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Cartoon Culture

Bullwinkle Statue Update


The good news: It’s still there!
The bad news: It’s been “improved”.

Brew reader Brent Swanson sent in this recent photo. I have mixed feelings about the restoration (above right, which I guess was done several years ago – I never paid much attention to it, despite the fact I drive by it several times a month). I suppose it’s a bit more “on-model”, but it lacks the charm of the original (above left).

  • Stephen

    Who do people insist on making Bullwinkle’s antlers yellow? A look at the dvds is enough proof – they’re brown.

  • Keith Bryant

    I think that we all can agree on one thing. It could have been MUCH worse.

  • Not sure how I feel about that either, but I know I still feel annoyed that I missed seeing it when I was in LA in ’06. Oh well… there’s always next time…

  • Diana Green

    The W is on point for Wosamatta U, at least. And I’d rather see it in this state than in that of disrepair.

  • Paul N

    Wow – couldn’t disagree more. The revised version at least has something to do with the cartoon – when was Bullwinkle ever in a beach casual outfit like the one on the left?

  • John Tebbel

    I quickly found a small picture of the pair as I remember them in their first set of stripes at


    It seems to be a modest side-show of the Universal feature’s site. I was startled to read Mr. Ward held a Harvard MBA, perhaps the best use on record of that credential.

    I also remember doing an interview with Ron Ward during which he said that the statue was an “answer” to a statue of a hot babe across the street that flacked for the hotel or club she was in front of, long known as a landmark denoting the start of the Strip.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Maybe now it’s painted with Bullwinkle’s university sweater on to tell kids to stay in school!

  • Sarah

    I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you Jerry, I like the new look. Maybe its because I haven’t seen the old version up close but the current statue to me still have the ol’ charm.

  • I thought the one on left was the “improved” one, just because of how creepy it looked.

    I like the new one better. And Rocky’s eyes don’t look creepy in the recent pic.

  • Thousands of years from now the Bullwinkle statue will be unearthed by a future civilization and will be interpreted as a sacred religious icon, and rival cult to the Ronald McDonald statues found in the ruins of the sacred burger temples.

  • Stephen Winer

    John Tebbel is right about the origin of the statue. I remember well the sign across the street, which I believe was for the Sands Hotel. It featured a statue of a bathing beauty which turned slowly. When the statue of Bullwinkle, in his early 20th century bathing suit, was introduced, it also turned slowly. This drove the folks from the Sands so crazy that they finally took down their sign leaving Bullwinkle a joke without a set-up.

  • B. Baker

    I remember the statue of the showgirl well. It can be prominently seen at the beginning of the 1963 Joanne Woodward movie THE STRIPPER and its image was used on the cover of Gore Vidal’s MYRA BRECKINRIDGE. [Raquel Welch was dressed and posed similarly for the poster for the disastrous MYRA movie.] Here’s a little more information:


  • The fact that they closed the Emporium store meant that you’d expect the statue to go into disrepair. So a good coat of paint at least keeps the bastard standing. LA’s pride in preserving its history has never been a hallmark of the town. Personally, I wish it were Mr. Peabody up there, but you can’t have everything you want.

  • PerswAsian

    Outside of the antlers, I’d say it looks better with the improvements. And all things considered, everything Bullwinkle-related in recent years has the yellow antlers.

    It seems closer to the source material than the one on the left. Take note of some improvements, though. The nostril location seems more in line with the actual cartoon in the update as well as Bullwinkle’s white gloves. Something doesn’t seem right with Rocky’s smile, but just about everything else seems more faithful to me.

  • I walked past this statue last night–easily the friendliest face on the strip, and one of the more natural. I’m glad it’s still there, facelift or no.

  • I don’t think it looks bad

  • I favor the dilapidated, not-so-shiny look but I think the new outfit suits him much better. I’m not a big fan of the Yellow horns but from the pictures here it seems like a good attempt at a renovation and it clearly could have been much worse.

    Wait a second… what’s that sprouting from his head?

  • Michelle

    If you click on John Tebbel’s link above you’ll see a picture of the statue wearing a different striped swimsuit (the original paint job, perhaps?).

    It took me two seconds to remember where I had seen that particular striped suit – it used to be what the original Bullwinkle balloon was wearing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade!

    You can see that one here:

  • Rico

    I am the one who “re-imagineered” the statue (color palette was by client, Tiffany Ward, Jay Ward’s daughter). I imagine the color choices were to get the charcter to “look fresh” for the modern consumers as a marketing technique. I totally retored the right hand (it had fallen off) I reshaped the head to look more like Bullwinkle with a ‘bulge on his head. the Bullwinkle had 7 hairs on the model sheet (no more, no less). The original statue had the hairs “painted ‘ on the top of his head (2 stories up,.. you can’t see it!) I put the sweater effect to indicate the college days of Bullwinke at Whatsamatta U. Other subtle changes were to stregthen the structure and to define the characters existing features better. Othen other then that I just totally replastered the statue, sanded it down and painted it. On the very top, if ever sold, I put my e-mail address so I can be contacted for pictures of construton and structural information,… the project took 5 weeks to do,..5 day laborers to sand. the hotel across the street being advertised was the “Fontier Hotel and Casino” ,.. that is why the girl was in a cowboy outfit,..Thanks for looking and enjoying some Hollywood history,..because it matters. Rico

  • Hey I’m just happy it’s there. Yes it is sad that its a “pooch trimming” place now but the owner could have easily torn it down days ago. I don’t care what they paint it! I got some great video footage of it for my new documentary coming out this Summer “The One and Only June Foray”. Jerry Beck is on there along with a bunch of others, details later.

  • David Porter

    I wondered if you’d weigh in, Rico. I too am glad the wreck Bullwinkle had become was restored. Good job, and thanks.

  • Wye Flunktor

    Like others, I’m just happy it’s still there. I do think it looks better; as a kid, the fact that it was off-model was confusing. And I don’t think it would last long in Hollywood if it continued to have the old look.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Given the different opinions expressed here, I probably side more with Jerry, despite not having been to LA and seen it at all. I guess it’s just hard for us to get used to the Yellow-Antlered Bulllwinkle now and then, it just sorta stands out at times rather than when it was just painted the same color has his body. At least the Whatsamatta U. keeps it within the confines of the show, and not taken over by someone wanting to advertise their business on his shirt. The little touches like the pennant flag for Rocky was a good choice.

  • Paul J. Mular

    Since the older photo on the right appears not to be the original color sceme (based on the Bullwinkle website photo), and the original female statue that set up the gag across the street is gone, I much prefer the new restoration (yellow antlers aside).

    Nice restoration Rico!

  • Jeff Nichols

    At least I’m glad it was more than a mere repainting. The new look is nice and I wish I would’ve seen it during my last trip to SoCal. BTW, does anyone know why some merchandising shows Bullwinkle’s college shirt as blue w/yellow lettering when it’s actually red w/yellow lettering?