Is Dr. Scratchansniff Dead?
Okkay, okkay. Dr. Otto Scratchansniff is not dead. Toons never die, the just go insane and run away. Yes, rumors have been speading for years that the Warners actually DID drive poor old Scratchy insane and he dissapeared one day. The CEO of the studio, Thaddeus Plotz, didn't want any questions asked so he replaced the good doctor with a look-alike imposter! Even though Yakko, Wakko, and Dot didn't like the idea, they kept quiet. However, a secret of this magnitude could not be silenced forever! The Warners devised secret ways of informing the fans that ol' Scratchy was gone. Everywhere in the Warners' songs and shows are "hidden" clues that the real Dr. Scratchansniff is no longer actually with them.
Nobody can agree on the actual date of the doctor's dissapearance. It could've been anytime from 1993 when the show first began to as late as 1995, when Animaniacs moved to the WB network. Some speculate that Dr. Scratchansniff had demanded a raise for being added to the theme song after Pinky and the Brain had left to do their own spinoff series. These people believe that Scratchansniff walked out after the execs refused to take his demand seriously. However, due to the number of clues in the Warners' first album, perhaps Scratchansniff actually disapeared earlier in the Warners' lives. We may never know for sure.
So what really happened to Dr. Scratchansniff? Did the Warners drive him completely insane causing him to run away? Or did he really...*gulp*...die? The fact that a body has never turned up has led folks to believe that the real Dr. Scratchansniff really did run away and is living in peace somewhere on this great planet. However, no one has heard from the real Scratchy in such a long time that others believe there is no way he could still be alive. The Warners should have found him by now! They always had in the past. According to the clues left in the Warners' lyrics, whatever went horribly wrong happened on a Monday night and nobody knew it was coming (or at least the Warners didn't). It is speculated that if Dr. Scratchansniff did actually die, it might have been from a tree falling on his head or a result of food poisoning.
Was it all an elaborate coverup? An elaborate hoax? Or purely an elaborate fantasy created within the overactive imaginations of the die hard Animaniacs fans? Examine the following "Scratchy is Dead" clues and decide for yourself...
Animaniacs aka: The Shield Album (1993)
||The world got some of its earliest Scratchansniff death clues with the release of the Warners' first album in 1993.|
- The cover of this album is very peculiar. If you take a mirror (or the back side of a CD) and place in right in the center of the word "ANIMANIACS" on the shield, something strange happens... You get funny symbols that look like the unversal icons on tape playing equipment for STOP, FAST FORWARD, PLAY, PAUSE, and RECORD (in that order). This is obviously a message to the fans to start checking out their albums. Play them any way you can in order to search for hidden death clues. The interesting thing is, REWIND is the only icon missing here. Maybe that's what the diamond shape between the FF and PLAY icons means. Perhaps the message is telling us to play our Animaniacs albums backwards for hidden clues. Hmmm... what an interesting idea...
- In "What Are We?" the Warners suggest they might be dinosaurs and Dr. Scratchansniff says, "But then you'd be extinct". How observant of him! I suppose if you were dead you might be an expert in the field of extinction.
- In "Video Revue", the Warners sing, "As for us it's bye-bye time". According to some sources, this could be a reference to the fact that the orginal Scratchansniff went bye-bye.
- "The Senses" song has a really good clue to what may have led to the end of the original Dr. Scratchansniff. There is the lyric, "The sense of hearing is something good / 'Cause if a tree falls in the wood / Would there be a sound? You bet there would / If it landed on top of your head / Your head / If a tree lands on top of your head". In the cartoon version of this song it is indeed Dr. Scratchansniff (or a look-alike), dressed as a lumberjack, who gets pounded into the ground by a tree.
And yet, others say this is just symbolism alluding to the fact that old Scratchy was merely no longer "right in the head". To further demonstrate this point, the Warners later sing, "And a sense of confusion; we're out of control / and they really should take us away". In that case, maybe Dr. Scratchansniff did just go crazy after all.
- Just when you think Dr. Scratchansniff must have gone nuts and dissapeared from the clues in "The Senses", the Warners sing "Be Careful What You Eat". Some believe this song provides another clue to the way the good doctor had expired. Could Scratchansniff have actually overdosed on Monosodium Glutamate or perhaps some deoxylite tri-silicon dipped in chocolate? The whole world was aghast. Could Dr. Scratchansiff have been murdered?
- In "Let the Anvils Ring", Yakko sings "I bet you all are wondering, who is this young unknown?" Some researchers believe that Yakko is singing to the the fans whom, by then, had heard of the rumors and indeed wondered, "Who was this man that replaced the original Dr. Scratchansniff?" Yakko even eludes to the fact that the imposter was younger than the original. It is believed that the imposter didn't look enough like Dr. Scratchansniff and had to undergo plastic surgery to make him look older and more closely resemble the original. Some of the more dedicated fans claim to have still noticed the difference despite the surgery.
