My friend Bob Elisberg has a marvelous salute to the sensational Rocky and Bullwinkle, “from the maniacally clever mind of Jay Ward,” who yesterday celebrated the 50th anniversary of their first broadcast.
My parents were very strict about television, but this was one of the few shows they let us watch. They not only let us — they watched with us. It was one of the first television shows for children to have jokes for adults. As I grew up, there were innumerable times when I would learn something new and suddenly have the retroactive pleasure of understanding some past Rocky and Bullwinkle joke. There’s an opera called “Boris Godunov?” Aha! That explains the name of R&B bad guy Boris Badanov! And remember the name of their alma mater? Wassamata U? Remember “fan mail from some flounders?” And “watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat?” (“That trick never works!”)
Few people today will get the joke about the Kerward Derby (a play on the name of then-minor-celebrity Durward Kirby), but this is still purely delightful.
And of course I always had a special fondness for Dudley Do-Right because his leading lady was named Nell.