Repost from 2018:
Walt Disney's version of Winnie the Pooh was nearly the last thing he did as producer, and is a merchandise goldmine for the company. He's the subject of over a half-dozen features and several TV series.
There were earlier efforts to adapt and exploit Winnie the Pooh and friends, which present certain mysteries and oddities. Pooh was a familiar merchandising success well before Disney.
First though, Tigger and Piglet didn't appear in the first Disney Winnie the Pooh short in 1966. The vinyl record of "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree" features prototype designs for both, based on the book designs. A big difference for Tigger. The new character of Gopher was considered as a Piglet replacement.
http://cartoonresearch.com/wp-content/u ... ck-600.jpg
https://images.bonanzastatic.com/afu/im ... -l1600.jpg
The vinyl record features scenes and lyrics not in the animated short.
The short's poster also features the book-accurate Tigger and Piglet:
https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-winni ... 96607.html
https://www.christies.com/img/LotImages ... _tree).jpg
Winnie the Pooh was planned as a feature, before Walt decided to split it up into three shorts instead. He passed away before the second short was completed.
The three shorts and a new segment were released as a feature, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, in 1977. Disney has continued the franchise since and it's one of their biggest earners. Possibly their most merchandised property.
In 1960 NBC aired a "Shirley Temple's Storybook" special starring Bil Baird's marionettes. Faz Fazakas, later a technical creator for The Muppets, played Winnie the Pooh. Bil Baird's company later performed this show onstage. (Possibly with the same script, probably with the same puppets, plus Olga Felgemacher as a puppet Christopher Robin.)
The Shirley Temple special is available on DVD. The puppets resemble the Shepard illustrations, and therefore resemble when Disney attempts a "realistic" take on the characters, as in Christopher Robin and some merchandise.
Walt Disney acquired the rights soon after (he'd been trying since 1937). I might assume that the Shirley Temple special was made because Stephen Slesinger and company were losing the rights to Disney, and NBC would soon be airing the Disneyland TV show anyway.
There's also the matter of the Russian animated Winnie the Pooh films by Fyodor Khitruk and Gennadiy Sokolskiy (1969-1972)
NBC apparently aired a Christopher Robin special in 1947 which I assume is lost. Segments of Pooh, possibly three minutes long, were produced by Stephen Slesinger for "Telecomics Presents." These featured narration over still illustrations, intended to resemble newspaper comics and featuring characters like Red Ryder (of BB gun fame) and Tailspin Tommy. Slesinger produced radio broadcasts, dolls, board games, books, records and other merchandise of Pooh until his death in 1953. As an artist Slesinger introduced Pooh's red shirt, which survives into the Disney version. He turned Pooh into a $50 million dollar business.
https://pictures.abebooks.com/BABYLONRE ... 991960.jpg
Slesinger's estate turned rights to Pooh over to Disney in 1961, but later insisted that they had retained some rights to the property, resulting in lawsuits over the years. This was dismissed by a judge in 2012, here:
https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-federal- ... 19015.html
Confusingly, there was another company called Telecomics at the same time, founded in 1942 by Disney animators Dick Moores and Jack Boyd, with a pilot created in 1945. Two TV series called Telecomics, confused for one another in every source I consulted - either of which could be the first animated series ever made for television, if they had any animation in them at the time.
I have even seen the Slesinger family names on mid-1970s copyright renewals for the "other" Telecomics so it's hard to be sure. It's logical that's an error (on their part or otherwise) but sources are contradictory.
Michael Barrier, Harry McCracken, and Mark Kausler discuss this Telecomics here --
http://www.michaelbarrier.com/WhatsNewA ... lercomment
... and there are three examples at Youtube. "Kid Champion," "Space Barton" and "Danny March," adventure stories of three and a half minutes each, which add up to a fifteen minute program. There is almost no moving animation and it seems to be a later episode, found at a garage sale. Probably from late 1950.
The original show contained “Brother Goose” by Cal Howard; “Joey and Jug”, a clown story by Arnold Gillespie; “Rick Rack Secret Agent,” a Dick Tracy copy by Miles Pike and Pete Burness, and “Sa-Lah,” an Arabian Knights fantasy drawn by A.J. Metcalf. Jack Kirkwood, Lilien Leigh and Bill Grey provided the voice-over narration. NBC aired the segments as "NBC Comics."
http://tralfaz.blogspot.com/2012/03/nbc ... art-1.html
http://tralfaz.blogspot.com/2012/03/nbc ... art-2.html
https://profilesinhistory.com/wp-conten ... ion90s.pdf
http://tag.rubberslug.com/gallery/maste ... 389&Page=1
https://d23.com/winnie-the-pooh-and-the ... a638ba9da1
Danny Horn writes:
I just wrote a Wikipedia article about the 1949-1951 Telecomics / NBC Comics television shows, and I figured out that pretty much everyone who's ever written about it has the story mixed up.
During my research, I found some forum posts that you wrote a couple years ago that said you think they're two separate shows. I figured out that it's actually three. :) The smoking gun was an article in a Pasadena newspaper about the people who made the second show complaining that they hadn't been picked up, after the first show had already aired.
So I'm really curious what you think -- did I get the story right, or is there something that I missed?