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BORIS & NATASHA

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Full Name: Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale
Nationality: Pottsylvanian
Organization: Fearless Leader
Occupation Agent

Creator: Bill Scott
Time Span: 1959 - 2019

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale are agents with the Pottsylvania Secret Police.
       The Secret Police is just an assumption on my part. We do not really learn what the organization is called but that would be fairly standard for an Eastern European country run by a dictator. We know that the country is fairly small from a map we are shown of it but it at least enjoys a coast which several sister countries do not. The power resides in the hands of the Fearless Leader who looks very much like a stereotypical fascist usually seen in a starched blue military officer's uniform with black jackboots, a monocle in his right eye, a nasty long saber scar on his right cheek, a permanent scowl on his face, and perpetually holding a cigarette in a long holder. He certainly does not look friendly nor does he ever act it, especially to his underlings.
       Boris and Natasha (their last names are almost never used) are two of his main underlings. Since we do not see any others, ever, they may be the only two around but that is pure speculation.

       Boris is a very short, wide man constantly dressed in a black trenchcoat (unless in disguise) and sporting a black hat with two peaks on it. He sports a very small mustache which is large on both sides of his upper lip and none (or none visible) under his nose. When we first meet him, he seems a bit taller than he does in later adventures. He perpetually sports either a frown or a sneer.
       Boris loves to go into action while in disguise. His personas are pretty lame and hardly worth the make-up and props he uses but they do seem to continually fool his chief target, Bullwinkle J. Moose. His other talents include safe-cracking and bomb-making, although the later tends to not work out so well for him. Boris refers to himself as the "world's greatest no-goodnik" and he has never performed any action to indicate otherwise.

       Natasha is the gorgeous, tall, femme fatale (as befits her last name) companion and partner of Boris. Like him she hails from Pottsylvania and talks with an Eastern European accent. It sometimes nears Germanic but usually lies closer to Russian in sound. Her height is, while not extreme, is still high enough to be above most of those she encounters. Certainly she towers over the diminutive Boris. She has long black hair falling below her shoulders and is quite curly at the ends.
       While she too will be seen from time to time in disguise, she does not seem as inclined to do so as her partner. She is usually shown to be the equal to Boris even if he does yell for her to "sharrup you mouth" a lot but it would not be hard to imagine that she is the smarter of the two, especially considering that she does not blow herself up as often as he does.

       Both Boris and Natasha swear allegiance to the Fearless Leader but they are not above deceiving him over and over, especially if it keeps him from punishing them.

MOVIES

Number of Movies:2
First Appearance:1992
Last Appearance:2000

1 Boris And Natasha Boris And Natasha
Director: Charles Martin Smith
Writers: Jay Ward, Charles Fradin, Brad Hall, Linda Favila, Anson Downes
Actors: Sally Kellerman as Natasha Fatale, Dave Thomas as Boris Badunov, Christopher Neame as Fearless Leader, John Candy as Kalishak
Released: 1992

Boris and Natasha have been sent to America to locate and get for their Fearless Leader a new microchip. During the mission, they begin to wonder why they are doing what they are doing.

2 The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
Director: Des McAnuff
Writers: Jay Ward, Kenneth Lonergan
Actors: Jason Alexander as Boris, Rene Russo as Natasha, Robert DeNiro as Fearless Leader, Piper Perabo as Karen Sympathy
Released: 2000

When Boris, Natasha, and Fearless Leader are able to escape from Pottsylvania into the real world where they are planning on turning all minds into mush so Fearless Leader can be elected President. FBI agent Karen Sympathy must pull Rocky and Bullwinkle in to help stop the trio.

TELEVISION


Number of Episodes:1
First Appearance:1959
Last Appearance:2019
Network:ABC & NBC

REGULAR CAST
June ForayRocky and Natasha [ 1-5 ]
Bill ScottBullwinkle and Fearless Leader [ 1-5 ]
Paul FreesBoris [ 1-5 ]
William Conradnarrator [ 1-5 ]
Tara StrongRocky [ 6 ]
Brad NormanBullwinkle [ 6 ]
Ben DiskinBoris [ 6 ]
Rachel ButeraNatasha [ 6 ]
Piotr MichaelFearless Leader [ 6 ]
Daran Norrisnarrator [ 6 ]

