The 1983 animated special by Atkinson Film-Arts that introduced the Care Bears from American Greetings cards and Kenner's toy line to television. With a rather darker and more disturbing tone than its successors, its only resemblance to any other installment in the Care Bears franchise are the characters and the same animation style as the studio's second special, The Care Bears Battle The Freeze Machine.
The story centers around a young boy named Kevin who is so mad about his parents deciding to move that he runs away from home. Ten of the Care Bears go to Earth to help his best friend Donna find him. Unfortunately, the path he takes through an abandoned park happens to lead him to the Land Without Feelings, the domain of the franchise's first villain and one of the Care Bears' most memorable future nemeses, Professor Coldheart, whose modus operandi at this time is to kidnap any children who enter his realm and transform them into mute, reptilian-like creatures whom he keeps as slaves. Once he realizes a group of "little friendly fuzzies with things on their tummies" are after him, he sets off numerous traps on the trail through the Land to stop them. Cue Deus ex Machina, followed by the Care-Bear Stare and a We Will Meet Again, and everyone lives Happily Ever After (which you should have guessed already).
This special provides examples of:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Coldheart really likes using this in his Villain Song ("C-C-C-C-Creepy, C-C-C-C-Crafty, C-C-C-C-Cunning, C-C-C-C-Clever Coldheart!").
- Adult Fear: Just look at how many kids Coldheart's been keeping prisoner and imagine what their parents and families have been going through all this time.
- An Aesop: Running away from home is a bad idea that will get you in much worse trouble than whatever youre running from.
- Baleful Polymorph: Coldheart turns all the children he enslaves into creatures that look like tall frogs with pointy noses and no mouth.
- Big "SHUT UP!": Coldheart screams "QUIET... slave!" when Kevin panics as he transforms into a frog-like creature.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Coldheart occasionally glances aside to address the audience.
- Catchphrase: The talking, three-faced fountain outside the park definitely has no desire to help anyone because "It's none of my business."
- Could Say It, But...:Donna: Have you seen Kevin?Fountain: You mean a grouchy little squirt in blue pants and a t-shirt who doesnt care about anything?Donna: Yes!Fountain: No. But if I had, he might have gone in there.
- Darker and Edgier: The Care Bears vs. a symbolic pedophile!
- Deus ex Machina: Almost every Bear has been captured by Coldheart's traps. How do they get out? Wish Bear wishes "we were all in the castle!" It works!
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: So, you have a creepy old man who abducts children who are mad at their parents or upset about something at home, drives them away to a location where no one can find them and they're not allowed to leave, makes them drink something, and keeps them imprisoned as slaves... Yeah, the special got creepier after the viewer passed the age where parents and teachers warned you about strangers doing vague but evil things to you...
- Dwindling Party: All of the Care Bears gradually get incapacitated by Coldheart's traps until only Tenderheart is left... and then he gets trapped, too.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Wow, where to start...?
- The Care Bear Cousins hadn't been created yet.
- There's no Caring Meter or clock in Care-A-Lot — the Care Bears watch and listen to what's happening on Earth like you eavesdrop on the other side of a door.
- There's the Cloud Keeper, a seemingly human character who lives in Care-A-Lot who, due to licensing issues, never appeared again, even in future installments.
- Coldheart is creepier and more menacing than in any of his future appearances, with no goofy sidekick.
- The Care Bears barely get a chance to interact with the kid they're helping, and the mission quickly switches to rescuing him from danger rather than helping him learn a lesson (though it's safe to assume he did!).
- Kevin is the last of many victims who have been kept prisoner in the castle that the Care Bears apparently never knew about, more resembling a horror film than a 1980s children's cartoon.
- There is no "Countdown!" before the signature "Stare!"
- The Care-Bear Stare is Cast from Hit Points, causing everyone to collapse after using it in the climax.
- The Care Bears can use the symbols on their tummies for practically anything other than the Care-Bear Stare such as rock climbing up walls with hearts, creating heart balloons to fly over mud pits, and creating rainbow bridges over bottomless cliff sides. This concept would later get brought back for the CGI series Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot and Care Bears & Cousins.
- Emotion Suppression: Kevin feels so crappy about moving that he decides "I don't care about anything!" anymore.
- Enigmatic Minion: The talking fountain insists it doesn't care about the people who pass by or their problems, despite trying to warn Kevin not to enter the park where he'll be taken by Coldheart and later telling the Care Bears where to go to find him.
- Everything Talks in the Land Without Feelings.
- Evil Is Hammy: For a guy who hates emotions, Coldheart sure loves going over the top...
- Evil Laugh: Coldheart likes indulging in these, such as when he first transforms Kevin, and when he's convinced all the Care Bears have been taken out by his traps.
- Failed Attempt at Drama: Coldheart tries to make a grand exit while defiantly vowing We Will Meet Again... and almost immediately crashes his car.
- Fisher King: Some sort of magic like this is in effect, although its never explained why Coldheart's presence causes the Land Without Feelings to be the way it is or why it's healed by him getting kicked out.
- Gilligan Cut: Donna says, "I hope Professor Coldheart doesn't find out theyre coming." Cut to Coldheart watching them enter through his telescope.
- Hand Wave: In-Universe! After Wish Bear wishes everyone into the castle, Coldheart exclaims in sincere disbelief, "How did you get here?!" Tenderheart ponders it for a second before giving up and answering, "Uh... never mind!"
