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|Index||16 reviews in total|
These cartoons are great despite the primitive animation. I'm old enough to remember them in their first run but I really didn't get the political and social satire until I saw them in re-runs while I was in college. The extras like Dudley Doright and Fractured Fairy Tales are also terrific. Adults will probably get the humor of these cartoons more than children. There are hidden jokes in Rocky and Bullwinkle concerning a wide range of topics, running the gamut from the Cold War and Walt Disney to hernia exams at the draft board office. Fans of Warner Brothers cartoons will recognize June Fooray as not only the voice of Rocky and Natasha but also that of Granny and Witch Hazel.
I guess like most fans of Rocky and Bullwinkle, these days, I saw the
majority of these shows in re-runs......Though I think that I did catch
of the latter shows, when they aired for the very first time, at the very
tail end of the series (I was nearly 5 years old, when the series was
canceled in 1964).
Probably my favorite part of this vintage cartoon series was the episodes of Rock & Bullwinkle.......and also the Fractured Fairytales. Sometimes I think that I liked the Fractured Fairytales even better than the episodes of R & B.
Jay Ward was very clever, however, to have so many different "side shows", if you will, on the program. I pretty much liked all of them (Peabody, Dudley Do-Right too). My least favorite of "Rocky's friends" was Aesop's Fables---but even that had some redeeming qualities.
Though I always loved the show, I think that I first REALLY became interested in it when my Great-Aunt Esther admitted to having met and known Edward Everett Horton, who used to narrate the Fractured Fairytales on the series. She met him when the two of them lived in the New York City area, when he was doing "winter stock". Supposedly Mr. Horton was born around 1886 and my great-aunt was born in 1895.
I had always loved his wonderful, grandfatherly voice, which was just so perfect for conjuring up the images of those priceless and precious fairytales (albeit "fractured" fairytales). I think that Edward Everett Horton truly lent a genuine modicum of CLASS and DELIGHT to those cartoons, by being the one to tell the story.
I started trying to tape all of the fractured fairytales, since my great-aunt and he had been acquaintances and since I liked him very much. I was not successful in getting too many of them on tape.
In the process of taping these tales I gained an even keener appreciation for the other voice-over actors, that Jay Ward used. Jay Ward was really quite loyal to these people----He generally only used four people, on all of his cartoons, over and over again-----but these folks were really all that he needed because they were truly THE BEST!!
I came to love the characterizations of June Foray (who did almost all of the female voices on all of Ward's cartoons---and some of the male ones---like Rocky and young boys), Daws Butler (in Rocky and Bullwinkle he was mostly used for the Fractured Fairytales, but he was a lot more active in the George of the Jungle series----including the Tom Slick and Super Chicken episodes), Paul Frees (Boris Badenov, Captain Peachfuzz, Fred the Lion in Super Chicken and the Narrator in many of Ward's cartoons)and Bill Scott (Bill usually did the starring roles in all of Ward's cartoons-----perhaps the fact that he was a co-producer, with Jay Ward, had something to do with that----he was Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right, Peabody, George of the Jungle, Tom Slick, Super Chicken, etc., etc.).
As much as I loved listening to Edward Everett Horton's voice, I think that the rich talent, of all of these other voice-over artists, far outshined Mr. Horton (who was just a narrator).
Since my great-aunt had known him, I had hoped to write to him, but I was too late. He died in the Fall of 1970 and I began trying to write to him in 1971 or 1972. It was a rude awakening when I learned that he was already dead for some time.
I did, however, manage to find, write to and exchange letters with all four of my above "heros": June Foray, Daws Butler, Paul Frees and Bill Scott. June and Daws were the most fascinating of these people.
Sadly, except for Ms. Foray, they are all dead. On September 18th, June Foray will be 83, 81 or 75, depending on which year of birth is correct for her......I have seen dates of 1917, 1919 and 1925, given for her, and I have no way of knowing which is correct (she understandably declined to tell me how old she was, back in December, 1973, when she wrote to me).
This is one of the funniest television shows I have ever seen. The best part is that as I get older, I find it funnier. When i was little, I just laughed at Bullwinkle's voice. But as i get older and older I start to appreciate the satire and humor. Modern sitcoms and cartoons should take a lesson from this show.
