Alexander Anderson Jr., who along with Cal frat brother Jay Ward created Rocky & Bullwinkle and Dudley Do-Right among other cartoon characters, passed away last Friday at age 90. A few words of his impact on my family as well as generations of fans.
No, Anderson, Bullwinkle, Rocky and Me is not a British supergroup from the 80s. Please, who would have played bass?
Alexander Anderson Jr., who along with Cal frat brother Jay Ward created Rocky & Bullwinkle and Dudley Do-Right among other cartoon characters, passed away last Friday at age 90. My daughters grew up with a constant barrage of my “Wossamotta U” and “fan mail from some flounder” mimicry. Of course back then, they thought me odd and had no idea what I was saying, until I bought them (actually, I bought it for myself) our first set of The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle VHS tapes at least 15 years ago and opened their eyes and young minds to all the greatness and splendor of Anderson and Ward’s creations.
Though Anderson didn’t work on the productions themselves, his creations made their mark on me when I was just a wee lad and still remain some of my favorite characters of all time. I can still hear Hans Conried’s booming voice in my sleep – in fact, as an aside, he starred in the single scariest movie I’ve ever seen, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, which permanently scarred me for life the first time I watched it. Who cares that it was written by Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss). That movie makes bad acid trips look like taking in a San Francisco Giant’s game on a beautiful Sunday in June. Well, actually, I hate the Giants and hope they lose the World Series. But, you get my point.
There is an excellent article about Anderson on the Time website, a rich and detailed history of his days as a spy with the Navy, working for his uncle, Paul Young of Terrytoons fame, his college days and later working relationship with Jay Ward.
You can watch some vintage footage and have a good laugh courtesy of Hulu:
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.