Television variety shows were all the rage in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Each show would feature a singer or group as the show’s host, there would be a sketch comedy routine of some sort, some guest performances by an up and coming artist (and sometimes that artist would duet with the host), and then some more comedy routines.
One such show, which ran throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, was The Andy Williams Show. You know Andy Williams as a sweater-wearing crooner whose biggest hits included the Godfather love theme “Speak Softly, Love” and the all-time crooner classic “Moon River.” Yes, you know these songs. There’s always someone at a karaoke bar who’s had more White Claw than necessary, and tried to take the mike and be the next Andy Williams.
So anyway, back to the Andy Williams Show. For me, the appeal wasn’t the host, although he seemed quite friendly and non-threatening. His music was so square, it could be divided by four.
No, what I remember most of all about The Andy Williams Show was his interactions with a big bear. A talking bear that kept trying to mooch cookies from Andy Williams, and Andy Williams would become so exasperated, he would shout at the bear, “No cookies, not now, not ever!” and slam a door in the bear’s face.
Luckily for me, I found a few clips of this “Andy Williams v. Cookie Bear” class struggle, and would like to share them with you today.
Maybe if the Cookie Bear hired Dusty Springfield as his wingman…
Maybe Dusty Springfield isn’t the answer. Perhaps Kate Smith and her booming voice could help the bear get some cookies?
Of course, if Andy Williams is away for the summer, perhaps his house-sitter – Ray Stevens – might spare a cookie for a hungry bear, a bear disguised as the sweater-wearing Andy Williams?
Come on, you can’t give the Cookie Bear some cookies for Christmas?
Ah, but if the tables were turned …
The Cookie Bear was voiced by producer Allan Blye, and in this interview with the the Television Academy Foundation, Blye discusses his involvement with the Andy Williams show and the Cookie Bear skits.
And as a capper, here’s a rare 1970 episode of The Andy Williams Show, with Andy’s special guests Cass Elliott, Arte Johnson, Ray Stevens and Sam Jaffe – and the Cookie Bear shows up in a skit at about 33:00 of the episode.
I wonder whatever happened to that Cookie Bear. He’s probably found a nice tree under which he can hibernate.
And after hibernation, he can eat all the cookies that the Keebler Elves baked in that tree, amirite? 😀