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How Bullwinkle’s Boss Brightened A Young Girl’s Life

Animation legend Jay Ward produced such cartoons as Rocky & Bullwinkle, Mr. Peabody & Sherman and George of the Jungle. Besides having a fine sense of humor, it turns out that he was a lovely human being, too. Cartoon researcher ‘Don M. Yowp’ uncovered this story published in a 1962 edition of the Abilene Reporter-News:

Linda Dill is a senior in Baird High School. She fell in love with the Bullwinkle nonsense when it came along, and since she has marked artistic talent, she made some tiny dolls to represent the characters, wrote a script for them and let them “perform” for various Baird classes. One day, she bundled up her Bullwinkle dolls and mailed them to Jay Ward. That started a friendship-by-mail. Jay wrote that the dolls were on exhibit in his Hollywood studio. He sent Linda a Bullwinkle clock and a battery-operated Bullwinkle figure. Linda, in turn, got up a “petition” in Baird seeking statehood for Moosylvania.

Then it developed that Jay Ward would be in Dallas for a show in mid-November and he wrote an invitation to Linda to drop by if she could. Linda would have but six-weeks exams conflicted and she had to decline the invitation. On Wednesday evening last week a long distance call came to Baird from Jay Ward at Dallas. He asked to speak to Linda. Then he learned. Linda is deaf, her mother told Jay…

Grab some Kleenex and read the rest of the story on the Tralfaz blog.

  • Francis U

    No words other than to say thanks for sharing such a lovely story

  • Bob Harper

    My number one cartoon hero ! I’ve read nothing but great things about him as a person and this story helps confirm them. I wish I had a WABAC machine so I could work there.

    • Christopher Birnbaum

      I’d agree, but I say that you should make your own studio that’s just as great, carrying over some of the innovation and values that Jay Ward had. Do it again, for all of us!

      • Bob Harper

        That’s the plan – because WABAC machines are really expensive.

  • Shazbot

    Lovely lovely story. Reminds me of the time Walt Disney gave a private tour of the then-unfinished Disneyland to a sick little boy. After the tour was over and the family went home, Walt told his staff: “No publicity.”

    Shows you that some artists not only have big imaginations, they have big hearts. I’ve got to read that book “The Moose That Roared”. I hope Amazon has it.

  • Mark Neeley

    Incredible story, especially after just reading the excellent “Moose That Roared” Jay Ward book about a month ago. Also glad I discovered the Tralfaz blog because of this article … the”Yowp” Hanna-Barbera production blog is without a doubt one of my favorite animation sites, don’t know how I managed to not know about this one.

  • jhalpernkitcat

    Oh wow, that is a really sweet story. :)

  • This certainly brightened my day. Thank you for sharing such a touching and inspiring story.

  • Kris Åsard

    That was awesome.

  • Arthur F.

    Touching story indeed, feels like from some archaic past even. What I admired of Ward’s world was that it was a whole world, especially with R&B, and it riffed off of current events, making it hip. He seemed to have to have been one of those larger than life characters too. After reading this story, I recalled the story (perhaps legend, but Forbes printed it) of how he dealt with his daughters wedding. Thanks to internet, found the Forbes article:
    “(Ward) … was so exasperated with the elaborate plans being made for his daughter’s ceremony, he simply didn’t attend. Instead, he placed a tuxedo-clad dummy of himself at the entrance to
    the reception hall. Inside was a tape-recorded loop of Ward’s voice
    greeting guests with the words, “Hello, my name is Jay Ward. This is
    costing me a fortune. Hello, my name is Jay Ward. This is costing me a
    fortune,” over and over.”