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The Childhood Friend of Jay Ward, Who Had to Sue To Get Recognized as the Creator of the Original Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle, Dies at 90

Oct 26, 2010  •  Post A Comment

Alexander Anderson, a television cartoonist who created two of television’s most memorable cartoon animals, has died,reports the New York Times.

He was 90. Rocky, a flying squirrel, was the brains behind the duo, while Bullwinkle, a moose, wasn’t quite as bright and often delivered the punch lines, the story notes. Their enemies included the Cold War-typecast villains Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. Anderson’s work on the characters had faded from public view until a 1996 lawsuit, because he wasn’t directly involved in the production of the television shows, which ran on ABC in 1959 as "Rock and His Friends" and then moved to NBC as "The Bullwinkle Show," the story notes.

“It’s one of the most beloved animated cartoon series of all time,” Charles Solomon, an animation historian, says. " “There’s a cadre of baby boomers who didn’t know that there was a Boris Godunov until they got older,” and learned about Russian opera or history, the article notes.

Anderson started in animation when he went to work for his uncle Paul Terry at Terrytoons, the studio that created "Mighty Mouse," the story notes. After World War II, he joined with his childhood friend Jay Ward to create "Crusader Rabbit," out of which grew Rocky and Bullwinkle and other characters from Anderson, such as Dudley-Do-Right, the article says.

Anderson sued Jay Ward Productions in 1991 when he saw a documentary about the show that didn’t mention his name. Ward had died two years before the suit was filed. The lawsuit was settled in 1996, with a sealed financial component and a court-mandated acknowledgement that Anderson is "the creator of the first version of the characters," the article says.

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