On DVD from Monday 16th April is the superb directorial debut of Saturday Night Live’s Dave McCary, Brigsby Bear. The film, which debuted to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, features an impressive cast, including Kyle Mooney, Claire Danes, Mark Hamill, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Kate Lyn Sheil, Ryan Simpkins and Beck Bennett.
The film revolves around Mooney’s character of James whose world has just been turned upside down. As he transitions into his new life he relies on a children’s show featuring the Brigsby Bear of the tit that he grew up with to get him through.
To celebrate the release, and to link nicely to the touching story at the heart of the film, we thought we’d look at five film and TV bears from years gone by who touched our own childhoods.
Who can forget Baloo the bear from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book? Of course, when looking back to our childhoods, we probably picture the Walt Disney incarnation from 1967 with Phil Harris voicing the famous character. Most recently, Bill Murray played the part for Jon Favreau’s brilliant live-action update and even sang the famous song from the original movie, The Bare Necessities. It’s difficult to think that the film was made over fifty years ago and touched many generations since its initial release. The quality and charm still very much stands up to this very day,
Yogi Bear and his trusty sidekick Boo-Boo were very much a staple of many kids’ lives, particularly during the 1980s when the famous Hanna-Barbera cartoons we re-syndicated on TV around the world. Yogi initially was a supporting character in 1958’s The Huckleberry Hound Show, however, he proved that he was indeed ‘smarter than the av-er-age bear’ when he finally scored his own show three years later in 1961. The character proves to be popular to this very day and a film featuring the voices of Dan Aykroyd as the title character, and musician/actor Justin Timberlake as Boo-Boo.
International audiences may not be too familiar with the character of Bungle, but for kids growing up in the 1980s, the character was very familiar and was seen during afternoon TV in the series Rainbow, which went out twice-weekly. The show was actually conceived in 1972 and ran for an amazing 25 years through to 1997. Bungle was just one of the characters who taught viewers to deal with numbers and spell, along with the likes of the loud and brash Zippy, pink hippo George and their human master Geoffrey. There were are also Rod, Jane, and Freddy, three musicians who also featured on the show.
Winnie The Pooh
Created by A.A. Milne in 1924, Winnie The Pooh is one of the most beloved of all bears. Originally mentioned in Milne’s poem ‘When We Were Very Young’, Pooh was actually based on Milne’s son Christopher Robin’s bear. Throughout the years, Pooh has, of course, transferred to the world of film and television, with the most popular adaptation once again coming from Walt Disney, the first of which was all of the ways back in the 1960s with Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. There have been five theatrical movies in all, all of which struck a chord with audiences. Disney also has plans for a live-action version of the story titled Christopher Robin, due in cinemas later this year (2018).
Britain’s most famous bear is arguably Paddington. The character was created by author Michael Bond back in the 1950s, and while Pooh bear loved his pot of ‘hunny’, Paddington was more partial to marmalade sandwiches. Bond wrote more than twenty books, starting with A Bear Called Paddington in 1958. His books have always been popular, but it was the 1970s BBC TV series that also captured audiences imaginations. There was also another series created in 1989 that was a co-production between PBS in American and Central Independent Television in the UK, but Paddington’s biggest success is the recent movie version and its sequel Paddington 2, featuring the voice of Ben Whishaw, both of which presented the legendary bear to a whole new generation.
We’ll sure you’ll agree that, like Brigsby Bear, these film, television, and literary bears will always have a special place in our hearts, those rose-tinted nostalgia glasses always firmly in place to look back with great love and oodles of affection.
Brigsby Bear is out now on digital download and on DVD from April 16th.