The West Hollywood City Council tonight approved a plan to bring the iconic Rocky and Bullwinkle statue back to Sunset Boulevard with an installation on the traffic island at the intersection of Holloway and Sunset.
Rocky and Bullwinkle will find a home at that location after several years as transients. The statue of those comedic figures was first erected at 8218 Sunset Blvd. outside the offices of Jay Ward Productions, producer of “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends.” That cartoon series first aired on Nov. 17, 1959, and immediately became a hit.
The sculpture disappeared in July 2013. Alison Martino, whose Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page chronicles the history of the Sunset Strip, sounded the alarm about it 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. The sculpture reappeared on Oct. 9, 2014, inside the glass atrium of the Paley Center.
When that exhibit ended the Jay Ward family offered to donate the statue to the City of West Hollywood if it were placed on Sunset Boulevard near its original location. After a brief display in the West Hollywood City Hall lobby in 2016, Rocky and Bullwinkle went back into storage where the statue underwent an extensive restoration by Ric Scozzari while City Hall tried to decide where to put it.
Some residents of the West Hollywood Heights neighborhood were not too keen on having Rocky and Bullwinkle as neighbors. In email messages to the City Council, they said they were worried that placement of the statue on the Holloway/Sunset traffic island would cause problems with tourists stopping to take photos and driving slowly along Sunset in search of the statue. Another concern was for the safety of pedestrians crossing Holloway or Sunset to enter the traffic island.
Elyse Eisenberg, president of the West Hollywood Heights Neighborhood Association, told the Council that community members should have been included in the discussion about the location of the statue. She asked that the city delay the installation until it could conduct a more extensive study of the issues. Eisenberg suggested the statue be placed in the parking lot at 8775 Sunset Blvd. or perhaps on Santa Monica Boulevard. However, city staff had decided that the statue wouldn’t be compatible with the Sunset Spectacular digital billboard project planned for 8775 Sunset.
However, fans of Rocky and Bullwinkle turned out waving a sign before the City Council to urge it to approve the installation. Among them was Brad Norman, the voice of Bullwinkle in the new Amazon Prime series “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” with Tara Strong, the voice of Rocky, who made a comedic pitch to the Council. Amber Ward, vice president of Ward Productions and the granddaughter of Jay Ward, creator of the iconic TV show, also appeared before the City Council to support the installation on the Holloway traffic island.
“It would be fantastic to see the statue in its permanent home by the 60th anniversary … of the first airing of the Bullwinkle Show,” Ward said.
Also speaking in support of the installation were Ric Scozzari and Alison Martino, who noted that many of the followers of her Vintage Los Angeles page on Facebook are supporting the reinstallation.
The City Council approved the installation on the Holloway/Sunset site in a unanimous vote. The installation is estimated to cost $108,467.