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Trash-O-Madness facts for kids

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Genre Comedy
Created by Joe Murray
Developed by Nickelodeon
Written by Joe Murray
Directed by Joe Murray
Voices of Carlos Alazraqui
Composer(s) Marshall Crutcher (original pilot version)
Pat Irwin (extended version)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Vanessa Coffey
Mary Harrington
Producer(s) Joe Murray
Marty McNamara
George Maestri
Nick Jennings
Running time 8:19 (Original Pilot Version)
11:00 (Extended Version)
Production company(s) Joe Murray Productions
Nickelodeon Productions
Picture format SD: 4:3, 480i/576i
Audio format Dolby SR

Trash-O-Madness is a 1992 animated short (which began production in 1991) created by Joe Murray, who, prior to this point, had made several independent animated shorts (including The Chore and My Dog Zero), as well as a MTV ID, and it was the pilot episode for what became Nickelodeon's 4th Nicktoon, Rocko's Modern Life. During the series' first season, a new version of the pilot, that was extended for the purposes of including it as a regular episode, was produced. The new version was paired up "The Good, the Bad, and the Wallaby" as the 10th episode to be produced, and aired as the 6th. In addition, that episode featured an extended end credit sequence to accommodate the names of production crew behind "Trash-O-Madness". On February 7, 2012, the original pilot version found its way onto Shout! Factory's season 2 DVD as a special feature. In Rocko's Modern Life: Spunky's Dangerous Day, the second level is named after this episode.


Rocko and his dog, Spunky, both have to deal with taking out the trash. Which might form things really get in the way, Earl the local dog.


Joe Murray originally wrote "A Sucker for the Suck-O-Matic" as the pilot episode but the executives decided that Heffer might be "a little too weird for test audiences." Murray, instead of removing Heffer from "A Sucker for the Suck-O-Matic," decided to write "Trash-O-Madness" as the pilot episode.

Murray co-produced the pilot episode with George Maestri, Marty McNamara, and Nick Jennings at Joe Murray Studio in Saratoga, California, United States. McNamara assembled a cadre of animators. Murray animated half of the pilot, and several San Francisco Bay-area animators such as Robert Scull, Maestri, Jennings, and Timothy Björklund animated the other half. Jennings created all of the production backgrounds.

Murray then hired a camera company. Once the plan fell behind schedule, Murray, Nick Jennings, and George Maestri modified a 35 millimeter camera to film during the night. Tom Schott acted as the cameraman. In the daytime the team transported the film via automobile to San Francisco for processing. After viewing the completed portions, the team arrived in Saratoga to continue the production. Murray rented a motel room for team members to take shifts sleeping and showering; Murray, Jennings, Maestri, and Schott took shifts at the motel. Policemen visited the animators on numerous occasions due to noise produced by the studio.

The team completed the film on schedule; the crew later expanded the film to 11 minutes for use in the series. Murray describes the animation of "Trash-O-Madness" as containing "variations in the Rocko models" and "a lot more stretch than usual" in the animation.

Differences between the original pilot and the new version

  • The music, sound effects, and some of the voices were completely different, even though Carlos Alazraqui did all the voices in both versions.
  • The pilot featured a completely different opening, that began with a photo album, showing Rocko through the years, and then showed clips from the pilot episode, along with sketches of Rocko with Ed and Bev Bighead, and Heffer. The new version, simply began with a generic title card.
  • Rocko was originally yellow, but was changed to beige as the toy company that wanted to market plush toys based on him already had a yellow-colored character.
  • The original pilot was 8 minutes long. In the new version, roughly a minute and a half worth of footage was added for, as stated above, the purposes of including it as a regular episode. An extended end credit sequence was also created to extend the length of the pilot.
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