July 01, 2017


(Disney Channel, CBS, January 17, 1988-Octboer 26, 1991)

Walt Disney Television Animation

Jim CummingsWinnie the Pooh, Tigger (some episodes, season 3-4, Boo, Year & singing: Thanksgiving & Valentine), various
Paul Winchell – Tigger (season 1-2, 3 episodes of season 3)
John FiedlerPiglet, various
Steve Schatzberg – Piglet (singing: Boo & Thanksgiving)
Ken SansomRabbit, Stan the Woozle, Piglet Look-Like, various
Peter CullenEeyore, various
Michael Gough – Gopher
Patricia Parris (as Patty Paris) – Kanga, Christopher Robin’s mother
Kath Soucie – Kanga (Year)
Nikita Hopkins – Roo (Year)
Hal SmithOwl, various
Andre Stojka - Owl (Thanksgiving & Valentine)
Timothy Hoskins, Edan Gross (Christmas), Brady Bluhm (Thanksgiving & Valentine) & William Green (Year) – Christopher Robin
Frankie J. Galasso – Christopher Robin (singing: Valentine)

            The Hundred Acre Wood is the place that young Christopher Robin would frequent to visit his closest friends. Although, they weren’t your typical friends, being that many of them were stuffed. And animals. Chief amongst them was the slow-witted and friendly Winnie the Pooh; a bear whose primary love was all things honey. With him came Piglet, a small neat-freak pig who found a reason to be afraid of anything (particularly Heffalumps, creatures that resembled elephants); Tigger, an energetic tiger that loved to bounce and go on adventures; Kanga, a kangaroo always in the company of her little joey, Roo; Eeyore, a constantly depressed, hard-luck donkey that always lost his pinned-on tail; Rabbit, a real rabbit obsessed with order and keeping crows out of his garden; and Owl, a real owl whose species made him the de-facto wisest of the group (even if he really wasn’t).

The original toys, sans Roo who had long since been lost.

            This group of friends came from the imagination of author A.A. Milne, who was inspired by his son, Christopher Robin, and his toys, as well as the animals that lived in the forest around his country home in Ashdown Forest, Sussex, England. Christopher Robin had become enamored with a bear at the London Zoo named Winnipeg; a transplant from Canada that was rescued by Lieutenant Harry Coleburn and donated to the zoo after WWI. Coleburn named the bear after his adopted home of Winnipeg. The young Milne spent a lot of time with Winnie, going so far as to hang out inside the cage. Eventually, his favorite stuffed bear, Edward, was renamed “Winnie the Pooh” after the bear and a swan they once encountered.

The original books.

            Pooh made his literary debut in the poem “Teddy Bear”, published in the February 13, 1924 edition of PunchHowever, he would go unnamed until a story commissioned by the London newspaper The Evening News was published on December 24, 1925. In 1926, Milne and Pooh made the leap to book form in Winnie the PoohPublished by Methuen & Co., Ltd. with illustrations by E.H. ShepardWinnie the Pooh adapted previously published stories with new content and introduced most of his supporting cast--also based on the rest of Milne’s son’s stuffed animals--as well as the characterization of Christopher Robin. Tigger wouldn’t be introduced until the 1928 sequel, The House at Pooh Corner.

Winnie the Pooh board game produced by Slesinger.

            Based on the popularity of the original stories and the books, Stephen Slesinger purchased the North American rights to produce merchandise and media based on the characters in 1930. Slesinger managed to turn Pooh and his friends into a $50 million-a-year industry, overseeing the production of toys, records, animation and films under his banner, Telecomics Presents. Slesinger gave Pooh his distinctive red t-shirt in a drawing he did for the cover of the 1932 RCA Victor picture record. It was also the first time the characters appeared in color.

Walt Disney and his daughters.

            Amongst Pooh’s fans were Diane and Sharon Mae Disney, the daughters of Walt Disney. Disney actively pursued the rights to the characters and eventually acquired certain ones from Slesinger and Milne’s widows Shirley and Daphne in 1961. Disney planned to adapt the characters into a full-length animated musical feature, but upon realizing that worldwide audiences may not be as familiar with the source material as the British, he decided to split the feature up into a series of theatrical shorts in order to better introduce the characters.

