The strong, silent type.
Humphrey B. Bear (originally called "Bear Bear"
until an on-air competition
resulted in his renaming) is a honey-loving
and sometimes very clumsy
star of the long-running Australian series Here's Humphrey
, which debuted on Adelaide's NWS-9 station in 1965 before being picked up by its interstate counterparts a little while later. Humphrey has been an influence on other popular Australian programmes such as Fat Cat & Friends
and the original Bananas in Pyjamas
due to the appeal of the suitmation
concept. Moreover, Humphrey has won many awards and commendations including a "Citizen of the Year" award at the Australia Day celebrations in 1994.
Humphrey was initially an expy
of Fredd Bear, star of Fredd Bear's Breakfast A-Go-Go
(1964) and the ever popular Network Ten programme The Magic Circle Club
(1965), but soon Humphrey gained unique characteristics such as a straw boater
, tartan waist-coat and over-sized yellow bowtie
. The show was well-loved by generations of Australian children and spawned much merchandising
, including dolls, lunchboxes and later VHS tapes and DVDs.
However, even an insitution such as Here's Humphrey
was not immune to backlash. Predating the Teletubbies
' similar criticisms by about 20 years, many "experts" and parents feared the fact that Humphrey was a mute
would have a harmful effect on their children in developing their communication skills. Humphrey, like his one-time rival
Fat Cat, has also come under fire for not wearing any pants
. Needless to say, criticism of this convention was not taken as seriously as the former.
The series went into hiatus
in 2003 (the next few years' worth of programming was entirely sustained by reruns
), but in 2007 Banksia Productions and the Nine Network recorded a new season's worth of shows to be transmitted that year. However, the series went into hiatus yet again the next year after it was found that Banksia Productions had not paid off all its debts. Humphrey was finally rescued once again by media tycoon Shane Yeend in February 2012, who bought the rights to Humphrey and is now planning a comeback.
- An Aesop: Most episodes taught life lessons revolving around song, dance, stories and the like.
- Bears Are Bad News: Averted.
- Bowties Are Cool: Humphrey's admittedly outdated attire (hat, waistcoat and bowtie) have stood the test of time.
- Edutainment Show
- Fourth Wall Greeting: At the beginning of every episode.
- Friend to All Children
- Friend to All Living Things: As evidenced by the show's later version of the Theme Song:
Look over there, it's Humphrey bear,
He has best friends everywhere,
Children, trees, animals too,
He loves them all, especially you!
- Half Dressed Suitmation Animal
- The Klutz
- Long Runner: Been around for a total of forty-eight years.
- The Lost Woods: Humphrey had his own tree house in the neighbouring "magic forest" and would regularly go on his adventures there.
- Lovely Assistant: In his show, Humphrey would be aided by a young attractive woman (or sometimes a man) who would make Humphrey's actions comprehensible to his young audience.
- Nice Hat: Humphrey's straw boater.
- No Fourth Wall
- The Rival / Captain Ersatz: For twenty whole years, Fat Cat was this. Like Humphrey, Fat Cat was an oversized half-dressed animal (in this case, a cat) who never spoke and always had the help of young females to explain concepts to the pre-school audience. Unfortunately, Fat Cat was cancelled in 1992 in order for the Seven Network to make way for a new show, The Book Place.
- That Reminds Me of a Song
- The Voiceless: A particularly famous example.