By Brian Kistler

December 12, 2000:

A Quaint, Nineteenth-Century Carousel. A Merry-Go-Round, from the 1800s, with intricately-carved, wooden horses, beautifully painted with a myriad of antique colors from yesteryear. Deep azure and jet black glass eyes, imported from Germany. Real, brittle, horse hair, treated and dyed black, orange and corn yellow...........

This is what I remember when I think of Rocky & His Friends..........the nearly forgotten first series of the television version of the adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. The now vague, vague memory, far outshined by The Bullwinkle Show, BUT.........the better series of the two...........

When The Bullwinkle Show began, in 1961, after two years of the Rocky & His Friends show, this was, in a small way, the death of the innocence of the story of Moose and Squirrel (at least the death of the innocence of the packaging.......and the aura, of the show).

I first saw this show, when I was at the seashore, with my parents, on a family vacation. I could not have been much more than five years old. We had returned, from the beach, to our vacation house. We were in the limbo period, between an afternoon at the beach, and going out to dinner. I was incredibly bored and I complained to my mother that I had nothing to do. My mother decided that she would keep me busy by turning on some cartoons. She turned on Rocky & His Friends.

I loved the sound of the show's theme song..........so much like a carnival tune. I remember seeing Rocky, jumping off the carousel, and flying, from scene to scene, in a series of side-shows, akin to the circus! One pictured him jumping through hoops of fire!..........One showed him trying to paddle upstream, on the edge of a cascading waterfall, with sharks swimming all around him!.........One gave a glimpse of Rocky sticking his head into a roaring lion's mouth!

Once Rocky finished jumping from circus show to circus show, he was shown chiseling out the huge letters: G.M...........(the sponsor, General Mills cereal) and then blowing the dust away, from these letters, as if he had sculpted a masterpiece of the Greeks! How very artistic and decorative the opening of Rocky & His Friends was!.........

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