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Alex Anderson, who came up with the beloved characters Rocky the flying squirrel, Bullwinkle Moose, and Dudley Do-Right, died this week at age 90. While Jay Ward usually gets the credit, it was his childhood friend and partner Anderson who created those characters — though he had to bring a lawsuit to be given credit for it. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly has a tribute to Rocky and Bullwinkle that gets the joy of their subversive humor just right:

It’s difficult to imagine, these days, the thrill of discovering Rocky and Bullwinkle as a kid. You felt as though you’d been let into a secret back door to TV, where the characters joked about their show’s low ratings and the very nature of the narrative itself. During one edition, Rocky thinks he hears Boris, and says, “That voice — where have I heard it before?” Bullwinkle replies, “In about 365 other episodes.” Then he added, ever the dumb one, “But I don’t know who it is, either.”

And be sure to check out the Washington Post’s list of the 15 greatest Rocky and Bullwinkle quotes.

I loved Rocky and Bullwinkle because I could watch it as a kid and then again as a teenager and enjoy it even more. There were jokes I didn’t get until I was in college. They even made a joke once about my dad, who still has a Rocky and Bullwinkle drawing on his wall. I loved it that there was a character named Nell — my niece gave me a Nell Fenwick doll that I keep in my office. And every so often I tune in again to watch Bullwinkle pull another rabbit out of his hat or read fan mail from a flounder.

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