When I met my now-husband in 2001, we both still had a healthy love of cartoons, but he had a special place in his heart for something called Gummi Bears that I had only the faintest memory of. I’ll let him tell it:
Gummi Bears was a great show. Strong female leads, action, family values and morality plays integrated without constipating the story. All you could ask for in a cartoon about bouncing bears with a sideline in promoting chewy candies. Throw in some magic and medieval hijinks and you have my catatonic attention for 22 minutes plus advertisements.
What gives it the warm, fuzzy place in my heart is that it was a genuinely sweet program about being yourself without cutting yourself off from your community. It shows the value of cooperative action and looking to history while also encouraging innovation.
Since meeting and marrying Rob, I’ve grown to appreciate the frankly bizarre animated program. You might even say I’ve thrown back more than my fair share of “gummi juice,” and it was reliving the Adventures of the Gummi Bears (seasons one through three) on DVD that really turned me into a convert.
Recently, the awesome Steven Miller, who serves as Disney’s merchandise communications manager (can you say “dream job”?!), revealed several new t-shirts based on The Disney Afternoon programs, including Gummi Bears. As I read through the post, I almost fell off my chair. My husband’s favorite childhood toon on a t-shirt? Obviously we all know what his souvenir will be on our next trip.
Then, imagine my surprise, when Gummi Bears popped up again recently, this time performed by pop sensation Alicia Keys on the Jimmy Fallon show!
Isn’t that beautiful? Part of me wants to hold it close to my heart as a lovely example of what happens when nerdy little kids grow up into big, beautiful pop singers. Another part of me wants to start a letter writing campaign, begging her to record an entire album of our childhood favorite theme songs. Lucky for Ms. Keys, I’m terribly busy obsessing over New Fantasyland and watching reruns of the Gummi Bears.
What was your favorite The Disney Afternoon program? Let us know below.