Rocky the Flying Squirrel
|Rocky the Flying Squirrel|
|The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show character|
Rocky the Flying Squirrel
|Created by||Alex Anderson and Jay Ward|
|Voiced by||June Foray (1959–2014)|
Tara Strong (2018-present)
Rocket J. "Rocky" Squirrel is a plucky flying squirrel and one of the two protagonists of the 1959–1964 animated series Rocky and His Friends and The Bullwinkle Show (both shows often referred to collectively as The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show), produced by Jay Ward. Rocky is the best friend and ally of the western moose, Bullwinkle. Both Rocky and Bullwinkle were given the middle initial "J" as a reference to Ward.
Jay Ward and partner Alex Anderson originally created Rocky as part of The Frostbite Falls Review, a proposed pilot that wasn't developed. The character was later used as the star of the series Rocky and His Friends. However, when the show changed networks from ABC to NBC, its name was changed to The Bullwinkle Show, with Bullwinkle replacing Rocky as the lead role due to the moose having larger popularity than Rocky.
Rocky shared a house with Bullwinkle, in the fictional small town of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, a parody of the real-life American town of International Falls, Minnesota. Rocky and Bullwinkle would often have various adventures that usually saw them thwart the various schemes of the series' villains, Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale (and also occasionally Boris and Natasha's superior, Fearless Leader).
Rocky's most frequently used catchphrase was "Hokey smoke!"
Rocky's personality was meant to be that of an upstanding, if slightly naive, all-American youth. As the brains and straight man of the "moose and squirrel" duo, Rocky often was shown as coming up with creative solutions to the various situations the duo found themselves in on their adventures. However, he is no less gullible toward Boris Badenov's and Natasha Fatale's disguises than Bullwinkle. The best he can do is to occasionally remark, "Those two look familiar!" or "That voice, where have I heard it before?"
Powers and abilities
Rocky often made extensive use of his ability to fly, which was presented with, appropriate to his full name, a jet engine sound effect. The original opening title of Rocky and His Friends introduces Rocky as "that Jet Age aerial ace", complete with Rocky performing a solo air show for a crowd of spectators. His airborne abilities have been depicted inconsistently; some episodes, such as the first season's "Jet Fuel Formula" storyline, presented this ability as limited to gliding (similar to the abilities of a real flying squirrel). Other episodes presented Rocky's flight abilities as similar to those of Superman (hovering in mid-air, ascending in altitude, carrying objects, etc.); one example is Rocky flying from Minnesota to Washington, D.C. under his own power in the second season's "Greenpernt Oogle" storyline.
Occasionally, Rocky would rely on Bullwinkle's strength (via an acrobatic maneuver) to provide him with an extra boost in flight speed, as shown in his attempt to reach the hovering Mount Flatten in the second season's "Upsidaisium" storyline.
According to the series, Rocky learned his aerial skills at the Cedar Yorpantz Flying School (a play on the idiomatic expression "seat of your pants").
Voice actress June Foray was the voice of Rocky, as well as the voice of Natasha Fatale and other characters. Foray continued to voice the character in modern media depictions of Rocky and Bullwinkle until her death in 2017.
The Rocky character made an appearance in Gary Larson's The Far Side comic strip, causing Larson to comment, "I've discovered an interesting phenomenon. Once you've drawn Rocky the Flying Squirrel, you can never draw him again. In the final version, I must have drawn and erased that miserable little rodent fifty times, and he ultimately ended up looking like Rocky the Flying Hamster."
During a broadcast of an Atlanta Braves baseball game in the late 1990s, a real squirrel scampered onto the field and caused a delay in play. During the delay, the squirrel was featured on camera with a superimposed graphic identifying him as "Rocket J. Squirrel". His position was listed (tongue firmly in cheek) as "Shortstop".
- Rocky and his Friends (1960) (Dell)
- Bullwinkle (1962) (Gold Key)
- Rocky and His Fiendish Friends (1962) (Gold Key)
- Bullwinkle Mother Moose Nursery Pomes (1962) (Dell)
- Bullwinkle and Rocky (1970) (Charlton)
- Bullwinkle and Rocky (1987) (Star Comics)
- Bullwinkle and Rocky Marvel Moosterworks (1992) (Marvel)
- The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends (1992)
- Rocky and Bullwinkle (2008)
- King, Susan (2003-08-19). "Bullwinkle is back". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
- "Hokey Smoke! Our Top-15 'Rocky & Bullwinkle' Quotes (*RIP, Alex Anderson)". The Washington Post.
- McLellan, Dennis (October 26, 2010). "Artist created TV's Rocky and Bullwinkle". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
- Larson, Gary. PreHistory of The Far Side: A 10th Anniversary Exhibit. ISBN 978-0836218510.