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December 06 , 2008

The Moose That Roared

The Story of Jay Ward, Bill Scott, a Flying Squirrel, and a Talking Moose


For those of us who love The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, these names conjure up memories of some of the wittiest, most inspired, and relentlessly hilarious half-hours of animation ever produced. There was a kind of gleeful magic to the shows, a cumulative joy that transcended the crude animation and occasionally muddy sound, and it's this quality that was the essence of the legendary Jay Ward and Bill Scott.

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Jay Ward was the magnificent visionary, the outrageous showman who lobbied Washington for statehood for Moosylvania, and invited the press to a picnic on the floor of the Plaza Hotel's august Grand Ballroom. Bill Scott was the genial, brilliant head writer, coproducer, and all-purpose creative whirlwind, often described as the "soul" of the shows. In fact, Scott even provided the voices for most of the star characters, giving life to Bullwinkle J. Moose, Mr. Peabody, Dudley Do-Right, and George of the Jungle. From their tiny, oddball animation studio, Jay Ward Productions, they created some of the most memorable animation of all time, and gave birth to a family of characters whose undying popularity has cast them forever into the pop culture firmament. With their distinctively unorthodox, artist-friendly philosophy, Ward and Scott attracted some of the most talented writers and voice actors in the industry, and for a time, Jay Ward Productions was a kind of Camelot of cartoons. Now, through exclusive interviews with Bill Scott, Tiffany Ward, June Foray, and dozens of others intimately involved with the Ward epoch, as well as access to original scripts, artwork, story notes, letters, and memos, Keith Scott has created the definitive history of Jay Ward Productions, including episode guides and voice credits for all the Jay Ward cartoons.

From the first "Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of a hat!" to the last "Watch out for that tree!", The Moose That Roared is not only the record of a legendary chapter in animation history, but also the story of a rare and magical relationship between two artists who were wildly, exuberantly ahead of their time, and the fascinating story of the struggle to bring their vision of bad puns and talking animals to unforgettable life.

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