The City of West Hollywood acknowledged National Rocky & Bullwinkle Day today in the anniversary of when the Rocky & Bullwinkle show first aired in 1959.
Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose were the stars of Jay Ward Productions’ most popular cartoon, “The Bullwinkle Show.” On September 24, 1961, on the day of the animation’s premier, a crowd of 5,000 people gathered outside of Jay Ward Productions’ animation studio, on the Sunset Strip at 8218 Sunset Boulevard (across from the Chateau Marmont), for the unveiling of the artwork.
The monument was built to parody a statue directly across the street — a bikini-clad, spinning showgirl on a billboard advertising the Sahara Casino in Las Vegas. It is believed the Sahara Cowgirl also inspired Gore Vidal to write Myra Breckenridge and was seen in its movie version starring Raquel Welch, in which she is shown in a publicity photo standing in the same pose.
According to WeHo Arts, The run of Squirrel and Moose ended on Sunset Boulevard on July 22, 2013, when the statue was unexpectedly removed by a crane. Fans feared that Rocky and Bullwinkle had been lost forever, but in actuality, the statue was being restored by artist Ric Scozzari with funding from DreamWorks and Twentieth Century Fox. Later in 2014, the restored statue was unveiled as the center piece of “The Jay Ward Legacy Exhibit” at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills.
In 2015, the Jay Ward Family gifted the Rocky and Bullwinkle statue to the City of West Hollywood for exhibition on the Sunset Strip. For a short time, the artwork was exhibited in the lobby of City Hall before finding its permanent home at the intersection of Sunset and Holloway as an engaging historic and cultural monument. The statue is now a part of the City’s Urban Art collection.
On July 24, 2021, a high-speed collision ended with a mangled BMW and a fractured Rocky and Bullwinkle statue on the Sunset Strip. A sunset orange metallic BMW 840i Gran Coupe was scrap metal after crashing and flipping on its side at the Sunset Boulevard and Holloway triangle intersection. The statue was repaired several weeks later and is back to its preserved condition.