(and just some interesting facts)
Here are some of the things you may not have known about the Rocky and Bullwinkle series, or even some Jay Ward cartoons in general. I tried to verify all of these to the best of my knowledge. If you have any corrections or new stuff to add, mail me!
Rocky & Bullwinkle's hometown, is actually based on a real place, International Falls, Minnesota. He nicknamed it Frostbite Falls after one reported called the area the "icebox of America". On a map, located on the northern border of Minnesota, right next to Canada, thus the "international" in the name. Today, its known for its recreational activities and beautiful national parks.
Stay Tuned For...
The two alternative ending titles were actually puns on famous books, movies, and sayings. Most of the titles are simply a play on words and are actually titles of something famous. Inspirations for alternative titles came from almost anywhere, and included puns of books, movies, old sayings, names, and more. Next time you watch see if you can figure out where these names are coming from.
Bullwinkel (Not a Typo!)
Jay Ward and Alex Anderson knew a man with the last name of Bullwinkel. He owned a Ford dealership down the road from where they animated Crusader Rabbit. The man had a big nose and a funny personality. After Ward and Anderson talked for a while, they thought 'Bullwinkle' would be the perfect name for their dimwitted moose.
The Middle Initals
The full names of the characters are Bullwinkle J. Moose and Rocket J. Squirrel. The two J's come from Jay Troplong Ward (voice talent and creator) and/or Bill J. Scott (co-producer and head writer). As far as we know the actually letters don't stand for anything. It has been stated that Rocky's middle initial is Jet, Rocket Jet Squirrel, but there hasn't been anything documented. The Simpsons creator, Matt Groening later did a homage to Jay by naming his characters with the famous 'J': Bartholomew J. Simpson (Bart), Homer J. Simpson, and Abraham J. Simpson (Grandpa).
Boris's name was really a pun from Mussorgsky's opera titled "Boris Godenov". The Russian last name sounds like "Bad Enough," yet another pun.
When Jay and Bill decided to add the moon men to the plot, they wanted to give them unusual names. They picked out the two names from their childhood that just sounded annoying, Sidney and Flyod. With a little switching around, it became Gidney and Cloyd.
A Dog By Any Other Name...
In the original sketches, Mr. Peabody's named was to be "Beware". In the end, they opted for Peabody, the name of Bill Scott's dog.
Ponsonby Britt, O.B.E.
The accredited executive producer of Rocky and Bullwinkle, doesn't exist. When the series first became famous, many reporters contacted the studio and asked for the staff's biographies. Rather that tell them about their normal suburban lives, they often sent out the bio for Ponsonby Britt O.B.E. It was embellished with a life filled with adventure and excitement (Think Forest Gump). O.B.E. was an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. The scam worked perfectly as they saw the biography of a fake person grace the media. It was an inside joke that the cast remembers fondly.
In the early days, many Jay Ward cartoons had sponsors from breakfast cereal companies. One of his strongest supporters was General Mills. During Ward's first cartoon, Crusader Rabbit, and through Rocky and His Friends, the companies would send the studio memos, asking to tone down certain segments that seemed to controversial. Luckily, Jay and Bill fought to keep some of their favorite parts intact. One thing they didn't want was for them to parody American historic figures in the Peabody's Improbable History segments. Having George Washington fumble around with a parody accent was too taboo for a cartoon. They suggested they Ward only include historic figures from other countries, which later they did.
Jay's more creative side came out when he partnered with Quaker Oats. His first character was the famous Cap'n Crunch in 1962. Two years later, Ward developed the Quisp "alien" making Quisp an essential part of the universe's breakfast. Needless to say, both characters were hits, selling billions of boxes of cereal.
Before "Me frosted Lucky Charms" and magical rainbows, there was Boris and Natasha. From 1959 to 1964, the two no-good-niks were the official spokes cartoons for Lucky Charms. Apparently the charms weren't lucky enough, as General Mills decided on a little leprechaun, Lucky, as the new face for the cereal.
Moose Over Burger King
Anyone live near Seattle? If so, check out the upcoming Bullwinkle's Family Restaurant. A full menu and lots of activities are also available.
Hollywood, Here I Come!
In 1992 Universal Studios started its Rocky and Bullwinkle show as part of its "Toon Lagoon" park at Universal Studios. The new theme park and stage show called back June Foray for some original voice work. Both the show and park have become staples to Universal Studios Hollywood. In 2000, during the release of "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle" movie, there was even a stage show that was produced for the summer. The show stopped the following year, but all the characters can be found in the "Adventure Island" section of the park.
Moosylvania was a small island, on the show, that Bullwinkle was in president of. No country wanted to claim Moosylvania as belonging to them, so it remained on its own. Well, Jay Ward bought a private island and dubbed it 'Moosylvania'. He even petitioned to get turned into the 51st state on a cross-country campaign, collecting thousands of signatures. Needless the say, the attempt failed. After leading a small rally of supporters they to the front of the White House to present the bill, they were stopped at gun point by the Secret Service. No one was authorized to even get close to the president, as it was the the first day of the Cuban missile crisis.
Kirward Derby, Legal Smeagle
In the Missouri Mish Mash story line, everyone is searching for The Kirward Derby. This is a hat that supposedly make the wearer extremely smart, but is later reveled to make you stunningly stupid. The name Kirward Derby is really a pun of Durward Kirby, the co-host of "Candid Camera" from 1961-1966. Mr. Kirby tried to sued Jay Ward Inc. for the parody of his name. In reply Ward said, " Please sue us, we love the publicity." The legality of the case was not strong enough and Durward Kirby dropped it. Durward Kirby passed away in March of 2000.
Buur...Is the Cold War Over Yet?
Boris and Natasha were in the series as a parody of the cold war, which was already 30 years old by the time 'Rocky' went on the air. When Russia and the United States were in conflict, it was always a worry that Russian spies were invading America to steal secrets. These types of characters were often present in the older James Bond movies as villains.
They're Creepy & They're Spooky
Boris and Natasha's character designs (short guy, tall lady, dark features, pale skin) were based off the original Addams Family comic strip versions of Gomez and Morticia, created by Charles Addams.
Toot Your Own Horn
The theme to "Dudley Do-Right" was played and composed by W. Bramwell Smith (also known as Bramwell Smith Jr.) , Herald Trumpet Player with the U.S. Army Band. Later in life, Bramwell Smith Jr. returned to Canada to played in the the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Band! Dudley would be proud!