Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Real Creator of “Rocky and Bullwinkle” Dies At Age 90


The real creator of the mouse and squirrel characters–Rocky and Bullwinkle--has died at age 90.

All this time I thought Jay Ward created the characters, but it was his original partner, Alex Anderson, who came up with the gang including Boris and Natasha. Ross sued the Ward estate and won in 1996. He is now officially known as the characters’ creators.

Ward also had a similar problem with his characters Sherman and Mr. Peabody. They had the “Waaaaay Back Machine,” remember?

For 35 years the Wards ran a popular store on Sunset Boulevard across from the Chateau Marmont that sold all kinds of merchandise from their animated characters like Rocky, Bullwinkle, and even Curious George and Crusader Rabbit. I still have Sherman and Mr. Peabody bobblehead dolls left over from that era.

From the various stories on the web it seems that Anderson and Ward started out in San Francisco. But when the cartoon hit big, Anderson didn’t want to move to Hollywood. Ward left him behind, and eventually his name faded from the credits. Ward died in 1989. The store closed in 2004. There’s still a giant Bullwinkle statue on the site, staring into Lindsay Lohan‘s old Chateau room.

Well, god bless Anderson and Ward. “Rocky and Bullwinkle” was the kind of subversive comedy that’s not made much anymore. I guess you could say “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” are influenced by it, but those early guys really took chances.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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