Everybody has a favourite bear, from the cartoon that makes you laugh to the teddy you had as a child. Here are a few of the most famous:
‘Smarter than the average bear.’ that’s Yogi bear. Originally a supporting character in “The Huckleberry Hound Show”, Yogi moved into the big time with his own show back in 1961, made a musical animated feature film, “Hey There, It”s Yogi Bear!’ in 1964 and has never looked back. Ably assisted by his friend and compatriot, Boo Boo, Yogi lives in Jellystone Park and is the bain of Ranger Smith’s life. In 1997 he had the distinction of having a Martian rock named after him (Yogi Rock) by the Mars Pathfinder mission.
‘Please look after this bear – Thank you.’ Found on Paddington railway station back in the 1950’s, Paddington has lived with his foster family “The Browns” ever since. Although he’s an extremely polite bear with an overwhelming passion for marmalade sandwiches, he’s got a stare that can leave you quaking in your boots. His Aunt Lucy who still lives in darkest Peru must be extremely proud of him, as he’s now got his own bronze statue on Paddington station.
“Wocka, Wocka, Wocka.” “The comedian’s a bear”. Lovable, fuzzy and orange, that’s Fozzie Bear. He’s one of the essential Muppets that always made the show. Now of course he’s turned his back on the humble medium of T.V. and is a star of the big screen, having appeared in every cinematic venture “The Muppets” have made.
Born in Blackpool in 1948, Sooty’s T.V. show (according to the Guinness Book of Records) is the longest running children’s T.V. programme in the U.K. Unlike his sidekick, Sweep, Sooty isn’t very talkative and only communicates by whispering into an assistant’s ear. Known for his mischievous nature, he’s a dab hand with a water pistol, has an impressive flourish with his magic wand and as a cultural icon has an army of loyal fans including rather surprisingly Nicko McBrain the drummer from Iron Maiden.
For a “Bear of Very Little Brain”, Winnie the Pooh, international mega-star and millionaire, hasn’t done too badly! Life though, hasn’t always been easy for the bear from “Hundred Acre Wood”. Back in the 1920’s Pooh (who was also known as Edward Bear) started out as just a bear in a bedtime story, but thanks to hard work, determination and a shrewd move to Disney in the 1930’s, Pooh is now a global marketing phenomenon. Star of Stage, Screen, Radio, Video Games and Duvet Covers everywhere Pooh is a bear of distinction.
You don’t see much of Barney these days, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t big in his time. In fact he was nominated for an Oscar back in 1941 for the animated short “The Rookie Bear” and in his heyday (1939-1954) made over 25 cartoons.
Baloo has been shuffling around the jungle for over a hundred years now, but he’s still a nifty little mover when the mood takes him. Rudyard Kipling first brought him to the public’s attention back in 1894 when he first featured in “The Jungle Book”. But Baloo really hit the heights in the 1960’s with the Disney film version of the book. With a virtuoso performance of “Bare Necessities” Baloo was an instant success and went on to feature in “The Jungle Book II”, “Tailspin” and “Robin Hood” (where thanks to the make up department, he played the part of Little John).
There’s only one bear that come with a Presidential endorsement and that’s your humble old Teddy Bear.
Back in 1902, or so the story goes, Theodore Roosevelt the American President was out on a hunting trip with a couple of friends. Together they’d chased a bear into a tree and Roosevelt’s friends were telling him to shoot it. Roosevelt, though, thought it was unsporting so he refused and the event became part of political history. Meanwhile a toy shop owner with her eye to the main chance, saw a gap in the market and asked if she could market stuffed bears and name them “Teddy” after the President. Thankfully Roosevelt agreed, otherwise your Ted would probably be called Abraham or George or Ronald or Bill or Richard Milhous…
Rupert’s got more of a journalistic background than other bears, as he started his career in the “Daily Express” newspaper back in 1920. Since then he’s branched out into annuals, T.V. series, the odd pop song with Paul McCartney and a bunch of frogs and now there’s even talk of him appearing in a film. In fact, the little bear from Nutwood seems to be getting more and more popular the older he gets.
Hair Bear (he had the afro), Bubi Bear (he had the weird way of talking) and Square Bear (he had the invisible motorcycle) were just three average, everyday bears that lived in a secret bachelor style pad in the Wonderland Zoo. Stars of “Help! … It”s The Hair Bear Bunch’, these three hip bears only made 17 episodes but immediately became cult heroes as they tried to elude the zookeeper, Mr Peevly and his assistant Botch.
No list of famous bears would be complete without Little Ted. Sadly only ever thought of as a sidekick, by the main star of the show “Andy Pandy”, Little Ted to millions of British children became known as a lovable symbol of belligerent unruliness. Where Andy and Luby Lou were “adult friendly” Little Ted embodied the world as seen from a four year old’s perspective. In his latter years though, Little Ted “sold out” and become more of a politically correct bear, but hardened fans of his early work remain hopeful with the thought that even though you can take the bear out of the jungle, you can’t take the jungle out of the bear.