The Great Bear Scare

This Ted. E. Bear adventure was an animated version of a book - and is probably better experienced as a book than as a cartoon. The animation is hard to describe - there was no "in betweening," so it looks more like a slide show than a cartoon. Clearly, this was not a big-budget production, and it's pretty much forgotten today (though it somehow ended up on Comcast On Demand in 2008).

The plot details the fears of local bears that monsters are coming to town. "Most bears," says a reporter, 'seem to the think that the monsters will come from nearby Monster Mountain." Yeah, they're a perceptive lot, those bears. One rebel, Ted. E. Bear, takes it upon himself to journey to the mountain and teach bears that monsters will leave you alone if you're not afraid of them.

I vaguely recall seeing this on TV in the mid 80's, and found a video version of it some years later. Annoyingly enough, the video said it was an hour long. The cartoon itself was only about twenty minutes long; the rest of the video was padded with Popeye cartoons that had nothing to do with Halloween. It's probably just as well (sitting through 20 minutes of this thing is hard enough). Sometimes I think they just don't give kids very much credit.

You will, of course, notice that this "let's not give the kids any credit for having any taste" approach did not lead to Ted E. Bear becoming an enduring cult figure or anything. He hasn't been heard from in years. He was voiced, interestingly enough, by Tommy Smothers, who a decade earlier was one of the hippest, smartest comedians around. I'm sure we all know that kids aren't that picky when it comes to quality in their cartoons - hell, plenty of cartoons from the 80s that were total crap are still riding high on nostalgics and getting modern revamps - but that's no excuse to make something suck.

But, in the midst of bashing the show, I should note that it has its merits, too. The vampire is sort of fun, and the monsters have some entertaining dialogue.

Available cheap:

Youtube clip:



Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for the list of Halloween shows, I am on Youtube right now with my son surfing for them.

Anonymous said...

This is currently running on Comcast On Demand under the Free Movies. It'll be available until 12/31/08.

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of this special, although there was a nice Christmas special from 1973 called "The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas" that also featured the Ted E. Bear character. The complete special is currently on YouTube (March 2009):

Anonymous said...

Someone posted a clip of the cartoon on YouTube (March 2009):

"The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas" was definitely a higher quality production!

VJESCI said...

Adam Selzer said...

God find, VJESCI!

Alison G. said...

Am I the only one who found this cartoon entertaining enough to like? The animation, yes leaving much to be desired for those of more "acquired" cartoony tastes, was unique on its own and how ever animation is defined.

This even led me to come up with an article about the allegory of the special with the current event of the time, the later years of the Cold War. I pondered some questions like, "What do the bears and monsters represent?" "Is there a connection to how US/Russian relations were viewed back then?" Just pondering if there are any subtle information beyond being a simple Halloween cartoon special.

When I met first met Tom Ray, one of the animators of the special, his animation studio/gallery store was right here in town, I brought up the rough ideas of the article, thinking I could get some behind the scenes info but sadly he passed on in 2010, not having the gumption of pursuing it further.

Anonymous said...

OMG! I've been trying to find the name of this special for so long! I loved watching it when I was little, thank you so much :)


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