Posted in Vintage Collectibles

by Ruby Lane

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Break out the Hunny, and open your invitation to The Hollow Tree in The Hundred Acre Wood. You are invited to a celebration of National Winnie the Pooh Day on January 18th! In a world of Ted movies where teddies can be obnoxious, and doll films where moppets with yarn hair commit murder, it’s nice to celebrate magical toys that are benign beloved companions.

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Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne was published in 1926.  E. H. Shepard did the original illustrations. Pooh Bear was based on Winnipeg, Winnie for short, a bear that lived in the London Zoo.  He was brought there from Canada by a World War I soldier.  Christopher Robin, hero of the Pooh stories was the son of A.A. Milne, and he loved Winnipeg.

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Milne was inspired to write stories about the bear, and his friends Eeyore, Kanga and Roo, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit and Owl. Rabbit and Owl were based on animals that lived in the woods near Milne’s home, on which The Hundred Acre Wood was based.  The others were Christopher Robin’s stuffed animals, and they reside today at the New York Public Library, Children’s Center.

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The book was a favorite of Walt Disney’s children, and he was inspired to create his own film version in 1966.  Television specials, narrated by Sebastian Cabot, aka Mr. French of Family Affair, brought a whole new set of fans to Pooh stories.

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It would be great to celebrate NWPD by creating a home display of all the Pooh bears made over the years, including those made like the originals and the Disney versions.  There are also great crocheted versions, and lots of editions of the books and memorabilia translated into different languages. Let’s not forget The Tao of Pooh (Benjamin Hoff).

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Displays of all kinds of teddy bears would be fun, with examples by Steiff, Boyd’s Bears, Hermann, Schuco, Applause, Ty, Dakin, and more.  Vintage and antique bears would be terrific, as well as examples of the other characters, especially editions by artists like R. John Wright.  For several years, Sears had its own line of Pooh products, including stuffed bears based on the Disney characters.

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Honey cake, honey candy, honey on toast, and baklava dripping in honey might be on the menu for a proper 4:00 pm English Tea, or a Teddy Bear Picnic.  It might be fun to have readings at your Pooh Party, and viewings of the film.

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You just never know where Pooh and his friends will turn up. One was rescued in a Midwestern landfill; others have shown up in collections of dolls from Japan.  Pooh wall art is still popular, and Pooh books are classics that will never go out of style.  For one day, get Hunny on your fingers, let Tiggers bounce, and Eyeores mope; it’s National Winnie the Pooh Day!

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