Jay Ward Cartoons and Popular Culture

Jay Ward cartoons, especially Rocky and His Friends/The Bullwinkle Show, are very much a part of American popular culture. On the one hand, the cartoons are full of allusions to movie stars, old time radio shows, etc. On the other hand, they have become source material for allusions in later works.

Boris Badenov's pseudonyms often allude to celebrities, e.g. Alfred Hitchhike (Alfred Hitchcock), Colonel Tomsk Parkoff (Colonel Tom Parker), and Alan Fink (Alan Funt). The cliff-hanger titles at the end of each episode make punning allusions too, such as "The Snowman Cometh, or An Icicle Built for Two", which alludes to the play The Iceman Cometh and the song "A Bicycle Built for Two".

Catchphrases such as "Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!" and "Eenie meanie, chili beanie--the spirits are about to speak!" are quoted not only in everyday conversation, but also in novels by Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Larry Niven, and Clive Cussler. "This time for sure!" has entered hacker jargon. Allusions to Jay Ward cartoons have been made on The Simpsons, Newhart, Rescue Rangers, Wings, Darkwing Duck, Northern Exposure, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and many other TV shows. What's more, the mere presence of a moose is occasion for mentioning Bullwinkle, as seen in early reviews of Northern Exposure and many news features about moose straying into populated areas. Of all cartoon characters, perhaps only Warner Brothers' Roadrunner is so invariably evoked by its real-world counterpart.

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