Minnie and I

Minnie and I

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winnie the Pooh Through the Years 1965-Present

1965-1992: Pot Head Pooh
Introducing the newest member of the Disney family, a Pooh named Winnie. In Disneyland tradition, they designed him with a large head. Pooh had red eyes with black pupils, and in sometimes had black eyebrows, red/orange eyebrows or no eyebrows at all. Pooh had a "hunny" pot on top of his head. His honey pot also featured a prop bee on top, although Pooh has been seen without it. On special occasions, Pooh traded his honey pot for a hat matching the occasion. This Pooh had a adorable and awkward look to him. He was adorably awkward. The performer inside had limited use of Pooh's arms, so the performer made up for it by puppeteering Pooh's facial features and ears. The performer's head was inside the honey pot and Pooh's head covered their torso. Pooh's red shirts has his name embroidered on it. This Pooh was used until 1989, but Tokyo Disneyland used this Pooh until 1992.

This was the last of the "Big Head Era" characters to get redesigned. This Pooh costume incarnation lasted 27 years. A living relic of Walt Disney's time. This version of Pooh was used at the parks (Disneyland, Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland), Disney on Parade, Disney on Ice and official events; like Sears promotions.

Pot Head Pooh, 1980's. bigbrian-nc.com

Pooh at Fantasy on Parade, 1966. credit

Mr. Disney with Pooh, 1965. artofdisney.canalblog.com

1972-1974: Disney on Parade
Pot Head Pooh was used in Disney on Parade, but the '72 edition featured a different version of Pooh. This Pooh eliminated the huge head for a smaller, standard mascot head. He now has a different body, humanoid like, with a large belly and short legs. Pooh has black eyes, like his cartoon counterpart. The performer sees through Pooh's snout.

Disney on Parade Pooh

1983-1989: Teddy Ruxpin Pooh
The creator of the popular toy, Teddy Ruxpin, designed and created costume versions of Pooh and the whole gang for the tv show "Welcome to Pooh Corner." This Pooh was designed to have animatronics inside the head. This animatronics allowed Pooh to blink, move his eyes, open and close his mouth. These techniques would be letter used for the Teddy Ruxpin toys. Pooh's body was designed to look like a real teddy bear. Unlike Pooh's cartoon counterpart, this Pooh had white eyes with black pupils. This Pooh was only used on the tv show and educational school films. Also in the French version of the show, Pot Head Pooh makes a cameo in the opening theme.

I need to admit that the first time I saw this Pooh, I got frighted and I was 17. I'm not going to rant about how "scary" this Pooh looks because many of my older friends grew up watching Pooh Corner and have fond memories of this Pooh, not scary ones. Still, he's kind of creepy to me.

Screenshot of Teddy Ruxpin Pooh. video

Screenshot of full body. video

1989-2000: Cute Pooh
A long awaited update was finally done to Pooh. He looses his "Big Head" and now has a standard mascot head. Pooh now has white eyes with black pupils and a smaller smile. Now Pooh has a new humanoid body allowing the performer to have full control, especially the arms. The performer sees through the eyes and Pooh's snout, which is made out of reticulated foam. Pooh's honey pot now becomes a prop for him to carry around. Like Pot Head Pooh, his shirt has the name "Pooh" embroidered into it, but in Disneyland Paris Pooh's shirt has no name on it. This is because the French associate him as "Winnie l'Ourson" instead of "Pooh." Some Pooh heads had fin eyebrows (like the one pictured) and others had thick eyebrows, giving Pooh an awkward look. This adorable version of Pooh lasted until 1999, but Tokyo Disneyland used him until mid 2000.

Cute Pooh, 1997. Flickr User: moacirdsp

Cute Pooh and his "hunny" pot, 1990. Looks familiar, huh?

1999-Present: Skinny Pooh
Disney redesigned Pooh to look more like his cartoon counterpart. They give him a smaller head, smaller ears and black beady eyes. This Pooh's snout is not made out of reticulated foam, but covered with fur. His body changed to a more slim look and gives the elution of Pooh being tall. The color of his fur changed from golden yellow to bright yellow. His shirt no longer has his name on it.

I think Disney keeps Pooh on a "no honey" diet, because this Pooh is skinny. I recall Pooh saying he's "short, fat and proud of that" and this Pooh is everything but short and fat. This Pooh is not as plum as the previous ones.

Skinny Pooh, 2013. kennythepirate.com

2004-Present: Stage Pooh
The first Disney Live! was based on the 100 Acre Wood. For this show the whole cast got articulated heads. This allowed Pooh to blink and open and close his mouth. Stage Pooh is based on Skinny Pooh. His snout and lower lip was made out of reticulated foam and later versions eliminated this, covering the snout with fabric. His fur is now golden yellow and the fur is textured. This Pooh was made out of a different fur fabric than the meet and greet one. This Pooh was only used for Disney Live! productions. Currently this Pooh is not being used, but it can return for future events.

Something to note about this Pooh is the features of the articulated head. This Pooh can blink and open and closed his mouth, lip syncing to the audio track. Although this features sound great, their barely noticeable from the audience's point of view. This is because the performer constantly keeps moving around and not allowing you to see the full effect. Pooh's eyes are small and when he blinks, if your not paying attention, you miss it. Plus why does Pooh need to blink? Also the distance between the lower lip and snout is small and when he closes his mouth, is barely noticeable. When the show went to Puerto Rico in 2007, a friend of mine went to see it. Later I asked him about the articulated heads, he answered "wasn't that great, disappointing."

Stage Pooh at Disney Live!, 2004. credit

2 comments:

  1. I don't think the Skinny Pooh looks THAT bad. It's not as bad as the Teddy Ruxpin Pooh (the one from "Welcome To Pooh Corner").

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They recently updated Skinny Pooh. They modified his feet and his body. He looks more stuffed now.

      Delete