Jaywardturtles

The Ninja Turtles watch an Aesop and Son cartoon.

Babygonzo-flyingsquirrel

Baby Gonzo pretending to be a famous flying squirrel

Bullwinklestatue

The Bullwinkle statue in Miss Piggy's Hollywood

Jay Ward (1920-1989), born J (no period, so he could choose a full name later) Troplong Ward, was a television producer best known for his many animated series, ranging from Crusader Rabbit (1949), which became the first original cartoon series created specifically for television, and Rocky and His Friends and its various incarnations (1959-1964) and supporting segments to George of the Jungle (1967-1968).

In contrast to the often assembly-line approach used by Hanna-Barbera and others, Ward's shows were known for their satirical humor, carefully crafted scripts (penned by Looney Tunes veteran and Bullwinkle voice Bill Scott and writers who would go on to develop such series as Get Smart and The Mary Tyler Moore Show), bad puns, and innumerable references to literature, pop culture, and current events. The humor extended to the credits, which almost invariably credited the mythical Ponsonby Britt OBE as executive producer. Ward's work has been cited as an influence on such later series as The Simpsons.

Other Ward productions included Hoppity Hooper, the unaired puppet pilot Watts Gnu, Fractured Flickers (a live-action showcase for vintage mostly silent film footage re-dubbed with comic voices), and many commercials for Cap'n Crunch and other Quaker Oats products.

In 1997, George of the Jungle was adapted into a live-action film, with Jim Henson's Creature Shop providing semi-realistic versions of such Ward characters as An Ape Named Ape and the Tookie Tookie Bird.


References

  • In Miss Piggy's Hollywood, when Fozzie Bear reports in from Sunset Strip, the Bullwinkle statue (at the location of Jay Ward's old studio) is visible. The statue was sculpted by Ward employee Bill Oberlin in 1961 to promote The Bullwinkle Show and remained a landmark of the strip until its removal in 2013 (although subsequently refurbished, the statue was put into storage in 2015).
  • In the seventh season Muppet Babies episode "At the Movies," when Baby Piggy fantasizes about being a movie star and the director asks her to jump, she responds "Who do you think I am, Rocky the squirrel?"
  • In Sesame Street Episode 4080, the Fairy Godperson gets a call on his wand cell phone about a moose in Minnesota who wants to fly like a squirrel, in reference to Bullwinkle, Rocky, and their hometown of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota.

Muppet Mentions

  • In the "Bring You Kids To Work Day/Leif Erikson" episode of the Netflix series The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show (2015-2017), Mr. Peabody impersonates Kermit's "YAY!" after introducing Henry Steinway.

Trivia

Connections

Cast and crew with Muppet/Henson connections worked on original Jay Ward projects:

  • Bob Arbogast wrote for the live-action pilot The Nutt House (1963)
  • Daws Butler voiced Junior and others in "Aesop and Son" segments, many "Fractured Fairytales" roles, Clutcher and other villains on George of the Jungle, and Cap'n Crunch and others in commercials
  • Fred Calvert directed segments of George of the Jungle (1967)
  • Barbara Eden appeared on Fractured Flickers (1963)
  • Joe Flynn voiced King Vitaman in 1970s cereal commercials
  • Don Francks appeared in sketch roles in the live-action pilot The Nutt House (1963)
  • Paul Lynde appeared on Fractured Flickers (1963)
  • Bob Newhart appeared on Fractured Flickers (1963)
  • Paul Parnes wrote songs and script material for the Rocky and His Friends album (1961)
  • Connie Stevens appeared on Fractured Flickers (1963)

Several actors with Muppet/Henson connections also appeared in projects based on Jay Ward characters.

  • Jason Alexander played Boris Badenov in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
  • Mel Brooks voiced Albert Einstein in Mr. Peabody and Sherman (2014)
  • Ty Burrell voiced Mr. Peabody in Mr. Peabody and Sherman (2014)
  • John Candy played Kalishak in Boris and Natasha (1992)
  • Margaret Cho voiced Mulan in an episode of The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show
  • Stephen Colbert voiced Paul Peterson in Mr. Peabody and Sherman (2014)
  • Billy Crystal played a mattress salesman (uncredited) in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
  • Robert De Niro produced and played Fearless Leader in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
  • Ben Diskin voiced Boris Badenov in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2018)
  • Brendan Fraser played Dudley Do-Right in Dudley Do-Right (1999)
  • Kathie Lee Gifford made a cameo as herself in Dudley Do-Right (1999)
  • Whoopi Goldberg played Judge Cameo (uncredited) in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
  • John Goodman played an Oklahoma cop in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
  • C. Ernst Harth played Shane in Dudley Do-Right (1999)
  • David Alan Grier played Measures in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
  • Allison Janney voiced Mrs. Grunion in Mr. Peabody and Sherman (2014)
  • Sally Kellerman played Natasha Fatale in Boris and Natasha (1992)
  • Jane Lynch voiced Bernadette Steele in an episode of The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show
  • Leslie Mann voiced Patty Peterson in Mr Peabody and Sherman (2014)
  • Andrea Martin played Toots in Boris and Natasha (1992)
  • Sarah Jessica Parker played Nell Fenwick in Dudley Do-Right (1999)
  • Regis Philbin made a cameo as himself in Dudley Do-Right (1999)
  • Jon Polito played Schoentell in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
  • Carl Reiner played P. G. Biggershot in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
  • Kevin Michael Richardson voiced characters on The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show (2015) and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2018)
  • Jeff Ross voiced Aristophanes in an episode of The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show
  • Rene Russo played Natasha Fatale in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
  • Tara Strong voiced Rocky in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2018)
  • Dave Thomas played Boris Badenov in Boris and Natasha (1992)
  • John Travolta played himself in Boris and Natasha (1992)
  • Stanley Tucci voiced Leonardo da Vinci in Mr. Peabody and Sherman (2014)
  • Patrick Warburton voiced Agamemnon in Mr. Peabody and Sherman (2014)
  • Paxton Whitehead played Anton Paulovitch and Kregor Paulovitch in Boris and Natasha (1992)
  • Ellis E. Williams played a security guard in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
  • Jonathan Winters played a Whoppa Chopper pilot, an Ohio cop, and Old Jeb in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
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