Exclusive Interview Series: Andrea Romano…More On ANIMANIACS, Mindy, Buttons and a Girl Named Bart Simpson

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Eight-time Emmy-winning animation casting and voice director, Andrea Romano, has been instrumental in launching careers, as well as giving actors and crew some sage advice.

With over 40 Emmy nominations under her belt, Romano’s advice is certainly worth its weight in Emmy gold.  Here is more on STEVEN SPIELBERG PRESENTS ANIMANIACS, Mindy and Buttons, the classic Warner Bros. style and a very recognizable voice.

This is Part 3 of our exclusive interview series with Andrea Romano.  For more in our series, click here.

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THE TV ADDICT:  STEVEN SPIELBERG PRESENTS ANIMANIACS was an eclectic delight of different styles.  Can we talk about Mindy and Buttons with regard to that?

ANDREA ROMANO:  Mindy and Buttons was a series of segments on ANIMANIACS.

Buttons was a pet dog, and Mindy was a toddler who was a latchkey kid.  Her mom would put her out in the backyard in a harness, put her on a swing and leave her in the backyard alone with the dog.

The mom would tell Buttons, “Now you’re responsible for Mindy.  Take care of Mindy.”  Then, the mom would go back into the house for hours.  Mindy would invariably slip out of the harness and get into incredible trouble.

The dog, Buttons, always would be the one to save the day.  It was in the very classic style of the Warner Bros. cartoons.

Mindy and Buttons photo
Mindy would crawl over to a construction site and end up on a girder at the top of a 30-story building, toddling along the top of the building.  Buttons would be teetering behind her, trying to save her.

She would step off of one girder onto another girder safely, and Buttons, of course, would fall and get squished while she was perfectly safe.

Mindy would see Buttons doing all kinds of crazy stuff and giggle, “Silly puppy.”

Andrea Mindy Buttons Mom
They would end up back in the backyard at the end of every episode.  She would be back in her harness but would be a little bit dirty after the adventure.  Poor Buttons would be an absolute pancake and a mess.

Mom would come out and say, “Oh Mindy!  How did you get dirty?”  Then, she would yell at Buttons, “Bad dog! Bad dog!”  After saving her life, Buttons was in trouble because Mindy got dirty.

Andrea interview photo Mindy & Buttons and Ralph

TVA:  Was there a particular challenge when casting that segment?

AR:  Mindy was described as the “cutest baby ever,” so we needed the voice to be really cute.

Nancy Cartwright photo

[Actress] Nancy Cartwright was able to portray cuteness when she said, “Silly puppy” to Buttons as a girder was squishing him or when he was being hit by an anvil…whatever precarious thing that hit him and missed her.

She also could do sound effects, kind of like a female Frank Welker as far as doing all kinds of inanimate objects as well as people.  We needed that very often when she was voicing Mindy.

Mindy and Buttons was one of those very sweet cartoons, and we were very lucky to get Nancy to voice that.  I had known Nancy back from my Hanna-Barbera days, and I gave her some advice when she was doing a series called POPEYE AND SON.

Andrea Nancy Cartwright Popeye and son

She was doing a little girl’s voice, and I told her that she really needed to expand into little boys’ voices, because she absolutely had the type of edge in her voice that would allow her to do that.

I told her, “I really think you’ll have more opportunities if you find a way to do both ‘little girl’ and ‘little boy’ voices.”

So, again, not to toot my own horn, but she has gone on and done very well doing little boy voices.

Nancy Cartwright and Bart Simpson

(Editor’s Note:  Nancy Cartwright has been the voice of Bart Simpson since 1989.  That’s 26 seasons and counting…)

If you missed other parts of our interview with Andrea Romano, click here.  Stay tooned for Part 4.

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