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Rocky and Bullwinkle creator Alexander Anderson dies

Alexander Anderson, best known for his creation of the 1959 animated program Rocky and His Friends and its 1961 spin-off The Bullwinkle Show, known collectively as The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, has passed away at the age of 90.

After the war, Anderson went to work full-time for Terrytoons, in New Rochelle, N.Y. Movie attendance was at an all-time high, but Anderson was excited about the infant medium of TV. “I began to think there was a way to do comic strips for television with just enough movement to sustain interest and having a narrator tell the story,” he explained. “You use a narrator so the characters don’t have to act everything out.” In 1948 he dreamed up Crusader Rabbit, the first cartoon series made for TV. “I asked Uncle Paul if we could develop some animated characters for television,” he told John Province of the online cartoon-history site Hogan’s Alley. “He said if the studio had anything to do with television, 20th Century Fox might cancel his releases. They clearly saw TV as a threat. He told me, however, that if I wanted to tackle it on my own, then Godspeed.”

Anderson returned to Berkeley and mentioned the project to Ward, who had started a career in real estate. Ward loved the notion, and from 1949 to 1952, using a studio apartment and a duplex garage as their studio, they made 195 short episodes of Crusader Rabbit, which ran originally on NBC and then in syndication. Ward handled the business end, Anderson the creative side. He directed and supervised the scripts and animation – what little animation there was; the show was essentially storyboards with bare-minimum movement.

Community Comments

#1 Steve Greenberg
October/25/2010
@ 11:39 am

Alex, a nice guy whom I met once, was the real creative force behind the empire that Jay Ward seemed to take all the credit for. Not that Jay Ward didn’t do a good job with the properties, but (like Walt Disney) everything related to it seemed to be credited to him, with the cartoonist sort of lost in obscurity.

#2 Charles Brubaker
October/25/2010
@ 11:42 am

And of course he pretty much started the TV cartoon business with Jay Ward.

#3 Charles Brubaker
October/25/2010
@ 11:45 am

Steve,

Just a note that while Alex Anderson did develop Rocky & Bullwinkle (the same time as Crusader Rabbit), by the time the show aired Anderson had left the animation business. Which probably accounts for Jay Ward taking all the credit.

While were at it, Mr. Peabody and Sherman was created by Ted Key of “Hazel” fame; again, Ward took credit.

#4 Jerry Zee
October/25/2010
@ 12:15 pm

Makes me think a little less of Jay Ward who didn’t acknowledge Alex.

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