Arnold star in their own shows depicting the Revolutionary War and the western frontier.|
|35||"Loud Kiddington's Ancient History"||March 13, 1999|
|The gang see the First Wheel, sing about the names of the Gods, and see an Olympic Moment.|
|36||"Super Amazing Constitutions"||March 20, 1999|
|The Constitution gets a Histeria! overhaul and the gang meet Andrew Jackson and fire when they see the whites of their eyes.|
|37||"Better Living Through Science"||March 27, 1999|
|The gang take the Road of Invention to see that what goes up, must come down and witness great moments in medicine.|
|38||"The Dawn of Time"||April 3, 1999|
|Histeria! takes a scientific twist and looks at the dawn of time, which only the World's Oldest Women know much about. Dinosaurs included.|
|39||"Music"||April 17, 1999|
|Histeria! looks at music and wonders "Music to Whose Ears?" with Mozart. Plus, Big Fat Baby and twin sing a jingle.|
|40||"World War II"||April 24, 1999|
|Histeria! introduces the Freedom League and learns why there is nothing to fear from Franklin D. Roosevelt.|
|41||"The Teddy Roosevelt Show"||May 1, 1999|
|Histeria! meets Teddy Roosevelt and explores the Canal of Doom.|
|42||"Communuts!"||May 8, 1999|
|A twisted Histeria! look at Communists, including raps from Winston Churchill and Will Rogers.|
|43||"Americana"||May 15, 1999|
|A patriotic look at American lifestyles now and how they used to be, and a visit to Berry Ding Live.|
|44||"20th Century Presidents"||May 22, 1999|
|A Histeria! look at President Nixon and John F. Kennedy, along with a little scandal called Watergate, then Rally At The Beach with Pepper!|
|45||"Histeria Around the World II"||June 5, 1999|
|The Great Woman World Leaders Therapy Group and the Pastry War, along with another round of "Ask Me If I Care" with Gandhi.|
|46||"Histeria Goes to the Moon"||July 17, 1999|
|The gang sets foot on the moon with Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11.|
Season 2 (1999–2000)
|No.||Title||Original air date|
|47||"Return to China"||September 20, 1999|
|More historical sketches regarding China are shown, such as the construction of the Great Wall of China and the Cultural Revolution. Plus, Yin and Yang are presented as superheroes!|
|48||"France"||September 24, 1999|
|The gang meet Nostradamus and a guy named Louie. Napoleon also appears (many size jokes ensue). And do not forget to take the Tennis Court Oath.|
|49||"North America"||October 1, 1999|
|It is a wild look at North America! Stops include Canada, Klondike Acres and Mayberry. That is to say, the Histeria! version of Mayberry.|
|50||"Heroes of Truth & Justice"||January 17, 2000|
|Histeria! takes a march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and boycotts buses, and attends the trial of the century with Socrates.|
|51||"Euro-Mania"||March 24, 2000|
|It is off to Europe to witness the Renaissance and a scrapple at the chapel, with another round of "Ask Me If I Care" with Charlemagne.|
|52||"Big Fat Baby Theatre"||March 31, 2000|
|Take a look at random moments in history through the eyes of Big Fat Baby.|
- Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 285. ISBN 978-1538103739.
- Mifflin, Lawrie (December 2, 1996). "Broadcasters and Producers Make Time for Children". The New York Times. USA. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
- Robertson, Virginia (September 1, 1998). "Warner Bros.' Histeria!". Kidscreen. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
- Lee, Helen (October 11, 1998). "Histeria! proves history can be fun". Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2006.
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