A Ruby Yacht and Yogi

Chris Hayward. I didn't know him, or even know his name, but I have been indelibly shaped for good and ill by him.

Now I just heard that Joseph Barbera died, a name that everyone knows. The coolest theme: Jetons, the first animated prime time sitcom: Flintstones. The first Emmy: Huckleberry Hound, all bear the Hanna-Barbera imprint.

Anyone who had a TV set in the 1960's watched something from that shop, and if you were me, lots and lots of it.

Hayward wrote some of the wordplay for Rocky & His Friends, one of whom was Bullwinkle Moose. The show is something of a boomer touchstone with its send-up of cold War spying, its jibes at law enforcement via Dudley Dooright, and its Mr Peabody cartoons for which I wish I could set the wayback machine.

My love of bad jokes traces directly to that show and its relentless punning. My children have been hooked by the DVDs, which their cousin plays for them on our occasional visits, so Hayward and company live on.

Now, if he had written about a hearty (and smarter than average) bear instead of an intrepid moose, would that character have been a Hayward Hale Bruin?

Thanks, Chris, Joe. God must be in heaven with you two to keep him in stitches.

By John Eggerton