is a fictional bear created by A. A. Milne. He appears in the books Winnie-the-Pooh
(published October 14, 1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928).
Milne also wrote two books of children's poetry, When We Were Very
Young and Now We Are Six, which include several poems about Winnie-the-Pooh.
All four volumes were illustrated by E. H. Shepard. The setting of
the stories is based on the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, England.
The name "Winnie" was inspired by a pet bear of a Canadian
soldier, named after his hometown, Winnipeg.
Some of Pooh Bear's friends
include Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Rabbit, Roo, Kanga, Owl, Gopher,
Christopher Robin, and many other friends that the gang makes on
their journeys. The Pooh stories were later made into a series of
Winnie the Pooh (without hyphens) featurettes by Walt Disney
Productions, which became one of the company's most successful franchises.
Between 1929 and 1932, A.A.
Milne contractually assigned the Pooh merchandising rights for the US
and Canada to an American literary agent named Stephen Slesinger. It
was only one of many assets Slesinger managed during his lifetime,
and not even the biggestthat would probably be the Red Ryder
comic strip, which he placed in movies, on radio and other media.
Slesinger died in 1953, and his widow inherited the operation.
In 1961, Walt Disney
Productions bought film and other rights to the character and made a
series of cartoon films about him. (Note that Winnie-the-Pooh's name
was hyphenated in the Milne books, but lost its hyphens in the Disney
incarnation.) The early cartoons were based on several of the
original stories. However this is not true of the more recent films
and television series which Disney has made.
Disney's storytelling style
and characterisation have little in common with Milne's tales, and
were greatly disliked by the Milne family. The appearance of the
cartoons derives from Shepard's illustrations but the style of
drawing is simplified and the characters are given exaggerated
features. Alongside the cartoon versions, merchandise using the
Shepard drawings is now marketed under the description "Classic Pooh".
In 1977, Disney released
the animated feature The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh,
introducing a new character named Gopher, which Disney acknowledged
by having Gopher proclaim, "I'm not in the book, you know!"
This movie features three segments that were originally released
separately as featurettes: Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966),
Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968), and Winnie the Pooh and
Tigger Too (1974). This feature version featured new bridging
material and a new ending, as it had been Walt Disney's original
intention to make a feature. In 1983, a fourth featurette, Winnie the
Pooh and a Day for Eeyore, was released.
Pooh has become one of the
most lucrative literary franchises in history. Today, Pooh videos,
teddy bears, and other merchandise generate $1 billion in annual
revenues for Disneyas much as is earned by Mickey Mouse, Minnie
Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto combined. Pooh stuffed toys can
be found in every imaginable (and some unimaginable) shape and size
from Beanie and miniature versions up to human size stuffed
varieties. As well as the stylised Disney Pooh there is also a large
range of Classic Pooh merchandise depicting the EH Shepard style in
featurettes have been created, as well as the theatrical
feature-length films The Tigger Movie, Piglet's Big Movie, and Pooh's
Heffalump Movie. The last of the films listed introduced an
elephant-like heffalump named Lumpy.
Friends Tigger & Pooh was a computer animated television series,
inspired by Winnie-the-Pooh. The television series featured
Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends, including two new characters: a
6-year-old red-haired girl named Darby and her dog Buster. Although
Darby appears to be the main human friend of Pooh and the gang,
Christopher Robin still appeared sporadically. Developed by Walt
Disney Television Animation, the show premiered on Disney Channel's
Playhouse Disney block on May 12, 2007. The show's theme song was
written by Jellyfish lead singer Andy Sturmer and is sung by former
Letters to Cleo singer Kay Hanley. In Season 2, Chloë Moretz
(USA) and Kimberlea Berg (UK) as Darby (replacing Kay Hanley) sing
the theme. Also, beginning with this series Travis Oates assumed the
role of Piglet, taking over for John Fiedler, who had died in 2005,
two years prior to the debut of the series. On July 4, 2010, the show
started airing outside of Playhouse Disney, while three new episodes
aired in October as the series finale, and since February 14, 2011,
after Playhouse Disney has been rebranded into Disney Junior, this
show is no longer on the air.