In those drawings were Scott's wry observations of life in a struggling animation studio; commentary on agency perfidy, holding onto talent, the frustrations of producing a show across cultural and linguistic barriers and even whether or not the studio would survive. Those cartoons are unguarded moments, meant to be shared only with Jay Ward; none of those emotions ever surfaced in any interview I found. Press interviews of the time were often filled with bravado, with Jay and Bill taking on either the ABC or NBC networks while later interviews, after success was achieved, seemed to focus primarily on the shows themselves.
For those who are new here or who haven't read my book, The Art of Jay Ward Productions, most of the animation on Rocky & His Friends and The Bullwinkle Show was produced by a studio in Mexico City inexperienced in TV series production and at a fraction of the cost of shows by competitor Hanna-Barbera. It was a situation forced on Jay and Bill by the sponsor's agency, Dancer-Fitzgerald-Samples, and it was perpetual source of aggravation for them.
Although the duo had low expectations given all that they were saddled with, even those expectations appeared to be overly optimistic. Shows came back riddled with the kinds of errors that never should have left the production facility--characters missing body parts, painted the wrong color, walking on a ground plane different from the background, etc. And then there was the matter of animation being executed by people who had never animated before. Bill Scott, who had come up through the ranks of classic animation, was mortified by what he saw.
Next week, Bill Scott attempts to explain what happened behind the scenes at the Mexican studio.