Hokey smoke! Rocky and His Friends (later renamed The Bullwinkle Show) debuted 50 years ago this week. This wacky Jay Ward creation — featuring the misadventures of a flying squirrel and a dimwitted moose (as well as features like “Fractured Fairy Tales” and “Peabody’s Improbable History” aka “Sherman and Peabody”)—remains one of the most beloved of cartoons, even if it’s not being broadcast on TV today (a crime in and of itself).
Here are five things you may not have known about the moose, squirrel and their pals:
—During the early stages of preproduction, the show was going to be called Frostbite Falls Follies, to reflect Bullwinkle’s hometown of Frostbite Falls, Minn.
—The show’s narrator was William Conrad, best known as the rotund TV detective “Cannon”.
—Peter Noone, the lead singer of the British Invasion band Herman’s Hermits, got his name because bandmates thought he looked like Sherman of Mr. Peabody fame.
—Bad guy Boris Badenov’s name was a pun from Mussorgsky’s opera, Boris Godunov.
—June Foray, who voiced Rocky, also provided the voice for Boris’ nefarious better half, Natasha Fatale.