Jay Ward created cartoon characters that talked back. Rocky and Bullwinkle and their kin were subversive, often addressing the viewer directly following some outrageous animated stunt with quips like, “We need the ratings.” Ward created absurdist characters and goofball takes on silent movies as well as one of TV’s first cartoons, Crusader Rabbit.
More than 60 pieces of original art and artifacts from his personal collection are on view at the Jay Ward Legacy Exhibit curated by animation historian Darrell Van Citters at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills through the end of the month. Go this weekend; it’s free, and you can even go upstairs to the research library and view any Ward films in the collection.
Here are some of my favorite items from the show, including that amazing fiberglass Rocky and Bullwinkle statue that loomed over the Sunset Strip from 1961-2013, which is finally in a museum where it belongs.