February 04, 2023



(The WB, October 19, 1996-May 17, 1997)
Warner Bros. Television Animation, Nelvana



Orlando Brown – Damey “Waynhead” Wayne
Tico Wells – Marvin
Jamil Walker Smith – Mo’ Money Jr.
T’Keya Crystal Keymáh – Roz, Shavonne, Aki
Shawn Wayans – Toof
Gary Coleman – Kevin
Kim Wayans – Mrs. Wayne
John Witherspoon – Mr. Wayne


Actor, comedian, producer and writer Damon Wayans had been working steadily in the 1980s, including a brief stint on Saturday Night Live, but his breakout moment came as a writer and performer on the sketch comedy series In Living Color in 1990. He left the show just two years into its 4-year run to pursue a movie career; however, he would return to television several times. One of those times involved the development of an animated series that would take inspiration from his childhood.

Damon Wayans.

Originally the show known as The Wayneheads was meant to be a Claymation series airing on FOX; home to In Living Color and later Wayans’ short-lived sitcom, Damon. It was announced as preparing to debut in the fall of 1991 in a New York Times article and was even mentioned on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson when Carson listed the upcoming shows for the new season. However, the show was shelved and retooled over the next few years into the traditionally animated series it would become.

Promo art featuring Damey Wayne.

Now known as Waynehead, it followed the daily life of 10-year-old Damey “Waynehead” Wayne (Orlando Brown) in downtown New York City. The term “Waynehead” was a teasing term derived from the fact that because Damey’s family had so little money, they got their haircuts at home (also an inside joke between the Wayans siblings about their similar hairstyles). Damey had a club foot (as did Wayans as a kid), which caused him to struggle to keep up with his friends at times (climbing fences, for example, was fairly difficult) and kept him from doing everything they did (such as anything to do with water to keep his shoe’s brace from rusting). It also made him the prime target for neighborhood bullies. However, he could give as good as he got with his sharp wit; especially when someone tried to make fun of his foot. Whenever faced with a dilemma, Damey’s imagination tended to take over and put him in a fantasy world that sometimes helped, and other times left him just as stumped as he began.

Damey plays some rooftop basketball with Mo' Money, Roz, Marvin and Toof.

With Damey often was his crew: Marvin (Tico Wells), Damey’s best friend who tended to tell tall tales; Mo’ Money (Jamal Walker Smith), who was always eager to scam someone out of money—even his friends; Roz (T’Keya Crystal Keymáh), the only girl and most athletic of the group; and Toof (Shawn Wayans), a dimwit with a single tooth and an extreme love for all things candy. Other characters included Damey’s pregnant mother (Kim Wayans) and hard-working father (John Witherspoon, who was also starring in his brothers’ show, The Wayans Bros.), his older brother, Kevin (Gary Coleman) and bratty little sister, Shavonne (Keymáh); Marvin’s big, burly brother, Blue (Marlon Wayans); Damey’s neighbor from Africa, Aki (Keymáh), who sometimes hung out with the gang and was considered nerdy because of his lack of understand of American culture; a friendly three-legged stray dog named Tripod (Frank Welker); and a group of older bullies that attended St. Mary’s Catholic school. Additional members of the citizenry, as well as various locations around New York City, were shown in a series of three snapshots during breaks in the story.

Damey getting some bad news from the doctor about his foot with his mother.

Waynehead debuted on The WB as part of the Kids’ WB programming block on October 19, 1996. The network had picked it up in the hopes of adding a little diversity into their line-up, and as a result it became a joint production between Warner Bros. Television Animation and Nelvana. The series was written by Tim Hightower, Brad Kaaya (both of whom would go to work on Damon), Carmenita Bravo, Kevin Hopps, W. Reed Moran, Chris Otsuki and David Wyatt, with Hopps serving as head writer and Grant Moran and Dianne Dixon as story editors. Moran was also the series’ casting director and producer. The theme and music were composed by Stanley Clarke, with additional music by Todd Cochran and Kennard Ramsey. Hanho Heung-Up Co. Ltd. and Philippine Animation Studio Inc. handled the primary animation, while TMS-Kyokuichi Corporation did the opening titles.

Dancing in Washington Square Park.

Unfortunately, the series only lasted a single season of 13 episodes before it was cancelled. While the network said it was because of low ratings that never improved, Wayans claimed in TV Guide that he was told it wasn’t “black enough, or funny enough.” Despite the short run, the series’ short run, it found a second life on Cartoon Network from 1998 until 2000 and was broadcast around the world. It also received an homage in the Pinky and the Brain episode “Dangerous Brains”; with Pinky adopting the alias “Jergen Pinkhead” and a parody of the show’s theme playing during his entrance. Waynehead wouldn’t receive any kind of official home media release until April 20, 2001; when it was made available to purchase digitally on iTunes, Prime Video and Vudu nearly 25 years after its debut.


“Demon of the Dozens” (10/19/96) – Damey looks for dirt he can use in his insult battle with the school bully.
“No Mo’ Money” (10/26/96) – The gang tries to earn money so they can go to the Harlem Week festival and Mo’ Money tries to scam their way into even more.
“Brothers and Bros.” (11/2/96) – Tired of his brother getting all of his family’s respect, Damey decides to sneak out and watch a fight with his friends.
“Bostawana Aki and the Hydrant of Doom” (11/9/96) – Damey wants to get canned goods for free admission into a concert, but he’s forced to hang out with the nerdy new kid.
“3 Hats and You’re Out” (11/16/96) – Damey’s gang becomes cool when his cousin starts hanging with them, but choices must be made when he demands one of their own be cut out.
“Dad’s a Spaz” (11/23/96) – Damey asks his father to coach his gang for an upcoming basketball game only to discover he’s lousy at the sport.
“Be Mine...Or Else” (12/31/96) – Roz becomes smitten with Damey when he accidentally saves her from junkyard dogs.
“To Be Cool or Not to Be” (2/1/97) – Damey has a role in an opera—something he’s desperate to keep from his friends.
“Special Delivery” (2/15/97) – Damey and his gang must get his mother to the hospital when she goes into labor.
“Quest for Fireworks” (4/19/97) – When rumors spread after the gang believes Toof stood up to the cops, everyone believes Toof has become their hookup for illegal fireworks.
“A Friend in Greed” (4/26/97) – The decision on what to spend their money on is taken out of the gang’s hands when Marvin steals it and buys himself and Waynhead what they wanted.
“Bummed Out” (5/3/97) – A homeless DJ plays on Damey’s guilt over a prank his gang pulled just before he was fired.
“Rebel Without a Paw” (5/17/97) – Damey tries to find tripod a new home but it proves difficult because of his missing leg.

No comments: