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VIDEO DISCOVERY

The Return of the Moose That Roared

June 13, 1991|ROBERT MARSH

Watch me pull a Bullwinkle outta my hat . . . . Or outta my VCR, at least.

Yes, back from the past are Rocket J. Squirrel, Bullwinkle J. Moose, Boris, Natasha, even Dudley Do-Right and his trusty horse. And the most joyous news of all--they are every bit as funny as you remember them.

Buena Vista Home Video recently released six tapes, each a treasure trove of classics from the Jay Ward studios, each under the name of a classic painting or artist (well, almost).

You'll find Vol. 1 under "Mona Moose," Vol. 3 disguised as "Vincent Van Moose" . . . you get the picture. The tapes are arranged as if they were episodes of the television series, so that in addition to a Rocky and Bullwinkle adventure you also get: "Fractured Fairy Tales," poetry from "Bullwinkle's Corner," a history lesson with Mr. Peabody and Sherman in "Peabody's Improbable History," advice from "Mr. Know It All," a fable from "Aesop and Son," and, of course, a visit with Canadian Mountie extraordinaire Dudley Do-Right. All the tapes are wonderful examples of Jay Ward's distinctive and groundbreaking visual style, and all come loaded with excruciating puns.

For those who have never experienced "The Winkle," here's a sample story line: All the smart people in the world are turning into dimwits and any detective who investigates turns stupid also. The solution? Find someone so incredibly stupid that the investigation cannot be impeded by a sudden loss of brain power. Naturally, everyone turns to Bullwinkle. (See Vol. 3, "Vincent Van Moose.")

Or perhaps the plot line from Vol. 5, "La Grande Moose" will help to clarify: The World Money Market--based not on gold or silver but on breakfast cereal box tops--is in trouble because some fiend is counterfeiting huge amounts of box tops. The Economic Council's decision: Find the person with a hoard of box tops and exterminate him. Obviously that person will be the culprit because no one would be stupid enough to hoard box tops without a reason . . . . Enter Bullwinkle J. Moose, idiot and breakfast cereal fan.

A special mention should be made of Vol. 6, "Canadian Gothic." Rather than presenting a Rocky and Bullwinkle adventure, this tape offers four excellent Dudley Do-Right cartoons. Here you will find Dudley leaving the Mounties for a life in the theater--teaming as a comedy duo with none other than arch enemy Snidley Whiplash! Another episode shows how ahead of its time the series was by featuring male and female role reversal. Dudley and his girlfriend Nell switch places on a bet--Nell going out to hunt down Snidley Whiplash while Dudley tends to "housework." When Dudley's boss, Inspector Fenwick, hears of this he is mortified, not that Nell might get hurt, but that she might succeed. Together, he and Dudley work to help Snidley.

Frogs turned into princes, sleeping beauties turned into commercial empires, dogs traveling through time in a Way Back Machine, spies being thwarted by a squirrel and moose . . . . It's what life is all about.

"Mona Moose," 46 minutes ; "Birth of Bullwinkle," 38 minutes ; "Vincent Van Moose," 44 minutes ; "Blue Moose," 41 minutes ; "La Grande Moose," 46 minutes ; "Canadian Gothic," 39 minutes. All are by Jay Ward Productions and are not rated.

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