Promotional artwork for The Honey Tree.

The first, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Treeadapted the first three chapters of Winnie the Pooh. It starred Sterling Holloway as Pooh, Junius Matthews as Rabbit, Hal Smith as Owl, Ralph Wright as Eeyore, Barbara Luddy as Kanga, Clint Howard as Roo, and Bruce Reitherman as Christopher Robin. Although promotional art featured Piglet and Tigger (resembling the Shepard design), neither appeared in the short. Rather, Disney contemplated replacing Piglet entirely and introduced a new character: Gopher (Howard Morris). Gopher, based on the beaver from Lady and the Trampconstantly dug holes and tunnels around the Wood and often spoke with a whistle. Honey Tree was released on February 4, 1966 and was shown alongside The Ugly DachshundThe short proved popular, and began the path that would lead to Pooh and his friends becoming a billion-dollar industry for Disney. It would be the only one of the shorts produced during Disney’s lifetime as he died that December.

The second short, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day debuted on December 20, 1968 alongside The Horse in the Gray Flannel SuitThe short introduced Piglet (John Fiedler) and Tigger (Paul Winchell), as well as replaced Reitherman with Jon Walmsley as Christopher Robin. A third short, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, was released in 1974 before Pooh and friends received their first full-length movie, The Many Adventures of Winnie the PoohThe film, released on March 11, 1977, combined the three shorts with new material to bridge them and a new sequence to fill the running time based on the final chapter of Pooh Corner. An 8-minute educational film, Winnie the Pooh Discovers the Seasonswas also made in 1981 with one last short, Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore, released in 1983.

1983 saw the launch of The Disney Channel, and amongst the channel’s initial line-up was the series Welcome to Pooh Corner. The show featured actors in animatronic suits, created in part by Ken Forsse who would go on to create Teddy Ruxpin, acting against blue screen sets as a narrator read from a book in the opening and closing scenes. The show ran for three years, ending in 1986 after 120 episodes. Pooh’s absence from The Disney Channel was short-lived as Walt Disney Television Animation returned him to animation with his second series: The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

The gang of the Hundred Acre Wood.

The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh debuted on January 17, 1988 and ran for 13 episodes on the network until it shifted over to ABC for the remainder of its 4-season run. Winchell, Fiedler and Smith all returned to voice their respective characters, with Pooh being taken over by Jim Cummings, Rabbit by Ken Sansom, Eeyore by Peter Cullen, Kanga by Patricia Parris, Roo by Nicholas Melody, Gopher by Michael Gough and Christopher Robin by Timothy Hoskins. The series used a similar animation style as the original Disney productions and followed the continuing adventures of Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood (and sometimes around it, as the town nearby is featured). Writers for the show included Larry Bernard, Mark Cassutt, Marley Clark, Terrie Collins, Carter Crocker, Jimmy Danelli, Lynn Feinerman, Rich Fogel, Evelyn Gabai, Karl Geurs, Libby Hinson, Doug Hutchinson, Ken Kessel, Eric Lewald, Julia Lewald, Jymn Magon, Richard Merwin, Michelle Rifkin, Cliff Roberts, Dev Ross, Bruce Reid Schaefer, Paula Sigman, David Silverman, Stephen Sustarsic, Bruce Talkington, Len Uhley and Mark Zaslove. The animation was handled by TMS EntertainmentHanho Heung-Up Company, Walt Disney Animation U.K., Walt Disney Television Animation Australia, and Wang Film Productions Company. Steve Nelson and Thom Sharp composed the music, with Nelson performing the theme song. Two different versions were used over two slightly different openings.

Heff Heffalump and Stan Woozle.

New characters not seen in the earlier shorts included Stan Woozle (Sansom) and Heff Heffalump (Chuck McCann), two recurring villains who always sought to steal from the main characters; Kessie (Laura Mooney), a little bluebird Rabbit rescued and adopted as his daughter; and Christopher Robin’s mother (Parris), whose face was never shown. Frank Welker would provide the voices for a variety of animal characters in several episodes, including bees and rats. During the second season, New Adventures was paired up with Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears when it moved from NBC to form the Gummi Bears-Winnie the Pooh HourBy the third season, Winchell decided to leave the show. He was replaced by Cummings, who had filled in for him periodically during the first two seasons.

