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Entertainment Earth

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GameStop, Inc.

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Entertainment Earth

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"Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit outta my hat."

- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium Curator

The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show (known as Rocky & His Friends during its first two seasons and as The Bullwinkle Show for the remainder of its run) is an animated television series that originally aired from November 19th, 1959 to June 27th, 1964 on the ABC and NBC television networks. Produced by Jay Ward Productions, the series is structured as a variety show, with the main feature being the serialized adventures of the two title characters, the anthropomorphic moose Bullwinkle and flying squirrel Rocky. The main adversaries in most of their adventures are the Russian-like spies Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. Supporting segments include Dudley Do-Right (a parody of old-time melodrama), Peabody & Sherman (a dog and his pet boy traveling through time), and Fractured Fairy Tales (classic fairy tales retold in comic fashion), among others.

Rocky & Bullwinkle is known for the quality of its writing and humor. Mixing puns, cultural and topical satire, and self-referential humor, it was designed to appeal to adults as well as children. It was also one of the first cartoons whose animation was outsourced; storyboards were shipped to Gamma Productions, the same Mexican studio employed by Total Television. Thus the art has a choppy, unpolished look and the animation is extremely limited even by television animation standards. Yet the series has been held in high esteem by those who have seen it; some critics have described the series as a well-written radio program with pictures.

The show was never a ratings hit and was shuffled around the day (airing in afternoon, prime time, and Saturday morning) but has garnered a minor yet influential cult following over the decades, influencing shows from The Simpsons to Rocko's Modern Life and spawned a number of feature films.

The idea for The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show dates back to the late 40’s and early 50’s. In 1947 Jay Ward and Alex Anderson, working as Television Arts Productions, proposed "The Comic Strips of Television" to NBC-TV It would be a television-exclusive cartoon series and consisted of three ideas. A private eye named Hamhock Jones, another about a rabbit named Crusader and his tiger friend Rags team who would go on adventures, and a third about a dimwitted Canadian mountie named Dudley Do-Right. NBC ended up picking up Crusader Rabbit for a full series, passing on Hamhock Jones and Dudley Do-Right. The first sale and broadcast of Crusader Rabbit was to KNBH in Los Angeles beginning August 1st, 1950.

In the first episodes, Crusader Rabbit battled many villains including Dudley Nightshade and Whetstone Whiplash/Sternwheel Jackson who all looked very much alike being lean, dressed in black and with mustaches (Nightshade had a French Imperial and Whiplash/Jackson a handlebar). These characters pre-date the more well known Snidley Whiplash from Dudley Do-Right.

When Capital Enterprises/TV Spots revived the series (in color) in 1959 nobody remembered the old 1949-51 episodes and it was decided to give Crusader a continuing arch-enemy. TV Spots preferred the name Dudley Nightshade but also preferred the appearance of Whetstone/Sternwheel so the new Nightshade was a combination of the two and apparently a master of disguise. As the character announced at the end of episode eight of “The Great Uranium Hunt”: “They’ll rue this day or my name ain’t Dudley Nightshade alias, Nightly Dudshade, alias Sternwhell Jackson, alias Whetstone Whiplash&ldots;” The narrator cuts in with “Dudley can go on like this for hours, so let’s close for now”.

In 1951 during a six month gap when it wasn’t clear whether or not NBC would renew Crusader Rabbit following a strong run of 130 episodes. Total Arts Productions sent another series of ideas to the executives at NBC. Included amoung the ideas was another private eye series and a how called "The Frostbite Falls Review". This show would be about six animals in the North Woods who had gotten their own television station as was intended to be a satirical comment on the early television industry. The group (pictured below) included Rocket J. Squirrel (Rocky), Oski Bear, Canadian Moose (Bullwinkle), Sylvester Fox, Blackstone Crow, and Floral Fauna. Bullwinkle's name came from the name of a car dealership in Berkeley, California called Bullwinkel Motors and the name "Frostbite Falls" originated from a mixture of the city of International Falls, Minnesota, and it’s nickname "the Ice Box of America". NBC passed upon The Frostbite Falls Review and renewed Crusader Rabbit for one last season, bringing its total up to 195 episodes.

Following this was a period of uncertainty for Jay Ward and Alex Anderson; the rights to Crusader Rabbit switched hands a few times, until it wasn’t clear who really owned the character. Jay Ward and friend Leonard Key attempted to make a revival series of Crusader Rabbit several years later (with the help of William Hanna), but failed as the courts ruled against them in 1957. There would be no further Crusader Rabbit shorts from Jay Ward.

