- Short for Winnie the Pooh.
Winnie-the-Pooh, commonly shortened to Pooh Bear and once referred to as Edward Bear, is a fictional bear created by A. A. Milne. The character first appeared in book form in Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Milne also included several poems about Winnie-the-Pooh in the children’s poetry books When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. All four volumes were illustrated by E. H. Shepard.
The hyphens in the character's name were later dropped when The Walt Disney Company adapted the Pooh stories into a series of Winnie the Pooh featurettes that became one of the company's most successful franchises worldwide.
The Pooh stories have been translated into many languages, notably including Alexander Lenard's Latin translation, Winnie ille Pu, which was first published in 1958, and, in 1960, became the first foreign-language book to be featured on the New York Times Bestseller List, and is the only book in Latin ever to have been featured therein.
OriginMilne named the character Winnie-the-Pooh after a teddy bear owned by his son, Christopher Robin Milne, who was the basis for the character Christopher Robin. His toys also lent their names to most of the other characters, except for Owl and Rabbit, who were probably based on real animals, and the Gopher character, who was added in the Disney version. Christopher Robin's toy bear is now on display at the Donnell Library Center Central Children's Room in New York.
Christopher Milne had named his teddy after Winnipeg, a bear which he and his father often saw at London Zoo, and "Pooh", a swan they had met while on holiday. Winnipeg the Bear was purchased from a hunter for $20 by Canadian Lieutenant Harry Colebourn in White River, Ontario, Canada, while en-route to England during the First World War. He named the bear "Winnipeg" after his hometown in Winnipeg, Manitoba. "Winnie", as she became known, was surreptitiously brought to England with her owner, and gained unofficial recognition as a regimental mascot. Colebourn left Winnie at the London Zoo while he and his unit were in France; after the war she was officially donated to the zoo, as she had become a much loved attraction there. Among her many young fans was Christopher Milne, who named his own teddy bear "Winnie". Pooh the swan appears as a character in its own right in When We Were Very Young.
In the first chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh, Milne offers this explanation of why Winnie-the-Pooh is often called simply "Pooh": "But his arms were so stiff ... they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think - but I am not sure - that that is why he is always called Pooh."
The home of the Milnes, Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, England, was the basis for the setting of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. The name of the fictional "Hundred Acre Wood" is reminiscent of the Five Hundred Acre Wood, which lies just outside Ashdown Forest and includes some of the locations mentioned in the book, such as the Enchanted Place.
The origin of the Poohsticks game is at the footbridge across a tributary of the River Medway near Upper Hartfield, close to the Milne's home at Posingford Farm. It is traditional to play the game there using sticks gathered in nearby woodland. When the footbridge required replacement in recent times the engineer designed a new structure based closely on the drawings (by E H Shepherd) of the bridge in the original books, as the bridge did not originally appear as the artist drew it. There is an information board at the bridge which describes aspects of how to play the game there. Periodically the water authority has to come with an excavator and remove the large mass of stalled Poohsticks which can build up in the river bed downstream of the bridge over time, to the extent of causing some localised flooding.
PublicationPooh first appeared in December 1925, when what became the first chapter of the book Winnie-the-Pooh was commissioned as a Christmas story by London's Evening News. The book was published in October 1926 by Methuen, the London publisher of Milne's earlier children's work When We Were Very Young. The illustrator was E.H. Shepard, who had also drawn the pictures for the earlier book.
Stephen SlesingerOn Jan. 6, 1930, Stephen Slesinger purchased US and Canadian merchandising, television, recording and other trade rights to the "Winnie-the-Pooh" works from Milne for a $1000 advance and 66% of Slesinger's income, creating the modern licensing industry. Slesinger marketed Pooh and his friends for 20 years, creating the first Pooh doll, record, board game, puzzle, doll, US radio broadcast (NBC), animation and film. Pooh was an industry long before Walt Disney acquired rights from Slesinger to produce a feature animation in 1961. Before Stephen Slesinger began marketing Winnie-the-Pooh, he was just a black-and-white drawing in a story on the bookshelf. But by 1938, he was a $50 million-a-year business.
Red Shirt PoohThe first time Pooh and his friends appeared in color was 1933, when he was drawn by Slesinger in his now-familiar red shirt and featured on an RCA Victor picture record. Parker Brothers also introduced A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh Game in 1933, again with Pooh in his red shirt. In the 1940s, Agnes Brush created the first plush dolls with Pooh in his red shirt.
