Humphrey B. Bear
|Humphrey B. Bear|
|Here's Humphrey character|
Humphrey B. Bear
|First appearance||24 May 1965|
|Portrayed by||Edwin Duryea|
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. The show became one of the most successful programs for pre-schoolers in Australia. The part of Humphrey was played by Edwin Duryea, an actor, singer and dancer whose human identity was never revealed.
The character of Humphrey is a tall, shaggy brown bear with a large, glossy nose, straw boater, tartan waist-coat and oversized 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. 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 'B' in Humphrey B Bear stands for 'Bogart' for Humphrey Bogart, who the competition winner admired at the time.
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.
In February 2012, Imagination Ventures, the philanthropic enterprise of media company Imagination Entertainment, purchased the assets of Banksia Productions and the rights to the character from the administrator.
In May 2012 Humphrey was announced as the official ‘Ambassabear’ for the Women & Children's Hospital Foundation and he was introduced to a new generation of children. His first major fundraising effort saw the release of a limited edition gift set featuring a Humphrey plush doll & DVD with all proceeds supporting the hospitals Kids FUNd program. Since then, Humphrey has reappeared across Australia featuring in live shows including school performances, community events and birthday parties.
In July 2013 Humphrey returned to national TV screens on Community Television stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide & Perth.
Humphrey B Bear celebrates his 50th Anniversary in 2015.