The show ended its run on October 26, 1991 but was quickly followed in December by the special, Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too. Winchell returned to voice Tigger and Edan Gross assumed the role of Christopher Robin. The special was introduced with a skit featuring Disney head Michael Eisner and the Disneyland walk-around Pooh characters, and was accompanied by the Donald Duck shorts The Hockey Champ an Bearly AsleepThe special was later edited into part of the 2002 direct-to-video feature A Very Merry Pooh Year with Christopher Robin’s lines re-dubbed by William Green and Rabbit’s fur recolored into the traditional yellow, as opposed to the greenish hue it had on the show. Additional specials included 1996’s Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh1998’s A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgivingand 1999’s Winnie the Pooh: A Valentine for You.

Gopher getting ready to blow stuff up.

New Adventures continued to air on ABC until 1993, where it went to The Disney Channel and remained there until 2006. It did return to ABC in 1995 where it would stay until 2002. The show was also seen on Playhouse DisneyToon Disney and Disney Junior. It was also seen on international versions of The Disney Afternoon programming block. During its run, New Adventures won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Animation Program in both 1989 and 1990 (where it tied with Beetlejuice).

Pooh and Eeyore protecting the old west.

Beginning in 1989, Walt Disney Home Video began releasing collections on VHS and Laserdisc containing two to four episodes each. 10 VHS volumes and 15 Laserdisc volumes were released in the United States and the United Kingdom, however the international versions often featured fewer or different episodes and VHS names. Beginning in 1994, the collections were released under various titles: Winnie the Pooh: LearningWinnie the Pooh: Playtime and Winnie the Pooh: FriendshipHoliday-themed collections, featuring both the specials and related episodes, were released between 1994 and 2000.

Piglet gives Gopher a new jackhammer.

Various episodes were released on six compilation DVDs, four of them under the Growing Up with Winnie the Pooh banner, between 2002 and 2010. “Magic Earmuffs” and “The Wishing Bear” were included on the 10th anniversary re-release of Seasons of GivingIn addition to five of the North American releases, eight DVDs were released in the United Kingdom under The Magical World of Winnie the Pooh banner featuring four episodes each. In 2019, it became one of the launch titles for the streaming service Disney+.

Season 1:
“Pooh Oughta Be in Pictures” (1/17/88) – After seeing a scary movie, the gang tries to convince Piglet that the monsters in it aren’t real.

“Friend, in Deed / Donkey for a Day” (1/24/88) – Pooh and his friends try to get honey from a beehive in order to pay back Rabbit for all the honey Pooh’s taken from him. / Piglet convinces the other to spend the day cheering up Eeyore.

“There’s No Camp Like Home / Balloonatics” (1/31/88) – Campfire scary stories leads Piglet to come face-to-face with is greatest fear: Heffalumps. / The gang panics when the balloon he borrowed from Christopher Robin gets deflated by Rabbit.

“Find Her, Keep Her” (2/7/88) – Rabbit tries to raise the little bird he rescued.

“The Piglet Who Would Be King” (2/14/88) – When Pooh gives Piglet a gift, Piglet heads out to find the Land of Milk and Honey to get some honey in reciprocation.

“Cleanliness is Next to Impossible” (2/21/88) – Helping Christopher Robin clean his room leads the gang to encounter the evil Crud and Smudge/.

 “The Great Honey Pot Robbery” (2/28/88) – A Heffalump and a Woozle have stolen all the honey in the Hundred-Acre Wood.

“Stripes / Monkey See, Monkey Do Better” (3/6/88) – Rabbit forces Tigger to take a bath, resulting in his stripes being washed off. / The gang becomes upset when Christopher Robin’s new toy declares himself the best toy ever.

“Babysitter Blues” (3/13/88) – Christopher Robin and the gang get into mischief while being watched by a babysitter.

“How Much is That Rabbit in the Window?” (3/20/88) – Rabbit runs away and ends up picked up by a junk dealer who tries to sell him.