Pooh also appears at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as a meet-able and child friendly character.
Merchandising revenue dispute
Pooh videos, teddy bears, and other merchandise generate substantial annual revenues for Disney. The size of Pooh stuffed toys ranges from Beanie and miniature to human-sized. In addition to the stylized Disney Pooh, Disney markets Classic Pooh merchandise which more closely resembles E.H. Shepard’s illustrations. It is estimated that Winnie the Pooh features and merchandise generate as much revenue as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto combined.
In 1991, Stephen Slesinger, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Disney which alleged that Disney had breached their 1983 agreement by again failing to accurately report revenue from Winnie the Pooh sales. Under this agreement, Disney was to retain approximately 98% of gross worldwide revenues while the remaining 2% was to be paid to Slesinger. In addition, the suit alleged that Disney had failed to pay required royalties on all commercial exploitation of the product name. Though the Disney corporation was sanctioned by a judge for destroying millions of pages of evidence, the suit was later terminated by another judge when it was discovered that Slesinger's investigator had rummaged through Disney's garbage in order to retrieve the discarded evidence. Slesinger appealed the termination, and on September 26, 2007, a three-judge panel upheld the lawsuit dismissal.
After the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, Clare Milne, Christopher Milne's daughter, attempted to terminate any future U.S. copyrights for Stephen Slesinger, Inc. After a series of legal hearings, Judge Florence-Marie Cooper of the United States District Court for the Central District of California found in favor of Stephen Slesinger, Inc., as did the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On June 26, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case, sustaining the ruling and ensuring the defeat of the suit.
On February 19, 2007, it was reported Disney lost a court case in Los Angeles which ruled their "misguided claims" to dispute the licensing agreements with Slesinger, Inc. were unjustified.
In doing so, the claims by Slesinger, Inc. can now be tackled without any argument over who owns the rights. Though the ruling was downplayed by a Disney attorney, the outcome of the case could affect Disney's revenue, since Pooh-related merchandise has been reported to bring the Walt Disney Company approximately 1 billion dollars a year.
- "Bother! The Brain of Pooh" is a one-man show from the English actor Peter Dennis with selections from the works of Winnie-the-Pooh. It premièred on October 14, 1976 at the ADC Theatre, Cambridge, England. In America its first showing was in December 1986 at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, New York. The show received eight 'Critics Choices' awards, the "L.A. Weekly Theatre Award", and the "Drama-Logue Award". Bother! "The Brain of Pooh" has been performed at over 80 major venues throughout the United Kingdom and the United States of America
Audio booksUnabridged recordings read by Peter Dennis of the four Pooh books:
- When We Were Very Young
- Now We Are Six
- The House at Pooh Corner
These are the only recordings authorized by Christopher Robin Milne.
RadioPooh made his radio debut in 1930 in New York. Readings of various Winnie-the-Pooh stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in the United Kingdom with narration by Alan Bennett and also have been released as recordings.
BroadwayPooh debuted on Broadway with Sue Hastings' Marionettes in the 1930s.
- 1977: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (trilogy of the Honey Tree, Blustery Day, and Tigger Too!)
- 1985: Winnie the Pooh and Friends (re-release of Day for Eeyore with additional shorts)
- 1997: Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin
- 1999: Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving*†
- 2000: The Tigger Movie
- 2002: Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year*† Winnie the Pooh's Camping Trip Adventure
- 2003: Piglet's Big Movie
- 2004: Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo†
- 2005: Pooh's Heffalump Movie
- 2005: Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie*†
- These features integrate stories from The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and/or holiday specials with new footage.
Holiday TV specials
- Winnie the Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood
- Winnie the Pooh Adventures
- Winnie the Pooh's Party Games: In Search of the Treasure
- Winnie the Pooh: Tigger's Honey Hunt
- Pooh & Tigger's Hunny Safari
- Winnie the Pooh Pre-School
- Winnie the Pooh Kindergarten
- Piglet's Big Game
- Winnie the Pooh's Rumbly Tumbly Adventure
- Ready To Read With Pooh
- Kingdom Hearts series
Other cartoonsIn the Soviet Union, three Winnie-the-Pooh, or "Vinni Pukh" (Russian language: Винни-Пуx) stories were made into a celebrated trilogy of short films by Soyuzmultfilm (directed by Fedor Khitruk) from 1969 to 1972. Pooh was voiced by Yevgeny Leonov, looking distinctly different from both the yellow-and-red Disney incarnation and Shepard's illustrations. He was brown instead of yellow, as he is known in the US.
