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Dec 172013

Next to seals, the polar bear is a wonderful animal to think of when it comes to the Christmas holiday, particularly the ones that drink Coke from the bottle. In honor of the Coca-Cola polar bear, I have a list of my top ten favorite bears in pop culture. Unfortunately, none of them are from the Arctic. So bear with me.

#10) Winnie the Pooh from Disney’s Winnie the Pooh: He’s a quiet and friendly bear that loves honey. What usually stands out to me is Pooh’s classic catchphrase. Whenever he finishes a honey pot, he always says, “Oh, bother. Empty.”

#9) Sancho Panda from The Adventures of Don Coyote and Sancho Panda: He is the nervous, but noble squire of Don Coyote and rides a donkey for a steed. Sancho is sensible, even though Don never listens to him when it comes to avoiding trouble, but you’ve got to hand it to him for trying.

#8) Lookout Bear (Michael B. Moynahan) from Zoobilee Zoo: This adventurous bear loves to travel. He drives a jeep and lives in a tent. It seems primitive compared to the other zoobles’ houses. I don’t think it even has a bathroom, but Lookout doesn’t seem to mind.

#7) The Country Bear Jamboree from Disney’s Magic Kingdom: This is a group of performing bears that perform country songs. It was one of the main attractions that’s been a part of Walt Disney World since the 70s and still remains there today. I never really had just one favorite among the group, but The Country Bear Jamboree has always been a favorite since I was a kid.

#6) The Buddy Bears from Garfield and Friends: Bobby, Billy, and Bertie are a trio of brothers, who sing, dance, and always get along with each other. Their antics often drive others crazy when their purpose is to teach important lessons to their viewers. Whether it’s to invade Garfield’s personal space or drop heavy objects on Roy the rooster, these bear cubs leave me laughing.

#5) Yogi Bear from Yogi Bear: There’s no doubt that he is one of Hanna Barbera’s biggest icons. Yogi, along with his good friend Boo-Boo, are friendly park bears that love food in picnic baskets and will do anything to get them. Yet it often results in driving Ranger Smith crazy. In later years, Yogi has adventures with the other talking animals of Hanna Barbera. And like Scooby-Doo, he was a team captain on the Laff-A-Lympics. He certainly is smarter than the average bear, not to mention friendlier.

#4) Little John from Disney’s Robin Hood: I totally remember this bear from when I was a kid. He is Robin Hood’s faithful companion when they go out helping the poor by rebelling against Prince John. Little John is a master of disguise just like Robin and has a fun persona.

On a side note: Some might confuse him with Baloo from Disney’s The Jungle Book because the same voice actor did both roles (Phil Harris). Do you think there’s a resemblance?

#3) Tummi Gummi from Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears: He was always my most favorite of the Gummis, mainly because he is very similar to Garfield. Tummi sounds like Garfield and love to eat like Garfield. Isn’t that something?

#2) Teddy Ruxpin from The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: Technically, Teddy is an illiop, but when it comes down to it, he is in fact a bear. Teddy hails from the country of Rillonia and enjoys going on adventures in the land of Grundo with his best friends Grubby and Gimmick, as well as making new friends everywhere he goes. Teddy’s loyal and positive attitude always comes in handy when there’s a squabble among his friends. It’s all part of what makes this teenage bear such a big hero.

#1) Fozzie Bear from Muppets franchise: What bear could compete with this lovable and comedic performer. Fozzie not only does stand-up comedy. He’s also a singer, dancer, sketch comedy actor, and even plays the ukulele. Although Fozzie’s jokes can be corny sometimes, I find him to be a real creative comic, no matter what Statler and Waldorf say about it.

Sep 232011

There were many great cartoon characters from the 80s, but it wasn’t until the half-hour special Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue premiered in 1990 to bring them all together in the ultimate drug intervention.

Meet Michael, a teenager who secretly uses marijuana. His younger sister Cory is worried because he’s acting weirdly, since they used to be so close.

One morning, Michael snatches Cory’s piggy bank and her tie-in toys come to life to help her find it. The characters include the Smurfs, Alf (animated version), Garfield, Alvin & the Chipmunks, Winnie the Pooh, Baby Kermit from Muppet Babies, and Slimer. It was so thrilling to see these icons together for the first time ever, but this is only the beginning.

Although Michael has friends he smokes with, he feels uneasy when offered stronger drugs like crack. Then there’s this Smoke Demon that accompanies Michael and tempts him by saying how drugs make you feel good. I don’t know where that creature came from, but he sure appears to be dangerous.

Soon Bugs Bunny finds Michael and takes him back in time to refresh his memory on how he got started on the drugs. It’s revealed that two years earlier, Michael gave into peer pressure and he still does.

After getting back, Michael and the Smoke Demon fall into a manhole and find Michaelangelo of the ninja turtles. Surprisingly, he’s much taller on this show. Then Michael and the Smoke Demon find themselves on a roller coaster ride, where Muppet Babies Kermit, Piggy, and Gonzo show how messed up Michael’s brain is. If that didn’t scare him straight, what will?

Michael wakes up in the park and finds all of the cartoon characters, which now also include Tigger and Huey, Dewey, and Louie from Ducktales, and they all sing about saying no. I know that some of these characters are known for breaking into song, but I found it a little strange when the characters who normally don’t sing actually join in.

It’s not over yet. Next, Alf takes Michael to a house of mirrors to really show him what drugs can do as a result and that the Smoke Demon is an enemy. Meanwhile, Cory finds Michael’s secret stash of marijuana and the Smoke Demon tries to tempt her into trying it.

Michael leaves the house of mirrors and tries to escape the creepy amusement park with his life. The search ends with Daffy Duck showing Michael his dark future if he was to stay on the drugs. That helped Michael see the light and get back home just in time to save Cory from the Smoke Demon’s temptation.

There were so many commercials about saying no to drugs, but this special actually provides a real example of how drugs are bad for you. That’s what makes Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue a real classic. The Smoke Demon was defeated, but vowed revenge. Do you suppose he’s now out tempting other kids to do drugs?