“Nothing But the Tooth / Gone With the Wind” (3/27/88) – When pack rats steal Pooh’s sweet tooth, he believes he can no longer enjoy honey. / Piglet becomes afraid of going outside since he’s light enough to be blown about by the wind.

“Paw and Order” (4/3/88) – The gang puts on a play that takes place in the Wild West.

“Honey for a Bunny / Trap as Trap Can” (4/10/88) – A bookend Rabbit throws away finds its way into everyone’s possession. / Pooh and Piglet help a young heffalump learn how to trap.

“The Masked Offender / Things That Go Piglet in the Night” (11/12/88) – Tigger becomes a superhero to help people, but ends up causing problems. / The gang believes they’re being haunted by a ghost.

“Luck Amok / Magic Earmuffs” (12/3/88) – Rabbit believes he has bad luck when Tigger breaks his mirror. / Christopher Robin gives Piglet “magic” earmuffs to help him gain confidence in ice skating.

“The Wishing Bear” (12/10/88) – When a wishing star blinks out after Pooh makes a wish, he tries to ensure the others’ wishes all come true.

“King of the Beasties / The Rats Who Came to Dinner” (1/7/89) – Tigger believes his great uncle is a lion and declares himself “King of the Beasties.” / A flood brings on an onslaught of pack rats.

“My Hero / Owl Feathers” (1/14/89) – Tigger becomes Piglet’s servant after he saves his life. / A trail of feathers leads the gang to believe Owl has gone bald.

“A Very, Very Large Animal / Fish Out of Water” (1/21/89) – Piglet moves away when he feels he’s too small. / Gopher becomes Rabbit’s roommate and drives him crazy.

“Lights Out / Tigger’s Shoes” (2/4/89) – Rabbit borrows Gopher’s flashlight without asking and he looks for it in a panic. / To keep Tigger busy, Rabbit gives him weighted shoes and challenges him to jump the highest rock.

“The ‘New’ Eeyore / Tigger, Private Ear” (2/25/89) – Eeyore dresses like Tigger to be more popular. / Tigger causes crimes so that he can solve them like a detective.

“Party Poohper / The Old Switcheroo” (3/4/89) – Pooh is enlisted to keep Rabbit’s parents busy while he plans a surprise party. / Too avoid a bath, Roo has Piglet take his place.

Season 2:
“Me and My Shadow / To Catch a Hiccup” (9/9/89) – Piglet brings home a new shadow friend. / The gang helps Piglet try to cure his hiccups.

“Rabbit Marks the Spot / Good-bye, Mr. Pooh” (9/16/89) – Rabbit creates a treasure map to keep the gang out of his garden as they play pirate. / Tigger spreads a rumor that Pooh is leaving and the gang throws him a going away party.

“Bubble Trouble / Ground Piglet Day” (9/23/89) – Pooh ends up trapped in a bubble. / Rabbit makes Piglet a groundhog for Groundhog Day.

“All’s Well that Ends Wishing Well” (9/30/89) – Tigger is disappointed with his first birthday, and Pooh tries to cheer him up by getting him the moon from the wishing well.

“Un-Valentine’s Day” (10/7/89) – Rabbit makes Valentine’s Day illegal.

“No Rabbit’s a Fortress / The Monster Frankenpooh” (10/14/89) – Rabbit builds a fortress to protect his garden. / On a dark and stormy night, Tigger spins a yarn about mad scientist Piglet and his monster.

“Where Oh Where Has My Piglet Gone? / Up, Up and Awry” (10/21/89) – Pooh believes he misplaced Piglet and searches for him. / The gang arrests Pooh for breaking the law of gravity when he tries to fly.

“Eeyore’s Tail Tale / Three Little Piglets” (10/28/89) – Eeyore abandons his tail but soon wants it back. / Pooh relates the story of the three little pigs.

“Prize Piglet / Fast Friends” (11/18/89) – The gang holds a race for a trophy. / Piglet gets stuck in the tree house while Gopher tries to help Pooh become more punctual.

“Pooh Moon / Caws and Effect” (12/2/89) – Tigger tells the gang a story about the “Grabme-Gotcha.” / The crows trick Rabbit into leaving dim-witted Pooh to watch over his garden while he and the others hunt for them.