       In 1959, a children's cartoon show about a squirrel and a moose became a big hit on television. The show would have several names during its life but its most common one is The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends. It was created by Jay Ward whose eponymously named company produced it. It would run with new episodes from November 1959 to June 1964 and then last to this day as reruns in syndication.
       While Rocket J. ("Rocky") Squirrel, a short little grey squirrel who perpetually wears a set of blue goggles set atop his head, and his best friend Bullwinkle J. Moose, an often dim-witted but always lovable brown moose with orange antlers, were never spies or operatives or anything that might qualify them for membership in this collection, they were invariably doing something that either sparked the interest of Boris & Natasha or stood in the way of the nefarious duo.
       The five seasons of episodes consisted of several story arcs. Some of these arcs were rather lengthy while a few were quite short. Each broadcast had two segments in these arcs, as well as other storylines for other characters.
       Wikipedia has a terrific breakdown of the history of the show.

       In 2017, Dreamworks Animation Television decided to acquire the rights to produce new adventures for Internet streaming. It ran in two sets of segments of Season 6, with three story arcs released in 2018 and the other three in 2019.


1 Jet Fuel Formula
Episode 1-1, first aired 1959

Story arc 1 consisted of 40 segments shown over 20 broadcasts. Rocky and Bullwinkle have a cake recipe that turns out is also a terrific rocket propellant. Boris and Natasha are sent by Fearless Leader to get it for their country.

2 Box Top Robbery
Episode 1-2, first aired 1959

Story arc 2 consisted of 12 segments shown over 6 broadcasts. The economy of the world is now dependent on refunds from box tops. Boris and Natasha plan to cause tremendous trouble by counterfeiting them.

3 Upsidaisium
Episode 2-1, first aired 1960

Story arc 3 consisted of 36 segments shown over 18 broadcasts. When Bullwinkle inherits a mine on Mount Flatten, he and Rocky are surprised to find it floats because it is the only source in the world for upsidaisium, the anti-gravity metal. Naturally, Boris and Natasha are sent to steal the mountain and any and all of the metal.

4 Metal-Munching Mice
Episode 2-2, first aired 1960

Story arc 4 consisted of 16 segments shown over 8 broadcasts. All the television antennae in the country have disappeared. It is the fault of 6' tall robot mice led by Boris and Natasha. The plan is to get everyone to leave the country.

5 Greenpernt Oogle
Episode 2-3, first aired 1960

Story arc 5 consisted of 12 segments shown over 6 broadcasts. Bullwinkle is kidnapped by king of New Greenpernt, an island nation, because their prized Oogle Bird has been stolen and they cannot predict the weather without him. Luckily, Bullwinkle's weather-forecasting bunion will take its place. [Not sure if Boris and Natasha are in this one.]

6 Rue Britannia
Episode 2-4, first aired 1960

Story arc 6 consisted of 8 segments shown over 4 broadcasts. When Bullwinkle inherits a mansion in London, three greedy brothers who wanted to get it hire Boris and Natasha to scheme it from the moose.

7 Buried Treasure
Episode 2-5, first aired 1960

Story arc 7 consisted of 14 segments shown over 7 broadcasts. To get the contents of the bank in Rocky and Bullwinkle's home town of Frostbite Falls, Boris pretends to be a gangster so he can use his new henchmen to do the robbing.

8 The Last Angry Moose
Episode 2-6, first aired 1960

Story arc 8 consisted of 4 segments shown over 2 broadcasts. Bullwinkle is led to believe he could be a great actor by Boris and Natasha and agrees to make a movie. It turns out to be quite successful.

9 Wailing Whale
Episode 2-7, first aired 1960

Story arc 9 consisted of 14 segments shown over 7 broadcasts. Boris and Natasha are up to no good out of the ocean causing trouble with their giant robot whale.

10 The Three Moosketeers
Episode 3-1, first aired 1961

Story arc 10 consisted of 8 segments shown over 4 broadcasts. The king of a faraway land is being held prisoner and an aging musketeer need the help of Bullwinkle, famour skewer of kabobs, and Rocky to free him. [No Boris and Natasha here.]

12 Missouri Mish Mash
Episode 3-3, first aired 1961

Story arc 12 consisted of 26 segments shown over 13 broadcasts. Looking for the powerful Kirwood Derby are Rocky, Bullwinkle, Boris, Natasha, Fearless Leader, and the Moonmen.

13 Topsy Turvy World
Episode 3-4, first aired 1961

Story arc 13 consisted of 14 segments shown over 7 broadcasts. Boris and Natasha manage to cause the Earth to tilt so the South Pole turns tropical.

