Way Out Wednesday: “Rocky and His Friends”

Written by Music, Way Out Wednesday

album_cover“Now here’s something we hope you’ll really like…”

There have been a number of children’s records based on cartoons. This removes the visuals that we’re used to, leaving only the voices to entertain us. For some reason, record companies would quite often not use the original voice artists on these records. (The Hanna-Barbera albums from the ’60s seemed to be especially bad about this.) However, this album is a refreshing exception to that rule. Here we have Bill Scott, June Foray, Paul Frees, and all the rest performing the voices of Rocky, Bullwinkle and the other characters we’ve come to know and love. (I think the only exception is William Conrad as the narrator. I believe Frees handles those duties.)

This tells the story of how Rocky and his friends put this record together, original songs, and audio from a few of the old cartoons themselves. We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started!

We begin with the announcer introducing our hero (“From the stratosphere to the now and here…”) Rocky the Flying Squirrel, who sings a jaunty little march about how “I Was Born to Be Airborne.”

I Was Born to Be Airborne

Rocky then brings in his best friend, Bullwinkle Moose (“Greetings, record players!”). After singing “I’m Rocky’s Pal,” they discuss how to go about doing a record. After some failed attempts at juggling, Bullwinkle reads the poem “Tom Tom the Piper’s Son.” I believe this part was taken directly from the show.

I’m Rocky’s Pal

They then go to visit Mr. Peabody in his high-rise penthouse. Peabody, of course, sings a song to introduce himself (while standing on his head, no less)! Man, talk about your overachievers!

Peabody Here

Bullwinkle finally catches up to Rocky. Bullwinkle had to use the stairs because somebody was charging people to use the elevator. I don’t think I have to tell you who that somebody was! Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale explain what no-goodniks they are (accompanied by Boris on the balalaika).

The No-Goodnik’s Song

As we make it to Side Two, we find that Bullwinkle has fallen behind again. They ask Peabody and Sherman to tell another adventure. Sherman expresses his eagerness to do so with the song “I Wanna Go Back.”

I Wanna Go Back

The group then hears unexplained noises and sees two pairs of floating eyeballs next to them. It turns out to be Cloyd and Gidney, the Moon Men, whereupon they perform the “Moon Men Mambo.”

Moon Men Mambo

When Boris complains about being lumped in with Rocky’s friends, he tells why they need him in the song “You’ve Gotta Have a Crook!” which ends up getting him scroonched for his trouble.

You Gotta Have a Crook

We end with Rocky and his friends (or “fiends” in the case of Boris and Natasha) telling us goodbye in their own inimitable ways. It’s fascinating to me to listen to Bill Scott do the voices of both Bullwinkle and Mr. Peabody right next to each other and not sound one bit alike.

Reprise and Farewell/Rocky’s Song

Anyway, if you’d like to hear this entire album, it can be found here.

Well, that’s it for this “Way Out Wednesday” so, until next time, Archy Vidarchy!