- HeelFace Turn: The animate plants and rocks in the Land Without Feelings instantly go from being grumpy and rude to happy and helpful once the Care Bears bring feelings back to the land. They also give Coldheart a good kick in the pants.
- Help, I'm Stuck!: Said first by Good Luck Bear when Coldheart freezes three of the Bears in a pond and then by Friend Bear when she gets stuck in a Bubblegloop Swamp.
- Ice Palace: Coldheart Castle
- Informed Ability: In Coldheart's Villain Song, he claims "My icy stare can hypnotize", but outside of the song, he's never shown to have this power.
- I Warned You:Fountain: It's none of my business, but if I were you, I wouldn't go in there, (the park that leads to the Land Without Feelings) or I might be sorry.Kevin: I dont care.Fountain Face 1: Well, neither do I.Fountain Face 2: But if I did...Fountain Face 3: I'd turn right around.Kevin: I don't care. (goes inside)
- Made a Slave: Kevin and a bunch of other kids before him.
- Mr. Exposition: The tree who tells the Care Bears and Donna about Coldheart.
- Narrator: The Cloud Keeper
- Nothing Is Scarier: The effects of Coldheart's transformation spell are vague and all the more creepy. His slaves never talk — can they not, or have they just been ordered not to? Do they obey him simply out of fear, or have they been brainwashed? Do they remember who they are and what their lives were like before?
- Not Now, Kiddo: Shortly after they're alerted to Kevin's problem, Wish Bear keeps trying to make a wish, only to get interrupted and give up. Though he does ends up making a wish at the end.
- Plot Hole: It's inconsistent where the Land Without Feelings begins. The Cloud Keeper initially narrates, "Kevin didn't notice that he walked right through the park and into a strange land...", implying the Land starts where the abandoned park ends. Donna and the Care Bears conclude when they reach an area full of aggressive, talking plants and rocks that they're in the Land Without Feelings she's heard of. However, the tree tells them, if they want to find Coldheart, "There is a trail that starts at the end of the park," implying they're still in the park...
- Rewatch Bonus: Several scenes become harsher and creepier once you know from the start that Coldheart's lizard-like minions are transformed human children. Like when Coldheart meets Kevin:Coldheart: Are you the boy who doesnt care?Kevin: Uh... yeah...Coldheart: Good... youve come to the right place. Nobody care about anything here (gesturing to his minions) Right, boys...? (actually rubbing it in their faces that they're the way they are because they decided they no longer cared about their homes and families and came here)Kevin: Who-who are they?!Coldheart: Well, they could be my friends, but I don't care about them, (knocks them all over) so they're not.
- Safety in Indifference: Coldheart brags in his Villain Song that he can stop people from feeling anything, good or bad, and isn't that a great thing?But, wait, here comes the best part!
I'll freeze your feelings cold as ice
And kill your cares! Ooh, that sounds nice!
I've heard you've been complaining
There's no need to cry or whine
I'll refrigerate those feelings
Why, I found you just in time!
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Coldheart doesn't stick around to confront the kids or the Care Bears after his victims have all been freed.Coldheart: Uh-oh... time for a little trip...
- Single Tear: Coldheart makes one during his Villain Song, which has Kevin inside it as the tear froze and cracks.
- Sinister Surveillance: Coldheart keeps a close watch on the Bears' progress with a telescope.
- Slouch of Villainy: This is Coldheart's standard posture whenever he's seated on his throne. Combined with excessive yawning after the Care Bears show up in his throne room, it looks like he's using it to say, "This is how much of a threat I consider you."
- Spanner in the Works: Coldheart didn't notice and start taking out the Bears until after Tenderheart instructed two of them to stay behind and protect Donna while the rest went to rescue Kevin. One of those two, Wish Bear, is the one who saves the day.
- The Speechless: Coldheart's victims never speak, although it's never explained if this is part of the transformation (since they don't appear to have mouths) or if they're all following an order like the first one he gives Kevin ("Quiet, SLAVE!").
- Story-Breaker Power: Let's just say every Care Bears movie and cartoon episode would be 30 seconds long if Wish Bear always had and used the power she has here.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: The fountain would like to remind you "it's none of my business" what you do or how trouble you get into. No, it definitely doesn't care if you obey its warnings or directions or not.
- Tempting Fate: When the rest of the Care Bears head towards Coldheart's castle while Donna remains with two other Care Bears, she hopes Coldheart doesn't know they're coming. In the next scene, that's exactly what he does.
- Treants: The Land Without Feelings is home to talking trees (and flowers and rocks).
- Villain Song: "Allow me to introduce myself! They call me Professor Coldheart!"
- Wacky Wayside Tribe: The Care Bears get sidetracked from their mission to find Kevin by deciding to help the living trees, flowers, and rocks in the Land Without Feelings feel again. Nice of them, but Donna has to remind them, "But what about Kevin?" Though they do warn them about Coldheart and explain what he does with kids that don't care.
- We Will Meet Again:Coldheart: You win, little fuzzies... for now... But you haven't heard the last from PROFESSOR COLDHEART!
- Yellow Brick Road: The Care Bears have to follow a specific trail to Coldheart Castle and can't deviate from it no matter how dangerous it gets.