14 Painting Theft
Episode 4-1, first aired 1962

Story arc 14 consisted of 6 segments shown over 3 broadcasts. After Boris and Natasha rob a museum in France, they hide their paintings in Bullwinkle's farm where he whitewashes them so he can draw his own artwork on them, which prove to be successful.

15 The Guns Of Abalone
Episode 4-2, first aired 1962

Story arc 15 consisted of 4 segments shown over 2 broadcasts. In their next plan to take over the world, Boris and Natasha decide to use giant cannons. Rocky and Bullwinkle find a way to stop them.

16 The Treasure of Monte Zoom
Episode 4-3, first aired 1962

Story arc 16 consisted of 8 segments shown over 4 broadcasts. There may be treasure hidden in a Minnesotan lake and Boris and Natasha are determined to find it.

17 Goof Gas Attack
Episode 4-4, first aired 1962

Story arc 17 consisted of 8 segments shown over 4 broadcasts. Pottsylvania has perfected a nerve gas that turns every intelligent person foolish. Boris and Natasha are going to take over the world for Fearless Leader. Luckily, Bullwinkle is immune.

18 Banana Formula
Episode 4-5, first aired 1962

Story arc 18 consisted of 12 segments shown over 6 broadcasts. Boris and Natasha are happy to come across a sound-suppressing explosion called 'Hush-a-Boom'. They write the formula on a banana which Bullwinkle finds and promptly eats.

19 Bumbling Brothers Circus
Episode 5-1, first aired 1963

Story arc 19 consisted of 10 segments shown over 5 broadcasts. The Bumbling Brothers Circus has come to Frostbite Falls and Rocky and Bullwinkle meet Hugo and Igo Bumbling. The lion tamer is really Boris and he and Natasha want to use the visit to eliminate moose and squirrel.

20 Mucho Loma
Episode 5-2, first aired 1963

Story arc 20 consisted of 6 segments shown over 3 broadcasts. A masked rider named Zero wants to get even with the people of Mucho Loma (Much Mud) because he was jailed for a year for disturbing the peace by bad singing. Rocky and Bullwinkle get themselves into trouble and to get out of it, they have to capture Zero. [No Boris and Natasha.]

21 Pottsylvania Creeper
Episode 5-3, first aired 1963

Story arc 21 consisted of 6 segments shown over 3 broadcasts. Fearless Leader enters a man-eating plant in a Frostbite Falls flower show and the plant spreads its seeds everywhere creating an army of such nasties.

22 Moosylvania
Episode 5-4, first aired 1963

Story arc 22 consisted of 4 segments shown over 2 broadcasts. After discovering the last state of Moosylvania, Bullwinkle heads to D.C. to get it admitted to the U.S. Boris and Natasha are behind it all.

23 The Ruby Yacht
Episode 5-5, first aired 1963

Story arc 23 consisted of 6 segments shown over 3 broadcasts. Bullwinkle finds a boat in a lake that is encrusted with gems. An Indian ruler wants it.

24 Bullwinkle's Testimonial Dinner
Episode 5-6, first aired 1963

Story arc 24 consisted of 6 segments shown over 3 broadcasts. To get his suit cleaned before a dinner honoring him, Bullwinkle mistakenly takes it to a Chinese cleaner which is a front for Boris and Natasha.

25 The Weather Lady
Episode 5-7, first aired 1963

Story arc 25 consisted of 6 segments shown over 3 broadcasts. Boris and Natasha are using a fortune telling machine as an illegal gambling boat.

26 Louse on 92nd Street
Episode 5-8, first aired 1963

Story arc 26 consisted of 6 segments shown over 3 broadcasts. After Bullwinkle see a famous gangster commit a crime, Boris and Natasha are out after him because Boris is a big fan of the bad guy.

27 Wossamotta U
Episode 5-9, first aired 1963

Story arc 27 consisted of 12 segments shown over 6 broadcasts. It turns out that Bullwinkle is an awesome football passer so he is invited into a college in need of a winning team. Sports gamblers Boris and Natasha see a way to rake in the loot.

28 Moosylvania Saved
Episode 5-10, first aired 1963

Story arc 28 consisted of 4 segments shown over 2 broadcasts. In need of money for his country, Fearless Leader tricks Bullwinkle into getting foreign aid for Moosylvania which he wants Boris and Natasha to steal.

29 The Stink Of Fear
Episode 6-1, first aired 2018

Story arc 1 of the new The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle from Dreamworks consisted of 5 segments. Bullwinkle's secret stinky pie recipe is entered into an international contest. Boris and Natasha need to steal the recipe so Fearless Leader can create a biological weapon to take over the world.