The television market in the late 50s was rapidly changing and cartoons made for television were becoming more popular. In the same year of that court ruling, William Hanna took what he learned from the brief time on the failed Crusader Rabbit revival and with partner Joseph Barbera created Ruff & Reddy. They followed a year later with Huckleberry Hound. Networks and syndicators were now looking anywhere they could for up-and-coming animation studios to produce programs for television.

Without his original star, Jay Ward scrambled to come up with a new series but his partner Alex Anderson was busy working in his own advertising business, and was not eager to return to animation. After speaking with Jerry Fairbanks, who had helped produce Crusader Rabbit, Ward was eventually pointed in the direction of Bill Scott, a theatrical short writer who had worked on several Looney Tunes shorts and UPA’s Gerald McBoing-Boing. Together with writer Charlie Shows, the three started developing a series that would’ve been called "Phineas T. Phox, Adventurer", about a detective agency run by a Sam Spade-esque fox and his bumbling bear assistant. While half a dozen scripts were produced, there were initial difficulties between the men, leading to Ward walking out and the project being shut down.

This was then that Ward decided to rework his Frostbite Falls Review idea into something new. Gone were most of the cast and the television station angle, but Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Bullwinkle Moose were kept with some minor retooling. Six months after the failure of "Phineas Phox", Ward called up Scott, asking him if he’d be interested in writing an adventure script about a moose and a squirrel. Scott, not one to turn down a job offer, accepted. In many ways, Bill Scott is credited as the soul of Rocky and Bullwinkle; while it was Jay Ward who created the characters and designed the confident short / bumbling tall pairing which he originated from Crusader Rabbit, it was Bill Scott (below right with Jay Ward) who really brought the series to life with his unique comedic style, mixing satire and puns in a way that hadn’t been seen in television cartoons to that point. They would later be joined by writers Chris Hayward and Allan Burns, who later became head writer for MTM Enterprises.

Rocky was somewhat inspired by Mighty Mouse, a series about a Superman-esque mouse which Jay Ward’s former partner Alex Anderson had worked on while at the Terrytoons Studio. Whereas Mighty Mouse shared Superman’s same style of flight without any means of propulsion, Rocky was a flying squirrel, initially intended to have artificial wings (as flying squirrels don’t actually fly). One of the major things that Ward retooled was removing these artificial wings, giving Rocky the ability to fly without assistance, just like Mighty Mouse. While fearless and intelligent, Rocky was also gullible and easily fooled by disguises.

Bullwinkle came from a dream Anderson had one night, about bringing a large goofy moose who could do card tricks to a poker party. Bullwinkle was the comic relief of the duo, often clueless and always getting himself and his friend into mishaps.

Just as every good adventure needs heroes, it also needs villains. To oppose their stars, Ward and Scott created Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale, two incompetent spies from the nation of Pottsylvania who reported to a dictator only known as Fearless Leader (and sometimes to his superior, Mr. Big, who contrary to his name, was as short as Rocky). Between their Russian accents, spy occupations, and the Eastern European feel of Pottsylvania, they had been designed as a satire on the Cold War era which the world was currently in the midst of. In fact, the Russian government took this satire so personally that Rocky & Bullwinkle was banned in Russia for being "anti-Soviet propaganda"!

Each story, which ranged from as short as four segments (two episodes) to as long as twenty segments (ten episodes), saw Rocky and Bullwinkle on a different adventure in the style of a film serial or a radio play. Many adventures were the result of Rocky and Bullwinkle being in the wrong place at the wrong time, getting thrown into one situation after another due to various mishaps. On each adventure, Boris and Natasha would try to derail them in their own goal of stealing something valuable for Fearless Leader, but ultimately end up failing, often because of their own incompetence.

In the pilot, Bullwinkle accidentally creates a new type of rocket fuel in his kitchen using his grandmother’s recipe for cake mix and, following a trip to the moon to get back his stove which flew away, Bullwinkle is commissioned by the US government to recreate the rocket fuel, leading Boris and Natasha to try to steal the recipe. Eventually they encounter aliens Gidney and Cloyd, who also want the formula. This pilot, as well as the first few episodes, included a laugh track. The series would eventually ditch this by the end of the first season.

The series began with the pilot Rocky the Flying Squirrel. Production began in February 1958 with the hiring of voice actors June Foray, Paul Frees, Bill Scott, and William Conrad. Frees, a long-time voice in the radio business known best at the time for announcer and narrator roles would eventually be replaced as the announcer by actor William Conrad. Frees was also cast in the role of Boris.