References in other media
- In The Hums of Pooh, Harold Fraser-Simson set to music several of Milne’s poems and the verses sung by Pooh in the original books.
- In the "sport" of Poohsticks, competitors drop sticks into a stream from a bridge and then wait to see whose stick will cross the finish line first. Though it began as a game played by Pooh and his friends in the stories, it has crossed over into the real world: a World Championship Poohsticks race takes place in Oxfordshire each year.
- In the Polish translation, by Irena Tuwim, Pooh was called Kubuś Puchatek (Jacob the Pooh), because using a woman's name for a male bear would have been too controversial.
- A number of philosophical books have been written about Winnie the Pooh - Postmodern Pooh and The Pooh Perplex by Frederick Crews rewrite stories from Pooh's world in abtruse academic jargon (from a number of sources including postmodernism, psychoanalysis and so on) for the purpose of satire http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/00000006DB0F.htm. Pooh and the Philosophers by John T. Williams uses Winnie the Pooh as a backdrop to illustrate the works of philosophers including Descartes, Kant, Plato and Nietzsche http://www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/poohandphilosophers.html.
- Not everyone was a fan of the original stories. Dorothy Parker in particular was critical of what she considered A. A. Milne's "dumbing down of English for children", a criticism she had for many other children's book authors as well. In her pseudonym as Constant Reader in the New Yorker magazine she made one of her most famous barbs when she, while reviewing one of the stories, wrote, "and it is precisely at that word, 'hunny' that Tonstant Weader fwowed up."
Facts and figures
- Pooh's official birthdate is August 21 1921, the day Christopher Robin received him as a present on his first birthday.
- The sign over the door to Pooh's house says "Mr Sanders." This is because it is mentioned in the original book that Pooh "lived under the name of 'Sanders'".
- On April 11, 2006, Winnie the Pooh was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6834 Hollywood Boulevard.
- Sterling Holloway – the original voice of Disney's Winnie the Pooh
- Hal Smith – the voice of Winnie the Pooh in Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore and Welcome to Pooh Corner
- Jim Cummings – the current voice of Winnie the Pooh
- Peter Dennis – the narrator of Winnie the Pooh audiobooks
- Sherman Brothers – songwriters of the majority of "Winnie the Pooh" music
- The Fort Garry Horse is the Canadian Militia armored regiment based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, whose regimental mascot was the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh.
- Harry Colebourn - the Canadian Lieutenant and veterinarian who brought the mascot from Canada to Salisbury Plain.
- The original bear, with A. A. Milne and Christopher Robin, at the National Portrait Gallery, London
- Winnie-the-Pooh at the New York Public Library
- The real locations, from the Ashdown Forest Conservators
- Disney's Winnie the Pooh site
pooh in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Віні-Пух (герой)
pooh in Bulgarian: Мечо Пух
pooh in Welsh: Winnie-the-Pooh
pooh in Danish: Peter Plys
pooh in German: Pu der Bär
pooh in Estonian: Karupoeg Puhh
pooh in Spanish: Winnie the Pooh
pooh in Esperanto: Winnie-la-Pu
pooh in French: Winnie l'ourson
pooh in Croatian: Winnie Pooh
pooh in Italian: Winnie-the-Pooh
pooh in Hebrew: פו הדוב
pooh in Latin: Winnie ille Pu
pooh in Lithuanian: Mikė Pūkuotukas
pooh in Hungarian: Micimackó
pooh in Dutch: Winnie de Poeh
pooh in Japanese: クマのプーさん
pooh in Norwegian: Ole Brumm
pooh in Polish: Kubuś Puchatek
pooh in Portuguese: Ursinho Puff
pooh in Russian: Винни-Пух
pooh in Simple English: Winnie the Pooh
pooh in Finnish: Nalle Puh
pooh in Swedish: Nalle Puh
pooh in Thai: หมีพูห์
pooh in Turkish: Winnie The Pooh
pooh in Chinese: 小熊維尼