Blog Archive

Monday, November 4, 2013

Statehood For Moosylvania Or The Most Dangerous Moment In Human History

Near the Conclusion of the following Documentary on "The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show," there was an experience in real life with the creators of the show in 1962 when Jay Ward and friends drove to the White House and requested to speak with the President in a Ford Econoline van decorated with the theme,"Statehood For Moosylvania" broadcasting circus music. The White House Security at the gate were unusually hyper vigilant and eventually began to draw their side arms when Jay finally relented and they left. Later, they learned that day was the first of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Apparently, Jay Ward had purchased an island in the Lake of the Woods which was bisected by the border between Minnesota and Canada and to promote his animated series based upon the fictional Frostbite Falls, Minnesota characters Rocky and Bullwinkle, Jay and crew carried out the stunt. It was the convergence of two very different forces at the worst possible time imaginable.

Having been born and raised in the Region of Northern Wisconsin in early 1962, this most dangerous moment in human history occurred while I was an infant in my crib. Later, my father, a veteran Navy Radioman of World War Two in the Pacific theater, had purchased a Ford Econoline van and worked as an Electrician and Radio/TV Repairman, supplying the family with black and white television with antenna to receive the two available channels in the Region: On and Off. Surprisingly, the home State of Senator Joseph "Communist Hunter" McCarthy consented to rebroadcast the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show animated series on weekend mornings from the local TV Station. Even more surprising was the fact my father consented to my viewing it. Of course, the most dangerous moment in human history had  indeed passed, Kennedy's were assassinated, Krushchev was replaced and the classic Social Revolutions of the 1960's were about to unfold. Besides, the only alternatives for entertainment out on the edge of the Canadian Shield on Weekends were myself, a neighbor kid, my parents, grandparents or the staff of the local TV Station; none of which were very good at playing with a five year old boy.

Yes, most of the actual scripts of the Show were way over my head and it has taken me over 40 years to understand the "encrypted" messages. The humor was nauseating and the animation truly bad but the key common denominator for any kid was the intuitive sense that the creators, whatever they were saying and doing, were having a lot of fun creating it. They were actually playing and having fun. The material spared no one, including the television industry itself, and the Show was banned in places. It cultivated a taste in me at a very early impressionable age, that some may even say half jokingly was a "corrupting" influence, for a cynical biting satire of very serious current events and proved quite educational in the process. Only as an adult did I realize I was really pissing people off and being very inappropriate and offensive at the worst possible times. Others were NOT AMUSED. They were mad.

Behind the scenes of the greatest animated cartoon series ever created. Though reflecting the innocence of the country during the early sixties, Rocky & Bullwinkle nevertheless had an edge, with numerous lines that weren't meant for children. The references in many of the shows only would be understood by adults since they encompassed political & social satire/commentary and were drawn from literature, history, popular culture, etc. That makes them fresh even today. For those adults who remember the series from their childhood, there's more than just nostalgia to hold our attention. The Bullwinkle Show did not treat kids as mentally inferior or talk down to them; it expected them to understand- if not at that time, then eventually. Unfortunately, the first minute is missing. Category Film & Animation License Standard YouTube License