It was exactly 70 years ago this Saturday that a little bear cub was rescued from a forest fire in New Mexico and would become the name, face, fur and paws of Smokey Bear. Remember … only you can prevent forest fires.
Smokey, who would later become Smokey “the” Bear after a song written by Jack Rollins and Steve Nelson (who also penned “Frosty the Snowman” and “Peter Cottontail”) became a hit, is part of a list of famous bears both animals and humans.
While the following group bear-ly makes a dent in naming all the noteworthy bears out there (sorry, Bart, Baloo and Teddy), let’s just grin and … wait for it … bear it.
“The Bad News Bears”: Millennials will have to look up this nod to the 1976 comedy film starring Walter Matthau as Morris Buttermaker, the grumpy coach of the misfit Little League Team of the title. One of the little sluggers is young Oscar winner Tatum O’Neal.
Bear Bryant: Continuing the theme of sports in the features section, Paul William “Bear” Bryant was a college football player and coach best-known as head coach of the University of Alabama’s football team. Bryant won an astonishing six national and 13 conference championships in his 25-year tenure as head coach.
Bear Grylls: The British adventurer, former member of the military and star of “Man vs. Wild” is a well-rounded outdoorsman who has climbed Mount Everest and worked with celebrities in the wilderness. Brave! Grylls, 45, also is the father of three children named Marmaduke, Huckleberry and Jesse, and he has reportedly eaten elephant dung.
The Care Bears: Can you name the original 10 cuddly and colorful characters from the 1980s? They are Bedtime Bear, Birthday Bear, Cheer Bear, Friend Bear, Funshine Bear, Good Luck Bear, Grumpy Bear, Love-a-lot Bear, Tenderheart Bear and Wish Bear. You’re welcome.
The 1985 Chicago Bears: Forget Mitchell Trubisky, Jay Cutler, Kyle Orton and Rex Crossman. The Chicago Bears quarterback I remember, under the tutelage of Mike Ditka, is Super Bowl-winning Jim McMahon and his teammates Walter Payton and William “The Refrigerator” Perry – and their “Super Bowl Shuffle.”
Fozzie: One of this famous Muppet’s catchphrases is, “Wocka, wocka!” Largely overshadowed by Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy and the butt of jokes by Statler and Waldorf, Fozzi stands out for his good-naturedness and snazzy polka-dot scarf.
Winnie the Pooh: Ignoring the fact that he wears only a red short-sleeve shirt – scandalous! – I relate to Winnie, and like him, for his friendly, mild-mannered and philosophizing ways. We also both love – or are practically obsessed with – honey. It’s Winnie the Pooh … and Eeyore, too.
Yogi Bear: The resident of Jellystone National Park since 1958, Yogi Bear, while always respectfully addressing Ranger Smith, also was most certainly a thorn in the ranger’s side with all the hijinks he created with trusty sidekick, Boo Boo. Boo … and bye!
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