“SOMETIMES THE SMALLEST THINGS TAKE UP THE MOST ROOM IN YOUR HEART.” - WINNIE-THE-POOH
Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood first appeared in the Evening News paper on Christmas Eve in 1925. His adventures with his compatriots was published as a book approximately a year later. This year marks Winnie-the-Pooh’s 95th anniversary and we believe there are more big milestones to come for everyone’s favourite yellow bear.
Author Alan Alexander Milne created the “Bear of Very Little Brain“ based on his son’s toys. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after his son’s teddy bear Winnie, and “Pooh“ was a nickname of a swan they came across on a holiday. His son, Christopher Robin Milne, also featured in the stories as Pooh’s human companion. The rest of the characters’ names were made up for the story although they were also based on toys that Christopher frequently played with.
The copyrights to the brand changed hands a few times, first to Stephen Slesinger, a television and merchandising expert in 1930. Milne sold the brand for a $1000 upfront payment and was to also receive 66% of revenue generated by Mr. Slesinger. Over the next few decades, Winnie-the-Pooh became a global superstar, being made into a film star, a musician and multiple merchandise items. Fans could not get enough of the “Bear of Very Little Brain“, and with each addition, the Pooh bear’s presence warmed the hearts of millions.
Disney then bought the copyrights to the brand in 1966, and made animated shows of Winnie-the-Pooh, where he gained instant popularity. Disney kept all the characters intact, and cleverly added new stories to the stable, eventually releasing a few movies that were big successes, which is why the character is still so relevant and beloved today.
WHY IS WINNIE-THE-POOH SO POPULAR?
Milne set the scene based on the ancient Ashdown Forest of East Sussex, and the characters are consistently depicted against the beautiful English landscape, with its tranquil famous open heathland forest of gorse, heather, bracken and silver birch, an area close to author Milne’s home. The scenic setting was a perfect backdrop to transport audiences off, escaping to the whimsical world where Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger and Owl live, away from the problems and pressures of reality.
Behind his initial appearance, in which he to be a dense and slow bear develops, and readers or viewers discover his multi-faceted innocent character, one that has a lot of heart and intuitive emotional intelligence.
He is a humble character that embraces his weaknesses and limitations, his open personality makes him so lovable. He is clumsy but still tries, to the best of his abilities, to live his life and solve the problems he faces, to achieve and indulge in pleasures of life. Winnie-the-Pooh is not pretentious, he is very down to Earth and always tries to help and have a good time with his close friends. He may seem to be easy-going, but he silently leads his friends to better themselves and pursue their own happiness, in a harmonious way that isn’t imposing.
The relevance of his stories hasn’t waned over the past 95 years, and Winnie-the-Pooh, F.O.P (Friend of Piglet’s), R.C. (Rabbit’s Companion, P.D. (Pole Discoverer), E.C. and T.F. (Eeyore’s Comforter and Tail-finder) will live in our hearts for many years more to come.