Jun 27 2009

The marijuana subtext of Rocky & Bullwinkle

Posted by J. Craig Canada in Examiner.com, rocky and bullwinkle

If a moose could have berries
they would look like marijuana buds.

Does anyone remember Rocky and Bullwinkle and friends?

When I was growing up, Saturday morning was spent in front of the television watching cartoons, and Rocky & Bullwinkle was one of my favorites.  It was clever, smart, and inspired.

Several months ago I found the entire 1st series on Hulu (now on YouTube).  Twenty episodes.  It is still clever, smart, and inspired.

Watching those episodes again, over 40 years later, was a revelation.  According to the notes on Hulu, the first episode aired 19 Nov 1959.

In that premier episode Bullwinkle bakes a fudge-cake using his grandmother’s recipe, which calls for Mooseberries.  The fudge-cake rises a bit faster than he expected and blows the stove to the moon.  So Rocky and Bullwinkle build a space-ship to go to the moon and retrieve their stove, using a layer of the cake to power it there and another layer to power it back.

When they land they’re met by the military who, upon hearing about the fudge-cake, demand the recipe to use for rocket fuel.  Unfortunately, all Bullwinkle was able to save of the recipe from the explosion was the left half, which listed the amounts but not the ingredients.

The next several episodes are about the munchies as Bullwinkle tries to recreate the rocket-fuel fudge-cake for the U.S. government while being pursued by two moon-men who don’t want their home invaded by earth, and Boris & Natasha who want the rocket-fuel for Fearless Leader.

By the 5th episode we learn that the secret ingredient for Bullwinkle’s grandmother’s fudge-cake is Mooseberry juice, and the only place in America that Mooseberries grow is Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, which is in the grip of a Mooseberry blight.  Nevertheless, Bullwinkle stumbles upon the last Mooseberry bush in the country, which is stolen by Boris & Natasha.

Mooseberry juice is the secret ingredient

By the 9th episode Rocky and Bullwinkle have given up on retrieving the Mooseberry bush from Boris & Natasha and set out for Pottsylvania, the only other place in the world Mooseberry bushes grow.   Meanwhile, Boris & Natasha smuggle their Mooseberry bush aboard an ocean liner, which happens to be the same boat Rocky and Bullwinkle board to get them to Pottsylvania.  When it becomes apparent the Mooseberry bush is going to die on the ocean liner, Boris & Natasha harvest the berries, which eventually land in Bullwinkle’s lap.  Bullwinkle eats the Mooseberries and Natasha says, “Well darling, there goes 14 episodes of effort up in smoke.”

By episode 14 they all have arrived in Pottsylvania, where everyone’s a spy and everything’s a secret.  They spend the next 5 episodes in Pottsylvania searching for a Mooseberry bush.  By episode 20 they have found the last Mooseberry bush in the world and made their way back to America with it where Bullwinkle whips up a batch of fudge-cake which is used as rocket fuel to send the moon-men back to the moon.

So, to recap, the entire first season of Rocky & Bullwinkle and Friends is about using Mooseberries (which only grow in Pottsylvania and Frostbite Falls, Minnesota) to make fudge-cake to use as rocket fuel to go to the moon.

Well, when I was 4 or 5 or 6 or however old I was when I watched those broadcasts on Saturday mornings I didn’t know what marijuana was.  I had never seen a marijuana plant growing wild, or anywhere else.  I had never seen a picture of a marijuana or cannabis plant.  I didn’t know what a marijuana bud was.  And I had never heard of, much less eaten, a marijuana brownie.  But I knew those cartoons were funny, and clever.  I particularly liked Fractured FairyTales and Mr. Peabody.

Now, after having been a medical marijuana patient for over ten years and having grown marijuana , it does seem to me if a moose could have berries they would look like marijuana buds.  And I think most people that have eaten a properly baked marijuana brownie will agree that it is most excellent rocket fuel.

Before writing this article I did Google “rocky bullwinkle marijuana”.  I got 21,200 hits.  Spot-checking the first couple of pages of hits I couldn’t find a single one where “marijuana” appeared anywhere in the content.  One hit was The Moose That Roared on Google Books published in 2,001 and having 480 pages.  A search reveals that not a single one of those 480 pages contain the word “marijuana” or “cannabis”.

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