Clarification. What we know today as the beloved character Winnie the Pooh in all the Walt Disney movies and TV shows was actually the main character in a series of children’s books, including The House at Pooh Corner and Now We Are Six, written by A.A. Milne. The character of Winnie-the-Pooh was based on his son Christopher Robin Milne’s stuffed teddy bear, which was a representation of a Canadian black bear that young Milne often saw at the London Zoo – a bear named “Winnie,” as it was imported from its homeland of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Yeah, that’s the 5-cent explanation, but it gets you some framework.
Most of us know of Winnie the Pooh from the Walt Disney films, including the 1968 Oscar-winner Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day.
And other than the Milne books, you might have thought that this was the only appearance of the bear with very little brain in media.
Let me share some treasures with you.
See, Walt Disney acquired the rights to Winnie the Pooh from the estate of A.A. Milne in 1961, but prior to that, there were several 78 RPM records featuring stories about the characters in the Hundred Acre Wood.
Such as this one from the early 1950’s. Check this out. It’s an RCA Victor 78 RPM pressing of the story of Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger (by the way, Disney’s ownership of the character excludes the hyphens from the bear’s name, in case you were wondering why I was flipping back and forth between hyphenated Winnie and non-hyphenated Winnie).
And who’s narrating this little story? One of the biggest stars in Hollywood, of course. James Stewart.
In fact, let’s go a bit further back in time. This is a 78 RPM record from the 1930’s, in which Winnie-the-Pooh visits Buckingham Palace. The record is narrated by Frank Luther, an early country music recording pioneer who found great early fame as the narrator for children’s records on the Victor and Decca labels.
And as long as we’re visiting the early recordings, how about this one. This is a performance of the poetry from the A.A. Milne book Now We Are Six, as sung by young Christopher Robin Milne. Yes, the namesake of the Christopher Robin that was the human character among Pooh and Piglet and Eeyore and the rest.
I want to finish this blog post with two songs, essentially one being a sequel of the other. In the early 1970’s, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band had a decent hit with a Kenny Loggins-authored track called “House at Pooh Corner.”
Kenny Loggins would later re-record the song with his singing partner at the time, Jim Messina.
Twenty years later, Kenny Loggins returned to the song, brought Amy Grant along for a duet, and the song became a massive adult contemporary hit all over again.
Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? We all went back to our childhoods – well, in some cases, way back into childhood. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to finish out the blog and leave the house.
Nasty weather out there. Tut-tut, it looks like rain.
Oh, bother. 😀