I remember my surprise learning in school of a person named Boris Gudunov, and only then understanding the pun in Badenov’s name. I expect that’s true of most people my age. Did anyone here actually hear Gudunov’s name first?
Given that I started watching Rocky & Bullwinkle before getting much exposure to classical music, I assume I was aware of Boris Badenov first.
There were tons of puns in Rocky and Bullwinkle that were aimed directly at adults, no way any kid was going to get them. It was years before I found out why my mom laughed so much at “The Ruby Yacht of Omar Khayyam”.
Hell, my Dad still laughs about the Kurwood Derby. Dah-link.
I did recognize a pun in Boris Badenov’s name (Badenov = Bad Enough), but was completely unaware of either the actual historical figure or the opera Boris Godunov.
I suspect it’s not unusual for a lot of kids to have discovered cultural things like this through the medium of cartoons. Through Bullwinkle, I also encountered the Ruby Yacht of Omar Khayyam long before I had ever heard of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and the Kirward Derby before I knew who Durward Kirby was.
Likewise, a lot of my knowledge of classic film actors originally came through Bugs Bunny cartoons. And they say TV isn’t educational!
Same-same. Watched the cartoons as a kid. Got aware of classical music later. I think R & B led to my life-long paronomasiophilia.
I was four years old when Rocky and Bullwinkle debuted, and I didn’t hear of Gudonov (or at least make the connection) until I was 18 and learning Russian. One of my teachers pointed it out to me.
Since Natasha’s name was Fatale, I just assumed that while Boris was bad enough, he wasn’t nearly as dangerous as she was.
Never heard of Boris Gudunov. Never occurred to me as a kid that there could be such a thing, I though it was just a play on a Russian name meaning “bad enough”.
I loved the puns – The Ruby Yacht of Omar Khayyam, the Kurwood Derby, New Greenpernt,a painting called “Newt Descending a Staircase.” It was years before I “got” several of these. .
Other Jay Ward productions had similar wonderfully atrocious puns (A Cap’n Crunch comic book entitled “I’m Dreaming of a Wide Isthmus”, a Crusader Rabbit cartoon set on “Nothing Atoll”)
Someone else used the pun on “Godunov” in a filk version of “Gimme that Old Time Religion”:
I think it was my seventh grade teacher who pointed out the pun, as well as mentioning the fact that Natasha was a common name in Russian literature. (He didn’t mention femme fatale however.) He was a big fan of the show.
I was going to mention the castaway Enrico Crusoe (a pun on opera singer Enrico Caruso), the son of Robinson Crusoe, who lived on Nothing Atoll, as another cultural reference that would have gone over kid’s heads, but on looking it up that one was apparently in Crusader Rabbit, Jay Ward’s earlier show. For years I was uncertain which way the opera singer’s name was spelled.
This, for me. I was probably no more than 5 when I started watching Rocky & Bullwinkle, and I don’t think I heard of Godunov (in any context) until I was in college. Once I did, I realized that Badenov’s name was a joke, based on Godunov, but I’d lacked that context as a kid.
When I was watching the show at 16 after not having seen it for several years, I realized how many of the jokes I had missed the first time around. The one that made me go :smack: was Peter Peachfuzz telling Rocky and Bullwinkle a kind old man and his wife* would put them up for the night on their farm when they got to Gettysburg, PA.
*Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower in retirement.
My favorite along these lines was from the Beany and Cecil Show, where the gang went to the No Bikini Atoll.
I also knew of Play-Dough looooong before I learned of Plato.
As Elaine Benes said to Jerry, “You know, it is so sad, all your knowledge of high culture comes from Bugs Bunny cartoons.”
That’s true for many of us.
I don’t think they ever showed Rocky & Bullwinkle on TV in my country. Certainly I was an adult before I even heard of the show, and I’ve never seen a single episode. I definitely heard of Gudunov first, and when I heard of Badenov I instantly got the pun.
i knew of Badenov first (when I was a young child) but I learned of the play on names when we sang something from Gudenov in high school chorus.
Now here’s something you’ll really like: humorist Art Buchwald while at USC helped write a campus variety show called "No Love Atoll.*
*he had previously served in the Marines, spending most of his tour on a Pacific atoll cleaning aircraft guns and editing his unit’s newsletter.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.