The West Hollywood City Council on Monday will consider taking Rocky and Bullwinkle out of the closet.
On the Council’s agenda is a proposal to install the famous Rocky and Bullwinkle statue at the traffic island on Holloway Drive and Sunset Boulevard. If approved a pedestal will have to be created and then Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose (aka Rocky and Bullwinkle) can be taken out of storage in time to celebrate the 60th anniversary of “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends,” a popular TV show that aired between Nov. 19, June 27, 1959 and 1964
That may be the final destination for an iconic statue that was first located at 8218 Sunset Blvd. outside the offices of Jay Ward Productions, producer of the cartoon show. As a memo from City Hall explains, it was intended to “parody a statue directly across the street – a bikini-clad, spinning showgirl on a billboard advertising the Sahara Casino in Las Vegas. When the artwork was originally erected, it also spun around. Whenever the rotating showgirl’s bathing suit was painted a new color, Bullwinkle’s sweater soon followed. Cement disks around the base of the statue bore ‘walk of fame’ style signatures and elbow prints of the cartoon’s writers and voice artists.’
The sculpture unexpectedly disappeared in July 2013. Alison Martino, whose Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page chronicles the history of the Sunset Strip, sounded the alarm there and in an article in Los Angeles magazine titled “Vintage Los Angeles: The Moose is Loose!” Eventually, it was revealed that DreamWorks Studios and Twentieth Century Fox had funded a restoration of the sculpture as part of an exhibit at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. It reappeared on Oct. 9, 2014, inside the glass atrium of the Paley Center.
When that exhibit ended the Jay Ward family approached the City of West Hollywood with an offer to donate the statue if it were placed on Sunset Boulevard near its original location.
The city initially planned to install it on the city parking lot at 8775 Sunset, but decided it wouldn’t be compatible with the Sunset Spectacular digital billboard project planned for that site. In 2016 the statue was housed briefly in the City Hall lobby. Then it was removed for some maintenance and has remained in storage, where it will stay until the pedestal is installed.
The statue was restored to its original glory by Ricardo Scozzari. In an interview with Martino, Scorzzari said he restored the statue twice. “Once on the Sunset Strip and the final time as you see it now. It was a fun project. Bullwinkle had ‘open-heart surgery’ — literally. I had to open his chest to strengthen his internal structure. Oh, the pictures I have. He looks just like he did back in 1961. Same number of strips on his bathing suit and everything.”
Preparation of the Holloway/Sunset site is anticipated to cost $68,564. The City Council will decide whether to approve that at its meeting Monday, which will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chamber, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. Parking is free in the five-story structure behind the Chambers with a ticket validated at the meeting.