30 The Dark Side of the Moose
Episode 6-2, first aired 2018

Story arc 2 of the new The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle from Dreamworks consisted of 4 segments. Rocky and Bullwinkle want a new adventure so they attend a space camp where Boris and Natasha are also attending to steal a new satellite.

31 Moosebumps
Episode 6-3, first aired 2018

Story arc 3 of the new The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle from Dreamworks consisted of 4 segments. Rocky and Bullwinkle buy a haunted house in England so they can hunt monsters like they saw on the Internet. Boris and Natasha are after the same house for Fearless Leader's summer home.

32 Almost Famoose
Episode 6-4, first aired 2019

Story arc 4 of the new The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle from Dreamworks consisted of 4 segments. To raise money to repair the world's largest birdbath, Rocky and Bullwinkle try to become singing superstars. Fearless Leader also wants to become a star to get a legion of fans to follow his orders.

33 the Legend of the Power Gems
Episode 6-5, first aired 2019

Story arc 5 of the new The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle from Dreamworks consisted of 4 segments. Rocky and Bullwinkle are on a hunt for the Power Gem, a mystical blue item, in order to win free shrimp dinner for life from Long Tom's Lobster. Fearless Leader decides he can take over the world by becoming successful in the restaurant business and Boris and Natasha must steal a recipe from Tom.

34 Amazamoose and Squirrel Wonder
Episode 6-6, first aired 2019

Story arc 6 of the new The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle from Dreamworks consisted of 5 segments. When Fearless Leader finds some goop that gives him superpowers, Rocky and Bullwinkle must take on the alter-egos of superheroes to stop him and Boris and Natasha.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:86
First Appearance:1960
Last Appearance:2018

       A year after the Rocky and Bullwinkle show was first aired on television, Dell Publications came out with a series of comic book adventures of the two characters as well as their constant nemeses, Boris and Natasha. These were in the Dell Four Color imprint which contained a lot of different stars in its pages over the years. No one storyline dominated the comic from issue to issue as variety seemed the intent.
       Dell put out 7 issues of Four Color devoted to the pair though sometimes Rocky got top billing and other times Bullwinkle did. There were also two stand-alone issues of stories.
       Gold Key would try its hand at stories, coming out in 1963 with two issues. Charlton Comics would take over after a seven year hiatus with 7 issues where Bullwinkle had top billing, lasting two years. Gold Key would return to the title in 1972 and go until 1979 with a mixture of new stories and repeats of its own and of Dell's.
       In the Fall of 1987, Marvel Comics' Star Comics label would bring Moose and Squirrel back for new stories for a couple of years. then we leap ahead to 2014 when IDW tried its hand at adventures in 4 issues.
       American Mythology Productions gave us 3 issues of stories in 2017.

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COMIC STRIPS

Number of Arcs:1
Number of Strips:904
First Appearance:9999
Last Appearance:1000

       In the 90+ adventures in comicbook format that Dell and Gold Key produced in the early 60s and then concluded in the early 70s, many were by the hand of the extremely talented Al Kilgore. Comics.org, an industry expert, credits all of them to Kilgore but at least one websites contests Kilgore's having done them all.
       Kilgore had a terrific gift of giving the audience, which ran ostentiably to children but plainly had a lot of adult followers as well. He never talked down to the kids and he gave enough unoffending but still satirical bite to the stories that grown-ups could get a lot out of them.
       I do not know who approached whom but in July, 1962, Bell-McClure Syndicate brought out a daily (Mon-Sat) strip entitled Bullwinkle. It was drawn and written by Kilgore during its run of 3 years, 900+ strips. These adventures were extremely topical as well as being timeless in that the adventures could happen most any time but there were numerous instances of name-dropping to mark their place in history. Most notably were the frequent references to JFK prior to his assassination.

NOTE: I have finally accumulated all the strips and am slowly piecing together the story arcs.

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MY COMMENTS

       I want to believe that any fan of spy fiction would give at least a small smile to the inclusion of Boris and Natasha in any compendium devoted to spy series fiction. I mean, really! Who are more spy-nasty and iconic and stereotypical than these two? They were created specifically for this and they both play it wonderfully.
       I had a blast going back to my childhood when these no-goodniks first showed up. One thing that occurred to me as I reminisced was that so much of what I watched had to have gone over my head and I didn't notice and obviously didn't care but now as a somewhat older (albeit only marginally more mature) individual, watching them again and reading the comics and especially enjoying the heck out of the comic strips, I am still a huge fan.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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