Today marks 50 years since Humphrey B. Bear first appeared on Australian television.
The iconic children’s TV character was first broadcast on Here’s Humphrey on Adelaide’s NWS-9 on Monday, 24 May 1965 and ran until 2008 as the second longest running children’s TV program in the world.
Plans for an anniversary event today at Thebarton Community Centre in Adelaide have been cancelled pending a rescheduled event later in the year.
Humphrey was originally played by Edwin Duryea, but has also been played by John Maclean and Rev. Ross Hutchinson.
The series attempted to show that it is not always necessary to be the best at everything, but that it’s more important to simply take part. It also spawned The Curiosity Show, which originally began as a segment.
Humphrey became a national TV identity, winning Logie Awards and making repeat appearances at Carols by Candlelight. He became so popular he has even appeared on a postage stamp.
But in 2009, Banksia Productions was bankrupt with the character being sold to Imagination Entertainment and returned to national TV screens on Community Television in 2013.
Imagination Entertainment is now exploring a new series, and possibly a movie, including the idea of voicing Humphrey. Sacrilege.
Imagination chief executive Shane Yeend told News Corp, “We have talked with two separate Australian Hollywood A-list actors who have put their hands up to be the voice of their childhood icon.
“He has been entertaining and educating children in over 40 countries and holds a special place in the hearts of all Australians.”
So leave the bear alone!