Season 3:
“Oh, Bottle / Owl in the Family” (8/18/90) – The pack rats steal the treasure map in a bottle Christopher Robin created for their game. / Pooh and Piglet organize a family reunion for Owl.

“Sham Pooh / Rock-a-Bye Pooh Bear” (8/25/90) – Pooh losing his appetite causes everyone to believe everyone else is an imposter. / Piglet has a nightmare about losing his friends in a storm.

“What’s the Score, Pooh? / Tigger’s Houseguest” (9/1/90) – Gopher will only rejoin their game if the others help him work. / Tigger befriends a termite that has been destroying things in the Wood.

“Rabbit Takes a Holiday / Eeyi Eeyi Eeyore” (9/8/90) – All his chores done, Rabbit takes a vacation and leaves the others to watch over his place. / Trying to make Eeyore feel good about a seed he planted leads Rabbit to believe he’s the better gardener and give Eeyore his property.

“Pooh Skies” (10/6/90) – A fallen eggshell leaves the gang to believe the sky is falling.

“April Pooh / To Bee or Not to Bee” (10/13/90) – Christopher Robin sets the gang to search for the April Fool. /

“A Knight to Remember” (10/20/90) – On a stormy night, Piglet imagines he’s a brave knight.

“Tigger is the Mother of Invention / The Bug Stops Here” (10/27/90) – Tigger’s inventions cause troubles for his friends. / The gang checks out Christopher Robin’s science project and end up losing the bug that is part of it.

“Easy Come, Easy Gopher / Invasion of the Pooh Snatcher” (11/3/90) – Rabbit becomes annoyed when his house ends up part of Gopher’s ultimate tunnel. / Piglet asks Pooh to help defend his house against Jagulars, which leads Tigger to believe Pooh has been snatched by one.

“Tigger Got Your Tongue? / A Bird in the Hand” (11/10/90) – The gang tries to help find who stole Tigger’s voice. / An adult Kessie returns for a visit, but Rabbit has a hard time seeing her as anything but a baby.

Season 4:
“Sorry, Wrong Slusher” (9/7/91) – Strange things follow the gang and Christopher Robin watching a slusher film.

“Grown, But Not Forgotten” (9/14/91) – The gang becomes worried that Christopher Robin will grow up and forget all about them.

“A Pooh Day Afternoon” (9/21/91) – The gang looks after a dog.

“The Good, the Bad and the Tigger” (9/28/91) – Losing control of Christopher Robin’s toy train has Tigger and Pooh put on trial as train robbers.

“Home Is Where the Home Is” (10/5/91) – The gang takes turns putting up Christopher Robin after he runs away from home because he accidentally broke a statue.

“Shovel, Shovel, Toil and Trouble / The Wise Have It” (10/12/91) – A large shovel puts Gopher on an uncontrollable home improvement kick. / The number of candles on Pooh’s birthday cake makes the gang believe he’s old and, therefore, wise.

“Cloud, Cloud Go Away / To Dream the Impossible Scheme” (10/19/91) – Tigger befriends a very sad cloud. / A visit from his Grandpappy inspires Gopher to finish his Grandpappy’s dream of an above-ground underground city.

“Piglet’s Poohetry / Owl’s Well That Ends Well” (10/26/91) – Tigger disrupts Piglet’s poetry. / Rabbit finds Owl’s singing horrible, but is torn when it keeps the crows out of his garden.

“Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too” (12/14/91) – Christopher Robin sends off a letter to Santa with the gang’s desires, but soon they become greedy and keep asking for more.

“Boo To You! Winnie the Pooh” (10/25/96) – Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore search for Piglet after he runs off in fright, but their own fears begin to get the best of them.

“A Wnnie the Pooh Thanksgiving” (11/22/98) – The gang learns about the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

“A Valentine For You” (2/13/99) – When Owl explains to the gang that Christopher Robin is smitten by a girl, the gang decides to find another smitten to cure him.

“A Very Merry Pooh Year” (11/12/02) – It’s time for the holidays and the usual chaos abounds in the Wood, along with Pooh forgetting where he hid Piglet’s present. 

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