You know, this is a real classic, they don't do cartoons like this anymore, is amazing the way they used the irony to make fun of the social and political situation of the years. The series has a real nice humor, it's not only funny, it makes you think about all that was happen in the early 60s, the cold war, the politic issues, all in a way not many people can do it these days. The cold war paranoid the country was living those years( even it's not explicit you know Boris and Natasha are Russians), they suppose to be the heroes but they are just accidental heroes, with a dumb moose and a little smarter squirrel, they just ruin the Boris and Natasha plains accidentally. Anyway for these and many other reasons Rocky and Bullwinkle is one of my favorite cartoons of all times.
There was a station in Huntsville, Alabama that used to play Rocky and
Bullwinkle early on Sunday mornings. The reception was poor, but I would
wake up early, nonetheless. I never got the jokes, but I knew that there
was something there that I was missing and laughed anyway (Remember the
Yacht of Omar Kiyam? Hilarious! What kid gets that joke?). I loved the
other shorts too--Mr. Peabody, Bullwinkle's Corner, Dudley Doright,
Fractured Fairy Tales, Mr. Know It All--which all seemed to be just as
funny, and in some cases funnier, than the moose and squirrel.
I am only 27, but the show reminds me of better times, and I enjoy watching it to this day, finally being able to get the jokes. I can never find it, but when I do, and I rarely do, I sit and watch and remember. I am not sure if I will ever see the live action/animated version of the film, however, because I hate what modern technology has done to the animated characters I grew up loving in flat monotone colors. Isn't this the only way to view Rocky and Bullwinkle, and if Peabody the dog and his boy Sherman ain't in it do I really want to pay money to watch? Oh well, maybe the film will make the TV show more available. One can only hope.
The Fractured Fairy Tales are right near the top of my favorite Jay Ward
cartoons. These unorthodox fairy tales are truly the "jewel in the crown"
The Bullwinkle Show. I don't think that I would have ever developed the
that I did, for Rocky, Bullwinkle (and their entourage of friends)had the
Fractured Fairy Tales been excluded.
Usually when I tuned into Rocky and Bullwinkle----even if the main part of the show was pretty good-----the show never really did begin until Edward Everett Horton began narrating those twisted Grimm Brothers tales! For me, Rocky and Bullwinkle were like the "warm-up band" on their own show----with their "supporting characters", on this side-show, as the main reason why I went to the "concert"!
During one of Rocky and Bullwinkle's five seasons, Ward and Scott gave up on the Fractured Fairy Tales and produced Aesop and Son episodes instead. Though the format of Aesop's fables was similar to the Fractured Fairy Tales, I was always so disappointed whenever I saw the opening scene with the chisel in Aesop's hand, rather than the fairy with the huge story book. I would always wait "with bated breath" hoping for a fractured fairy tale; not an Aesop's fable.
The Fractured Fairy Tales appealed to me because many of their stories took place in a world long lost to us (as long ago as Medieval times). The Fractured Fairy Tales were probably the most artistic and creative part of Jay Ward's endeavors. I loved that so many of the stories were full of castles, drawbridges, knights, kings and horses---so many beautiful horses with flowing manes. I loved the woodland and meadow scenes---- I loved the densely wooded forests; many of which were ENCHANTED, MAGICAL forests. I loved the open meadows with thick green grass and many colorful, pretty flowers (and sometimes there would be a river or lake closeby). I also loved some of the forests when they were made to look more ominous, by casting them in a darker light (both the trees themselves, and the eerie, gloomy sky around them).
The animators also once took great pains to sketch a gingerbread house, in one episode, for Hansel and Grettel----complete with candy shingles. This gingerbread house was ensconced deep in the forest, all by itself).
I also liked the occasional appearance of an old-fashioned spinning wheel. When I was a boy, we had a spinning wheel in the attic of our first house. This was an heirloom dating back to at least the 19th Century. It was passed down from some of my German ancestors. Because Mom never used the spinning wheel, or ever took it out of the attic, that heirloom held a kind of "mystique" for me. So it was neat to see it in a Jay Ward cartoon.
I loved the "antique", even "gaudy", surrealistic colors that the animators sometimes used to paint the buildings and castles of small villages in a given tale. This would sometimes set the town and the buildings apart from the characters in the story.
I loved the stories with witches, dwarfs, queens and frogs. One of my favorite Fractured Fairy Tales, of all time, starts out: "Once upon a time there was a year that was a very bad year for witches...They were everywhere: big ones, little ones, ugly ones....". The beginning of that tale even showed the year 1960 (when the cartoon was made), and flashed back to circa 1100 A.D. (that was a neat way of evoking a very special mood----along with the gloomy backdrop of the opening scenes).
