Best Of Rocky And Bullwinkle: Volume Two
One of the best things that have happened because of DVD is bringing some of our childhood memories back to life. For those of us born in the early fifties these television shows and cartoons are what we looked forward to; they made our week. Now those cherished shows of our youth are a click of the remote away. One of my favorite cartoons back then was Rocky and Bullwinkle. This show featured a plucky flying squirrel and his best friends, a less than bright but lovable moose. Many cartoons are written for both youthful and adult audiences but few succeeded as well as this one did. For the kids there were the antics of these silly characters but for adults there was a satiric edge that has rarely been surpassed even decades afterwards. Genius Entertainment has been releasing a series of ‘Best of’ DVDs that help to go back to those evenings sitting in front of the TV. The only down side here is the sets are focused on only one featured segment. With Rocky and Bullwinkle there was a whole cast of distinct cartoons like Dudley Dooright, Aesop & Son, Peabody's Improbable History and Fractured Fairy Tales. This current set has three story arcs pertaining only to ‘Moose and Squirrel’. I would have loved whole episodes but this is a great and well loved addition to my collection. Usually a story line would extend over several episodes with the Rocky and Bullwinkle segments acting as bookends to the other features.
Season 5 (1963-1964) – 12 chapters
One of two places of higher education in the Frostbite Falls area is Wossamotta U. the head of the university gathers the professors to inform them the school is facing disaster. The enrollment is at all time lows, the buildings are in disrepair and they are taking the Coke machine out of the faculty lounge. The reason is their football team which has not scored a point in twenty two years. Couch Rocky Knuite has a simple solution. Since we all speak English anyway fire some of the English professors and hire football scouts. The scouts happen to see Bullwinkle launching Rocky with a mighty toss and figure if he can throw a squirrel he can throw a football. They rush in and immediately sign Bullwinkle to a college scholarship. When Bullwinkle tosses his first football it goes a whole ten feet and drops to the ground. Rocky realizes that every time Bullwinkle tosses him he shouts ‘alley oop’. Adding those words to his toss sends the ball over to the administration building. The growing success of Bullwinkle and Rocky as football stars comes to the attention of the dastardly foreign spies, Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale, the mortal enemies of ‘Moose and Squirrel’. The odds for Wossamotta U, in next game is 200 to one and Boris plans to make a huge bet and then get Bullwinkle to throw the game.
The Treasure of Monte Zoom
Season 4 (1962-1963) – 8 chapters
This story opens in the lake country of Minnesota where Boris and Natasha are in a boat. Boris has a treasure map. It is to the hidden treasure of Monte Zoom, famous race car driver. Of course they have to blow up the damn which will cover Frostbite Falls. Rocky and Bullwinkle are near by bird watching when they see Boris setting the dynamite on the damn. Boris has a special horn that will make any moose forget what it is doing and a gun to take care of Rocky. When asked why something so mundane as a gun he replies that he can’t always be sneaky, he has a lot on his mind. Unfortunately for our villains when the gun is fired only a flag saying ‘Boom’ comes out. When Boris and Natasha take a closer look at the map of the lake they discover there is a drain and plug off to on side. If they can pull that the lake will be dry and they can get the coveted treasure. Boris is not strong enough so he has to fool Bullwinkle into helping him. The moose and squirrel are pulled into the drain only to appear all over town in sinks, bathtubs and other fixtures. They have to escape in time to keep Boris from finding a way to open the treasure chest.
Goof Gas Attack
Season 4 (1962-1963) – 8 chapters
At the Double Dome Institute of Advance Thinking a problem arises. The greatest minds in the world are turning stupid. There intelligence is dropping lower every minute. Back in Washington DC the worried politicians hire Inspector Fenwick to solve the case. As he looks into the case Fenwick himself turns stupid. It seems that the smarter the investigator the dumber he gets. The only solution is to find someone who is already an idiot. Naturally all eyes and hopes turn to Bullwinkle. Just as he is about to take on the case someone tosses a hand grenade to him. Thinking it’s an under ripe pineapple he tosses it away just in time. It turns out that the cause is the deployment of Goofy Gas. The ones responsible are, of course, Boris and Natasha, working for the sinister government of Pottsivania. Under orders from ‘Fearless Leader’ the pair of spies are to do anything possible to stop Bullwinkle and Rocky.
It is actually great to revisit this show after so many decades. The strange thing is I actually found myself remembering some of the bits. The humor has a whole different meaning now that I can understand some of the underlying adult references. The Goofy gas episodes are silly but when you remember that this was shown in the height of the cold war the thought of a Russian like government attacking us was a real concern. This was just one of the political satire threads that these cartoons contained. Showing the chapters of each story back to back gives a continuity that the original format lacked and that was a fun way to watch. Each chapter is about three minutes long so each story will take you about a half hour to watch.
The extras showed something I haven’t thought about in many years. For a period of time the cartoon series was introduced by a puppet version of Bullwinkle. The comments made here were even funnier than some of the bits in the main show. Often the sponsors or network would wind up as the butt of the jokes. In one bit Bullwinkle asks the kids in the audience if they would like a television set in their own room. Al they have to do is wait until mommy and daddy are asleep and drag the one in the living room to the kids room.
This is a great piece of nostalgia for those out there who remember the original airings. For the younger set some of the pop culture references may take some explaining but the underlying humor is still there. This is classic and a must have.