Saturday, February 10, 2007

Winnie The Pooh Bear

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Winnie The Pooh Bear
Edward 'Winnie-the-Pooh' Bear, sometimes referred to as Pooh, is a fictional bear created by A. A. Milne.
Milne named the character Winnie-the-Pooh after a toy 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 toy after Winnipeg, a bear which he and his father often saw at London Zoo, and "Pooh," a swan they had met while on holiday. The bear, called "Winnie," was known as a gentle bear who never attacked anyone, and she was much loved for her playfulness. This is exactly what inspired Milne to write about Pooh Bear. 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."

Winnie The Pooh Bear
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Winnie The Pooh Bear

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.
Though Charles Scribner, The New York Evening Post, and St. Nicholas Magazine published Milne’s stories with illustrations by several of the more famous American artists of the 1920s, Milne’s original version is better known to have been illustrated by E.H. Shepard. Though Shepard decorated the books published by Methuen and E.P. Dutton, he preferred to be known as a political cartoonist for London’s Punch Magazine. Shepard’s only known painting of Winnie-the-Pooh is on display at the Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

In 1930 illustrator/producer Stephen Slesinger and his company, Stephen Slesinger, Inc., adapted the Winnie-the-Pooh character for use in children’s theatre, on radio and TV, in story-telling records with Jimmy Stewart and Gene Kelly, in song recordings, in early animated paper films, and in the promotion of goods and the advertising of services.

Slesinger, who was the largest developer of comic and children’s book character rights in the 1930s and 1940s, elevated Pooh to best-loved bear in history. With the help of Dutton, Pooh’s American publisher, Pooh sales reached $50 million in 1931, according to trade reports.
After Slesinger's death in 1953, his wife, Shirley Slesinger, continued developing the character herself. In 1961, she licensed rights to Disney in exchange for royalties in the first of two agreements between Stephen Slesinger, Inc. and Disney. The same year, Daphne Milne also licensed certain rights, including motion picture rights, to Disney.

Since 1966, Disney has released numerous features starring Winnie the Pooh and related characters. Many direct-to-video featurettes have been created, as well as the theatrical feature-length films The Tigger Movie, Piglet's Big Movie, and Pooh's Heffalump Movie.

In December 2005, Disney announced that the Disney Channel animated television series, My Friends Tigger & Pooh, will focus on adventures had by 6-year-old Darby and the Pooh characters, with the occasional appearance from Christopher Robin.

In 2002, Kingdom Hearts was released. Kingdom Hearts was a production by Square-Enix with the cooperation of Disney. As such, Disney characters make cameo appearances as their worlds appear in the game. These include Aladdin, Belle, Simba, and Winnie the Pooh. The main character, Sora, visits the world of Winnie the Pooh in a magical book. The book initially has missing pages, and Sora must collect "Torn Pages" from other worlds to complete the book. Each torn page adds a new section to the book, and consequently a development of the storyline in that world. Each section also has a mini game which can be played any time from then onwards.

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 stylised 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.

After the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, Clare Milne, ChristopherWinnie The Pooh Milne's daughter, attempted to terminate any future U.S. copyrights for Stephen Slesinger, Inc. After a series of legal hearings, the federal district court found in favour of Stephen Slesinger, Inc., as did the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On Monday, June 26, 2006, the US Supreme Court refused to hear the case, thus sustaining the Appeals Court 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 should prove a justifiably significant blow to Disney's revenue, Winnie the Pooh having been reported to bring the company 6 billion dollars a year.
Pooh 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.
Pooh's official birthdate is August 21, 1921, the day Christopher Robin received him as a present on his first birthday.
The sign over Pooh's door says "Mr Sanders," though the name is not Pooh's. The reason for this name is because, in the original book, it is mentioned that Pooh lived under the name of "Sanders" (that meant that he had the name on a sign above his door, and he lived underneath it).
Pooh's obsession with honey is based on a completely false premise about bear behavior. While bears are major predators of beehives, they are seeking the brood (larva and pupa).
On April 11, 2006, Winnie the Pooh was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6834 Hollywood Boulevard.
It is revealed near the end of The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh that Pooh is 1 year younger than Christopher Robin, which is obvious because he is "born" on Christopher's first birthday.

POOH Facts:
* 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
* Sherman Brothers – songwriters of the majority of "Winnie the Pooh" music
* The Fort Garry Horse is the Canadian Militia armoured regiment based in Winnipeg, Manitoba who's regimental mascot was the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh.

Winnie The Pooh Bear
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Winnie The Pooh Bear

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