My Grade: B+
Rocky and His Friends (1959–1961)
User ReviewsReview this title
My Grade: B+
Looking back at the very onset of the show with the Adventures Of Rocky & Bullwinkle DVD set, the show seemed to attempt to find itself both from a story nature and the art (Rocky's appearance changes quite drastically between episodes seven and eight of the "Rocket Fuel" serial and again between episodes five and six of "Box Top Robbery"), but once the show found itself deservedly attracting a grown-up audience, the story writers let it all hang out. Pop culture wasn't the target of the show, it was culture of all persuasions. It came fast and furious and that's what made the show so funny. Consider the following from the "Treasure Of Monte Zoom" serial, when Boris Badenov sets fire to a bridge:
Bullwinkle: "This is an ethical dilemma fraught with portents!"
Rocky: "What does that mean?"
Bullwinkle: "I dunno...I heard it on 'Meet The Press'."
Rocky and Bullwinkle has shown that brilliant writing and terrific heroic characters can offset the low-budget animation, and that heroes that can thrill us and make us laugh will have a spot in our hearts for life.
Now, more than four decades later, the show has held up very well. It is still funny, still full of surprises. And the humor is still far above the level of most of the comedy shows on TV (live or animated).
As a teenager, I thought I understood the humor in the name of the villain Boris Badinov (bad enough, get it?) It took me another fifteen years to realize that it is also a pun on the name of the Russian opera Boris Gudinov. I wonder how long it will take before I get ALL the plays on words in all the episodes.
By the way, fans of this show should look out for "Sheep in the Big City", which, though by no means a copy, is obviously inspired by Rocky and Bullwinkle.
I wonder if Jay Ward would have also been surprised that his creation had lasted that long. He had done Crusader Rabbit, back in 1949---TV's first animated show ever----but certainly that cartoon could not hold a candle to this one.
From what I have read, there were no other cartoon TV series, up until this point, which had lasted 5 years (shortly AFTER this series began, The Flintstones ran 6 years---1960-1966). After Rocky, Bullwinkle (and Hanna Barbera's Flinstones) I think that it was EXTREMELY RARE that any animated series lasted 5 or more years......Until The Simpsons came along!.....
The story that I have read, as to why Jay Ward switched the name, from Rocky and His Friends, to The Bullwinkle Show, is very simple. In 1961 the show switched networks. The new station would only pick the series up if Ward renamed it The Bullwinkle Show (for what reason, I will never know). The rest is history......
Equally as great as the parts where Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose battle the evil-and-proud-of-it Soviet spies Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale, are the Fractured Fairy Tales (narrated by Edward Everett Horton), Mr. Peabody's Improbable History, and Dudley Do-Right. Whether Prince Charming turns Sleeping Beauty into a circus attraction, Galileo needs help with a scientific experiment, or whichever dastardly scheme Snidely Whiplash is plotting, it's one of the greatest shows of all time. The "Simpsons" of its era, if I may say so.
So, June Foray has every reason to be proud of her work on this. I'll always love it. I never saw the 2000 movie, but every review said that it sucked.
Along with this great show, I can NEVER find "Jonny Quest;" "Star Trek" TOS; "The Wild Wild West;" "The Twilight Zone" Original Series, or, any "Twilight Zone" at all; "The Six Million Dollar Man;" nor, any other "CLASSIC" show on TV; even on TV-Land - the 'supposed' classic TV channel - besides "Bonanza" and "Gunsmoke." Both GREAT SHOWS!
"Rawhide"and "The Rifleman" ARE now on AMC...God Bless them!
I said..."What the heck!" And, I bought all of these great shows on DVD due to my impatience of waiting for a 'classic' TV channel to show' classic' TV shows.'
This cartoon, "Rocky and His Friends," is such an amazing, clever, and, creative cartoon! Although the cartoon graphics are simply done, they're simply-amazing! This actually adds to the ambiance of the show; and, along with its imaginative stories, crazy antics, and, clever 'twists-and-turns' in segments like "Grimm Fairy Tales;" "Peabody and Sherman;" and, my personal favorite, "Fractured Fairy Tales;" this all becomes a 'PERFECT' variety show for kids!
SPECIAL NOTE - I just love that June Foray, the lovely lady with the lovely voice of 'Rocky," is from Springfield, Massachusetts...right near where I grew up! :)
This show incorporates so much of classic prose, poetry, and, history, that, I don't believe that people nowadays can even begin to understand the jokes because they were never exposed to and don't understand the stories and histories that the jokes are poking fun at! Especially, in the US!?!? Although unimportant, does a 17 year-old in the US even know who "Goldilocks" is or was? How about "Little Red Riding Hood!?!? What about George Washington? Probably not! :(
In other words - you can't run until you can walk...and, as far as what this 'cartoon' jokes about, most people nowadays wouldn't understand the jokes that this cartoon provides because they have no prior knowledge of the classic stories and histories that are being joked about!?!? This show, even though it's a cartoon, is great...if you have a 'simple' background of 3rd grade education in 1964...which equals at the very least...an associates degree nowadays!?!?
If you have a classical, historical, and, geographical background..."Rocky and His Friends" is classically-historically-geographically background-groundbreaking; and, especially GREAT for you!
If you're a slug; or, have an associates or bachelors degree in liberal arts; or, work as a social worker; a children's therapist; a lawyer, or, a judge, in any capacity...this show, nor, any other show that views complexity of the mind or intellectuality of the soul, as a virtue...is "NOT" for you! :)