Another unique thing about the Fractured Fairy Tales: unlike most of Jay Ward's cartoons there were no recurring characters. You might see the same fairy tale spoofed two or three times-----but it was always basically the same story line and the characters did not come back in "to be continued" plots. I loved this! I liked Jay Ward's "one-time Grimm Brothers characters" better than most of the rest of his animated heroes. I guess you could say that it made them special, that you only got to spend five minutes with them, and that was it.
These reproductions of Grimms' Fairy Tales would have been nothing, however, without the great voices used in these stories. As much as I have extolled the virtues of their animation, anyone who views them today will admit that much of the animation was somewhat primitive. There were so many character voices in these stories that I loved (provided by some of the best voice-over artists of the 50s and the 60s).
Finally I will say, though some of these "bastardized versions" of the Grimm tales were not very good, MOST of them were great entertainment (There were 91 fairy tales; you can't help but have at least one or two "lemons"). A few of them really surprised me, as being just as good as the original, IF NOT BETTER.
If you could package all 91 Fractured Fairytales into 2-hour videos, you would need three videos to do it (they are roughly 5 minutes a piece; that's 455 minutes). I'll be the first in line to buy all three, if that day ever comes! The great thing about these 5-minute stories is that they sometimes pack in a LIFETIME before they are over! I so often walk away from these tales, feeling richly blessed (and as if I were departing with my own "crown jewel"!).
Rocky and Bullwinkle represent the Zenith for adult animated entertainment. Items like, "they knew they had to use hot air to keep the plane flying so they got a politician", are only a small part of the subtle humor. Yes, the kids still get a kick out of it, but I think that is only incidental. The only thing that has come close in the last 30 years is the "Animaniacs" and its spin off "Pinky and the Brain".
"The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle" was the most unconventional
cartoon show ever devised for television during the late-1950's and
throughout the entire 1960's. Arguably for its time,was the
pun-laden,satirical "The Bullwinkle Show". Bullwinkle was a dim-witted
moose from Frostbite Falls,Minnesota whose diminutive pal Rocky was a
flying squirrel with an aviator's cap. The unlikely duo faced another
twosome of Cold War combatants,trench-coat clad Boris and husky-voiced
Natasha,whose sole mission was to "kill moose and squirrel." They never
succeeded,with thanks due in varying proportions to Boris'
stupidity,Rocky's quick thinking,and interactions with other odd
types,including aliens from outer space,robots,demented bureaucrats,and
much more. Topping it off was a narrator whose comments brought
occasional responses in support or opposition from the
participants,ending it all by telling viewers to "tune in to our next
episode",or "be with us next time for",or "don't miss our next episode
of",and giving two jokey titles for the next serialized adventure(which
lasted no more than about eight minutes in length giving within a
half-hour show). The result was a concoction that appealed to both
adults and children.
One supporting segment later had its own spin-off consisting of various characters like Sherman and Peabody and of course Dudley Doright. Another was "Fractured Fairy Tales",the title segment of which featured a hapless fairy opening the first pages of a volume of classic fairy tales,then getting snapped up by the suddenly closing book.(If you're wondering where the producers got their ideas for the movie "Shrek",they got the insight from this segment of the Bullwinkle Show) Narrated by Edward Everett-Horton,the segment of "Fractured Fairy Tales" was an off-the-wall rendition of Cinderella,Sleeping Beauty,Rapunzel,and other well-known classics,plus along with the narrator who,as in the main show talked with the characters. "Peabody's Improbable History" had a bespectacled pooch(with a Ph.D and highly intelligent)take his pet boy Sherman back in time via his Waybac machine and make dry comments about circumstances that did not square with what history said had happened. The "Mr. Know-It-All" segment featured Bullwinkle's helpful but bumbling attempts to answer viewers' questions. And "Aesop and Son" featured a young looking curly-haired kid named Aesop telling his tunic-wearing offspring so-called parables with such characters as a lion who caught a cold every time he roared because he wanted to sing. The moral of of that one was "Psychiarists are very good,but they're never cured the common cold." And this within a segment of other stories that ran within an eight to nine minute time frame within a half-hour show. Another Bullwinkle segment was "The Poetry Corner",where Bullwinkle takes a stab of classic poetry with hilarious results.
