Humphrey B. Bear is an Australian children's television series and its fictional character namesake is an icon of Australian children's television. Humphrey B Bear was first broadcast on Adelaide's NWS-9 on Monday, 24 May 1965. In the early days the character was known as Bear Bear and was named Humphrey B Bear as the result of an on air competition. The show became one of the most successful programs for pre-schoolers in Australia.
The character of Humphrey is a tall, shaggy brown bear with a large, glossy nose, straw boater, tartan waist-coat and over-sized yellow bow-tie. His television show always features a companion who assists and narrates Humphrey's various adventures in the "magic forest" including his brightly coloured tree house. The show is shot on television studio set.
The show has won Logies for Best Children's Series and the character of Humphrey has received a number of National Awards and Commendations, including a special "Citizen of the Year" Award at the 1994 Australia Day celebrations. Humphrey B. Bear has viewers all over the world thanks to the United States version of his show shown on PBS in America and the Spanish version shown on Galavision.
Each episode of Humphrey is designed to entertain and educate its audience as they join in the fun with the character of Humphrey B. Bear. Humphrey enjoys exploring and pretending. He likes playing, singing, dancing and being with his friends. The writers of Humphrey including Anthony O'Donohue (also long time and favourite host of the show) attempt to set up each show as a new adventure for Humphrey that parallels the needs, fears and fun of the average four year old child. The character of Humphrey Bear explores life as they do, trying to reinforce their self esteem and showing them it's all right to make mistakes (after all everyone does). The series attempts to show that it is not always necessary to be the best at everything, but that it's more important to simply take part.
Humphrey still appears on Australian television during the Summer hiatus of Mornings With Kerri Anne, and is a standard aspect of Australian culture.
On 14 February 2007 it was reported that the Nine Network would record a new Here's Humphrey series for the first time since 2003.
In April 2009, Banksia Productions, the company that owned the rights to the character, was wound up by the Supreme Court over a $50,000 debt.
Criticism of Humphrey B. Bear
Typical complaints about the Humphrey character include the character failing to wear pants and the fact that he is mute. The latter has drawn the most serious criticism, mainly relating to concerns children may be negatively affected by a role model that does not communicate properly.
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