Crusader Rabbit was created by Alex Anderson, nephew of Terrytoons animation studio pioneer Paul Terry. He approached old friend Jay Ward who was a real estate broker at the time and they formed Television Arts Productions (T.A.P.) in 1948 in Berkeley, California. Crusader Rabbit was done in black and white utilizing limited animation similar to a comic strip format. The cast included Crusader as a Don Quixote type, Ragland “Rags” Tiger and villain Dudley Nightshade.

Recognized as the first made for TV animated series, 195 cartoons aired on NBC between 1949 and 1952. Narrated by Roy Whaley, voice actors included future Smurfette voice actress Lucille Bliss as Crusader, Vern Louden as Rags, and Russ Coughlin as Dudley. A notable early sponsor was Bell Brand Potato Chips owned by Glen Bell who would go on to found the Taco Bell chain.

Dell Comics released Four Color comic books in 1956 and 1957. Also in ’57, Shull Bonsell’s Capital Enterprises contracted to animate 260 color Crusader Rabbit cartoons but the series had limited success. It’s conceivable that if Anderson and Ward hadn’t formed their partnership, Anderson would have stayed at Terrytoons and the world would have never seen Rocky And Bullwinkle from Jay Ward Productions.