As regular readers know, I am a huge fan of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. I learned how to be a real man from Rocky — voiced by the beautiful and talented June Foray. And Bullwinkle is the prototype of all my close friends. (Oh, I’m kidding!) But most of all, I learned my philosophy of life, and I am very serious about this: it is much better to be lucky than smart. Most people throughout the world understand this philosophy, but Americans are strangely ignorant about it. They foolishly believe (despite all evidence including that from their own lives) that the world rewards talent and hard work. (Of course it does — as long as you are lucky.)
But all the time growing up, there was one thing that bothered me: animation inconsistencies. The show was produced in the United States. But all the animation was done in Mexico — an early example of outsourcing. And as is often the case in such situations, communication was not great. And it resulted in sequences that were clearly done at different times with little knowledge of each other. As a kid, the part that really bugged me was Rocky’s jump into the tub of water.
It starts with an image of a pool of water and the camera tilts up the ladder to a diving board where we see our plucky hero. But you can see it is very large pool — much wider than it is deep. We watch Rocky as he flies through the air. Then the image cuts to Bullwinkle, who is leaning against what is clearly a different water container — a tub now, not a pool. And this is very important because Bullwinkle could never have moved that pool around. See what I mean:
But there is another one that has bothered me a lot more as an adult. In the opening of “Aesop and Son” the titular characters are brunets. But once the story starts, they are blonds. As a brunet, I find it vaguely offensive. I’m sure the title sequence was created first. You can just imagine some executive saying, “Can’t we make those characters look more American?!” And by “American” he meant, “Someone who would fit right in at a a meeting of the Aryan Brotherhood.”
This is all due to the fact that The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show was made on a shoestring. And that is part of its charm. The animation is clunky. The writing is idiosyncratic. And they go together. Some of the visuals are inconsistent and some of the puns are unforgivable. “Parole out the barrel”?!