Humphrey B. Bear

Humphrey B. Bear is an Australian children's television series, and its fictional character namesake is an icon of Australian children's television. Humphrey B. Bear first aired on Adelaide's NWS-9 on Monday, 24 May 1965. The show became one of the most successful programs for pre-schoolers in Australia. Edwin "Ted" Duryea, (c.1930-2009) an actor, singer and dancer whose human identity was unknown, first played the part of Humphrey.

Humphrey B. Bear
Here's Humphrey character
Humphrey B. Bear
First appearance24 May 1965 on Children’s TV show The Channel Niners, with hosts Ian Fairweather and Ann North
Information
NicknameHumphrey
SpeciesBrown bear
GenderMale

The character of Humphrey is a tall, shaggy honey-loving brown bear with a large, round, shining, glossy black nose, straw boater hat, tartan waist-coat and oversized yellow bow-tie. His television show always features a companion who assists and narrates Humphrey's various adventures in the "magic forest" including his brightly coloured treehouse. In the early days, the character was known as Bear Bear and was named Humphrey B. Bear as the result of an on-air competition.

Television show

The show has won Logies for Best Children's Series and the Humphrey character has received national awards and commendations, including the "Citizen of the Year" Award at the 1994 Australia Day celebrations. Humphrey B. Bear has viewers all over the world thanks to the United States version of his show shown on PBS in America and the Spanish version shown on Galavision. It has been translated or produced in 55 different languages.

Each episode of Humphrey is designed to entertain and educate its audience through music and storytelling as they join in the fun with the character of Humphrey B. Bear. Humphrey is a honey-loving bear who lives in his Tree House in the Magic Forest. Humphrey is a friend to everyone, and everyone is his friend.

The writers of Humphrey B. Bear, including Anthony O'Donohue (also long-time host of the show), attempt to set up each show as a new adventure for Humphrey. Each episode parallels the needs, encounters and interests the average young child. The character of Humphrey explores life as they do, trying to reinforce their self-esteem and showing them it's all right to embrace challenges. The series attempts to show it's important to be the best that you can be, and to give things your best shot. The series also encourages the viewer to simply take part in your life, family, community and the world.

On 14 February 2007, it was reported that the Nine Network would record a new Here's Humphrey series for the first time since 2003.[1]

In February 2012, Imagination Ventures, the philanthropic enterprise of media company Imagination Entertainment, purchased the assets of Banksia Productions that included all the rights to the Humphrey B. Bear.

In May 2012 Humphrey was announced as the official 'Ambassabear' for the Women & Children's Hospital Foundation. Humphrey introduced himself to a new generation of children. His first major fundraising effort saw the release of a limited edition gift set featuring a Humphrey plush doll & DVD. All proceeds from that product went to the hospitals' Kids FUNd program. Since then, Humphrey has reappeared across Australia, taking part in live shows including school performances, community events and birthday parties.

In July 2013 Humphrey returned to national TV screens on Television stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide & Perth.

50th anniversary

Humphrey celebrated his 50th Anniversary in 2015.

Ownership

In September 2016, OZPIX Entertainment facilitated the acquisition of all the assets and rights to Humphrey B. Bear from Imagination Ventures. Imagination Ventures continues to partner with the Humphrey B. Bear brand.

Village Roadshow Studios now play host to Humphrey B. Bear’s new headquarters at their studios on the Gold Coast, Australia.

Highlights & Awards

Year Highlight/Award
1965 A star is born

Release of Theme Song #1

Competition to rename "Bear Bear" and the winner is "Humphrey"

1968 First Plush Toy Released
1969 1st Logie Award - Best Children's TV Series
1975 Parents Without Partners Distinguished Service to Children Award
1978 2nd Logie Award - Favourite Children's Personality

Gold Record for outstanding sales of "Look There's Humphrey Bear'' Music Record

Festival of Light Award

1979 Television Society of Australia Individual Achievement
1982 3rd Logie Award - Best Children's TV Series

Penguin Award - Best Children's Personality

1990 Release of Theme Song #2
1994 Citizenship Award

Release of Mandarin/Chinese version

Release of Theme Song #3

1998 Launch on "Here's Humphrey" USA Series as part of "Someday School" on PBS
1999 Launch of Humphrey Australia Post Postage Stamp

Launch of "Hispanic Humphrey" Series on Galavision

Humphrey for President Campaign

2003 Humphrey becomes Heritage Listed and a National Trust Icon

Other Highlights

Humphrey has been recognised as an icon of Australian television and is featured in the Australian National Museum.

He became the only bear in the world to become a cub when he was initiated into the Scouting Movement.

APRA Music Awards

Year Nominated works Award Result Lost to
1999 "Fun With Humphrey" (Peter Douglas, Robert Pippan) Most Performed Children's Work Nominated The Wiggles – "Captain Feathersword Fell Asleep On His Pirate Ship (Quack Quack)"

References

  1. Humphrey Bear lives on, February 16, 2007, smh.com.au
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