The cartoon was the only original series in ABC's late-afternoon lineup when it premiered on November 19,1959(which was by the way filmed in color but telecast in black and white),airing under the title of Rocky and Friends. However,it continued successfully well at ABC-TV until September 3,1961. On September 23,1962 the series moved from ABC over to NBC-TV,and this time around was in color with new episodes and under a new title "The Bullwinkle Show". Series creator and also executive producer Jay Ward offscreen antics were the keys to some of the great writing that they had on this animated classic(along with co-writers Allan Burns and Chris Hayward the writing team behind a lot of classic TV shows including "Mister Ed","Get Smart",and so forth). The series remained with the peacock network until September 5,1964. At the start of the 1964-65 season,the "Bullwinkle" show return to ABC in repeated episodes from September 20,1964 until September 2,1973 and was mostly shown on Saturday and Sunday Mornings for the remainder of its run on the ABC network. From 1963 through 1973(ten years)the show not only aired on weekends in repeated episodes,but also had a loyal cult following in the syndicated markets too from 1973 until 1981. There was a final network run of the series for NBC during the 1981-82 season. Did you know that William Conrad was the narrator for this series and later on Bill Scott? Voice regulars included June Foray(who basically did the voices for all of the female characters on the show and also the voice of Rocky and other young boys),Bill Scott(was one of the co-producers and was one of the writers for the show and was not only the voice of Bullwinkle,but did the voices for the characters of Mr.Peabody,Dudley Doright,and Aesop),Charles Ruggles,Paul Frees(who was the voice of Boris and other characters),and Walter Tetley.
Probably one of the most famous cartoon shows in history.
stars a dim-witted six foot tall moose and his common-sense
squirrel friend Rocky. These two get into all sorts of trouble!
always foil the evil plots of Boris Badenov and his assistant
Fatale. Those two are from Pottselvania and are under the control
their fearless leader, Fearless Leader. Many memorable episodes
How about the Pottselvania Creeper one where a giant plant tries
swallow the population. How about the Wottsamotto U epic? But who
forget the Mooseberry bush one. That took over 40 segments to
because just as Rocky and Bullwinkle came close to getting the
something always happened! And no matter what, in each new
Rocky and Bullwinkle never recognized Boris and Natasha in
disguises! Another friend was Captain Ronway Peachfuzz, a bumbling
captain who could never steer his ship in the right direction.
were other segments here too, like Bullwinkle's Corner where
recites some kooky poetry, or how about Mr. Know-It-All where
explains how to do something the right way but ends up demonstrating
the wrong way. Boris would often interfere.
Other stars of the show included Mr. Peabody, the brainy talking dog and his assistant, Sherman, a young lad Peabody had rescued. They always use Peabody's Way-Back machine to travel back in time to help historical people make their historical discoveries. Then there was Aesop and Son, where Aesop tried explaining virtues to his son using old fables. Then there was Fractured Fairy Tales featuring the fairy tales we are familiar with in versions we are unfamiliar with. My favorite was the Puss-N-Boots one where the cat granted a poor man's three wishes. He made him rich by getting him in a boxing match which he lost. He got him a big house by filling it with termites and so on. There were several versions of Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella as well.
A pretty good show. Like I said before, many memorable episodes like the counterfeit boxtops one, or how about the one where metal mice devoured everyone's television antennae. How about Bullwinkle's fortune- telling bunyon? Bill Scott is the voice of Bullwinkle. June Foray does Rocky and Natasha. Paul Frees is Boris. Edward Everett Horton is the Fractured Fairy Tales narrator. Scott, Frees and Horton are no longer with us, but June Foray is still around. She's still doing all kinds of different cartoon voices. Her most popular work is Granny from Sylvester and Tweety cartoons. Rocky and Bullwinkle got their own movie in 2000, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. Live-action actors Robert DeNiro played Fearless Leader, Rene Russo played Natasha Fatale and Jason Alexander played Boris Badenov. Rocky and Bullwinkle remained animated and were voiced by June Foray and Bill Scott's son, Keith. That movie really blew! It sucked! I did not enjoy it. Don't bother seeing it! But definitely check out the cartoon if it plays on TV again! And remember what Rocky always says, "Hokey Smoke!"
Sure you watched it when you were a kid, but chances are you didn't get the subtle jokes for the adults, interspersed with the bad puns for the kids. Revel in Mr. Peabody's demented version of history once more. Wonder why Dudley prefers to kiss his horse over Nell, and ponder why Snidely Whiplash is so green. Look out for subtle Cold War era jokes. Let's face it, you missed it the first time around. Now's the time to catch up with Bullwinkle, a true American cartoon classic, terminally underrated, but saved from oblivion at last.
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