Thursday, December 13, 2018

Boris and Natasha:Victims of Typecasting

This is my entry in the What a Character Blogathon hosted by the terrific trio Once Upon a Screen, Outspoken and Freckled and Paula's Cinema Club. Click HERE for more unforgettable characters.

I apologize in advance for veering off course a bit, but some stories just need to be told and some records set straight.

Good actors sometimes are so good that they get typecast. While discouraging to the actor, the public, it seems, like to see certain actors in certain types of roles. Think Johnny Weismuller as Tarzan and Cheetah as Cheetah. Word is that Cheetah auditioned for the role of Norma Desmond's chimp in "Sunset Boulevard," but was not chosen because Paramount felt that the audience would expect Tarzan to show up at that midnight funeral.

Cheetah: a victim of type casting
Poor Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. Cast as the supporting antagonists of stars Rocky and Bullwinkle, the duo never got a chance to spread their acting wings and show their stuff outside of their iconic roles. In fact, many people think Boris and Natasha were actually Pottsylvanian spies and lovers. Neither could be further from the truth.

A little  background.

Boris Badenov was born in Russia, the product of an illicit liaison between an American father and a Russian mother. will confirm: Gomez + short Unknown
Russian Woman = Boris Badenov
His father, one Gomez Addams, had a one night stand with an unknown Russian woman after an exceptionally nasty argument with his wife, Morticia, while on a Russian holiday. Gomez, when advised of his son, left him in the hands of an old friend, Mr. Big, a shady Russian character. 

Natasha Fatale's birthplace was unknown, but we do know she was the product of one Morticia Addams and one Fearless Leader (Morticia said it was the scar that sealed the deal). Apparently that fight with Gomez was a doozie.
It Happened One Night: Morticia + Fearless Leader = Natasha Fatale
Once Morticia popped out Natasha she resumed her life with Gomez, leaving the baby girl with her baby daddy.

Fearless Leader, ever devoted to his boss, Mr. Big, turned Natasha over to the little big man who was pleased to have 2 babies to mold as he pleased. He thought they might make good spies or accountants, but the duo, raised as brother and sister, had stars in their eyes and made their way to Hollywood.

The Big Break
Hollywood is a cold town. Boris and Natasha barely got by, taking small parts here and there while working as domestic help.

Truth be told, these 2 were divas
Boris was particularly crushed when he successfully auditioned for director Preston Sturges only to have his performance stolen from him by Akim Tamiroff in "The Great McGinty." Stolen!!

Natasha, too, encountered disappointment. Every time she tried out for a role, it seemed it went to Ava Gardner. 

And then came the call. Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose were looking for a pair of actors to pay some bumbling Pottsylvania spies. Boris and Natasha nailed the audition and were cast. Moose and Squirrel agreed they were so true to life! The creator, Jay Ward, loved them so much that he used their real names and even cast father figures Mr. Big and Fearless Leader as an extra bonus. For anyone that is concerned, appropriate work visas were obtained. 

Mr. Big in a big moment
Both Fearless Leader and Mr. Big proved to be one-trick ponies and retreated to their lives back in Russia once Rocky and Bullwinkle retired. Mr. Big later resurfaced by complaining that the HBO series "Sex in the City" had stolen his identity and persona. 

Supporting Moose and Squirrel

Boris and Natasha appeared in all but 3 of Rocky and Bullwinkle's story arcs. However, they never received more than a credit of "others" or "friends"when the stars were proclaimed at the beginning of the show. Yet, they were an integral part of the Rocky and Bullwinkle show and became familiar figures to the public by virtue of popular support. Here is a compilation of some of their greatest moments:

Life After Moose and Squirrel
Like all typecast actors, Boris and Natasha yearned for different roles. The luckless Boris lost out to Danny DeVito for a role in the TV series "Taxi," 

and Natasha lost out to Jane Russell as a representative of full-figured women.

Once Rocky and Bullwinkle decided to call it quits, Boris and Natasha knew their time in the spotlight was over.

Eventually, they retired to private lives. Boris, to Santa Barbara, where he married his physical therapist and raised avocados. He lives a quiet life and is known to his neighbors as the gentleman farmer with the funny accent.

Natasha left Hollywood for Manhattan, where she met a billionaire and lives in a big golden tower. Sometimes, when he is asleep, she swears she sees Squirrel on his head.

One last note: please don't try to make too much sense of this!


Caftan Woman said...

Hollywood is one tough town and you are one crazy person in the dark!

Honestly, I have tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. I will never, never watch The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends again without having flashbacks to your article.

Silver Screenings said...

BRILLIANT!!! I love this!! SO CLEVER!!

FlickChick said...

Oh, CW.. it's true, I am crazy. But glad I made you chuckle.

FlickChick said...

Ruth - many thanks. I did have fun kind of mentally spinning out of control.

Anonymous said...

This. Is. Wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!

The Gal Herself said...

This is adorable! Jay Ward himself couldn't have done a better job.

J-Dub said...

1) On my blog, I have a series called "Movies My Wife Hates." Type-casting figures prominently in those posts.

2) The Ava Gardner/Natasha bit...literally "coffee shot out my nose" funny. I'll be sending you a dry cleaning bill.

Jocelyn said...

Delightful post—I love it! Having somehow missed out on the Rocky & Bullwinkle phenomenon (I know, right!?!) I am motivated to catch up.

Stephen Reginald said...

Wish I had written this post! It really is wonderfully clever and well done.

FlickChick said...

Sarah - thank you. I enjoyed participating in this blogathon so much.

FlickChick said...

Thanks for stopping by, Gal - but I think Jay Ward might disagree!

FlickChick said...

Hey J-Dub - just visited your site and love it. And sorry, the dry cleaning bill is yours.

FlickChick said...

Jocelyn - oh, how can you have missed Moose and Squirrel? They really are great grown-up cartoons (especially those who remember the cold war era).

FlickChick said...

Stephen - many thanks - such high praise!

Citizen Screen said...

This is why you can never, ever quit blogging!! What a hoot. I knew virtually nothing of Boris and Natasha's background and careers. How interesting their stories and lives have been. I've learned so much and have newfound appreciation of their work.


John V said...

What a delightful post! I'm sure Boris & Natasha appreciate you shining the spotlight on them! ;)

The Lady Eve said...

BRILLIANT! I love it. I laughed, I cried. Thank you, Marsha!

FlickChick said...

Thanks, Aurora. And many thanks for hosting. who doesn't love a good character!

FlickChick said...

John V - well, from what I've heard... Boris shuns the spotlight and Natasha views the media as the enemy. Sad.

FlickChick said...

Oh, Lady Eve - you are way too kind!


Girl, you gave me the best laughs of the day! I'm happy Boris and Natasha retired to live happy, fulfilled lives ;)

FlickChick said...

Thank you, Le. Not so sure how happy Natasha is.....