What a funny old fellow
On page 6 of the edition dated 2 May, 1973 the Leader Messenger advertised that Humphrey B Bear would appear at St. Agnes Shopping Centre. His visit was in celebration of Mother’s Day and a retail promotion. Despite being a children’s character, we all know that mums love Humphrey! Everybody wanted a photo with Humphrey and a big bear hug.
If you did not grow up with Humphrey, he is a local television legend. He does not speak but communicates through gestures. Humphrey wears a tartan waistcoat, a big yellow tie and a straw boater. In true bear style, he loves eating honey.
Perennially young at heart, Humphrey turned 50 in May last year. Here’s Humphrey first appeared on Australian television on Monday, 24 May 1965, televised by Adelaide’s NWS9. Each episode of the show aimed to both entertain and educate its preschool audience while making children feel good about themselves. Young children could identify with Humphrey as he explored his world of the Magic Forest, meeting friends, dancing and singing. Humphrey learned from his mistakes but also had lots of fun. Humphrey was always accompanied by a human companion who narrated his adventures. One of the writers of the show, Anthony O’Donohue, also hosted it for an extended period.
Humphrey last aired on mainstream television in 2009. Humphrey became an international celebritity when an american version of his show was translated into different languages and screened in several countries. Humphrey was honoured to be declared official ‘Ambassabear’ for the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation in 2012. He was introduced to a new generation of children and the hospital successfully raised funds from sales of a limited edition plush doll and DVD.
In July 2013 Humphrey returned to television when his show was screened on Community Television stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. In May 2015 the Sydney Morning Herald reported on plans to produce a high quality Humphrey themed animated television series or film.
Humphrey B. Bear is still making public appearances and drawing crowds at community events and school performances. He even has his own Facebook page. Humphrey does lead a very exciting life!