Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A bit o' personal history

I won't say just how old I am, but one of the first animated series that captured my youthful attention was Rocky & Bullwinkle, the redoubtable moose-and-squirrel team of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota (little could I have suspected then that I'd ever end up living anywhere near there...).  In one of its story serials, the object of quest and contention is the Kerwood* Derby, which makes its wearer the smartest person in the world!

*or maybe it's "Kirward" (a play on the name of a then somewhat famous announcer, Durward Kirby) -- it gets pronounced either way...

What it was doing on Earth is part of a long, tangled story (as are all R&B tales), since it was originally fashioned by the court wizard, Kirward (or is it Kerwood?), to the former King of the Moon People, in order to boost the intelligence of his dim-bulb heir, Prince Nosmo (or is it Nozmo?).  During the time of the story, King Nosmo the One Hat, reigns over Luna, as the residents increasingly find themselves affected by events among those annoying creatures on that blue planet over there...  (Their frequent emissaries to Earth, who often meet up with R&B, are the pair Gidney and Cloyd.)

It might be mentioned that the "King Nosmo" gag (swap the words) goes back at least to the 1940s.  At the time (circa 1961), I thought they were saying "Nozmo" and adopted it as a psuedonym, which I continue to use at times to this day...  I was delighted to discover recently that the full origin episode of the Kerwood (or however it's spelled) Derby is available on Youtube.

King Nosmo of Luna,
sporting his (absolutely essential) crown, the Kirwood Derby

I am not the only person who liked this name -- you will find a band of some note called Nozmo King** who play, in their words, "jazzed-up, funkified groove rock".

** or maybe it's "Nosmo King":  you'll find them on searches under both spellings

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