For Rocky and Natasha, Ward and Scott sought out June Foray, well known in the animation business for roles such as Granny and Witch Hazel in the Looney Tunes shorts, as well as Lucifer the Cat in Cinderella. They met with Foray, and after some drinks, she accepted the role saying "Sure, I’ll do it. What the hell!"

As the recording date neared they still didn't have a Bullwinkle. Scott began to ask Ward who they were getting for the moose. Ward said that he figured Scott would be Bullwinkle, and with the prospect of being paid an extra $50 per episode (the session fee for voice actors at the time), Bill Scott was cast as Bullwinkle (as well as Fearless Leader and Mr. Big).

The pilot was recorded at Universal Studios but was still unsold and without a sponsor. At this time you couldn't get on television without a sponsor. Kellogg’s had hit it big with their sponsorship of Huckleberry Hound the previous year, so their rival General Mills was open to hearing Ward and Scott’s pitch. Bill Scott met with the General Mills board members in the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood (Jay Ward was unable to attend due to being briefly hospitalized for a nervous breakdown), and negotiations began. The contract was signed after an agreement was made that the show would be animated in Mexico, where animation costs could be greatly reduced.

Eight months after the pilot was recorded, General Mills signed a deal to sponsor the cartoon, under the condition that the show be run in a late-afternoon time slot, where it could be targeted toward children. Subsequently, Ward hired most of the rest of the production staff, including writers and designers. However, no animators were hired, since Ward was able to convince some friends at Dancer, Fitzgerald, & Sample, an advertising agency that had General Mills as a client, to buy an animation studio in Mexico called Gamma Productions S.A. de C.V., originally known as Val-Mar Animation. This outsourcing of the animation for the series was considered financially attractive by primary sponsor General Mills, but caused numerous problems that led to production errors for the early episodes of Rocky & Bullwinkle. The Mexican studio was subpar even compared to other television animation studios at the time. The animators were clearly not up to the task of animating a weekly television series, leading to issues such as disappearing body parts, miscolored costumes, and major issues with the audio synching (which was also handled by the animation studio). Even worse, the episodes always went from Mexico straight to television, with no quality control step inbetween! In some ways though, this encouraged the quality of the scripts to flourish; Since they couldn’t rely on the animation to look good, Ward and Scott had to make sure the dialogue, humor, and voice acting more than made up for the visual short-comings. As the show went on, they tried to pull back production away from Mexico as much as possible and give the show to more competent artists, until the final season, which was made almost entirely in the United States.

The show was broadcast for the first time on November 19th, 1959 on the ABC television network under the title Rocky and His Friends twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, following American Bandstand at 5:30 p.m., where it was the highest rated daytime network program. Twenty-six episodes were produced for the first season, consisting of two Rocky & Bullwinkle shorts at the beginning and end of each half hour episode. The show was a big hit; children loved the witty humor, while adults were amused by the satire and social commentary, all of which Bill Scott’s writing had provided. ABC quickly ordered another batch of episodes, and Jay Ward was propelled once more into that spotlight he had once enjoyed ten years earlier during Crusader Rabbit, but this time on an even larger scale.

The show moved to the NBC network starting September 24th, 1961, broadcast in color, and first appeared on Sundays at 7 p.m., just before Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Bullwinkle's ratings suffered as a result of being aired opposite perennial favorite Lassie. A potential move to CBS caused NBC to reschedule the show to late Sunday afternoons and early Saturday afternoons in its final season. NBC canceled the show in the summer of 1964. It was shopped back to ABC, but they were not interested. However, reruns of episodes were aired on ABC's Sunday morning schedule until 1973, at which time the series went into syndication.

Sponsor General Mills retains all United States television rights to the series, which remains available in domestic syndication through The Program Exchange, although the underlying rights are now owned by Bullwinkle Studios, a joint venture of copyright holder Ward Productions and Classic Media. Rocky & Bullwinkle have been syndicated under various titles and packages over the years including segments repackaged from the original run of the series.

During and following the conclusion of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Jay Ward’s studio would animate a number of cereal commercials for General Mills and Quaker Oats, including ads for Cap’n Crunch, Quisp and Quake. Soon after, he moved on to create two more series: Hoppity Hooper in 1964, and George of the Jungle in 1967.

Ward died of kidney cancer in West Hollywood on October 12th, 1989, and is buried in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. He was survived by his wife of 46 years, Ramona Ward and his three children. Following Ward's death, Alexander Anderson, Jr., who had created the initial conceptions of the characters Dudley Do-Right, Bullwinkle and Rocky, but had not received public recognition, learned the characters had been copyrighted in Ward's name alone. He sued Ward's heirs to reclaim credit as a creator and Anderson received a settlement and a court order acknowledging him as "the creator of the first version of the characters of Rocky, Bullwinkle, and Dudley."

