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 In Which We Are Introduced~ And You Learn More About Winnie The Pooh & Company Than You Ever Dreamt Possible

by: Robb Rhone

Hi Kids!  Robb here to remind you that useless knowledge is power!  Certainly enough to make you a big smarty pants at the next boring office party!  Pay attention… there will be a pop quiz later!  (No, not really)

  • Christopher Robin (1920-1996) actually existed!  It was his toys that his father, Alan Alexander Milne (1882-1956) wrote about in the Pooh books.  According to the adult Christopher, it was actually his mother, Dorothy that made the stories up.  A.A. Milne listened like a fly on the wall and wrote them down.  The rest is history!
  • Winnie the Pooh is named after both a Canadian black bear named Winnie who was a favorite of Christopher’s when he visited The London Zoo, and Pooh, a swan the Milnes named after encountering it while on vacation.

  • There are only two Pooh books.  Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and its sequel, The House at Pooh Corner (1928).  The only Disney films to actually use stories from these books are “The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh” (1977), the short film, “Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore” (1983) and the recent “Winnie the Pooh” (2011) which will be released on DVD October 25th.  These films are all wonderful.  I also recommend “The Tigger Movie” (2000) and “Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin” (1997) although they feature stories conjured up by the Disney folk.

  • Tigger is not in the book Winnie-The-Pooh.  Whaaat?  Shocking, but true!  He makes his first appearance in The House at Pooh Corner.
  • Lumpy, the Heffalump, never appears in any stories by A.A. Milne.  Heffalumps, of course, were mentioned with fear by the denizens of the 100 Acre Wood but none were ever called by name until Disney’s charming “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie” (2005) in which Lumpy makes his debut.  The character, Gopher was also a creation of the Walt Disney company. Legend has it that Milne intended to add a gopher character in the books since the animal was often seen in Ashdown forest in East Sussex, England near their home.  The forest was later renamed in the books as the 100 Acre Wood.  Owl and Rabbit were also creatures found there and were not toys of Christopher Robin.

  • Not once did Disney ever explore the fact that Kanga was a single mother in any of the films, shorts, books, or on the Saturday morning cartoon “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” (1988-1991).  That’s a shame, as many children could have related to Roo in such a certain way and any storylines explored about such a topic.

  • The estates of A.A. Milne, Christpoher Robin Milne himself, and the British people were none too pleased with the very first short film “Winnie the Pooh and The Honey Tree” (1966) produced by the Walt Disney company.  Piglet never appears.  Christopher Robin has an American accent (!!!), and the English felt that the new versions of their national treasures were crude and Americanized.  It was a bloody scandal!  By the time the next short, “Winnie the Pooh and The Blustery Day” (1968) was released, Disney corrected some wrongs and it was at least VERY well received by the Americans.  It won the Oscar for best animated short that same year.  “Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too” (1974) was nominated it’s respective year but lost.  All three aforementioned short films became part of the feature film “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” which strung them together adding a new beginning and ending.
A.A. Milne Photo

If you’d like to visit the actual toys (and you know that you do), they reside at the Stephen A. Schwartzman building (formerly the New York Public Library main branch) in New York City.  There you will find Pooh, Eeyore, Kanga, Tigger, and Piglet (Roo was lost by his young master ages ago).

I have made their acquaintance myself and it was MAGICAL.  Next time you’re feeling like an overwhelmed adult, plan a trip.

Wasn’t that fun?  Thanks for reading, HONEY!

See you in the funny papers,

Robb

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