James Proclaims (4)

Can it already be the 7th April? Why, that must mean that we’re up to ‘G’ in my mawkish retrospective of the cartoons of my youth. And today doubles as something of a confessional, as I reveal one of my guiltier pleasures from back in the day.

G

G is for Grumpy Bear

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The Care Bears were really aimed at girls and I was very much a boy. Add to this the fact that it was the 1980s, when it was generally considered ‘not ok’ for a boy to like stuff that was aimed at girls (I’d like to imagine that today we live in more enlightened times, but I expect I’m wrong about that) and I wasn’t really supposed to like the Care Bears. But I did quite like the Care Bears. Perhaps I’ve always been a sensitive soul and the notion that all the world’s problems could be solved by just ‘caring a bit more’ appealed to me on some level. Or maybe I just liked the bright colours. I was a small child back then – who knows what was going on in my head?

Obviously the makers of Care Bears didn’t really care about making the world a better place, they really only cared about selling lots of overpriced stuffed toys to children.

The cartoon massively fails the test of time. It’s overly saccharine and hard to watch. But, for whatever reason, I did really like it at the time. Especially the 1985 movie, which might have been a tiny bit better than the TV series, (but probably not much better). I was far from the only kid (male or female) that liked Care Bears though – they were hugely popular.

My sister had a Care Bear.

I didn’t.

You can get them again now. If my mum is reading this, then I need to point out that she is in no way obliged to make up for me not having a Care Bear as a child by getting me one now…

I had loads of toys as a kid. Mostly He Man and Star Wars figures, but also some ThunderCats thrown in for good measure. I didn’t need a Care Bear. I’m not even sure that I especially wanted a Care Bear. I’m just saying that if I had wanted one, there would have been nothing wrong with me wanting one.

If, by chance, I had owned a Care Bear, it would definitely have been Grumpy Bear…

22 thoughts on “James’ Shamelessly Nostalgic A-Z Of Cartoon Characters That He Liked As A Child – Part 7: Grumpy Bear

    1. I think it was probably the Care Bear Stare that won me over, cos it seemed a bit like a super power at the time. I suppose it was a super power, but with hindsight, not a great super power…

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  1. I cared little for the Care Bears. Too ‘gay’ and (a word I learned from the Beano) soppy by far. Even now I feel like doing physical harm to you simply because you watched Care Bears. Ok, I’m fine, I’ve mastered myself . . .

    Along with my English comics, Nanna would send me Rupert annuals. Now THAT was a bear character! Those books were transformative to me.

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  2. haha! No, I couldn’t pull it off with his panache. His friend Bill the badger, pretty natty too. But those stories, along with the artwork inhabited my dreams then. They were magical in the way the Internet isn’t. And by the way, ‘Internet’ is capitalized, in respect to its power.

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    1. Glad to see you showing the appropriate respect to the almighty Internet! I always enjoyed Rupert too, but my favourite childhood bear was probably Paddington (before the recent movies obviously, though they are actually much better than anyone could realistically hope them to be). The original books and stop motion animations were rather charming though. There have been a few Rupert animations over the years. The one on TV in the 80s was actually just the stills of the comic book on screen with the story being narrated, so not an actual cartoon per se. Almost like an audiobook with pictures. I still enjoyed it though.

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  3. Grumpy Bear once wrote me a letter back, after I wrote to him in the Care Bear magazine. He also awarded me a clock, with a swinging pendulum, for winning his colouring contest. It’s the only thing I’ve ever won, so you’re not allowed to be jealous!

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  4. If a truer sentence than “all the world’s problems could be solved by just ‘caring a bit more’” exists, I’ve never heard it lol

    I loved the Carebears! But I’m sure that’s not a shock to anyone who knows me…

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  5. Care Bears were for girls? Nobody told me and I was a child of the 80s too. The Care Bears always seemed rather asexual to me since they didn’t give them clearly male or female voices for a long time. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. If it was aimed at girls, Grumpy Bear was definitely the best of the bunch. Whether intentional or not, it showed little me that it was alright to not feel happy all the time.

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    1. I could be mistaken, but I’m fairly sure the marketing was skewed heavily towards girls, but I don’t think they minded if boys were into them too. But I went to primary school where the boy/girl dichotomy was strictly enforced. There was actually a boys play area and a girls play area. I think they’ve moved on now thankfully and children can be friends with whoever they want…

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      1. Yeah, I went to a pretty liberal school. I may not remember it being for girls but anything “cute” was usually for girls so you’re probably dead on. When I was little I hung out with girls a lot so I was never fully convinced of that dichotomy. I’m glad that line is being relaxed these days.

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  6. I think the original creators’ intentions were in the right place (and it seems a multi-cultural effort too) and in Britain at least the marketing push really came quite a bit later than the first public TV transmissions. I seem to remember this being aired on Channel 4, so I risked watching this one in the hope that it’s very unlikely to be being broadcast as live transmission at the same time as I’m watching the archival internet file. Fingers crossed 🙂 So this is one we watched mid1990s although my son wasn’t as keen as my ‘niece’, his best friend, but they watched it together quite often. My youngest born ten years after him, she and her friends loved the Care Bears too, on cable TV by then, and early 2000s were around the time of the must-have-toys era associated with this particular cartoon I think – although they may have made a smaller entrance in that previous decade, they didn’t seem as popular as a ‘must-have’ toy. I’ve still got at least one of my daughter’s CareBear cuddlies in safe-keeping for her 🙂

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      1. Maybe among the wealthier, not so much amongst those of us having our children in late 80s – and before the big books of want from Argos and Index mny of us didn’t window shop enough back then to be able to see such things 🙂 that’ll be why i didn’t notice them that early on and the trend had obviously subsided some by the time it was a relevant noticeable thing.

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