R.I.P. Alex Anderson, creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle
Alex Anderson—who created the cartoon characters Bullwinkle, Rocky The Flying Squirrel, and Dudley Do-Right—has died. He was 90. Anderson came up with Rocky and Bullwinkle et al. with his childhood friend and business partner Jay Ward, after Anderson approached Ward with the idea of doing an animated TV show. Their early effort, 1948’s Crusader Rabbit (which included a primitive version of Dudley Do-Right), became the first-ever animated series created specifically for television, running in syndication well into the 1960s and even ‘70s in some markets.
Following that success, Anderson began developing the idea for a show called The Frostbite Falls Revue, about a group of animals running a TV station. For that show, Anderson created the characters of Rocky and Bullwinkle—the latter known as “Canadian Moose” until Anderson borrowed the name of a Berkeley-area car dealership. Ward wanted to do it, but only in Los Angeles. Anderson, however, did not want to move from his San Francisco home, and as a result Ward went on without him, and Anderson was never involved in what would become The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show except as a consultant. As a result, he never really got credit for them—and in 1996, he was forced to take legal action against his old partner, since Ward had copyrighted the characters in his name only. Anderson is now legally acknowledged as the creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle, but has remained more or less unsung in the shadow of Jay Ward for the whole of his life. He died in a Pebble Beach nursing home after suffering from Alzheimer’s for many years.