Yakko's World (1994)
||The whole Yakko's World album project in 1994 came as a result of the Warner's scouring the globe in search of poor Dr. Scratchansniff.|
- In "A Quake! A Quake!" Yakko sings, "It's a quiet peaceful night / The moon is shining bright / Giving not a hint of what's in store". Some believe this is a reference to the night that Dr. Scratchansniff dissapeared. The actual day of the week was mentioned in another song on a later album.
- In "The Ballad of Magellan", Yakko sings "There once was a man..." The "man" that "once was" was Dr. Scratchansniff.
- In "Several Drops of Rain", Dot sings about the water cycle. At one point, Yakko and Wakko break in with "And in the swamp it picks up germs / From bacteria and worms / And if you drink it, you'll get really / Sick and die". This may be another clue as to what may have killed poor Dr. Scratchansniff. He drank some contaminated water.
- Wakko sings "I'll Take an Island". Some believe that if the doctor really ran away, he might have gone to some deserted island away from the rest of the world. The song is actually a plea from the middle Warner sib that he'll take any island that Dr. Scratchansniff might be found on. This song came as a result of an exhaustive search made by Wakko to locate his good friend on one of the many islands of the world. He even ends the song with, "If you're looking for me / Try an island / Anywhere on the globe". It's possible Wakko meant that as a request asking Dr. Scratchansniff to join him had he a change of heart and wanted to come home.
- There is a song on this album called "There's Only One Of You". This is a message to Scratchansniff's imposter that there is only one real Dr. Scratchansniff and no one can replace him.
Variety Pack (1995)
||Variety Pack in 1995 became the first Animaniacs album to actually feature Dr. Scratchansniff on the cover (the first Scratchy tribute album?), which provided many more death clues in itself.|
- On the album cover, Dr Scratchansniff is pointing to the letter "K" in the word, "pack". Is this is the imposter Scratchy saying that the real doctor was "killed"? But perhaps he is pointing to the "C" which would then note that the doctor merely went "crazy". Or maybe he really is pointing to the "K", but the imposter is a bad speller, so he was trying to spell "Krazy".
- The Warners on the album cover appear on mock cereal boxes, or something close to it. The odd thing about these boxes are the strange messages witten on them. Dot's hand seems to be showcasing the message on Yakko's box, so start there. Yakko's box is the most unusual. Under "Nutritional Facts" it says, "If you want facts, try the new age section". Why would it say that? Everyone knows that books about ghosts, horoscope charts, and other unusual or unexplained things can be found in the new age section. Could Yakko be telling us to look there for facts about Dr. Scratchansniff's mysterious death?
Almost as if you acknowlege this, Wakko's box asks, "does that surprise you?" As in, "does that surprise you" that we're telling you to look in the new age section for answers to what happened to Dr. Scratchansniff? Of course, this was actually a response to the above text stating, "Calories: Mostly Empty..." Or was it??
By now anyone would be a bit spooked. And for good reason. Especially after, even more curiously, Dot's box assures us to, "Be afraid be very afraid". Cooincidence? I think not! I don't know about you, but it sure makes me want to run down to the bookstore right now. See you there!
- On the back cover of the lyrics booklet, Dr. Scratchansniff is pointing to Yakko. Maybe Yakko really is the walrus!
- In "Variety Speak" Yakko sings, "The budget goes crunch / But his name packs punch / So they called up the accountants and they're gonna do lunch". Some believe "The budget goes crunch" supports the theory that the good doctor had asked for a raise and it was denied. But if his name packs punch and the accountants are going to get together to discuss something over lunch, then why would Scratchansniff walk out? It sounds as if the accountants were attempting to work something out to appease him. Perhaps this verse is actually referring to the coverup that occurred shortly after the studio learned that Dr. Scratchansniff was gone. The budget will go crunch without Scratchy because his name packs punch so Mr. Plotz called up the accountants to do lunch in order to think of something that would help the studio out of this jam. The "accountants" mentioned in the song may have been actual accountants or perhaps the word was merely used to signify the people who helped plan the conspiracy.
Also, in the lyrics booklet, Yakko points to the phrases "just one week" and "no one understands" from the song, "Variety Speak". His hand also looks as if it's trying to grab a hold of the phrase, "everyone involved is gone". Folks believe these phrases are riddled with meaning. Why else would Yakko be pointing to them!? "No one understands" meant that no one understood what was going on because the whole cover up was really hush-hush. "Everyone involved is gone" explained that everyone involved in the coverup had gone to make plans to replace to good doctor. "Just one week" implied that it took just one week to find an imposter to replace the real Dr. Scratchansniff.