On June 21st, 2000, Jay Ward was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7080 Hollywood Boulevard for his contribution to the television industry, coinciding with the release of the live-action and animation film The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

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The lead characters and heroes of the series were Rocket "Rocky" J. Squirrel, a flying squirrel, and his best friend Bullwinkle J. Moose, a dim-witted but good-natured moose. Both characters lived in the fictional town of Frostbite Falls. The scheming villains in most episodes were the fiendish, but inept, agents of the fictitious nation of Pottsylvania: Boris Badenov, a pun on Boris Godunov, and Natasha Fatale, a pun on femme fatale. Boris and Natasha were commanded by the sinister Mr. Big and Fearless Leader. Other characters included Gidney & Cloyd, little green men from the moon who were armed with scrooch guns; Captain Peter "Wrongway" Peachfuzz, the captain of the S.S. Andalusia; and the inevitable onlookers, Edgar and Chauncy.

Bill Scott (above left) provided the voice of Bullwinkle J. Moose as well as Mr. Peabody, Dudley-Do-Right, Fearless Leader and later on George of the Jungle. Scott was primarily a writer, gagman and producer working for Warner Brothers animation and U.P.A. before he became the main creative talent for Jay Ward Productions. Scott was credited on-screen as producer and sometimes as a writer on the Jay Ward cartoons but never as a voice talent even though he usually played the star characters.

June Foray (above center) voiced Rocky the Flying Squirrel as well as Natasha Fatale, Nell Fenwick and almost any other female or little boy voice. She is also known for playing Granny (owner of Tweety), Jokey Smurf and Mother Nature on The Smurfs, Magica De Spell and Ma Beagle on DuckTales, Cindy Lou Who, Grammi Gummi on Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Grandmother Fa in the 1998 Disney film Mulan, about 80% of all cartoon witches and hundreds of others.

Foray was a superstar of comedy and drama radio shows, plus she has done thousands of commercials and promos and was often heard dubbing on-camera actresses and children in movies and television. Her on-camera jobs have been limited but she did play a Mexican telephone operator in several episodes of the TV series, Green Acres, and a serious on-camera romantic lead in a forgettable movie called Sabaka. Foray also worked with Stan Freberg on his records, radio shows and commercials and was one of the early members of ASIFA-Hollywood, the society devoted to promoting and encouraging animation. She is credited with the establishment of the Annie Awards, as well as instrumental to the creation of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2001. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame honoring her voice work in television. June Foray was the most prolific and in-demand voice actress who ever lived and Chuck Jones was quoted as saying: "June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc. Mel Blanc was the male June Foray.

In 2012, Foray received an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for her role as Mrs. Cauldron on The Garfield Show, making her the oldest entertainer (at age 94) to ever be nominated for and to win an Emmy. Foray also reprised her role of Rocky the Flying Squirrel in a Rocky and Bullwinkle short film, which was released in 2014. The following year, she was honored with the Governors Award at the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. On July 26th, 2017, Foray died at a hospital in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 99, less than two months before her 100th birthday. She had been in declining health since an automobile accident in 2015

Paul Frees played Boris Badenov, Capt. Peter "Wrong Way" Peachfuzz and Inspector Fenwick. He is also known for voicing Professor Ludwig Von Drake, Squiddly Diddly, Toucan Sam, Poppin Fresh the Pillsbury Doughboy and hundreds of others.

Frees had occasional on-camera roles but was simply in too much demand for the off-camera ones (like the unseen philanthropist character in the TV series, The Millionaire. He was a superstar of radio dramas, a frequent re-dubber of on-camera actors, a voice in thousands of commercials, a narrator, a recording artist and even a stand-in when someone hired Orson Welles to narrate something and needed to have someone impersonate Orson. The most famous Frees voice job may be his voiceover as the "Ghost Host" in the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland and he is still heard in other rides at the Disney theme parks.

Frees may have been the most versatile voice actor ever and his peers still marvel at some of his vocal feats. In the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons, bad guy spy Boris Badenov often adopted disguises and fake dialects&ldots; so Frees was called on to do a Russian feigning a Texas accent. And as producer/co-star Bill Scott once remarked, "We could never stump Paul with that kind of stuff. He always got it in one take."

