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Why Did Disney Abandon The Bear Franchise?

Discussion in 'Bear in the Big Blue House' started by beaker, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    I don't believe Disney truly realized just how much parents and young ones alike loved Bear in the Big Blue House. The moment I saw it on cable in 1997 I knew the Jim Henson Company not only had something special, but a rightful successor to Fraggle Rock(as far as a third tentpole franchise/world behind Muppet Show and Sesame Street)

    The look on parent's faces when they saw, or their kid picked up Bear dvds or merchandise. Just the reaction parents would have to the quality of the show, at a time when the horrific Barney and Teletubbies filled the air. This was a truly quality, amazing and wonderful show. And for it to have simply been cut off and stuffed in a closet is just despicable. Is there ANY reason Disney did this? Do they not see how wonderful and truly special this show was to its target audience and all others?

    Disney puts an awful lot of muscle behind all of it's toddler/children/tween cartoons and productions both merchandise and visibility wise. Yet sadly we will have a whole generation who will never know about Bear in the Big Blue House, lest their parents happen upon a dvd at the library or a used dvd bin. I'd wager Bear is a thousand times better quality and all around more entertaining and rewarding than the majority of Disney franchises aimed at children. I am loving at what Disney has in store for the key Muppet brand, but just have to shake my head in disbelief with what they did to the Bear brand.
  2. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Maybe that's just it. The show doesn't follow the rigidly conformed standards of today where the shows have to be interactive. By which, we all know the characters interrupt the show for 10 seconds or more at a time for the audience to answer when they can't even hear them. We no longer talk down to children, we talk so down to them, we treat them all if they're morons. I hate the fact that's the only vehicle they have for Mickey and co and even Pooh as of late (least he's getting a movie). I only saw bits and pieces of Bear, and frankly, I find it the classic Sesame style of a giant lovable character and his best friends treating the audience like an old friend that visits everyday. Sure, they talk directly to the audience, but the same way Sesame Street always has. Not some loud slow talking brat asking where the triangle that's right behind them is.

    I don't see why reruns are no in order... or at least single serve DVDs. Lionsgate would have given us some if Henson still owned them. The only thing that bugs me about the Disney purchase now is that they're absolutely sitting on this great show, while they have an uninterrupted string of similar Dora-esque shows.

    I'm holding out for the day when Child psychologists discredit their current beliefs of how kid's programming should be done.
  3. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Bear had a respectable 4 season run with 119 episodes. I just think it ran the natural Disney course. Nothing more to it. I do disagree with that policy, but it's one they seem to have.
  4. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    All I can say is, you truly need to seek out some Bear in the Big Blue House dvd or vhs from your local library, used movie shop, etc. Seriously good stuff. And while yeah, its 100% on sets...theres just a real magic to it. Ive seen episodes of Animal Jam, Hoobs, Big Bag, and every other Sesame/Muppet related show but Bear ranks the highest as far as post Fraggle productions(as much as I do enjoy Mopatop and Animal Show with Stinky and Jake)

    Yeah sometimes a shorter production life is better than one where the quality and writing begin to really sag in the latter seasons. And 119 episodes in the can is rather good. Still, the character of Bear is such an amazingly warm character; it's unfortunate they don't at least use him for appearances or other stuff. At least there was Breakfast with Bear, but I miss the ol cha cha cha.
  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but you'd think they'd rerun it, put it on DVD, or in any other way acknowledge the character. They do own him. We have some potential for it to air on Disney Junior (though I object to a 24/hr preschool channel, especially when there's movies, cartoons, TV shows...etc that will never see the light of day again in Disney's vault). But other than that, the fact we don't even have general retail DVD's, even if they were to be repackages of Sony disks (with minor content changes to remove their logos and previews- something Lionsgate is doing with Dr. Seuss) is inexcusable. Reruns or DVD's is all I'd ask for. maybe a few appearances and specials here and there.
  6. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Im telling ya do, go and seek out at least a few episodes if you never really watched it(I know it took me ages for me to finally get ya to see the magic of Fraggle Rock!) :p

    I got all of the official Bear dvds, vhs and exclusive mail away vhs and dvds(cereal box, disney store membership exclusives, etc) But sadly its way short of the full 119 episodes. 1999/2000 was a watershed year for Bear merchandise too.
  7. HamHock

    HamHock Member

    I agree with you Beaker

    I loved Bear, it was one of my favourite shows when I was young ( I also liked Hoops and Moppatop. Guess I was a Henson fan from the beginning)

    I was a Bear maniac, where as everybody else in my playschool knew NOTHING about him. It was just depressing. I saw Reruns on Playhouse Disney a few months ago but they dont seem to be showing it now.
  8. Muppetfan44

    Muppetfan44 Active Member

    I, like many others on this thread, really enjoyed watching Bear and the Big Blue House. All the great characters and wonderful music (which I still occassionally listen to on my ipod) made Bear one of my fave kids shows growing up. I really thought Bear could connect with kids while entertaining adults.

    I think the reason why Disney dropped the series is that it just didn't mesh with Disney's entertainment agenda after a certain time period: Disney was looking to focus more of its resources into the tween market or really, really young kids and Bear was in the middle of those two groups. It usually comes down to an allocation of resources and even though it seems like Disney has unlimited resources, they choose what to focus their energies on and abandon the rest, because they know even if people are upset that they dropped a series, it is highly unlikely that they will face a significant drop in sales or viewership because of it.

    I don't think quality had anything to do with it; just timing and resources: the killer of many quality shows before their prime ;)
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member


    Well, sort of what you said. But there's no reason why Bear couldn't stay around for the really little kids. It was made for them after all. The real reason is that it didn't mesh with what educational kid's programming was at the time. It had a gentle method of talking to kids without talking down, and somehow, someone, somewhere decided kids aren't half that smart, and now everyone just steals the Blues Clues talking stilted and asking where something in the background is for 20 minutes model.

    I've always been strongly against that, and lo and behold, that's the most popular method now. The world needs more Bear, more Curious George, more stuff like that and less Dora clones.

    Perhaps in time, we'll get reruns.


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