- "The Monkey Song" is revered by many as a major clue which supports the theory that Dr. Scratchansniff went insane due to the Warners. He even sings, "I don't know what to say, the monkeys won't do". It becomes apparent during the song that the monkeys Scratchy refers to are actually the Warners. It kinda makes you wonder:
Surlaw eht t'nsaw okkay.
Yeknom eht saw okkay?
In addition, Dr. Scratchansniff starts this song out with, "One Monday morning, I got up late". Some insist that this is a clue to the day of the week that Scratchansniff went insane and ran off.
- In the lyrics booklet, Dot is pointing to the phrases, "I can't take that riot" and "I want quiet! Quiet! Quiet!" from the song, "Dot's Quiet Time", a song that Dot sings. Is Dot channeling the spirit of Dr. Scratchansniff in this song? It seems that he is speaking beyond the grave. Scratchy "can't take that riot" caused by the zany Warners. Even in death he can't manage to escape them and calls for "Quiet! Quiet! Quiet!"
- The title of "The Goodbye Song" was intended for the Warner's dear, departed "p-sychiatrist".
The Faboo! Collection (1995)
||The Faboo! Collection in 1995 housed the Warners' first and third previously released albums as a two CD set. Why? Because it was a great way to put out the existing "Scratchy is Dead" clues along with a few new ones!|
- Some sources insist that the title wasn't even supposed to read "FABOO!" at all. The letters were instead placed in the wrong order when the cover was laid out. The Warners did not become aware of this change until after it was too late. No wonder Dot looks so sour! The confusion was due to the fact that, "F-A-B-O-O", coincidentally were the same letters used in, "faboo", the favorite catchprase often voiced by Wakko. There are several theories as to what the real lettering on the cover was supposed to be:
The first theory expressed that the letters were actually supposed to be arranged as, "FOBAO". This was meant to be an acronym: "For Our Beloved Associate, Otto" in which the Warners dedicated the double album set to their departed friend. Dr. Scratchansniff's first name was, of course, Otto. Sound farfetched? Then take a look at Wakko. He's holding on to the letter "A" and pointing to the "O". He seems to be trying to tell us something. What is it Wakko? What is it, boy? It appears Wakko's showing us that you must switch the "A" and the "O" in order to put the letters back the way in which the Warners had originally intended.
Others disagree with this. They believe Wakko is just hanging around, acting like his normal goofy self. These people insist that it is actually Yakko who is giving us the clue as to the correct order of the letters. In this case, the letters are supposed to spell out "BOOFA", another acronym standing for, "Bye Otto, Our Favorite Associate". This theory is fueled by the fact that it almost seems as if Yakko is, in retaliation, trying to rearrange the letters by pushing the "FA" away and pulling the "BOO" towards himself.
And yet another group of people believe that the letters are not switched around at all. They believe that "FABOO" stands for, "Former Ally, Beloved Old Otto".
- Whatever "FABOO" is really supposed to spell out, most agree that the text written along the bottom of the cover, "(we know you're out there)" was an endearing message from the Warners, specifically intended for the real Dr. Scratchansniff. It was to let him know that, alive or dead, he will always be remembered... wherever he is.
A Hip-Hopera Christmas (1997)
||Just three years after the release of this album, Animaniacs as a show would no longer exist. Had Dr. Scratchansniff's disapearance played a part in it? A Hip-Hopera Christmas came out in 1997... the Warners' later years. It's really weird. It's obvious that the death of Dr. Scratchansniff had taken its toll on the Warners. Not at all happy and perky like their earlier albums.|
- A Hip-Hopera Christmas tells the story of "A Christmas Plotz", a parody of Charles Dickens' classic, "A Christmas Carol" done to crazy rap and opera type music. In it, the Warners portray the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. It's the first album in which the Warners actually portray characters other than themselves. They lash out against Mr. Plotz throughout the story. Was it really because Plotz fired Ralph or were the Warners still mad that the studio CEO refused to tell the world that Dr. Scratchansniff was gone? In the light of all the evidence, I think you can figure out the answer to that yourself.
Wacky Universe (1999)
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Go Hollywood (1999)
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- In the episode, "Drive-Insane" (episode #53) Dr. Scratchansniff is wearing a toupe... or is it? This is actually the Scratchansniff imposter, with hair! Yakko's comment about it is is own little outcry for help. "Hey Scratchy, looks like something died on your head," Yakko clearly uses the word "died" to indicate that the real doctor is gone. He mentions this so that viewers will take notice that there is something different about this "other" doctor.
- Notice that the Warners call the Scratchansniff imposter "Scratchy" a lot. This is a reference to Scratchy, the cat from the "Itchy and Scratchy Show" on The Simpsons. Scratchy the cat is almost always the one who dies by the end of the cartoon.
