On a Cute Couple

To those of us who grew up during cartoon’s golden age, Rocky and Bullwinkle are icons. Add the show’s entire cast, now we have a tribute to creator Jay Ward’s brilliance.

J Troplong “Jay” Ward, creator and leader of Jay Ward Productions, is responsible for such characters as Rocky and Bullwinkle, Peabody and Sherman (past post), Dudley Do-Right, Snidely Whiplash, Hoppity Hopper, Tom Slick, Super Chick, Crusader Rabbit, and the two honorees in this post.

Rocky and Bullwinkle debuted in 1959 on ABC, and then moved to NBC two years later. Notables as Frostbite Falls, Wossamatta U, Mr. Know It All, Fractured Fairytales, a way-back time machine for Peabody and Sherman (past post), and more became part of popular culture.

Two villains constantly chasing Bullwinkle – and always foiled by Moose and Squirrel – were Boris and Natasha. Not only was the Cold War prominent in our lives at that time, this event of the era also served as the springboard for these two characters. A few notes about each are below, followed by a wonderful music video about them. Enjoy, and thank you Larry for the find.

Boris Badenov

  • From Pottsylvania
  • Name is a play on the 16th-century Russian Tsar Boris Godunov
  • Degree from The University of Safe-Cracking (USC)
  • Taglines: Must capture moose and squirrel;
  • Report to Fearless Leader, and occasionally Mr. Big
  • List of his disguises

Natasha Fatale

  • Taglines: Hello Dollink, Sharrup your mouth,
  • A former Miss Transylvania
  • Almost always seen in a purple dress, put also wore red in the final season
  • Original name Natasha Nogoodnik
  • Appeared in two Mr. Know-It-All segments
  • Appeared in all but four Rocky and Bullwinkle storylines

On Peabody and Sherman

Kid hangs around a genius dog with over-sized glasses who constructed a computer to travel back in time to visit historical events – but when they arrived, something was different enough that history would not happen as it did – so the dog uses his genius mind to solve the problem.

That’s the setting for another brilliant Jay Ward production – the Peabody and Sherman segment on The Bullwinkle Show. The genius dog (Peabody) teaching Sherman (the boy) about history.

Since YouTube blocked this from being embedded, here’s the classic opening to the show.

Ten Points to Remember about Peabody and Sherman

  • Name of the segment was Peaboby’s Improbable History
  • 91 segments from Napoleon (first segment) to Cleopatra (the last)
  • Each segment ended in a pun by Peabody
  • Peabody’s computer is the WABAC (“wayback) machine, which he constructed as a birthday present to Sherman
  • WABAC was a play on early computers UNIVAC and ENIAC
  • They never showed the return trip to the present
  • From 1964-67, reruns were part of the Hoppity Hopper Show
  • Peabody was named after the producer’s (and the one who did the Peabody’s voice) pet dog
  • Ted Key, the creator of the comic Hazel, actually created Peabody
  • Sherman referred to Peabody as Mr. Peabody, whose real name is C.C. Peabody – C.C.  for Cave Canom

Here’s a sample episode: Ponce DeLeon