Alexander Anderson, creator of Rocky and His Friends and the subsequent spinoffs involving the cold-war-era capers of the flying squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose, died Friday. TIME film critic Richard Corliss has this thoughtful appreciation:
For many who grew up in the Eisenhower-Kennedy era, and for later generations enthralled by reruns, this megafunny enterprise set a standard for wild comic invention, jam-packed narratives and merciless punnery (as in Bullwinkle’s alma mater Wossamotta U., or its archrival college Heckwith U.). The talking cartoon animals suggested it was a kid’s show; the smart humor, delivered at warp speed, clued in adults that the series was really for them. The trick that The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy try to master 14 to 24 times a year — populate a cartoon world with indelible characters — Rocky pulled off five times a week.
Here’s my note on Rocky and His Friends for its inclusion in the 100 All-TIME TV Shows list I did in 2007. RIP.