There are hundreds of examples of Paul replacing the voices of other actors in movies and TV shows. Near the beginning of the Academy Award-winning motion picture Gigi, star Louis Jordan walks into a mansion and has a conversation with three servants. All three actors were redubbed by Paul Frees.

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A Classic Commercial for Cheerios feturing Bullwinkle & Dudley Do Right in Old Mother's Cupboard - 1963.

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Rocky & His Friends had a solid run on ABC for two seasons, but never quite got the ratings the network wanted. Meanwhile, in 1961, NBC was looking for animated programming to air next to Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (which NBC had just acquired from ABC as well), so the show exchanged hands and was aired on NBC as "The Bullwinkle Show" for an additional three seasons.

To promote the show’s new network, a statue of Bullwinkle holding Rocky was erected in front of Jay Ward’s studio in Los Angeles, an unveiling event which included star Jayne Mansfield. This statue would eventually find its more permanent home in front of the Dudley Do-Right Emporium, where it remained until it was taken down and removed by Dreamworks (the current rights holders) in 2013 for repairs after years of neglect. Most recently, the statue, now fully restored, was on display in late 2014 at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills, its new permanent home yet to be decided. There was also a Bullwinkle balloon in the 1961 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, giving Bullwinkle the distinction of having the first parade balloon based on a television character. Also for promotion, Rocky & Bullwinkle writers George Atkins and Allan Burns took a petition around cross-country, which would ask the government to create a state named Moosylvania located on a small island near Minnesota (which Ward and Scott had purchased). The petition actually got a fair amount of signatures, but before Ward could reach Washington DC with it, the Cuban Missile Crisis broke out, and they scrapped the petition.

When first shown on NBC, the cartoons were introduced by a live-action Bullwinkle puppet who was a lot more sarcastic than the Bullwinkle in the cartoons. The Bullwinkle puppet, voiced by Bill Scott, would often lampoon celebrities, current events and at the end of the show would return and usually make a sly remark about Walt Disney (whose program Wonderful World of Color was the next show on the schedule). These segments ran as a weekly part of the show until one segment aired in which Bullwinkle requested that the children viewing pull the knobs off their television sets, so they wouldn’t be able to change the channel. (A trick I had used on my older cousin who when babysitting didn't want to watch Get Smart when I did. Something to this day she bring up at family gatherings.) After reportedly 20,000 complaints from parents of children who actually followed this advice (like me), another segment aired the following week with the Bullwinkle puppet telling those kids to glue the knobs back on. The Bullwinkle puppet disappeared for a while after that, until returning for a segment titled "Dear Bullwinkle", where he’d read "fan mail" and answer questions.

Each episode was composed of two "Rocky & Bullwinkle" cliffhanger shorts that stylistically emulated early radio and film serials and only lasted 3 ½ minutes, with a short at the start and at the end for a total of 7 minutes of the runtime. The plots of these shorts would combine into story arcs spanning numerous episodes. The first and longest story arc was Jet Fuel Formula consisting of 40 shorts (20 episodes). Stories ranged from seeking the missing ingredient for a rocket fuel formula, to tracking the monstrous whale Maybe Dick, to an attempt to prevent mechanical, metal-munching, moon mice from devouring the nation's television antennas. Rocky and Bullwinkle frequently encounter the two Pottsylvanian nogoodniks, Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale.

At the end of most episodes, the narrator, William Conrad, would announce two humorous titles for the next episode that typically were puns of each other. For example, during an adventure taking place in a mountain range, the narrator would state, "Be with us next time for 'Avalanche Is Better Than None,' or 'Snow's Your Old Man.'" Such a 'This,' or 'That' title announcement had been used in The Adventures of Sam Spade radio shows produced in 1946-50. The narrator frequently had conversations with the characters, thus breaking the fourth wall.

The "Rocky & Bullwinkle" shorts serve as "bookends" for several other popular supporting features that filled the another 15 minutes in the middle of each episode that needed to be filled. There were a number of recurring segments that would shift in and out from week to week.

Fractured Fairy Tales

Fractured Fairy Tales, was a 4 ½ minute segment which would parody a different fairy tale each week. A common theme in these parodies was putting the characters of these fairy tale in the present day and seeing how their stories would (humorously) play out in a modern setting. Some of the stories covered included Little Red Riding Hood, Aladdin, Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White, and Rapunzel.

This segment was unique at the time because unlike other TV cartoons at the time, Fractured Fairy Tales was an anthology series, rarely ever having the same cast twice. The regular cast of the Rocky & Bullwinkle segments (Bill Scott, June Foray, and Paul Frees) also voiced various fairy tale characters in this segment. Joining them was Daws Butler (who was already voicing most of Hanna-Barbera’s star characters) and, for the narrator, actor Edward Everett Horton, who had previously done voice work on a cartoon Bill Scott had produced at UPA.

