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|27-10-2010, 04:30 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Moose and Squirrel
October 26, 2010
In the Wayback Machine, it’s a very short trip to 1959 and the debut of “Rocky and His Friends” — the cartoon series featuring characters originated by Alex Anderson. Mr. Anderson died Friday at the age of 90 after a life spent mostly in advertising.
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Jay Ward Productions
Jay Ward, who created the series, was clearly responsibly for its anarchic spirit. But Mr. Anderson’s leading characters — Rocky the flying squirrel and his pal, Bullwinkle the moose — are lodged in the imagination of Americans of a certain age. Say the words “Rocky and Bullwinkle” and suddenly we’re in Frostbite Falls, surrounded by Boris and Natasha, the Russian spies, and Mr. Peabody, the calm, pedantic owner of the Wayback Machine.
Compared with animation by Warner Brothers and Walt Disney, Rocky and Bullwinkle was a simply sketched cartoon. To the children who watched, it was spectacularly grown up, a cold-war fable crowded with allusions, puns and moments of almost abstract silliness. Its narrative lines were so absurd that it made Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck look like studies in narrative composure. If you want to chart the decline in the attention span of baby boomers, this is the place to begin.
My favorite moment from the show, which came to an end in 1964, was the invisible narrator’s telling of Fractured Fairy Tales. In a series rich with vocal characterizations, this was the richest of all, voiced by the great Edward Everett Horton, who is better remembered as Fred Astaire’s comic partner in “Top Hat.”
Others had their own favorites. The young viewer instinctively identified with Rocky, a squirrel of both courage and common sense, and with Bullwinkle, who was mystified not only by the world but by the conventions of the cartoon and often stepped out of its frame. Our idea of rationality came from Mr. Peabody, who was, of course, a bespectacled dog time-traveling back into one non sequitur after another.
An entire generation got its first impression of our Soviet rivals from Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. The two plotted and bickered and — reassuringly — were always thwarted.
"Keeping quiet while monks and other peaceful protesters are murdered and jailed is not evidence of constructive engagement." - Arvind Ganesan, Human Rights Watch.
"I think...I think it's in my basement. Let me go upstairs and check" - M.C. Escher
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