Winnie the Pooh (Disney)

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Sterling Holloway (1966-1977)
Hal Smith (1983-1986)
Jim Cummings (1988-present)

Winnie the Pooh is a Disney media franchise based on A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928).

Disney's Pooh was originally voiced by Sterling Holloway in three featurettes that were later used as segments in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977). Hal Smith took over for the 1981 short Winnie the Pooh Discovers the Seasons, and would maintain the role until Jim Cummings began voicing Pooh in The New Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh (1988–1991). Cummings continues to voice Pooh (as well as Tigger) to this day.

Adaptation and development by Disney[edit]

In 1961, Walt Disney Productions licensed certain film and other rights to the characters, stories, and trademarks from Stephen Slesinger, Inc. and the estate of A. A. Milne. and made a series of cartoon films about him. The early cartoons were based on several of the original stories and the distinctive images made popular by Stephen Slesinger, Inc. during the 1930s through 1960s. Alongside the cartoon versions, which Disney adapted from Slesinger, Slesinger's simplified lines and pastel color adaptations of Shepard's classical drawings are now marketed under the description "Classic Pooh".

In 1977, Disney released the animated feature The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, introducing a new character named Gopher (which Gopher acknowledges by proclaiming, "I'm not in the book, you know"). The film comprises three segments originally released as separate featurettes: Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966), Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968), and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974). The 1977 release featured new bridging material and a new ending, as it had been Walt Disney's original intention to make a feature.[citation needed] A fourth featurette, Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore, was released in 1983.

The live-action series Welcome to Pooh Corner ran on the Disney Channel from 1983 to 1986. In 1988, Disney launched the animated series The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which aired from 1988 to 1991 with a total of 83 episodes. Pooh made an appearance with Tigger in the anti-drug TV special Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue.

In 2000, Disney released the feature film The Tigger Movie in which the character of Tigger played the leading role. Due to its success, two more feature-length Pooh movies based on other characters were released to theaters: Piglet's Big Movie in 2003 and Pooh's Heffalump Movie in 2005. Pooh also made appearances in episodes of House of Mouse.

Playhouse Disney, along with Shadow Projects, produced a puppet TV series for preschoolers, called The Book of Pooh, coordination production of ages kids with family aired, which aired from 2001 to 2003. Playhouse Disney produced another series for preschoolers, called My Friends Tigger and Pooh, which aired from 2007 to 2010.

Top Disney Movies Winnie the Pooh was released in 2011, and 2014 The Disney Channel Series: Tales of Friendship with Winnie the Pooh was announced in Playhouse Disney for preschoolers kids produced TV series My Friends Tigger and Pooh, Winnie-the-Pooh which coordination aired from American released this July 2014.

Ownership controversy and drastic changes[edit]

During his lifetime, Milne was liberal with his grant of rights. At times he licensed the same exclusive rights to more than one entity.

In the United States, Dutton publishers acquired exclusive volume publication rights and Stephen Slesinger, Inc., acquired sole and exclusive rights to virtually all uses outside of the Dutton books as well as rights to any sorts of future uses. Beginning in 1930 Stephen Slesinger created all of the distinctive and colorful images of Pooh outside of the books. Under license from Slesinger, Pooh made his debuts in radio, film, animation, children's theatre, advertising and a host of consumer products and services protected by trademark. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, Milne retained most of his literary copyright rights which he left to four beneficiaries of his trust: The Garrick Club, Westminster School, The Royal Literary Fund and the A. A. Milne Family. By direction of Milne's will, the Pooh Properties Trust was formed. Mrs. Milne, trustee of the Milne Estate and Spencer Curtis Brown, Trustee, licensed certain exclusive film rights to Disney in 1961. Christopher Robin Milne sold his rights to the other copyright holders, in order to raise money to support his daughter, before his death in 1996.

Sometime around 2000, the Pooh Properties Trust licensed additional rights to Disney and accepted a buyout of their claims to royalties as defined in a 1991 lawsuit brought by Stephen Slesinger, Inc. Although Slesinger's rights are arguably more valuable, the combined value paid by Disney to The Pooh Properties Trust is said to be approximately $300 million for Milne's portion of those rights.

To further minimize Disney's legal exposure to Slesinger, Disney paid money to the Pooh Properties attorneys and trusts to use the name of Clare Milne, daughter of Christopher Robin, in an attempt to terminate certain of the copyright rights of Stephen Slesinger Inc, in the wake of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998. The district court found in favor of Stephen Slesinger, Inc., and as did the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[1] On Monday, June 26, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case, thus sustaining the Appeals Court ruling.[2]

In December 2005, Disney announced that Pooh's friend and owner Christopher Robin would transform into a six-year-old "tomboyish" red-haired girl Darby for the Disney Channel animated television series, My Friends Tigger & Pooh. Christopher Robin appeared intermittently in the series.

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