In large part, Fractured Fairy Tales was inspired by a 1953 record titled "St. George and the Dragonet", a parody of the Dragnet series set in medieval times with Stan Freberg playing St. George on his way to slay a dragon while acting like the detective from Dragnet. The B-side of this record was "Little Blue Riding Hood", a parody which had Riding Hood under investigation by the detective for "trafficking goodies". This record was a #1 seller, and even had Daws Butler and June Foray voicing characters in it. Rocky & Bullwinkle writer George Atkins used this record as a basis for the humorous direction of the segment.

Peabody's Improbable History

Ted Key, brother of Leonard Key (who had gone to school with Jay Ward and briefly worked with Ward in a failed Crusader Rabbit revival), had already enjoyed a fair bit of popularity with his single-panel comic series "Hazel", which ran in the Saturday Evening Post from 1943 to 1969 (and then in newspapers from 1969 until Key’s retirement in 1993). At the initial meeting of the Rocky & Bullwinkle staff, Key presented an idea he had come up with: "Danny Day-Dream", about a dog and his pet boy who go time traveling through history. Ted Key’s initial pitch included 93 possible scenarios that the characters could find themselves in, many of which were used in the show itself.

The idea of having a dog owning a boy came from Ted Key observing animals. He noted that humans "all take orders from cats", so from that he came up with the idea of having a smart dog, a beagle, giving orders to a boy. The dog, who walked upright with a red bowtie and thick glasses, would come to be named Peabody, named after Bill Scott’s own dog. Peabody was extremely self-confident to the point of arrogance, bragging whenever he came up with a solution to a problem.

In each adventure, Peabody would take Sherman on trips through time in the WABAC Machine (pronounced "way-back", and a play on the names of early computers such as UNIVAC and ENIAC). The term "Wayback Machine" is used to this day in Internet applications such as Wikipedia and the Internet Archive to refer to the ability to see or revert to older content. Peabody invented the WABAC machine himself, in hopes of educating Sherman about historical events. In each trip, they would discover something wrong with the course of history, leading to Peabody coming up with a solution (with Sherman assisting him) and history being corrected, before Peabody ends the episode by with a pun. For example, when going back to the time of Pancho Villa, they show Pancho a photo of a woman and he promptly gets the urge to take a nap. When Sherman asks why this is so, Peabody says that the woman's name is Esther, and whenever you "see Esther" (siesta) you fall asleep.

Mr. Peabody was voiced by Bill Scott, doing an impression of actor Clifton Webb, while Sherman was voiced by Walter Tetley, a voice actor best known for his child impersonations and the character of Andy Panda in the Woody Woodpecker cartoons.

In 2014, Dreamworks Animation released "Mr. Peabody & Sherman", who were voiced by Ty Burrell and Max Charles respectively. The film was a hit, raking in $273 Million globally. Dreamworks has also recently ordered a 78 episode series based on this film.

Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties

When Jay Ward and Alex Anderson made their "The Comic Strips of Television" pitch to NBC in 1948, there were three characters in the proposal: adventurer Crusader Rabbit, detective Hamhock Jones, and mountie Dudley Do-Right. NBC had passed on Hamhock Jones and Dudley Do-Right at the time but now Ward decided it was time to revive Dudley Do-Right.

Dudley Do-Right’s segment was a parody of old melodramatic film serials, though given that some of the serials it was parodying were ridiculous in their own right it would sometimes come off as more of a tribute. Dudley is a dimwitted Canadian mountie who is always trying to save Neil Fenwick, daughter of his superior Inspector Fenwick, from the clutches of villain Snidley Whiplash (a direct parody of old film serial villains who sports the standard "villain" attire of black top hat, cape, and over-sized moustache.). He would often only win against Snidley through luck or with the help of his trusty horse, simply named Horse. While Dudley would try to win the affections of Neil, Neil only had eyes for Horse. To go with the silent film melodrama style, all the background music was done only with a piano.

As is standard in Ward's cartoons, jokes often have more than one meaning. A standard gag is to introduce characters in an irised close-up with the name of the "actor" displayed in a caption below, a convention seen in some early silent films. However, the comic twist is using the captions to present silly names or subtle puns. Occasionally, even the scenery is introduced in this manner, as when "Dead Man's Gulch" is identified as being portrayed by "Gorgeous Gorge," a reference to professional wrestler Gorgeous George.