- In the "Previously on Animaniacs" segment in the beginning of episode #72, Scratchy tells Mr. Puppethead, "I don't think I love you. I don't think I ever loved you." crushing poor Mr. Puppethead's hopes and dreams. There was no doubt that the real Dr. Scratchansniff loved Mr. Puppethead, but it had been years since Mr. Puppethead participated in the Warner's therepy sessions. This is because the imposter Scratchy did not care for the puppet and therefore never brought him along. In this scene, we catch the imposter finally dumping the real Dr. Scratchansniff's beloved friend.
- The gag credit in episode #73 says "Surlaw Eht T'nsaw Luap, Surlaw Eht Saw Okkay" It's backwards: "Paul wasn't the walrus, Yakko was the walrus."
Paul being the Walrus has to do with an entirely different conspiracy theory regarding a popular 60's rock group that I believe was called the Beatles. The rumor (which turned out to be an elaborate hoax) stated that Beatle, Paul McCartney, had died in a car accident and was replaced without the public even knowing it. Odd clues were supposedly left in song lyrics and album covers and such trying to tell the fans what couldn't be said in person.
The Beatles song, "Glass Onion" from the Beatles' white album, has the lyrics, "I've told you about the Walrus and me / You know that we're as close as can be / Well, here's another clue for you all / The Walrus was Paul". The Warners must have been familiar with this conspiracy which, ironically, bears a striking resemblence to their own predicament. The reason the credit might have placed Yakko as the walrus could have possibly been due ta the fact that Mr. Plotz was on to the Warners after seeing the opening "Penny Laney" credits for this episode (see below). They added this so-called "gag credit" to throw Plotz off the track. Similarly, in the film, "Magical Mystery Tour", when the Beatles sing "I Am the Walrus" while wearing animal costumes, it was actually John who was wearing the walrus costume.
- Note on Alternative Lyric: "Penny Lane-y". The visual is a very toony, VERY good re-creation of the cover of the Beatles album, "Abbey Road". "Penny Lane" is the name of one of the Beatles' songs from the "Magical Mystery Tour" album. Scratchy is bare-footed, much like Paul was on the cover and is walking out of step with the others. With this Beatles spoof, it is obvious they are trying to tell you that very much like Paul, Dr. Scratchansniff is very much gone by now.
- In episode #87 we finally learn the fake Scratchy's real name! In "Anchors A-Warners" the imposter is registered for the cruise ship under the name "Mr. Jones". The story behind this was that the Warners were beginning to drive even Scratchansniff's imposter a little nuts. Therefore the studio paid (although not much which is why he kept explaining that he was on a budget) for the fake Scratchy to get away for awhile. The Warners learned of this and followed the imposter to make sure he didn't try anything sneaky. Note the "disguise" the imposter is wearing in the beginning of this episode. Could this possibly be what Mr. Jones looked like before he took over the role of the good doctor?
- In episode #91, featuring "Back In Style", the Warners even appeared with a close facsimile of the Beatles. Dr. Scratchansniff most certainly would have been in the scene had he not ran away.
- ChillyMouse found another alarming clue to the dissapearance of Dr. Scratchansniff... "I did something kinna funny awhile ago. Just for the fun of it, I played the Macadamia Nut [episode #92] song backwards on the video editor. In one part, Dot said 'drip in the pot'. I don't remember what it was normally. Does this mean anything?"
It certainly does, Chilly. It means that Yakko is the walrus, Wakko is Ringo and Dr. Scratchansniff is dead. You can also hear Dot say, "walk on water" which is obviously a reference to when Yakko said the Warners were bigger than Jesus. Wait, maybe that was someone else...
Hear Dot say "drip down in the pot" (16K) and "walk on the water" (19K)!
- The coloring book, "Slappy Squirrel's Now THAT'S Comedy" includes an image of a man that looks very much like Dr. Scratchansniff... with a mustashe! Is this the impostor before he joined the show or is this the real Scratchy finally revealed after all this time? Click here to see the full page.
Have you noticed any more evidence that supports the dead Scratchy theory? Email me and let me know!
Okkay I fess up. This page, unlike my "Is Wakko a Long Lost Beatle Page", is entirely fictional, made up. If ya haven't figured it out yet, THIS IS ALL JUST A JOKE, silly. Or is it? You tell me. You can make anything connected if ya look hard enough. But gosh, if Paul could be dead, then why couldn't any of this stuff be true?
Get Back, Ringo, Get Back!
LAST UPDATED: Monday July 17, 2000.
The Animaniacs, characters, names, titles, and all other related indica on this page are trademarks of Warner Bros., copyright 1993-2000. The Beatles and everything connected ta the name is property of Apple Corps Ltd. No challenge of ownership ta trademarked property here is intended or implied.