Dudley Do-Right had the Rocky & Bullwinkle regulars, Bill Scott (Dudley), Paul Frees (Inspector and the Narrator), and June Foray (Neil). But also among the cast, voicing Snidley Whiplash, was Hans Conried, who is best known to animation fans as the voice of Captain Hook in Disney’s Peter Pan. Dudley Do-Right was one of Jay Ward’s personal favorite segments; Ward’s personal gift shop in West Hollywood, which stayed open from 1971 to 2005, was named the Dudley Do-Right Emporium.

A live action version of Dudley Do-Right made it to the big screen in 1999. The comedy film was produced by Davis Entertainment for Universal Studios and starring Brendan Fraser as the cartoon's title character and Sarah Jessica Parker as Nell, it was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Dudley Do-Right was Fraser's second film based on a Jay Ward cartoon, George of the Jungle having been his first, in 1997.

Brendan Fraser (George of the Jungle, The Mummy) brings his considerable charm to this live-action version of the classic cartoon Dudley Do-Right. The story begins with three children and a horse. These are young versions of Dudley Do-Right, Nell Fenwick, Snidely Whiplash, and Horse. The three talk of their aspirations; Dudley believes he is destined to be a royal Canadian Mountie while Nell wishes to see the world. Snidely, however, wishes to be the "bad guy".

Several years later, all three have fulfilled their supposed destinies. Dudley is now a Mountie (but always sticks to the rules and is frequently oblivious to even the most obvious of things), and Snidely (Alfred Molina) has become an infamous bank robber. Nell returns from her world tour and reunites with Dudley just as Snidely's hatches to take control of the town, renaming it "Whiplash City". Unfortunately, this film didn’t live up to its animated counterpart and made only 1/7th of its budget back.

Aesop and Son

Aesop & Son is similar to Fractured Fairy Tales, complete with the same theme music, except it deals with fables instead of fairy tales. The typical structure consists of Aesop attempting to teach a lesson to his son using a fable. After hearing the story, the son subverts the fable's moral with a pun. This structure was also suggested by the feature's opening titles, which showed Aesop painstakingly carving his name in marble using a mallet and chisel and then his son, with a jackhammer and raising a cloud of dust, appending "& Son." Aesop was voiced (uncredited) by actor Charlie Ruggles and his son, Junior, was voiced by Daws Butler.

Bullwinkle's Corner

For the rest of the time that the previous four shorts couldn’t fill, there was Bullwinkle’s Corner. While sometimes this could just be a little segment with the characters running around doing something or performing a magic trick, it most often consisted of three different types of recurring short segments.

Bullwinkle's Corner features the dimwitted moose attempting to inject culture into the proceedings by reciting poems and nursery rhymes, inadvertently and humorously butchering them. Poems subjected to this treatment include several by Robert Louis Stevenson ("My Shadow", "The Swing", and "Where Go the Boats"); William Wordsworth's "Daffodils"; "Little Miss Muffet", "Little Jack Horner", and "Wee Willie Winkie"; J. G. Whittier's "Barbara Frietchie"; and "The Queen of Hearts" by Charles Lamb. Simple Simon is performed with Boris as the pie man, but as a variation of the famous Abbott and Costello routine "Who's on First?".

During these segments, especially in later ones, something (usually Boris) would disrupt his performance. While it may seem odd that the bumbling moose would have such an interest in poetry, this was in line with Bullwinkle’s early personality which was prominent in the General Mills advertisements the characters also starred in, where he was presented as an intellectual moose. As the series went on, these poetry segments were gradually faded out.

There was also "Mr. Know-It-All", a segment where Bullwinkle would explain to the audience how to perform a task, like how to be a hobo or an archeologist, or how to catch a bee, or even how to disarm a live 5000 megaton TNT bomb in your own workshop in your spare time to amuse your friends. Similar to Disney’s Goofy "How To" shorts, something would always go wrong for Bullwinkle in the process of trying to do the task at hand.

Lastly, there was the "Fan Club" segments, which began appearing as the poetry segments were phased out. These were short 90 second vintages putting Rocky, Bullwinkle, Boris, Natasha, and Captain Peachfuzz (another recurring character) a bit more on friendly terms, such as acting in plays together and holding fundraisers for Bullwinkle’s club. These were the least frequent of all the segments, with only ten installments made.

The World of Commander McBragg

The World of Commander McBragg, short features on revisionist history as the title character would have imagined it; this was actually prepared for Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales (and later shown on The Underdog Show). Although the shorts were animated by the same animation company, Gamma Productions, they were actually produced for Total Television, rather than Ward Productions. These segments were part of pre-1990 syndicated versions of The Bullwinkle Show and appear in syndicated episodes of The Underdog Show, Dudley Do Right And Friends, and Uncle Waldo's Cartoon Show.

After five years in production, Rocky & Bullwinkle ended its run in 1964 with 163 half-hours under its belt, an impressive feat for any show. While there was still a loyal following, the network and the advertisers, primarily General Mills, had grown tired of the show and wanted something new. The series went back to ABC who, while not interested in producing new episodes, continued to air reruns as part of their Saturday morning lineup until 1973. It also had a long healthy life in syndication, airing under various different names; "The Rocky Show" for most of its time on local networks, "Bullwinkle’s Moose-O-Rama" during its run on Nickelodeon in the early 90’s, and eventually "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle" for later reruns and the DVD releases. Dudley Do-Right even got his own rerun show in 1969, which included several segments produced by General Mills’ Total Television studio.

The characters have also managed to remain relevant to this day through reruns, comics, video games, theme park rides, and most of all film adaptations. The first of these was a Boris & Natasha film written by Jay Ward.

Boris and Natasha: The Movie

Boris and Natasha is a 1992 comedy film that was loosely based on the animated television series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. It was shot in New York City. The actors did not attempt to copy the accents of their animated counterparts, and although Rocky and Bullwinkle do not appear in this film, they are referred to by the names "Agent Moose" and "Agent Squirrel". This was due to the production company's inability to secure the rights to the animated characters' likenesses for this film. Originally intended for a theatrical release, this film was produced by Management Company Entertainment Group for Showtime Networks, and aired on Showtime on April 17th, 1992.

Boris Badenov (Dave Thomas of SCTV fame) and Natasha Fatale (Sally Kellerman) are spies for the mean little country of Pottsylvania, where, sandwiched between the nations Wrestlemania and Yoursovania, the Cold War is still frigid. Their Fearless Leader hatches a plan to capture a time-reverse micro-chip, using the two spies as high-profile patsies. They clumsily defect to America and try to unravel Fearless Leader's master plan. But can these dim-witted fools survive a secret assassin, exploding potatoes and the temptations of capitalism? And what of their old foes, "Moosk unt Squoirrel"?

Rocky & Bullwinkle finally got their chance at the big-screen in 2000 with "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle", also made by Universal.

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle is a 2000 comedy film produced by Universal Pictures, based on the television cartoon The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show by Jay Ward. The animated characters Rocky and Bullwinkle shared the screen with live actors portraying Fearless Leader played by Robert De Niro (yes, that Robert De Niro. De Niro was also one of the producers), Seinfeld's Jason Alexander was Boris Badenov, Rene Russo was Natasha Fatale, and Piper Perabo who played a new character, FBI agent Karen Sympathy (Perabo would later go on to work for the CIA in Showcase's Covert Affairs). June Foray reprises her role as Rocky, with animation historian Keith Scott (no relation to Bill Scott, though he was friends with him and Ward) as Bullwinkle and the Narrator.

This film is also notable for its ensemble cast featuring guest appearances by Billy Crystal, Janeane Garofalo, Whoopi Goldberg, John Goodman, David Allen Grier, Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, Don Novello, Jon Polito, Carl Reiner, and Jonathan Winters, along with many fourth wall breakages.

Set 35 years after The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show's cancellation, our two heros have been living off the meager finances of their TV reruns. To make matters worse, Rocky has lost his ability to fly, and the trees in Frostbite Falls have all been cut down. Meanwhile, ove in Pottsylvania, home of Rocky and Bullwinkle's arch enemies Fearless Leader, Boris, and Natasha, the Iron Curtain has fallen, leading the villains to leave Pottsylvania, and dig through a tunnel all the way to the TV of a Hollywood Producer, Minnie Mogul. She signs a contract, giving her the rights to produce the Rocky and Bullwinkle Movie, and accidentally pulls the 3 villains out of the TV, turning them into humans! Now, Fearless Leader has an evil plan to hypnotize America, using RBTV (Really Bad TeleVision), making everyone's mind mush, so he can get everyone to vote for him for President. However, new FBI Agent Karen Sympathy has an assignment, get the only ones who could ever defeat these villains, Rocky and Bullwinkle. Using a green light lighthouse, Rocky and Bullwinkle (and their Narrator) are sucked out of the TV world, and to real life as 3D computer-generated characters! With all of America being hypnotized, and Fearless Leader's evil speech in 48 hours, and Boris and Natasha are sent out to destroy moose and squirrel before they can save the day.

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